Long holiday breaks mean lots of time to bake holiday treats with the kids. These easy holiday recipes, courtesy of some of the blogosphere’s best bloggers, will bring out the best flavors the season has to offer. Make some Christmas goodies to give away, but make sure to save some for yourself!
Cranberries and pistachios give a festive color to this chocolate-y candy bark. Serve it in a bowl on your holiday table or package it and gifts it to loved ones.
- ½ C dried cranberries, chopped
- ½ C pistachios, chopped
- 1 bag (20 oz) dark or milk chocolate chips
- 1 bag (20 oz) white chocolate chips
- 1 Tbsp canola oil, divided
- Place one sheet of waxed paper on rimmed cookie sheet.
- In microwave-safe bowl, pour dark chocolate chips and 1½ tsp canola oil. Microwave 30 seconds, stir well; microwave 15 seconds, stir well. Repeat until smooth and creamy.
- Pour dark chocolate on to waxed paper and spread evenly. Cool to set; place in fridge to speed process. Once dark chocolate is set, repeat melting process with white chocolate. Pour white chocolate onto dark chocolate and quickly spread evenly (work quickly so the dark chocolate won’t melt and mix into the white).
- Quickly sprinkle cranberries and pistachio over white chocolate, lightly press into chocolate to help it stick.
- Cool to set. Break with a knife to serve or package.
These cookies are perfectly chewy and form a great base for making and decorating gingerbread men.
For the cookies:
- 6 c all-purpose flour, plus more for your work surface
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- 1 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 c packed brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp ground ginger
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp black pepper (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- 2 eggs
- 1 c molasses
For the royal icing:
- 2 egg whites
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 2-3 c icing sugar
Prepare the Dough
- Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in large bowl and set it aside.
- Cream together softened butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in spices and vanilla extract, along with pepper if you’re using it.
- Mix in eggs and molasses. Add in flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined.
- Divide dough into thirds and wrap each third in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for two hours until cold and firm.
Cut Out Cookies
- Roll out dough to about ¼-inch thick (or thicker for chewier cookies) on a lightly floured work surface. Cut into any shape you’d like and then place them on a cookie sheet, about an inch or two apart.
- Refrigerate cookies for about half an hour, or until they’re completely firm.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and bake cookies for 11-13 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want them. Let cookies cool completely before decorating.
Prepare the Royal Icing
- Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.
- Add in icing sugar and beat until icing is thick. Pipe onto cookies as desired.
These light, melt-in-your-mouth meringues hide crushed pieces of candy cane.
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature
- 3/4 c granulated sugar
- 4 medium candy canes, crushed
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 250F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.
- Separate eggs and place whites into medium bowl with pinch of salt. Whip on medium speed. When the mixture becomes foamy, sprinkle in cream of tartar. Continue whipping whites and increasing mixer speed until egg whites reach stiff peaks. Once stiff peaks form, sprinkle in sugar while mixing until all sugar has been incorporated.
- Reserve a few teaspoons of crushed candy cane and fold the rest into the meringue.
- Use piping bag or two tablespoons to make 1-and-one-half- to 2-inch mounds on cookie sheets.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 170 degrees F and bake for 15 – 30 additional minutes. Meringues are cooked when tops are hard and sound hollow when tapped.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt
Cinnamon, pumpkin and cheesecake combine in a light dessert full of holiday flavor.
- 32 ounces of fat free plain yogurt
- 1-1/2 c of skim milk (plus more to thin the mixture if needed)
- 1-1/2 c of pumpkin
- 1 package of Jello sugar free cheesecake pudding mix
- 1 heaping Tbsp of cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp of pumpkin pie spice
- In large bowl, mix together ingredients. Do not drain yogurt prior to mixing it. This recipe makes a very thick base and the extra liquid from the yogurt keeps it a good consistency. If needed, add a little extra milk to thin. Mixture should be thick and creamy.
- Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Serve immediately for soft serve consistency or freeze for 1-2 hours for hard serve. If freezing longer, let yogurt thaw on counter for 10-15 minutes prior to scooping.
Bring the snowy winter weather indoors with these delicate, shortbread-like cookies.
- 1 c salted butter, softened
- ½ c sugar
- 2 c all-purpose flour, sifted
- Raspberry jam
- 4 c confectioner’s (powdered) sugar, sifted
- ¼ c milk
- Finely shredded, unsweetened coconut
- Cream butter and sugar together. Add flour and mix until dough forms.
Place half of dough onto a well-floured surface and roll out to about ¼-inch thickness. Cut with a round cookie cutter and place onto prepared cookie sheet.
- Bake in 350 degrees F for 8 – 10 minutes.
- Allow cookies to cool completely, then pair off similar shaped cookies together, placing smoothest cookie on top.
- Mix together confectioner’s sugar and milk. Spread or pipe some icing on each top cookie. Immediately sprinkle with coconut and set aside. Let icing set for at least 6 hours. When icing is dry, sandwich cookies together with raspberry jam.
These bite-size maple treats will be irresistible at any holiday gathering.
- 1-½ c all-purpose flour
- ½ c light brown sugar, firmly packed
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 10 Tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- ¼ c pure maple syrup
- 1/3 c light brown sugar, packed
- ¼ Half & Half
- 1 c coarsely chopped pecans
- In bowl or stand mixer, combine flour, brown sugar and salt. Add butter cubes and mix until mixture holds together, about two minutes.
- Lightly spray cups of 24-cup mini-muffin pan. Press one tablespoon of filling into bottom and up sides of each cup.
- Bake until edges are lightly browned and crust is firming, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
- In small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with maple syrup and brown sugar, stirring often. Bring to light boil, remove from heat and stir in Half & Half and pecans.
- Spoon about 2 tablespoons of filling over each mini-crust. Bake until filling is set, 12 – 14 minutes.
- Let tartlets cool until firm, about 45 minutes. Loosen tartlets with small knife to pop them out of tray. Store in an airtight container.