Get ready to indulge in our tastiest holiday recipes. Warning: Do Not Lick Your Screen.
Endive Stuffed with Goat Cheese and WalnutsThis elegant first course showcases a marvelous partnership between slightly bitter endive, creamy goat cheese, and sweet orange juice. From pretty presentation to fantastic flavor, you can't go wrong with this simple appetizer.
Baked Potato SoupAll the flavors of a loaded baked potato come together in this rich, creamy baked potato soup recipe. It's one of our all-time favorites.
Double-Ginger CookiesThese simple cookies give just the right amount of sweet to satisfy your craving. Make a few batches, and freeze some to enjoy throughout the season.
Old-Fashioned Mashed PotatoesNothing fancy here, just good, basic mashed potatoes that are great as is or topped with gravy. For extra flavor, sprinkle with chopped chives.
Pecan and Date PieThe unexpected addition of dates to this classic pie gives the filling more body and a smooth sweetness. Don't use packaged chopped dates, which are rolled in sugar. Instead, use moist and sticky whole dates. Coat your knife with cooking spray for easy chopping
Eggnog-Coffee PunchThis rich Southern favorite received our highest marks.
Chocolate Chunk Bread Puddings
Try not to chop the chocolate too finely for this bread pudding recipe so you'll have good-sized chunks to bite into. Hawaiian sweet bread is a soft, sweet bread found in the bakery section of most grocery stores. Leftovers are good for ham and Swiss sandwiches.
Raspberry-Almond Torte with Chocolate GanacheA torte is a cake enriched with nuts and often layered with jam. Almond paste is a mixture of ground almonds and sugar. Look for it in the baking aisle of most supermarkets.
Peanut Butter Pie
Treat yourself to a light version of peanut butter pie. It tastes like eating a peanut butter and chocolate candy bar, but lightened ingredients like reduced-fat peanut butter, fat-free condensed milk, and light cream cheese keep fat and calories in check without sacrificing any flavor.
Brûléed Mashed Sweet PotatoesBorrowing from the classic dessert crème brûlée, this dish has a hard candy topping, a crisp contrast to the creamy sweet potatoes.
Hot Chocolate with GingerGinger spices up the traditional snowy-night favorite. Serve it with marshmallows and a dusting of cocoa powder.
Double-Chocolate Cream PieChocoholics, unite! We have found the official dessert of our sweet-tooth cause. This indulgent pie starts with a simple pie crust recipe, then fills it with the rich goodness of semisweet chocolate, unsweetened cocoa, and a hint of vanilla extract. Serve with coffee, red wine, or, better yet, a tall glass of milk.
Marbled-Chocolate Banana Bread
Give your standard banana bread recipe the boot and try this chocolate-swirled version. The presentation is stunning–toast and top with a spoonful of peanut butter, and this breakfast bread really shines.
Rich Chocolate Soufflé Cakes with Crème AnglaiseUnlike traditional soufflés, these don't need to be served immediately (although they can be). In fact, we loved their fudgy, dense texture when chilled. The crème anglaise is good warm or chilled, as well.
CroquantInstead of high-fat pralines, toffee, or brittle, give croquant (French for "crisp")--a cream- and butter-free combination of caramelized sugar and almonds. Package in a paper-lined confection box or pretty bowl with a note to crumble over ice cream, layer into parfaits, or simply eat like brittle. Be careful not to burn yourself when pouring the hot mixture onto the jelly roll pan. The color of the sugar mixture (rather than temperature) is the best cue for doneness. The darker the color, the more bitter the candy--aim for a golden honey color. If your pan is too dark to gauge the color of the caramel, very carefully lift a small amount of the mixture with a spoon and drop it onto a piece of white paper--the level of caramelization will be evident.
Freezer Cinnamon Rolls
These rolls are good for busy mornings--let them stand 30 minutes, then bake 20 minutes. Make in disposable foil pans for easy gift-giving, and present the glaze in a small jar or zip-top plastic bag with these instructions: Microwave at HIGH 15 to 30 seconds, stir or knead until smooth, and drizzle over warm rolls.
Ojai Roast Turkey with Rosemary, Lemon, and GarlicThis top-rated turkey recipe drew raves from our users, who proclaimed it "the best turkey ever". Fresh ingredients, including lemon, rosemary, and garlic, contribute to the mouthwatering flavor.
Mocha-Chocolate ShortbreadChocolate-covered shortbread is the yummy end to a wonderful meal. You're likely to have all of the ingredients for this recipe stocked in the pantry.
Caramel-Cloaked Chocolate-Hazelnut TorteNotes: Make chocolate ganache first; let it cool while you bake the cake. Prepare cake through step 5 before starting caramel cloak. An accurate candy or instant-read thermometer that registers high temperatures is crucial to making the caramel; to coat cake evenly, it must cool just enough to be thick but still pourable, about 150°. Assemble torte through step 5 up to 1 day ahead and chill filled cake airtight; pour caramel over cold cake. Or complete entire recipe up to 1 day ahead and chill airtight; bring cake to room temperature to serve, about 1 hour, and warm sauce as directed in step 7.
Meringue and Streusel-Topped Sweet PotatoesIf you don't have a pastry bag, simply fill a zip-top plastic bag with the meringue, and snip a corner with kitchen shears. Personalize the meringue design any way you desire.
Molten Marshmallow-Chocolate CakesThirteen-year-old Joe Kozal was impressed by a molten chocolate cake in a restaurant but thought he could do better. Instead of chocolate, Joe's cakes ooze melted marshmallow.
French Onion Soup
Once you try this French Onion Soup recipe, you'll never try another. Caramelized, melt-in-your-mouth onions, crusty bread, and melted cheese make for a hearty and rich soup that’s worth the wait. You’ll want to let it simmer the full two hours for the ultimate blending of flavors. Perfect for a cold day, this classic soup is comfort food at its best. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can cook the dish in a large stockpot or soup pot.
Cream Cheese-Coconut-Pecan Pound CakeAs if a cream cheese pound cake was not rich enough, this one goes over the top with the addition of shredded coconut and chopped pecans. And don’t forget the sugar glaze that’s drizzled over the top. For a special holiday occasion, garnish the cake plate with sugared rosemary sprigs and sugared cranberries.
Classic Dry MartiniUnlike James Bond's favorite cocktail, this version is stirred, not shaken. Chill vodka in the freezer so it's as cold as possible.
Grand Marnier Meringue TorteThis grown-up birthday cake blends delicately crisp meringues, orange-scented cream, a hint of chocolate, and fresh fruit. Superfine sugar dissolves quickly into the beaten egg whites; if you can't find superfine sugar in your grocery store, make your own by processing granulated sugar in a food processor for about a minute. If you can't find clear vanilla extract, use regular vanilla extract; your meringue will be a little darker but just as delicious. Prepare the meringues up to three days ahead, and store at room temperature in an airtight container. Top with filling and fruit shortly before serving.
Peppermint-Marshmallow Ice Cream PieBrushing melted ice cream into the pie plate "glues" the crust into place. Crushed chocolate wafers create the crust, while whole cookies define the edges of the pie.
Fennel, Parsley, and Radicchio Salad with Pine Nuts and RaisinsPale fennel, dark green parsley, and magenta radicchio glisten with the citrusy vinaigrette. Serve this salad with Butternut Squash Soup with Toasted Walnuts.
Roasted Kabocha Squash Bowl with Autumn Vegetables
When Kristine Snyder saw kabocha squash on sale, she imagined a multicultural twist on the more common soup-in-a-squash bowl: She turned the kabocha into a sort of Moroccan tagine for fall vegetables and added an Asian-flavored sauce. The medley would also make a good vegetarian main course.
Spiked Pumpkin SoupThis silky, slightly sweet soup is a fitting starter for various holiday entrées, including roast turkey, ham, or pork tenderloin. Bourbon enhances the natural sweetness of the pumpkin.
Roasted Beet, Avocado, and Watercress SaladThis dish features holiday colors and a variety of textures, from crisp watercress and crunchy pecans to juicy oranges and buttery avocados. To make the most of the presentation, use a combination of red and yellow beets. You can prepare the beets and dressing in advance, then just assemble the salad before serving.
Garlic and Herb Standing Rib RoastA standing rib roast makes a grand statement at the table. You do not need to ask your butcher for a frenched roast (one that has had the meat stripped from the bones); a regular standing rib roast will work just as well.
Sourdough Stuffing with Pears and Sausage
Sourdough bread gives the stuffing a tangier flavor than French bread, but you can use the latter in a pinch.
Roasted Cauliflower with Fresh Herbs and ParmesanUse parmesan and any fresh herbs you have on hand for this roasted cauliflower dish. While parsley, tarragon, and thyme make a nice combination, you can also try sage, chives, and rosemary for this holiday recipe.
Sweet ChallahAllowing the dough to rise three times gives the yeast more time to develop, resulting in a rich, complex flavor. Although this bread is best eaten the day it's made, you can also bake it one day in advance. Cool the bread completely, wrap in plastic wrap, and then wrap in foil; store at room temperature. Leftovers make excellent bread pudding.
Eggnog and Dried Fruit Bread PuddingThis recipe calls for eight ounces of country white bread. Buy a rustic loaf that weighs 16 ounces; once you remove the crust you will have eight ounces. Day-old bread works well for bread puddings because it has lost moisture and, thus, absorbs more liquid.
Rossini BelliniStrawberries take the place of peaches in this version of the classic Italian drink.
One-Bowl Chocolate Mocha Cream Cake"Cake is my favorite dessert--especially frosted cake." -Anna Ginsberg, Austin, TX. We agree, Anna! This easy one-bowl cake recipe got rave reviews (and a top-rating) from our users who called it "moist, sweet, and absolutely delicious."
Chocolate ThumbprintsKids of all ages will indulge in our sweet little butter cookies filled with chocolate ganache. Thankfully this recipe makes a big batch.
Gorgeously roasted and nicely spiced, this ham is a fitting centerpiece for a large gathering. It feeds a crowd but still leaves plenty of leftovers for sandwiches. Garnish the platter with orange wedges and fresh herbs.
Mississippi Mud CakeMississippi Mud Cake is a classic Southern sheet cake filled with marshmallows and chopped pecans and covered in a rich chocolate frosting. This particular recipe offers a cupcake variation as well as a shortcut version.
Ham Steak With Orange GlazeFor a quick weeknight meal, dress up pan-seared ham steak with a simple sauce made with orange juice, canned pineapple, golden raisins, and Dijon mustard. Fancy as it sounds, this is a lightning fast meal that's suitable for family or company.
Maple-Cranberry Baked ApplesTips: Use real maple syrup instead of pancake syrup. The flavor is worth the extra cost. Peel the top half of the apples, or they may explode in the oven. Use raisins in place of dried cranberries, if desired. Shave white chocolate with a vegetable peeler. Also, be sure to store the chocolate at room temperature because cold can make it crumble.
Sweet Potato Bundt Cake with Creamy Orange Glaze
This not-too-sweet cake is a great one to have on hand throughout the holidays, especially since you can serve it for breakfast or dessert.
Chocolate Lava Cakes with Pistachio CreamThese flourless chocolate cakes are as rich as a restaurant dessert, but they're made with a fraction of the fat and no dairy butter. When these cakes bake, the gooey filling causes the center to sink in.
Pomegranate Champagne CocktailPomegranate champagne cocktails are a pretty and festive drink for any special occasion. Pomegranate juice is available in the refrigerated juice section or produce section of the grocery store. Turbinado is a raw, very coarse sugar with a mild brown sugar taste. Find it with other sugars. We found the rock candy stirrers at an import store that carries wines and specialty food items.
Savory Yogurt Cheesecake with Caramelized OnionsServe with crackers or toasted baguette slices. This appetizer provides about a fourth of the recommended daily amount of calcium. The yogurt for the filling drains overnight. Spread any leftover yogurt on whole wheat toast for breakfast. Prepare the onions while the crust bakes.
Cherry Chutney Cheese TortePrepare the chutney up to two days ahead so you can bake the torte the night before the party. Serve leftover chutney with ham, pork, or duck. You can also spread this slightly sweet cheesecake on crackers or gingersnaps.
Chocolate Clementine Cake with Hot Chocolate SauceThis cake can be made a day in advance. The Hot Chocolate Sauce can be stored, covered, in refrigerator up to 1 week; reheat over low heat until warmed through. Make both the cake and sauce with the best quality bittersweet chocolate you can find. Substitute semisweet chocolate if you wish.
Chocolate-Mint CakeThis rich holiday cake is a show-stopper that will become a family holiday classic recipe.
Don't be tempted to substitute peppermint extract for the peppermint oil used in this recipe. Peppermint oil, available from cake-supply stores, has an intense, highly concentrated flavor like that found in chocolate-covered peppermint patties.
Chocolate Cake IV
This impressive chocolate cake recipe features three layers of tender chocolate cake and two layers of creamy mocha-chocolate filling covered in a rich chocolate-coffee ganache. The fourth element of chocolate is the garnish of chocolate curls that are sprinkled on top of the cake.
Cream Cheese-Swirled BrowniesFor moist and fudgy results, be careful not to overbake. When the brownies are perfectly done, the edges of the batter will just begin to pull away from the pan.
Black and White Striped CookiesCutting and stacking the dough creates alternating stripes of vanilla and chocolate pieces. For pinwheel variation, stack the two (12 x 8-inch) dough rectangles on top of each other, and roll up into a 12-inch-long cylinder as if you're making cinnamon rolls. Chill the roll before slicing.
Baked Compote of Winter FruitThis simple compote of pears, apples, and cranberries smells wonderful while it bakes. The applesauce adds body to the syrup.
Cranberry-White Chocolate Cookies
Fans of classic cookies will love these updated Cranberry-White Chocolate Cookies, accented with dried cranberries and gooey white chocolate.
Aunt Kat's Creamy EggnogIf you've misplaced your recipe for a classic eggnog cocktail, look no further. This creamy drink is sure to usher you into a sweet holiday slumber.
Curried Chickpea Canapés with Ginger-Carrot Butter
These canapés are made with chickpea flour, but you can also make them with polenta or grits. Prepare all of the components of this recipe ahead of time and assemble at the last minute.
Sugar Cookie PopsTo bake these adorable cookie pops, simply roll balls of sugar cookie dough in colored sprinkles and insert a white craft stick before baking. Make a colorful (and edible) centerpiece for the kids' table by filling a container with florist foam, topping it with jelly beans, and then sticking the pops into the foam.
Pumpkin-Date Loaf with Cream Cheese SwirlWhite cream cheese batter contrasts with the orange pumpkin in this loaf.
Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusel BunsTo make these year-round, substitute canned pumpkin puree and add an extra cup of all-purpose flour.
Potato FougasseA fougasse (FOO-gass) is a French bread shaped by slashing the dough and stretchig it to resemble a ladder or tree-of-life design. It's ideal for an informal supper or party.
Pomegranate MargaritasCelebrate under the stars with a ruby red pomegranate margarita. Usually, margaritas come with a salt rim, but this beauty shines with a sparkling sugar topping. It's the perfect complement to the tart frozen limeade concentrate and cranberry juice.
Sweet Potato-Pecan Cupcakes With Cream Cheese FrostingKeep this family favorite around for the holiday season. Mashed sweet potatoes give the cupcakes extra moistness, while a myriad of spices including cinnamon and nutmeg, spice up the traditionally sweet dessert. A simple cream cheese frosting and a sprinkle of chopped pecans is all that's needed on top.
Creamy Herbed Mashed PotatoesYukon golds make brilliant mashed potatoes, thanks to their balance of waxiness and starch. Because yellow potatoes are more flavorful than others, they don't need a lot of fat to taste rich. Mash them by hand just until creamy--overworking the potatoes will make them gummy.
Dark Chocolate Bundt CakeBeautiful to look at and a treat to eat, this Bundt cake is a show-stopper at dinner parties.
Caramelized Onion-Cranberry-Cream Cheese BitesYou can make the Caramelized Onion-Cranberry Compote a day ahead and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.
Double Chocolate Soufflés with Warm Fudge SauceThese chocolate soufflés are an uber-decadent dessert and the perfect finishing touch to dinner parties or a quiet romantic dinner.
Gingersnap-Crusted Ham with Apricot-Mustard SauceWhole hams usually weigh at least 15 pounds; ham halves, which are labeled either "shank" or "butt end," are more manageable. A bone-in shank is easier to carve than the butt end, which contains part of the hipbone.
For a whimsical presentation, arrange these cookies in a lunch box lined with colorful packing paper. Use a variety of cookie cutter sizes to create "families." If you don't want to cut the dough into shapes, roll it into two logs, cover, chill, and slice into 1/8-inch rounds. Refrigerate the dough up to three days, or freeze up to one month.