Christmas Cooking

The Christmas season can be a chaotic time of the year, especially for people hosting Christmas parties. Whether you are hosting Christmas dinner or simply want to enhance your cooking abilities, these recipes will serve you well! If not for yourself to enjoy, make them for your guests!

Swirled Peppermint Bark

Recipe Courtesy: The First Year Blog

Craving a sweet snack? If you’re a chocolate lover, this peppermint bark will satisfy your craving. This recipe is especially ideal for beginners as it is a simple treat to prepare and make, and NO baking involved! They would make great party favors for your guests if you are hosting a party!

Ingredients:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil (if you are going the healthier route, I suggest coconut oil)
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 & 1/2 cups white chocolate chips (or high quality white chocolate bar chopped or baking white chocolate)
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • 5 peppermint candy canes, crushed

Directions:

  1. Cover a 10 x 15 inch baking sheet that has edges with tin foil.
  2. You can melt the milk chocolate and white chocolate at the same time if you’d like.
  3. For the semi-sweet chocolate: combine the chocolate chips and vegetable oil in a pot over low heat on the stove. (Double boiler preferable because it melts the chocolate more evenly for a smoother texture; if you don’t have one, make your own by placing a glass bowl over your pot). Occasionally stir with a spatula until the chocolate is smooth and melted.
  4. For the white chocolate: set up a double boiler and heat the water to boiling. Place the white chocolate chips in a heat safe bowl, then place it over the boiling water. Be sure that the bowl with the chocolate in it doesn’t actually touch the boiling water. Stir with a spatula until the chocolate is smooth and melted. Add 1/4 tsp peppermint extract to each chocolate, stir to mix.
  5. Add the melted chocolate to the pan. You can put all of one chocolate on the pan first and swirl in the other one. Or you could put a mix of both chocolates on the pan and then go back and swirl in the rest. Swirl the chocolates using a butter knife or small metal spatula.
  6. Add the crushed candy canes pieces to the chocolate.
  7. Refrigerate the bark for 45-60 minutes or until the chocolate no longer feels soft when you press your finger on it.
  8. Break the bark into smaller pieces.
  9. Store in a container or plastic bag. I like to keep mine in the fridge!

Sweet and Savory Kale Salad

Recipe Courtesy: Giada De Laurentiis

If you’re hosting a party, preparing a delicious salad that everyone will love is a must. This salad features a lot of aromatic, complex flavors that complement the fall season like sweet potato and pomegranate molasses. The pearly pink pomegranates on top add a punch of tarty flavor and make this salad irresistible.

Serving size:

Serves 6

Ingredients:

For The Dressing:

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

2 teaspoons champagne vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

For The Salad:

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled, halved and cut into 1/3-inch half-moons

One 14-ounce bag frozen pearl onions, thawed and well drained

3 tablespoon olive oil

Kosher salt

1 Honeycrisp or Fuji apple, cut into 1/4-inch half-moons

Half 5-ounce container baby kale

1/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the pomegranate molasses, vinegar and mustard. Pouring in a steady stream, whisk in the olive oil. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. (The dressing can be made up to 3 days in advance.)

For the salad: Scatter the sweet potatoes and pearl onions on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with 1 teaspoon salt. Roast until the potatoes are tender throughout and beginning to brown, about 35 minutes, tossing halfway through. Transfer to a large bowl to cool slightly.

Add the apples, baby kale and the dressing to the bowl, and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using two wooden spoons, toss gently to combine and coat evenly in the dressing.

Sprinkle the salad with the pomegranate seeds before serving.

If you don’t already make breads, this is the perfect time of the year to start. One of the most popular is banana bread, a real treat! Instead of the typical banana bread, this recipe calls for a delicious brown sugar crumb topping, giving it a festive twist. This “coffee” cake banana bread tastes just like you are biting into a moist cake, yet healthier. It’s ideal for a snack, breakfast, and even dessert.

Coffee Cake Banana Bread

Recipe Courtesy: A Latte Food

Ingredients

  • Bread
  • 3-4 medium or large bananas
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
  • Crumb Topping
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 6 Tbsp butter, cold
  • Order Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease two 8×4 pans.
  2. In a small bowl, mash bananas, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  4. Add in eggs and beat until mixed.
  5. To the wet ingredients, sift in flour, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Stir until just combined. Add in sour cream and stir.
  7. Pour in mashed bananas, and mix until combined.
  8. Crumb Topping
  9. Combine cinnamon, flour, and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter, and mix until the topping looks like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle coating evenly over the batter in both pans.
  10. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs stuck to it.
  11. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Move to a wire cooling rack.
  12. Slice and enjoy!

 

By: Lauren Mansy