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Festive Recipes

Festive Recipes

Festive Recipes | Festive Recipe Ideas | Festive Recipes for the Holidays | Holiday Recipes | Festive Holiday Recipes | Christmas Recipes | Christmas Recipe Ideas

If you’re finding yourself struggling to get in the holiday spirit because of circumstances outside of your control, know this: you’re not alone. Growing up I used to love the holiday season…but by the time I hit my 30s things had changed. The pressures of being a mom, a wife, a mythical figure clad in red and white who mysteriously leaves the perfect presents under the tree. It’s a lot. Adding into those the issues of who’s family “gets” which holiday and a healthy stream of unemployment and I pretty much hyperventilate from August until January 2. I got tired of being so run down and depressed during the time that everyone was supposed to be cheerful and there was supposed to be this sweet spirit permeating everything that I finally decided to do something about it.

The first was playing Christmas Music (my choices, no the kids) when I was happy and when I was upset. The second is that I baked. Baking is a therapeutic practice for me. There’s nothing quite as amazing as slaving over a hot oven only to have something delicious and soul-warming when you’re done. Plus it manages to make my kids and my neighbors much happier. 🙂 As a result I delved into my recipe box and found the things I loved and remembered so fondly as a child. So, if you’re finding yourself struggling to maintain or even find that holiday spirit, here are some recipes to help you find the magic once again.

Drinking Chocolate: this is different from Hot Chocolate because it has substance and it’s completely decadent. It’s a grand and simple way to bring that holiday cheer.

Festive Recipes | Festive Recipe Ideas | Festive Recipes for the Holidays | Holiday Recipes | Festive Holiday Recipes | Christmas Recipes | Christmas Recipe IdeasIngredients:

  • 4 c. half and half
  • 2 bars (3.5 oz each) 70% cacao dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 oz milk chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • dash salt
  • Sweetened whipped cream

Process: In a large saucepan, you’re going to heat the cream over medium heat until you start to see bubbles around the outside. Don’t boil it or you’ll risk killing the chocolate. Remove the pot from heat and whisk in the chocolate, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt. Keep whisking until it’s nice and smooth. Put it back on the heat and stir until it’s thoroughly warmed up. Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream.

Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies: If you’re not a fan of the gingerbread, these are a great alternative. Plus they can be festive without overdoing the festivity.

Festive Recipes | Festive Recipe Ideas | Festive Recipes for the Holidays | Holiday Recipes | Festive Holiday Recipes | Christmas Recipes | Christmas Recipe IdeasIngredients:

  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 c. flour
  • 2/3 c. baking cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

For Icing:

  • 2 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp. water
  • 4 1/2 tsp. meringue powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

Process: In your mixer, cream the butter and sugar until nice and fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla and keep mixin’. Slowly add in remaining ingredients (you can put them together in another bowl, but who needs the extra dishes?). Once it’s all combined, divide the dough in half and shape into a disc. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Heat up your oven to 350F. While it’s getting toasty, roll each half of dough onto a lightly floured surface until it’s about 1/4″ thick. Cut with cookie cutters and place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake them 10-12 minutes or until they are set. Then put on a wire rack to cool. For the icing, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and beat on low at first until it’s blended, then high until stiff peaks form. Keep the unused icing covered with a damp cloth at all times, and rebeat if needed. Using pastry bags or a ziploc baggie with a small tip, decorate your cookies! Let them stand until the icing is firm. Eat up!

Gingerbread Cookies: Because once you make the chocolate ones…you might be ready for these!

Festive Recipes | Festive Recipe Ideas | Festive Recipes for the Holidays | Holiday Recipes | Festive Holiday Recipes | Christmas Recipes | Christmas Recipe IdeasIngredients:

  • 1/2 c. butter softened
  • 3/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 2 2/3 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. each of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice
  • Frosting of choice

Process: Start by creaming your butter and sugar in your mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the molasses , egg, and water. You can then start to add the dry ingredients. If you want to combine them in a separate bowl, you totally can. But I’m lazy. Divide dough in half, shape into discs, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 250F. While it’s getting toasty, roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface until about 1/8″ thick. Cut with your favorite shapes and place 2 inches apart on parchment covered baking sheet. Bake for about 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool and frost!

Carmel Pecan Rolls: My mom used to make these every year, so they have a special place in my heart. To this day when I smell their sticky goodness it lifts my spirits.

Festive Recipes | Festive Recipe Ideas | Festive Recipes for the Holidays | Holiday Recipes | Festive Holiday Recipes | Christmas Recipes | Christmas Recipe IdeasIngredients:

  • 2 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/3 c. cornmeal
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 7-7 1/2 c. flour
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs

Topping

  • 2 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/2-1 c. chopped pecans

Filling

  • 1/4 c. softened butter
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Process: In a saucepan, mix the first six ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir frequently. Set aside to cool until it’s about 120-130°. In a separate bowl, combine 2 c. of the flour and yeast. Add the cooled cornmeal mixture and beat on low until it’s nice and smooth. Add in the eggs and 1 c. of flour and mix for at least a minute before adding the remaining flour until it forms a soft dough. Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise until it doubles. This should take about an hour. Next up, combine the topping ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring occasionally. Pour this into two greased 13×9 baking pans. Sprinkle with the pecans and set aside. Punch your dough down and divide it in half. Roll both halves into about a 12×15 in. rectangle. Spread butter over the rectangle and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Roll from one long side, pinch seams and turn under. Cut into 12 slices and place them cut side down into each baking pan. Let rise until almost doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a minute or two and then invert onto a serving platter.

Once you’ve started with some of these basics, feel free to delve into your own recipe box and see what memories are waiting, or try something new and work on making some new ones!
Happy Baking

XO



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