The holiday spirit is in the air and holiday flavors are everywhere. Maybe it’s the bad weather that hit a lot of the country over the past week, but it seemed like there were an unusually high number of tempting holiday recipes out there this week – but, as always, there were a few that really got my mouth watering and moved to the top of my holiday must-try list. And while you’re doing your online holiday shopping, don’t forget to check out the new, updated e-book edition of The Baking Bites Cookbook!
- On Sugar Mountain baked up a batch of Cranberry Orange White Chocolate Muffins that sound like a great way to start off a holiday brunch. Cranberries and oranges are a common combination this time of year because the flavors meld so well together. These muffins use plenty of orange zest and fresh, tart cranberries, as well as creamy white chocolate chips. The white chocolate balances out the tartness of the orange and cranberries and leaves you wanting seconds.
- If you like chocolate and peppermint, than Domisticate Me‘s Peppermint Chocolate Chip Blondie Bites are a good place to start your holiday cookie baking. These bite sized treats are made with a dense, chewy blondie base that is packed with chocolate chips. They’re topped with both dark and white chocolate and finished off with a generous sprinkling of crushed candy canes. It’s like peppermint bark meets chocolate chip cookies in every bite.
- Another chocolate and peppermint recipe is found in Inside BruCru Life‘s Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Cake. This chocolate bundt cake has a swirl of peppermint cheesecake baked right into it! Both the tangy cream cheese and bright peppermint are a good (and festive) contrast to the rich chocolate cake surrounding them. This cake also happens to start with a boxed cake mix, which makes it especially easy to put together when you’re busy with holiday entertaining, though you could certainly adapt it to work with your favorite homemade chocolate bundt cake recipe, as well.
- Eggnog is a classic holiday drink, but it is also a flavor profile that you can turn into many other desserts. Technicolor Kitchen reimagined eggnog as Eggnog Bars, a cheesecake bar that is flavored with vanilla, nutmeg and brandy, just like traditional ‘nog. The creamy bars are the perfect way to showcase how delicious eggnog really can be. Brandy is often added to eggnog to make it a little more “grown up” (and was certainly a staple of eggnog recipes from years gone by), but you can omit it in a recipe like this one to make these bars completely family friendly.
- The only thing that I associate more closely with the holiday season than eggnog is Mulled Apple Cider, and Barman’s Journal has a recipe for a small batch version that is perfect for enjoying on a cold winter night. In this recipe, unfiltered apple juice is infused with cloves, cinnamon and oranges, and it is lightly sweetened with maple syrup. It’s nice to see a recipe that doesn’t start with gallons of cider because it makes me feel like I don’t have to wait for a party or special occasion to whip up a batch that I can enjoy. That said, you could easily double (or quadruple) this recipe to serve a big crowd.
- At Brewed Daily, I whipped up a homemade version of one of my favorite holiday coffee drinks, a Peppermint Mocha. I love the combination of refreshing mint and indulgent chocolate with coffee, and probably enjoy a few too many of these during the Christmas season. The next time I have one, I might just pair it with one of the chocolate and mint treats above. You can skip the whipped cream to make it lighter, but don’t skip the candy cane garnish!
Patricia ScarpinDecember 12, 2013
Thank you for mentioning my bars, Nic! xx