The Christmas holiday has came and went, as it usually does in a blink of an eye. Although my treat guide is a bit delayed, it could be of good use for any New Years parties, bowl game tailgates, or any festive get together before 2017 comes to a close. I have some of my own recipes for holiday treats, as well as ones I am inspired by that are great for different occasions. Enjoy, and please comment any of your favorite treats that you enjoy in the last month of the year.
For Gifting (for literally everyone): Hungarian Butter Cookies
My family has been making these cookies for as long as I can remember, and to my knowledge, long before I was around. They are the perfect Christmas cookies that we love to wrap up in pretty boxes and give out as gifts. Cute shapes adorned with colorful sprinkles can put a smile on almost anyone’s face. Just don’t tell my grandmother that I’m giving this recipe away.
Pro Tip: Make the dough a day or two ahead- it’s really important for this dough to rest. If not, let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour.
- 4 Cups Flour
- 1 Cup Butter (2 Sticks)
- 1/2 TSP Salt
- 4 Eggs, Separated (save the whites in a separate bowl, keep in fridge)
- 1/2 Pint Heavy Cream
- 2 TSP Vanilla
- Mix flour, butter, sugar and salt in a large bowl, either with a hand mixer or stand mixer.
- Add egg yolks, cream, and vanilla gradually to the bowl.
- Form into a dough, and separate into portions. Refrigerate at least for one hour, up to a few days.
- Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Line multiple cookie sheet with parchment paper. Flour your kitchen surface, and roll out dough about a 1/4 inch think.
- Cut into shapes, and place on cookie sheet. Using your reserved egg whites and a brush, brush the surface of the cookies. Then decorate with sprinkles.
- Put in oven for 10-12 minutes, or until done. Cookies should be light-colored but solid.
For An Ugly Sweater Party: Reindeer Cupcakes
I made these for a gal’s holiday potluck, but they were a huge hit, and with a mix of homemade and store-bought ingredients, they were so easy to throw together. You could also nix the reindeer decor, and go with something New Year or football related to decorate, and take these to any party where you want to contribute something sweet.
For Cupcakes (makes 20-24):
- 2 1/2 Cups AP Flour
- 2 Cups granulated sugar
- 3 TSP baking powder
- 1 TSP salt
- 1 Cup milk
- 1/2 Cup vegetable oil
- 1 TBSP vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- Approx. 1 Cup water
Cupcake credit to life, love, and sugar’s post here.
- Store-bought Chocolate Frosting
- Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a cupcake pan with liners.
- Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixer bowl and combine. Set aside.
- Add the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and eggs to a medium-sized bowl and combine.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat until well combined.
- Slowly add the water to the batter and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined. Please note that the batter will be very thin.
- Fill the cupcake liners about half way and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Remove the cupcakes from oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
- For decorating, top with frosting generously. Place red M&M in the bottom middle of the cupcake. Break pretzel in half and place on opposite sides of the cupcake for the antlers.
For Hosting Your Own (kick-ass) Party: Boozy Hot Cocoa Bar
I stole this idea from my own company holiday party, and I think it is pretty genius (and pretty easy to throw together). Boozy hot cocoa is a fun way to stay warm and toasty but also bring the party and the festive spirit to your guests.
What you need
- Booze- Peppermint Schnapps, Cinnamon Whiskey, Baileys
- Hot Cocoa- buying from Dunkin Donuts is super easy, but here is a good recipe for slow-cooker hot cocoa that would be easy for a party.
- Toppings: whipped cream, candy canes, chocolate sauce, mini marshmallows, chocolate covered pretzels, Oreos anything you think would be delicious!
How to throw it all together
Set up mugs or paper cups on one end of the table, with the hot cocoa next, and toppings to follow. Covering the table with a festive table-cloth would be great- either for your holiday or your team that you’re cheering on. Set up toppings in jars or bowls that are easy to grab, and enjoy!
For a (super easy) Hostess Gift or a Little Snack: Chocolate Bark
I made some peppermint bark with my roommate back in Chicago right before Christmas, but I have seen so many cute recipes for chocolate bark that make great little presents when you’re going to all of these holiday parties and events. And the best part: it’s one of the easiest things to throw together, and you don’t need an oven. The one below is from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
- 12 ounces high quality white chocolate, broken into pieces and divided
- 6 ounces high quality semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vegetable, coconut, or canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, divided
- 3 regular size candy canes, crushed
- Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch or 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, smoothing out any wrinkles. Set aside.
- Melt the chocolate by microwaving. Chocolate overheats so fast, so easily. Melt 1/2 teaspoon of oil with 6 ounces of the white chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Melt in 15 second increments, stirring vigorously with a rubber spatula or spoon after each increment, until completely melted and smooth. Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl to avoid scorching. Once melted, stir in 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract. Pour melted white chocolate into the prepared baking pan, spreading with an offset spatula into a thin smooth layer. Place the baking pan in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes or the freezer for about 8 minutes; or until almost completely set. If it sets completely, the bark layers could separate.
- Place the semi-sweet chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon of oil into a small heatproof bowl and microwave/stir in the same manner you did in step 2. Once melted, stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract. Pour all of the semi-sweet chocolate over the white chocolate layer. Spread into a smooth layer. Place the baking pan back in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes or the freezer for about 8 minutes; or until almost completely set.
- Place the remaining white chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon oil in a small heatproof bowl and microwave/stir in the same manner you did in step 2. Pour over the bark layers and spread into a smooth layer. (This layer will not have peppermint extract.) Sprinkle with crushed candy canes– to crush, I usually do it in a food processor or stick the candy canes in a sealed ziplock bag and roll with a rolling pin until crushed.
- Refrigerate the bark until completely hardened. Break up into pieces and enjoy.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!