5 Tasty Dessert Recipes for a Sweet Christmas
Andreea Macoveiciuc | On 25, Dec 2013
When it comes to Christmas desserts, each family has its own traditions and recipes. Still, for those of you who want to try something different this year and spice up the festive dinner with some festive desserts, the recipes below can make delicious choices. Not only they’ll satisfy your sweet tooth, but they’ll also surprise your guests and turn the Christmas table into an impressive one, so have yourself a sweet Christmas with these dessert recipes.
1. Coconut cookies
Ready in 35 minutes, these coconut cookies are perfect for a white Christmas.
- 14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C).
- In a large bowl, combine the coconut, condensed milk and vanilla.
- In a smaller bowl, whip the egg whites and salt using an electric mixer, on high speed. Composition should make medium-firm peaks.
- Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture. Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop, or 2 teaspoons. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve.
2. Pecan tassies
These pecan cookies are ready in 2 hours, but taste too good not to try the recipe.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- One 3-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of fine salt
- 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
- In a bowl, beat ½ cup butter and the cream cheese, with an electric mixer, until smooth. Add the flour and beat until fully combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a 24-cup mini-muffin pan with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg, brown sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth. Set aside.
- Shape the chilled dough into 24 balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Press each ball into a cup of the muffin pan, spreading evenly and up the sides, then spoon 1 teaspoon of the pecans into each muffin cup. Fill each cup with the egg mixture until evenly distributed, about 1 teaspoon in each. Bake until the filling is set, about 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then remove from the muffin pan.
3. Fruitcake cookies
If you didn’t prepare the traditional Christmas fruit cake yet, give these fruitcake cookies a try.
- 1/2 pound dried figs
- 1/4 pound raisins
- 2 ounces candied cherries, coarsely chopped
- 2 ounces dried apricots, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 6 ounces chopped pecans
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 extra-large egg
- 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- Snip off the hard stems of the figs with scissors or a small knife and coarsely chop the figs. In a medum bowl, combine the figs, raisins, cherries, apricots, honey, sherry, lemon juice, pecans, and a pinch of salt. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight at room temperature.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cloves, superfine sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the egg and mix until incorporated. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt just until combined. Add the fruits and nuts, including any liquid in the bowl.
- Divide the dough in half and place each half on the long edge of a 12 by 18-inch piece of parchment or waxed paper. Roll each half into a log, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4-inch thick, making an 18-inch-long roll. Refrigerate the dough for several hours, or until firm.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a small, sharp knife, cut the logs into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place the slices 1/2-inch apart on ungreased sheet pans and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden.
4. Gingerbread cookies
Gingerbread people should be present on all holiday dessert plates, and although they may seem complicated to prepare, these cookies are actually easy to make and fun as well.
- 1 teaspoon plus ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup light molasses
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ to 1/3 cup milk
- Dried currants, fresh or dried cranberries
- Frosting and confectioners’ sugar
- Preheat an oven to 350°F. Using the 1 teaspoon butter, grease a large baking sheet.
- In a large bowl, beat the ½ cup butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the molasses until well blended. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until well blended. Beat in about ¼ cup milk, then add the remaining flour mixture, beating it in well. The dough will be very stiff. If it is too stiff and crumbly to roll out, add 1 tablespoon of additional milk.
- On a well-floured work surface, roll the dough out to a thickness of about ½ inch, then cut into shapes using cookie cutters or by tracing with a knife around cardboard cutouts. Transfer the shapes to the prepared pan.
- Decorate the gingerbread people with currant eyes and red-hots for buttons, pressing them into the dough before baking, or attach them with frosting after baking. Bake for seven to eight minutes, or until the cookies are puffed and spring back when pushed with your finger. Transfer the cookies from the pan to a wire rack to cool. Decorate with frosting as desired.
This recipe is traditional for Romania, Bulgaria and Russia, and it’s the perfect replacement for the classical Fruitcake.
- 6 cups milk
- 1 (1/4 ounce) package fast rising yeast
- 1 1/2 cups butter
- 10 eggs, separated
- 2 cups granulated sugar, plus more for topping
- rind of one lemon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups ground walnuts
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- rind of one half lemon
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
- Heat the milk until lukewarm, then remove 1 cup and put it into a small bowl. Sweeten with 2 teaspoons of sugar and add the yeast. Mix well and set aside until foamy. Pour the rest of the milk into a larger bowl. 2. Add about 1 cup of flour and mix well. Let it cool at room temperature. Add the yeast/milk mixture and mix until well incorporated. Set this aside for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan. Let it cool at room temperature.
- Set aside about 1/4 cup of the egg whites for glazing the bread. Beat the rest until fluffy but still slightly wet. Divide these beaten egg whites in half. Put one half in the refrigerator.
- Beat the egg yolks, and add to the room temperature butter. Mix well, and then add the vanilla, lemon rind, and the rest of the sugar. Mix until it is creamy and well-blended. Fold in the half of the beaten egg whites that is not in the refrigerator.
- Your yeast, milk, and flour mixture should be growing. Mix the butter/egg yolk/sugar mixture into the sponge.
- Put the remaining flour into a very large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle of it. Pour in the liquid/sponge mixture and begin slowly mixing together. Work slowly and gently, incorporating the flour from around the edges with a wooden spoon. You will get a rather sticky dough eventually and you are now ready to knead!
- Flour your table well and put on some good music. This will take a while.
- Put the dough on the floured table and begin kneading. Sprinkle on more flour to keep the dough from sticking, but do so gingerly — you don’t want the dough to be too dry. Knead for 20-30 minutes. No, really! It might be painful, but this long kneading process is really what will make for a light, tender bread. You will know the dough is ready when it begins to be smooth, elastic, and shiny.
- Clean out your large bowl, butter it, and put the dough inches Cover with a towel and let it rise for about an hour. I like to let it rise in an unheated oven.
- While the dough is rising you can make your filling. Get the other half of the egg whites from the refrigerator and beat them up again if they look deflated. Add the walnuts, sugar, cocoa, and lemon rind. Mix it until it forms a cohesive paste. You should also butter 5 loaf pans during the rising time.
- Once the dough has doubled in bulk bring it back to your floured table. Divide the dough into five equal sized pieces and begin working. You can make a very simple cozonac by just shaping the dough into loaves and baking them — but the fillings are more fun and charming.
- Divide each of the five pieces into two equal sized pieces. Stretch each piece into a loose rectangle, about 7 by 3 inches or so. Spread the two rectangles with your nut or poppy seed filling, leaving about a 1/2 inch margin around the edges. Roll the two rectangles up like jelly rolls, avoiding any filling squeezing out.
- Now take the two filled pieces of dough and twist them together to make a loaf shape. Place your loaves in the baking pans and let them rise again until double in bulk. If you want to make a fancy two-colored cozonac, when you have your two dough pieces for your loaf, take one of them and sprinkle it with cocoa. Begin kneading it until it is uniformly chocolate colored — this takes about 5 minutes.
- Roll out your white dough into the 7×3 rectangle. Roll the chocolate dough into a slight smaller rectangle. Sprinkle the white dough rectangle with raisins and Turkish Delight. Place the chocolate dough over it, and press down so that the two pieces of dough stick together. Roll the dough up like a jelly roll. This will make a lovely two-colored spiral loaf. Place your loaf in its greased pan and cover and let it rise like the others.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Once the loaves have doubled in bulk, glaze them with the reserved unbeaten egg whites. Sprinkle each loaf with granulated sugar. You can sprinkle each loaf with a something to remind you of the filling.
- Bake the loaves for 15 minutes at 375, then lower the heat to 350 and bake for another 30-35 minutes. Breads will be done when a knife inserted comes out clean. The loaves should be a rich golden brown color. Remove the loaves from their pans as soon as they are done, and let them cool on a rack or a towel overnight.
Enjoy and Happy Holidays!