Wednesday, January 23, 2013

3 "holiday" desserts you should make year round

It really is a shame that some of the very best treats and sweets are intended for just one month of the year!  The reality is, though, that many of these delicious goodies can be made for other occasions, especially for ones that involve red and white (like Valentine's Day, which is just around the corner).  Here are a few suggestions from my holiday list of favorites...

... and then it's your turn!  What are your favorite "holiday" desserts that you can (and do!) make even in the spring or heat of summer?

{pictured above}
Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies
Original recipe from my friend Joy.  These cookies are amazing.
  • 3/4 cup butter softened  
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla 
  • 3/4 cup cocoa 
  • 1 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 
  • 3/4 tsp salt 
  • 12 large candy canes or 6 oz. peppermints crushed into pieces (make sure not to crush too much or it will become powdery) 
  • 1 (12 oz.) bag white chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  
  2. Add eggs and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, beating until blended. 
  3. Combine flour, baking soda, cocoa, and salt in a small bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating just until blended. 
  4. Beat in candy canes and white chocolate chips just until combined. 
  5. Drop using a 2 tbsp. scoop onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake 10-14 minutes. I bake them 12 minutes. 
  6. Remove to wire racks and cool completely (about 15 minutes). 

Mini Cheesecake Petit-Fours
Original recipe from paper{whites}.
Makes 24 petit-fours. 
  • 1 8-oz. 'brick' of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 6 double squares of graham crackers, roughly broken up
  • 1 can cherry pie filling 
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line mini muffin tins with liners. 
  2. Place graham cracker pieces in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until they break down into fine crumbs. Melt butter in a medium-sized, microwave safe bowl and add the crumbs to the melted butter. Mix until well combined. 
  3. Using a 1/2 teaspoon, spoon the mixture into the lined muffin tins and use your fingers to press lightly to mold them into the bottom and sides of the tins to form a crust.
  4. Mix the cream cheese with the sugar until silky smooth (get rid of all the lumps!). Add vanilla, and then the eggs, one at a time. Scrap down the sides of the bowl as you mix.
  5. Using a teaspoon, spoon the cream cheese mixture into the muffin tins to about 2/3 full. 
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes and cool in tins for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before refrigerating at least 2 hours. (Note: when you pull the petit-fours out of the oven, they'll look underdone, but they'll firm up as you let them cool.) 
  7. Immediately prior to serving, top each petit-four with a cherry.

    Caramel Pecan Shortbread Pie Bars
    Original recipe from
    Makes 48 small squares, or 24 larger bars.

    • For the base 
      • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
      • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
      • 2 cups flour (+ 1–2 tbsp)
    • For the topping 
      • 2 cups of pecan halves, roasted
      • 1/2 cup unsalted butter 
      • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
      • 1/3 cup honey
      • 2 tbsp cream
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with baking paper.
    2. To make the shortbread base:
      1. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl.  Add the flour and mix on a low speed until a crumbly mixture forms. If it is too sticky, add a couple more tablespoons of flour. It should be crumbly but stick together when pressed.
      2. Press the shortbread into the base of the prepared baking pan. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until the top is dry and slightly puffed.
    3. While the crust is baking, make the topping. 
      1. In a medium saucepan, melt together the butter, brown sugar, honey, cream and salt over a medium heat.
      2. Bring it to a simmer and let it bubble for about 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Mix in the pecans and vanilla.
    4. Pour the pecan caramel mixture over the hot shortbread base and spread out the pecans as evenly as possible.
    5. Bake for about 12 – 15 minutes, until evenly bubbling all over.
    6. Allow to cool completely before cutting.


  1. yuuuuuuuuuuuum. I am all for extending Christmas desserts to the rest of the year. I had to learn the hard way, though, that there are a few that only work in cold weather because they won't harden or "set up" properly in the heat... I think that happened when I made one of my mom's Christmas recipes for a 206 dessert party. HOWEVER, I'm fairly certain these would be doable in the heat, so I'm gonna try them out when I get back to Cameroon. : )

  2. Yum! I could definitely make peppermint bark cookies all year long! Those look so good!

  3. That last recipe makes my mouth water! Mmmm...a shortbread base with "goo" on top? Sounds delicious!

  4. Oh my gosh - good bye resolutions, these look too good! I'm a huge fan of peppermint anything anytime.

  5. Mmmm. Those mini cheesecakes are calling my name. Why is cute tiny food just soooo goooood?? :)


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