5 minutes read Dec 05,2023
Perhaps you've never seen Santa Claus come through your chimney in search of cookies and sweets, but that doesn't stop us from creating a variety of delectable treats each year! During the holidays, bakers everywhere tempt us at parties, dinners, and cookie exchanges to indulge in these seasonal morsels.
Check out the five decadent recipes below to get started on your own sweet treats this holiday.
1. Hot Chocolate
Warm up on those frosty winter nights with a mug of rich hot cocoa. Make it your own by adding mix-ins like marshmallows, peppermint syrup, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings.
Borrowed from our friends at Bon Appetit.
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, preferably Dutch processed
- 3 cups whole milk
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- (Optional) Whipped cream, for serving
- Bring ¾ cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Whisk in three tablespoons of cocoa powder until no lumps remain, then add milk and return to a simmer.
- Whisk in chocolate and sugar and cook, whisking frequently, until mixture is smooth and creamy and chocolate is melted, about five minutes.
- Divide hot chocolate among mugs. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings if desired.
2. Peppermint Bark
Creamy and crunchy, peppermint bark has been a popular staple of holidays since the 1960s. With just three simple ingredients, this recipe is a great choice for an easy family pleaser or a last-minute holiday get-together.
Borrowed from our friends at Brown Eyed Baker.
- 16 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 16 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 (6-ounce) package candy canes, unwrapped and crushed
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- Place the dark chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl and set it over a small saucepan of barely simmering water over low heat. Melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until completely smooth. You can also microwave on 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until completely melted.
- Using an offset spatula, spread the melted chocolate in an even layer on the prepared cookie sheet; the melted chocolate doesn't need to cover the entire pan. Then place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the white chocolate.
- Place the white chocolate in a clean medium heatproof bowl and set it over a small saucepan of barely simmering water over low heat. Melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until completely smooth.
- Remove the cookie sheet from the refrigerator and, using an offset spatula, spread the melted white chocolate in an even layer on top of the dark chocolate layer. Immediately sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top of the melted white chocolate and gently press into the chocolate to adhere. Refrigerate until completely hard and set, at least 30 minutes. Store the peppermint bark in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one month.
- Using a large sharp knife, break into pieces and enjoy!
3. Caramel Corn
Sweet, crispy, and delicious, caramel corn is a treat that's perfect for the coldest months of the year. While store-bought is convenient, homemade caramel corn knocks the socks off pre-packaged varieties. Fill small treat bags with your homemade caramel corn to give away as presents or use them for stocking stuffers!
Borrowed from our friends at Gimme Some Oven.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup light or dark corn syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 12 cups popped popcorn (about 1 cup kernels before popped), preferably warm from being freshly popped
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan with aluminum foil, and grease with cooking spray.
- Melt butter in a large stockpot pot over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and corn syrup, stir to combine.
- Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat to low and let simmer undisturbed for five minutes. Stir, then continue to cook for an additional four to six minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until the mixture is a deep golden color.
- Turn off the heat and slowly whisk in salt, baking soda, and vanilla, being very careful as the mixture will bubble.
- Stir in the popcorn and toss until it is evenly coated with the caramel, being sure to scrape the caramel off the bottom of the pot.
- Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet or pan in an even layer. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring to toss every five minutes, until the caramel corn has turned a deep amber color. Remove the caramel corn from the oven and transfer to a surface covered with parchment or wax paper to cool.
- Once it reaches room temperature, use your hands or a spoon to break up the caramel corn, then store in an airtight container for up to a week.
4. Gingerbread Cookies
A holiday tradition in many households, gingerbread can be used in everything from constructing festive buildings to decorative cookie cutouts. This recipe takes a bit of time, but these delicious sweet treats will last for several days so they're ideal for preparing in advance.
Borrowed from our friends at Genius Kitchen.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 ¾ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup molasses
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- (Optional) 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until well blended.
- In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and egg on medium speed until well blended. Add molasses, vanilla, and lemon zest, continuing to mix until everything is well blended.
- Gradually stir in dry ingredients until blended and smooth.
- Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic and let stand at room temperature for at least two hours or up to eight hours.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare baking sheets by lining each with parchment paper.
- Place one portion of the dough on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle flour over dough and rolling pin.
- Roll dough to a scant ¼-inch thick, sprinkling additional flour if dough begins to stick. Cut out cookies with desired cutter. Space cookies 1 ½ inches apart on baking sheet.
- Bake one sheet at a time for seven to ten minutes, until desired crispiness.
- Remove cookie sheet from oven and allow cookies to stand until firm enough to move to a wire rack.
5. Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Perfect for parties and Santa, these chocolate chunk cookies are extra-soft thanks to coconut oil used in this recipe. Plus, it's free of dairy and eggs, making it a great choice for guests with food allergies or dietary restrictions.
Borrowed from our friends at Oh, Ladycakes.
- 2/3 cup (148g) light brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons (20g) potato starch (can substitute corn or tapioca starch)
- 1/3 cup (75g) refined coconut oil, melted but not hot
- 1/4 cup (56g) unsweetened almond milk, room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/3 cups (185g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ ounces high-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- Coarse kosher or sea salt, for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and potato starch until evenly combined. Stir in the coconut oil and whisk for 30-45 seconds, just until the mixture starts to thicken.
- Add the almond milk and vanilla extract; whisk until combined then let set for about one minute to thicken, before mixing again.
- Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; mix with a wooden spoon or spatula, just until combined then quickly/gently mix in the dark chocolate.
- Using a ¼ cup cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet then roll into round balls, if desired.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 10-11 minutes, then remove from oven, very lightly sprinkle with coarse salt, and let cool on baking sheet for ten minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
We hope you enjoyed these recipes for holiday sweet treats. Help us out by sharing these recipes with your friends on social media!