Let’s get to the heart of it. The best part of the holidays (aside from time with loved ones, of course) is the food! On today’s Homemade Christmas Roundup, we’re talking cookies and caramels and SO much more. That’s right – it’s Christmas Sweets time! Below you’ll find some of our absolute favorite holiday recipes to give as gifts, and some of the knockouts we serve for Christmas dessert. Get ready to drool, folks.
First up, Apple Cider Caramels from Smitten Kitchen (photo above is hers as well.) These are the perfect little treat to tuck into stockings, to place in small bowls throughout the house, or to give jars of as gifts. The apple cider adds a richness and a tang, the recipe includes a hint of saltiness and the lush, buttery caramels are beyond perfect. Plus, they’re simple to make. Check out the blog post over on Smitten Kitchen, break out your jars and labels, and get cooking. Trust me. You DO NOT want to miss this one.
Next up, Christmas Cookies! Whether your go-to is a sugar cookie, gingerbread men, chocolate peppermint cookie, or something else entirely, break out your mixing bowls, measuring cups, and cookie cutters and go wild! Half the fun is decorating them yourself. Gelow are my top 10 Christmas cookies (though I don’t like to limit myself.) All of the recipes below have been tried and tested by yours truly, hence the extra time at the gym this week.
– Molasses spice cookies with orange sugar – Linzer cookies – Chocolate Espresso Snowcaps – Glittering Lemon Sandwich Cookies – Citrus Sugar Cookies – Gingerbread Cutouts – Pecan Pralines – Peppermint Bark Brownies – Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies – Toffee Squares –
Another absolute favorite of mine is Cinnamon Rolls. We always serve them on Christmas morning, and they make the whole house smell heavenly. I use this killer recipe from Minimalist Baker to make the simplest, most delicious cinnamon rolls ever. I bake mine in a flower shaped tear and share pan, which not only looks super-festive, but helps the rolls cook evenly and helps create a nice crispy bottom crust.
I’m an absolute hot chocolate addict, and there’s nothing I like more with my hot chocolate than big, fluffy homemade-style marshmallows. Once I bought the Little Flower Cookbook and was able to make my favorite marshmallows at home, there’s been no stopping me. The folks at LA Weekly were kind enough to publish this recipe from the bakery so you can make the marshmallows that I’m addicted to. This time of year, I find myself putting peppermint extract in the mix in place of Vanilla for some really rich peppermint hot chocolate. Making marshmallows is shockingly easy Once you try, you’ll never go back to jet puffed.
I absolutely love fudge. It’s one of those perfect, little goes a long way desserts. This chocolate gingerbread fudge from Cupcake Project is the perfect way to incorporate those fragrant, spicy seasonal flavors in unexpected ways. I mean you bite into fudge expecting a burst of chocolate, and with this stuff, you get that chocolatey flavor along with ginger, cloves and cinnamon. It’s really perfect for the holidays I know I can’t stop at one little square.
OK, so this is going to be a new tradition. This year I became madly addicted to the chocolate covered potato chips at Trader Joes, so when I stumbled across this chocolate potato chip bark from Brit + Co, I pounced. I’ve been through an entire batch this week (with some help) and I’m definitely mailing it out with my holiday cookie boxes this weekend! It’s a totally perfect sweet and salty balance, with a hint of spice. I love breaking it into long narrow pieces that fit upright in a jar and giving jars of it!
If you want to put together a treat that absolutely looks like a Christmas ornament, consider fruit jellies. They glow and sparkle like ornaments, are easy to make in bright colors, and taste really darn good. Plus, they look darling stacked in a jar and tied with a bow! I love this recipe for pear-cranberry jellies from epicurious. So perfect for this time of the year, so festive tasting.
Now that I’ve got you drooling, I’m going to my kitchen and bake up a mess of cookies to send to my family. Check back next week for some more treats, sweets, decor, and Christmas Merriment! And let me know: What’s your favorite Christmas sweet of all time?