4 Easy Holiday Recipes Everyone Will Love

Easy Holiday Recipes | Denver Metro Moms BlogThe holidays are here and you may be pondering what  to bring to that upcoming party. Or maybe you’re trying to dream up the perfect gift for a teacher, co-worker, or friend. Look no further.

I love cooking. Truth be told, I also love eating and I find great joy in taking a recipe, or just a handful of ingredients, and adding my own twists.  So, here are four of my favorite, tried-and-true holiday recipes. Bon Appetite!

Cranberry Pear Sauce:

This was a total hit at our Thanksgiving dinner, so I’m bringing it back for Christmas and New Year’s. First of all, the color of this sauce is a deep, velvety red. It’s just gorgeous. Then there’s the taste, the tartness of the cranberries, the brightness of the citrus, and the sweetness of the pears and dates, married together in your mouth… it’s magnificent. Serve with pork, beef, or poultry or just eat it straight out of the pan! It’s also a perfect addition to a holiday party. Just spoon a little bit onto the top of a crostini with goat cheese. Mmmmm.

Ingredients:Easy Holiday Recipes | Denver Metro Moms Blog
6 cups {2 bags} fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 pears, peeled, cored, and diced
Zest and juice from 2 small oranges (you can also use lemons)
1 cup orange juice
3/4 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Cooking Instructions:

  • Place cranberries and sugar into a saucepan and cook on medium-low heat for about 10-12 minutes, until berries soften and release juices.
  • In a bowl, toss pears with orange juice and zest
  • Add orange juice and dates to the cranberries and increase heat to medium, stirring regularly
  • After a few minutes, add the pears, juice and zest from oranges, cardamom, and cinnamon and simmer, continuing to stir for another 10-12 minutes, until pears are cooked and the sauce thickens.

Easy Holiday Recipes | Denver Metro Moms Blog

Lavender Lemon Biscotti:

Because I enjoy experimenting with flavor combinations and because I love all things lavender, I adapted this recipe from a traditional biscotti recipe. Lavender isn’t just for summer anymore. Eat these biscotti plain, dipped in coffee or tea, or give them away as gifts {but not all of them, trust me}. They are lovely in every way.

 

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar Easy Holiday Recipes | Denver Metro Moms Blog
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup dried lavender flowers {add more for stronger flavor}

Instructions:

  • Set butter out to soften to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Mix butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  • In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, lavender flowers, and salt.  Gradually add to butter mixture and mix well. Add lemon zest and juice.
  • Divide dough into 4 equal portions.  Shape each one into a log – 1 inch by 1 1/2 inch x 9 inch.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake 25 minutes.
  • Let cool for 15 min. Do not remove from cookie sheets.
  • Using serrated knife, cut logs into 1/2 inch diagonal slices.  Place slices, cut sides down, onto cookie sheets.  Bake 4-5 minutes.  Turn each slice over; bake additional 4-5  minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely.

Blue-Cheese Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Dates:

While it’s a mouthful to say, these little bites of deliciousness are so simple to make, and will create a party in your mouth that you don’t want to miss. For smaller gatherings, halve the recipe. Either way, I guarantee they will be gobbled up before you can say, “pass the eggnog.”Easy Holiday Recipes | Denver Metro Moms Blog

Ingredients:
48 large pitted dates
4 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup blue cheese, room temperature
2 pounds thick-cut bacon
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
4 teaspoons honey

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Using a small sharp knife, slice the dates lengthwise three-quarters of the way down the side.
  • In a small bowl, mash the cream into the blue cheese with a fork.
  • Place a small amount {about 1/2 tsp} of the blue cheese mixture into each date.
  • Cut each slice of bacon in half. Wrap each date with one of the half slices of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
  • Place the dates on a rimmed baking tray and bake until bacon starts to look crispy, about 15 minutes. Check periodically so as not to burn.
  • While dates are in the oven, mix together the balsamic vinegar and honey in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until it forms a syrup.
  • Plate dates and drizzle balsamic syrup over them or serve it in a small bowl for dipping.

Vanilla Bourbon Salted Caramel Sauce:

I have a love/hate relationship with this goodness. I love it because it’s so delicious and I hate it because it always leaves me wanting for more. I gave this as gifts to people last year in half pint-size mason jars and the feedback I received: the stuff is like crack. So, you have been forewarned – make at your own risk.
Easy Holiday Recipes | Denver Metro Moms Blog
Ingredients:
2 cups Raw Sugar {or any granulated sugar}
12 tablespoons Butter, softened and cut into small pieces
1 cup Heavy Cream, room temperature
3/4 tablespoon Sea Salt

Optional:
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (or you can scrape the inside of a vanilla bean)
1 teaspoon Bourbon

Instructions:

  • Add sugar to a 2-3 quart saucepan and heat over medium heat, whisking frequently.
  • As the sugar begins to melt, it will form clumps. Don’t panic, just keep whisking. They will start to behave and melt if you keep whisking.
  • Continue cooking the sugar until it has all melted and achieved a deep amber color. Keep your eye on it, because it can burn in the blink of an eye. As soon as it reaches a deep amber color {300-350 degrees}, add all of the butter and whisk away until it’s completely melted. Caution: it will likely bubble up when you add the butter and you don’t want to burn yourself.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully add the cream. Whisk until the cream is fully incorporated into the sauce.
  • Add the sea salt, vanilla, and bourbon and voilà, salted caramel crack goodness.

Easy Holiday Recipes | Denver Metro Moms Blog

What are your favorite holiday recipes?

 

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2 Responses to 4 Easy Holiday Recipes Everyone Will Love

  1. Melissa M. December 17, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    It is wonderful drizzled over apples, bananas, ice cream, brownies, cake, scooped into thumbprint cookies etc…I’ve also been known to add a little to my coffee!

  2. Jackie M
    Jackie M December 17, 2015 at 11:17 am #

    The carmel sauce sounds like heaven! What are some good things to use it on?

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