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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!
Star-shaped gingerbread cookies stacked tall on a platter creates an edible Christmas tree centerpiece for your holiday table. Royal icing acts as the glue that holds the cookies together, while metallic dragees give the tree sparkle.

This is a fun Christmas baking project, especially if you have help from an extra elf or two in the kitchen. The cookie recipe makes a large quantity of dough, so there's plenty of rolling, cutting and decorating to be done. Having more than one pair of hands will make the work go faster, and it's a great way to make memories with little ones. At the end you'll have a towering Christmas tree - that you can eat!
Tangy sour cream coffee cake is layered with sugared cranberries and almonds for a true taste of the Christmas season. This recipe makes two 8 inch cakes, one to give and one to keep!


Cranberries have been a common theme on this blog ever since they came into season. First there was Air Fryer Cranberry Baked Brie (which I've made 3 times since), then Champagne Cranberry Sauce, and most recently Cranberry-Oat Crumble Bars. I use them so much in winter months that I've developed a flavor memory. Each time I enjoy them I am reminded of happy times with family and friends around the holidays.

This coffee cake is sure to create some happy memories! Layers of brown sugar-coated cranberries and almonds are baked into a single layer cake. I've developed this recipe for two cakes, so that you can have one to enjoy -and in the spirit of the season- one to give.

Pears are at their peak in fall and winter, and this pie is a wonderful way to make practical use of the harvest. The pear's subtle sweetness is enhanced with ginger and honey, and balanced with a buttery black walnut crumb topping.

December is National Pear Month, so here's a great way to celebrate! This pie holds layers of thinly sliced pears that are sweetened with honey. A touch of ginger brings forth warm holiday flavor, and black walnut streusel gives the pie interesting flavor and crunch.
Rye and pumpernickel slices are toasted until golden and then topped with tangy Gorgonzola cheese spread. Brown sugar-glazed butternut squash gives the crostini a sweet bite, while fried rosemary and walnuts offer crunch. Pomegranate arils add a tart finish and a jeweled appearance for holiday tables.


This weekend's blog posts had an accidental theme: cheesy appetizers! I've really been enjoying cooking up all kinds of small party bites and planning for upcoming holiday events. Everyone who tasted these crostini fell in love with them. The flavors and textures are so varied, yet they harmonize so well. I'm not sure there's ever been more flavor per square inch on a slice of bread!
These bite-size appetizers are loaded with the savory-sweet flavors of Parmesan, bacon, fig and toasted nuts. They make lovely appetizers for holiday cocktail parties, or delicious additions to charcuterie boards.


Each year on Christmas Eve my mother hosts a family get-together with a menu filled strictly with appetizers. I've already decided that these mini cheese balls will be attending the party with me. They are absolutely brimming with flavor that will satisfy both salty and sweet cravings.
Christmas tree-shaped sugar cookies covered with white royal icing get a botanical makeover with edible flower petals. Scottish flowers in hues of blue, purple and orange, create a bright and unexpected color palette for the holidays.


I must have at least 100 Christmas-themed cookie cutters, but I always seem to return to the same shape, a pine tree (1,2). Like a favorite song, it's the kind of thing that suits me just fine on repeat. In the very back of my pantry I found a little jar of"Flowers of Scotland" which are dried petals and herbs for culinary use. One peek at those vivid blue cornflowers convinced me to make rather unconventional Christmas cookies this year. I look at them as a reminder that we can still enjoy colorful blooms in cold, snowy months.
There's nothing cozier than a steaming cup of hot chai on a cold day. This Instant Chai Mix is a super easy, no-cook, no-bake, holiday gift. Simply mix the dry ingredients in a big bowl and funnel into jars.

Winter temperatures arrived early in my neck of the woods, so most evenings we've curled up in front of a fire with our favorite hot beverages. The usual is Earl Grey or hot cider, but this spiced chai has been a welcome departure. It's creamy and delicately spiced - convenient, too!
If you're looking for cookies with plenty of WOW  factor, then you might want to bookmark this recipe. These cookies weigh in at a whopping 7 ounces each, which means they'll garner lots of attention at your next cookie swap or holiday party.


This was my first attempt at making cookies this size, and I was surprised to find it was similar to making any other chocolate chip cookie recipe - except there's MUCH MORE dough to manage. During mixing there were moments when I thought my KitchenAid was going simultaneously overflow and walk itself off the prep table, but once I remembered to lock the mixer head in place during operation, things went smoother.
Red Velvet Cookies and Cream Bars, Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars, and Salted Dark Chocolate Almond Bars can all be whipped up in a matter of minutes! These recipes makes it possible for even the busiest holiday hosts to offer a variety of delicious cookies to party guests.


December is one big month of marathon baking for me. I love my job as a baker and the time it affords me to dive into rather lengthy kitchen projects. But I also remember a time when I had an office job and too little time to bake all the things. I often relied on quick and easy recipes for holiday parties and family gatherings. These recipes were developed with that in mind.

Busy cooks will appreciate these time-saving recipes, and even those who have lots of time to bake will appreciate how delicious these bars are!

If you're into rich chocolate cake wrapped in wintry folklore with a dash of cute, then this cake is for you! It's a delicious confection made with alternating layers of chocolate cake and cheesecake. The yeti's coat is made of blue buttercream studded with white sprinkles, and a happy face is created using fondant decors. Altogether complete, she had so much personality we named her 'Jampa' which is a Tibetan name, loosely translated: kindness, caring.

In a moment of pure cake-decorating silliness, a decision was made to give her pink toenails. YES, she's a yeti with a pedi. Clearly, this cake was an absolute joy to create, and I hope you love it, too!

Each holiday season I make a batch of Rocky Road and each time it's a little bit different. The candy can be endlessly varied with almost most any snacky thing you have on hand. This year's rendition could be my favorite yet. It stands out from previous versions with bourbon-soaked cookies and smoked almonds.

Hello friends, and hello December! This is my favorite month for baking and candy-making, and lately I've been a whirlwind of flour and powdered sugar. I've been whipping up all kinds of new recipes, and I hope you'll find them useful for entertaining and gift-giving this holiday season.

First on my list of goodies - Chocolate Tahini Fudge. If you love chocolate and peanut butter together, then you're probably going to love the combination of chocolate and tahini. Sesame paste gives this candy a refreshing twist and new depth of flavor!
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