There’s a great many things we love about the holiday season. Opening presents, spending time with family and playing in the snow are just a few. But one of the best pastimes during the holidays is stuffing your face with all the delicious treats imaginable! We’ve compiled 3 must-have holiday recipes for you to prepare with your loved ones (and devour within seconds).
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Classic Gingerbread Cookie
- 3 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon of baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of ground ginger
- 1 ¾ teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves
- 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- ¾ cup of dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup of molasses
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla
- 1 teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest (optional)
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- Start with a small bowl and whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until all is blended thoroughly. Set aside.
- In a separate, larger bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and egg until well blended. You can use a mixer on medium or hand whisk quickly.
- After you’ve whisked above, add the molasses, vanilla, and lemon zest and continue to mix until all is blended together.
- Take the dry ingredients in the small bowl and gradually stir in dry ingredients until blended and smooth. You can either use one hand to add the dry ingredients and whisk with the other or you could use the help of a friend.
- Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic. Let the dough sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours max.
- Once you’ve let the dough sit and are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare two baking sheets by lining with parchment paper. (The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, but in this case it should be refrigerated. Return to room temp before using.) Preheat oven to 375°.
- Place 1 portion of the refrigerated dough on a lightly floured surface so as not to stick.
- Sprinkle flour on top of the dough and on the rolling pin. (Use additional flour to avoid sticking.)
- Roll dough to about ¼ inch thick and use your desired cookie cutters to create cookies. Make sure to space cookies 1 ½ inches apart from one another.
- Bake 1 sheet at a time for 7-10 minutes. If you bake the cookies at a lower time, your cookies will be much softer!
- Remove the cookie sheet from oven and allow the cookies to stand until the cookies are firm enough to move to a wire rack. After cookies are cool you may decorate them any way you like!
Timeless Egg Nog
- 2 cups of milk
- 5 whole cloves
- ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup of sweetened, condensed milk
- 4 egg yolks
- ½ cup of granulated sugar
- 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Combine the milk, cloves, cinnamon and condensed milk over low heat in a deep sauce pan until the mixture is no longer chilled and is heated through. Slowly increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a low boil. Careful not to allow a rolling boil.
- In a medium bowl, combine the eggs and sugar. Beat the eggs using a stand mixer, electric mixer or by hand until lightened in color and fluffy.
- Slowly temper the eggs by adding about 1 tablespoon at a time of the hot milk mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Once enough of the milk mixture is in the egg mixture, pour it all back into the saucepan. Heat over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened. You will know it’s thick when you can leave a clean line on the back of a spoon (see picture above).
- Add the heavy whipping cream, nutmeg and vanilla extract to the mixture and heat through. Do not bring to a boil.
- Strain the mixture using a fine mesh strainer to catch the spices. Place in an airtight container in the refrigerator and let cool for at least one hour, preferably longer.
- Serve cold. Garnish with additional nutmeg if desired.
Old Fashioned Peppermint Bark
- 12 ounces of good-quality, semisweet chocolate, chopped into ½ inch pieces
- 1 ½ teaspoons of peppermint extract
- 1 pound of good-quality white chocolate, chopped into ½ inch pieces
- 3 candy canes or 12 round hard peppermint candies, crushed
- Line a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with aluminum foil, shiny-side up; smooth out all of the wrinkles. Then heat 1 inch of water in a saucepan over low heat until steaming.
- Put all but ¾ cup of the semisweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl. (Set the remaining ¾ cup of chocolate aside). Set the bowl over the saucepan of steaming water (do not let the bowl touch the water) and stir until ⅓ of the chocolate is melted.
- Remove the bowl from the saucepan once it is melted, but keep the steaming water over low heat. Gradually stir the reserved 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate into the bowl, a few pieces at a time until all of the chocolate is melted. Return the bowl to the saucepan, 5-10 seconds at a time, to help melt the chocolate if needed. Do not rush this step: It may take up to 10 minutes to melt the chocolate.
- Wipe off any moisture from the bottom of the bowl. Stir 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract into the chocolate, then quickly pour into the prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer. Firmly tap the dish against the counter to remove any air bubbles. Set aside at room temperature until almost set, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put all but 1 cup of the white chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and repeat the exact same melting process over the steaming water and dry off the bottom of the bowl. Stir in the remaining ¾ teaspoon peppermint extract and pour over the semisweet chocolate and spread in an even layer.
- Sprinkle immediately with the crushed candy canes, gently pressing them into the white chocolate. Set aside at room temperature until firm, about 1 hour. Lift the bark out of the pan using the foil and break it into pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.