With the holidays approaching, I have to be honest with you all: I cannot stop looking at all the delicious Christmas recipes out there! I love food, that’s no secret, and though I eat very healthy, I also enjoy finding new not-so-healthy recipes to make as gifts, or to recreate in a healthy way. Recently, I was looking over some pretty quirky takes on Christmas recipes, and this got me thinking that perhaps, sometimes the most traditional recipes are the best. Sure, it doesn’t hurt to make something healthier or try something new, but when it comes to certain Christmas recipes, sometimes the oldies really are the goodies! So, I’ve collected 9 of my favorite classic Christmas recipes I think every woman needs to know. Whether you eat them or not, they make great dishes to share with others, take to a party or serve to your hearty eaters in the family. I hope you enjoy and do be sure to share any links to recipes you make every year as well!
1. Peppermint Fudge
Going to a party, and trying to figure out which of your Christmas recipes is best to take? Try this Peppermint Fudge inspired by the Chocolate and Carrots blog. It’s a delightful recipe that’s easy to make and is sure to please anyone’s palate, young or old! After all, nothing says Christmas like peppermint and chocolate- yum!
Serves: 16 squares of 1 inch pieces of fudge
1 14 ounce of fat free sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 1/2 cups regular, dark, or dairy-free chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 candy canes
Prepare an 8″ square pan by covering with non-stick aluminum foil. Set aside.Over a double boiler on simmer, heat the the condensed milk and coconut oil together until the oil is melted. Mix in the extracts until combined. Place the candy canes in a gallon sized plastic bag and crush with a cup or something hard until the candy canes are in bit sized pieces. You could also use a high powered food processor here. Pour into a strainer to sift out the tiny flakes of peppermint. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes (about 1/2 cup) on top of the fudge. Place in the fridge to chill and set for at least 3 hours before cutting into squares.
2. Raspberry Linzer Cookies
Though I never ate too many Linzer cookies growing up, I once worked in a bakery and they were our most popular cookie ever sold during Christmas. Something about the butter, sugary cookie combined with the slightly sweet and tart raspberry jam just kept people coming back for more. These are a very popular cookie recipe that children and adults love, and I adore how simple this recipe is. Enjoy!
Serves: 15-20 cookies
½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
¼ cup of sugar
¼ cup almond meal (for a nice shortbread flavor)
2 tbsp. confectioner’s sugar
1 cup of all purpose flour plus 1 tbsp.
⅛ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. baking powder
raspberry jam of choice
In a large bowl, place the butter and sugar, along with the egg inside. Using a hand mixer, beat until combined, about 1 minute. Next, add the almond meal, confectioners sugar, salt, cinnamon and mix well to combine thoroughly. Next, pour in the flour and the baking powder. Grab a wooden spoon and gently stir by hand to combine. You want to do this slowly as to not overmix or it will become tough. Just mix gently enough to combine. After your dough is nice and developed after around 1 minute of stirring, roll it into a ball with your hands, and place it on a piece of plastic wrap. Roll it up and place it in the fridge for one hour. Remove it from the fridge, and sit aside. Sprinkle some flour on a nice counter that has a little room for your workspace. Take the dough out of the plastic wrap and flatten with a rolling pin. Grab some cookie cutters of choice. These can be in the shape of anything you like. Now, line a baking pan with parchment paper. Gently place the cookies onto the pan, spread out evenly, with at least ½ inch in between for spreading. Turn the oven to 350 degrees and bake 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the pan for 10 minutes, away from the oven. Remove them from the pan and either place on a flat workspace or a cooling rack. After they have cooled, place the jam on the insides of ½ your cookies. Sprinkel decorating sugar or powdered sugar on top of the jam if you like. Sandwich the cookies with the remaining cookies leftover. Serve warm or cooled! Enjoy!
*Note* If you have a small circular cookie “plunger” you can cut small circles or hearts out of the dough on the cookies before you bake them to showcase the raspberry jam inside. If not, follow the directions above. They’ll still be delicious!
3. Classic Baked Cheesecake
I may not eat cream cheese now, but as a child, I could never ever turn down cheesecake, strawberry specifically. Cheesecake is an American tradition, especially at Christmas. Make this for any dinner, party or gathering you’re going to. I feel sure it will be a hit!
8 ounces (1 average sized package) of cream cheese, room temp
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. lemon juice
⅛ tsp. salt
1 Prebaked Pie Crust (a graham cracker crust is best here!)
1 cup fat free sour cream
2 tbsp. sugar or alternative sweetener
In large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar on medium speed of electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. Add the eggs, one at a time. Mix until just combined after each addition. Don’t overmix! Sit aside. Place crust on baking sheet. Pour in cream cheese mixture. Bake at 325°F about 25 minutes or until knife inserted into filling 1 inch from edge comes out clean. To make the topping, take a small bowl and combine the sour cream, sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Carefully spread over cheesecake. Bake at 325°F for 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Garnish as desired, such as with raspberries, strawberries, chocolate chips, caramel or whipped cream. Store in refrigerator.
4. Crockpot Candy
Oh boy, doesn’t this look tasty? Crockpot candy is so easy to make and is a really popular recipe where I’m from in SC. In the south, we practically live by our slow cookers, even using them to make desserts like cakes, and candies like these! The ingredients are minimal, but the flavor is incredible. I can still remember how these tasted as a little girl!
24 ounces (2 pounds) white almond bark (one 24 ounce package) *this is found on the baking aisle with chocolate or in the produce section*
4 ounces of a German chocolate baking bar (such as Baker’s brand)
1 12 ounce bag of semisweet chocolate chips
24 ounces (2 pounds) dry roasted peanuts, or chopped walnuts or pecans if allergic to peanuts
Add all ingredients to your slow cooker. Let cook on low for 1 hour without messing with it. After an hour, stir to combine everything. Allow to cook for another hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Drop spoonfuls of the candy onto wax paper and allow to cool completely.
5. Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate
I’m sure many of you have had hot chocolate, and perhaps even a hot white chocolate, but have you ever had a pumpkin spice white hot chocolate? You’re missing out if not! This is one of the best renditions I’ve ever had for a warm cozy beverage. If you’re avoiding sugar, sub in coconut butter for the white chocolate like I do. It makes for the perfect replacement!
4-5 cups of milk (can use any kind you like here)
¼ cup white chocolate chips or coconut butter
4 tsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
dash of ground cloves (no more than ⅛ tsp)
In a heavy saucepan, combine 2 cups of milk, white chocolate or coconut butter, and cocoa powder. Cook over medium heat, whisking periodically, until the chocolate or coconut butter is melted and the mixture is well combined. Whisk in the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Add the remaining milk, 1 cup at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. If desired, serve topped with whipped cream and a sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice. If using whipped cream, save enough room in the mugs on top!
6. Classic Christmas Popcorn Mix
Did you ever have this fun treat as a kid? I remember loving it! I was never a huge fan of popcorn, but when something sweet was added, you could always count me in! This makes a fun presentation as individual gifts, or to put out on display. If you have kids, they’ll also love this recipe as a once a year treat!
Serves: 1 large bowl
1 bag of microwave popcorn
White chocolate chips
Red and Green M&Ms
optional: mini chocolate chips
Pop the popcorn and immediately empty into a bowl. Add the chocolate chips so they can immediately melt onto the popcorn. Stir a bit. After 10 minutes of cooling, add the M&Ms, as you don’t want them to melt on the hot popcorn or the colors will run. You can also add chocolate chips if you wish, or leave them out. Toss once more and serve!
7. Classic Breakfast Christmas Morning Casserole
I don’t know how things work where you all live, but where I come from, this Christmas Morning Breakfast Casserole is basically a must during the holidays. I’m vegetarian, but my family certainly isn’t, and this dish always makes an appearance in our home. It was always my Dad’s favorite too, so it became a regular recipe I made for him each year. Feel free to leave out the meat if you want and just use eggs and cheese, or use ground turkey instead of sausage if you’re forgoing red meat. The great part is, you can prep it the night before, pop it in the fridge and bake away in the morning, mess-free!
Serves: 1 9x13 inch casserole
Butter, for greasing
4 slices your choice bread (thick French bread from a bakery works well here)
1 pound sausage (mild or medium spiced works well, or a mix)
2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon regular or Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
Dash of Tabasco sauce (or any hot sauce)
6 eggs, beaten
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced, cooked unpeeled red potatoes
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
Cut the bread into cubes with a knife, or hand tear it. Place it in a buttered 9-x13 inch casserole dish. Cook the sausage in a skillet until it is almost browned completely and drain on some paper towels. Mix the half-and-half, mustard, salt, pepper, hot sauce and eggs together with a whisk. Layer the sausage over the bread and top with a generous layer of mushrooms, and then potatoes.. Sprinkle the cheeses on the top. Pour the beaten egg mixture over the casserole. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour to overnight. In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the casserole until it is set, about 30 minutes.
8. Pumpkin Pie- the Classic Recipe
This holiday, I’ll be making a vegan pumpkin pie for myself, but honestly, I think every woman should know how to make the original pumpkin pie recipe. You know the one, right? The one on the back of the Libby’s canned pumpkin recipe! Honestly, my mother’s made this since I was a little girl, and it’s sure not the healthiest thing, but it was always my favorite dessert growing up! If you’re not familiar with it, here it is to get you acquainted.
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 15 ounce can of LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 (12 ounce can ) of evaporated milk
1 9 inch pie shell (4 inches deep) unbaked.
Whipped cream (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Mix the sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour the mix into a pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.
9. Classic Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake
Lastly, let’s end with a piece of chocolate cake, shall we? My mom always made a chocolate cake, made from scratch, at Christmas. There’s nothing better than that, right? Just the smell sends me over the moon. If you’re looking to make a classic recipe, not a healthy one mind you, try out this classic Christmas cake recipe. I feel sure whoever you make it for will love you for life!
Serves: 8-12 pieces
For the cake:
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 eggs at room temperature
2 c. flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, or Dutch processed (dark) for a richer flavor
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup skim milk
¾ cup butter, softened
8 cups confectioner’s sugar
¼ cup skim milk
½ cup cocoa powder (same kind as above)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.
Grease two 8 inch round cake pans with butter. Alternately, you can make a sheet cake, using a 9x13 inch baking dish or casserole dish. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl, for about 30 seconds with an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat once more. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and together with a wooden spoon to combine. Add a little bit of this dry mix to your butter and sugar mixture. Then add a little milk. Repeat and alternate between each until everything is added. Beat one more time with your mixer and shake the excess batter off the mixer attachments to get all the batter off (or enjoy these for yourself!). Pour the batter into the prepared pans (or pan) to distribute evenly. Bake for 30 minutes for the round pans and 35 minutes for the 9x13 inch pan. Meanwhile, make the icing.
To make the icing, simply beat the butter with a hand mixer until smooth, and then add in the confectioner’s sugar, and cocoa. You may also need to add about 2 tbsp. milk to help it flow better. Beat until it is whipped and at a spreadable consistency. It should lighten up in color at this point. Sit aside.
Let the cakes cool on a counter for at least 4 hours before icing. Store icing in the fridge until you ice the cakes, or wait until you’re ready to ice them to make it. If making the round cakes, you’ll spread some icing on top of one later, place the other cake on top, and then ice around and on top of the cake. For a sheet cake, simply spread the icing in a thick later on top. To thicken the icing, place it in the fridge for 30 minutes if it’s a little too soft. Serve with warm or cool milk, or a cup of cocoa for a nice cozy dessert.
Obviously a roast turkey and my mom’s homemade dressing are favorites of mine, but these are a few other recipes that every woman should have on hand. They make great dinner dishes, brunch dishes or party treats to take to your holiday function this year. Now do you have any favorite Christmas recipes you want to share with me?