Rich devil's food cupcakes are filled with fluffy mint marshmallow creme and then generously topped with mint frosting. A scatter of holiday sprinkles make them festive, and each cupcake is crowned with a single dark chocolate mint creme truffle.

I couldn't let December pass without celebrating one of the most popular flavors of the season! I've always loved mint best when paired with chocolate (evidence of this here and here). These cupcakes are just the right amount of minty without being overpowering, and the flavor reminds me of a Peppermint Patty.
First introduced in 1956, this retro Eggnog Fruit Cocktail Pie is making a comeback! It features a creamy eggnog filling studded with colorful sweetened fruit throughout.

I enjoy reading through vintage cookbooks and discovering new (old!) recipes that might just be serviceable for today's taste buds. But many recipes, particularly from the 1950's, seem to be based on a dare - especially in the congealed salads chapters. I recall a New York Times article covering the Atomic Age saying something about mid century recipes evoking the era’s optimism while encasing it in gelatin and smothering it in mayonnaise. That sounds about right.

The origin of this recipe hails from a 1950's Knox Gelatin advertisement, but it's rather tame compared to other dessert recipes of the time. The pie is not so much encased by gelatin as it is enhanced by it. The recipe formula is very nearly a mousse recipe that you'd find in cookbooks today. The fruit cocktail? Well, it's not exactly an elegant counterpart for mousse. But it is nostalgic, and what better time for nostalgia than the holidays?
A jar of port wine jelly makes a wonderful homespun gift and it's easy to make! The jelly's flavors are nuanced with warm notes of caramel, plum and walnut. It goes well with savory main dishes, but it's also good simply spread on toast.

It's my tradition to make a big batch  of port wine jelly around the Christmas holiday to give as gifts, but I also make it just for me. I enjoy it so much because it goes with everything. You can serve it as a side next to roast turkey, or spoon it over a log of goat cheese for an appetizer. You can use it to top brie en croute, or just enjoy it on some good multi grain toast. It's so versatile!
This festive punch is perfect to serve at holiday get-togethers. Its ruby red color comes from sweet-tart pomegranate juice. Champagne makes it sparkle, or use carbonated apple cider for a non-alcoholic punch.

I've always considered punch to be dessert you can sip, which is why I get really excited to see it served parties. There's something special about all those small punch cups being ladled full of sweet, potent liquid.

This punch is simple with most of the sweet flavors occurring naturally from the fruit juices we've used. It's potent, but not in a hummingbird nectar kind of way (which is how I describe most soda-based, sherbet-topped recipes). It seems more like a bolstering of antioxidants and vitamin C from winter's best fruits. Don't get me wrong - it's not health food, but it's a nice departure from the norm.
These cookies have a generous dose of orange marmalade mixed right into the batter. Cinnamon and clove give them spicy holiday flavor, and a topping of zesty citrus buttercream makes them irresistible!

Drop cookie recipes are especially wonderful for busy holiday bakers, because there's no dough to be rolled out, no stamping out shapes with cutters, and no tedious decorating. There's a certain beauty in their simplicity and they are usually delicious, which is the most important thing a cookie should be!
Buttery sugar cookies get an easy and festive look with melted hard candy “stained glass” windows. They are sure to be the star of your cookie exchange!

It just wouldn't be Christmas without a big batch of sugar cookies (or two, or three!). These were a lot of fun to make, and so pretty we wanted to hang them on our Christmas tree. It's amazing how easy the stained glass effect is to achieve - anyone can do it, and I'll show you how!
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