100 Hot Holiday Dishes

Get ready to indulge in our tastiest holiday recipes. Warning: Do Not Lick Your Screen.

  • Blackberry-Raspberry Truffle Cake

    Blackberry-Raspberry Truffle Cake

    This top-rated cake got rave reviews from our users, who praise its flavor and presentation. The recipe starts with boxed cake mix, making it a holiday-friendly cake for times when every minute counts.

  • Endive Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Walnuts
    Randy Mayor; Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

    Endive Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

    This 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.

  • Mocha-Pecan Mud Pie

    Mocha-Pecan Mud Pie

    Round out your meal with a slice of decadent mocha-pecan mud pie. This dessert is so rich, your guests will never know it was lightened.

  • Baked Potato Soup
    Randy Mayor; Jan Gautro; Food Kellie Gerber Kelley

    Baked Potato Soup

    All 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 Cookies
    Becky Luigart-Stayner; Lydia DeGaris-Pursell; Food Kellie Gerber Kelley

    Double-Ginger Cookies

    These 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.

  • Carrot Soufflé
    Randy Mayor; Melanie J. Clarke

    Carrot Soufflé

    Because this dish contains no beaten egg whites, it is not a true soufflé. The name, carrot soufflé, is derived from its light airy texture. Similar in color and flavor to sweet potato casserole, it pairs well with ham or turkey.

  • Old-Fashioned Mashed Potatoes
    Becky Luigart-Stayner; Jan Gautro

    Old-Fashioned Mashed Potatoes

    Nothing 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 Pie
    Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Jan Gautro

    Pecan and Date Pie

    The 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 Punch

    Eggnog-Coffee Punch

    This rich Southern favorite received our highest marks.

  • Chocolate Chunk Bread Puddings
    Photography: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

    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 Ganache
    Photography: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

    Raspberry-Almond Torte with Chocolate Ganache

    A 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
    Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

    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 Potatoes
    Becky Luigart-Stayner; Jan Gautro

    Brûléed Mashed Sweet Potatoes

    Borrowing from the classic dessert crème brûlée, this dish has a hard candy topping, a crisp contrast to the creamy sweet potatoes.

  • Hot Chocolate with Ginger
    Becky Luigart-Stayner; Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

    Hot Chocolate with Ginger

    Ginger spices up the traditional snowy-night favorite. Serve it with marshmallows and a dusting of cocoa powder.

  • Roasted Cipollini Onions
    Becky Luigart-Stayner; Katie Stoddard

    Roasted Cipollini Onions

    Roasting brings out a rich, mellow flavor in these Cipollini, or wild, onions. Serve them as a side dish alongside roasted meats or with a vegetarian holiday menu.

  • Double-Chocolate Cream Pie

    Double-Chocolate Cream Pie

    Chocoholics, 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
    Photography: Randy Mayor; Styling: Jan Gautro

    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 Anglaise
    Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Melanie J. Clarke

    Rich Chocolate Soufflé Cakes with Crème Anglaise

    Unlike 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.

  • Croquant
    Photography: Randy Mayor; Styling: Melanie J. Clarke

    Croquant

    Instead 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-Fruit Rolls
    Photography: Randy Mayor; Styling: Melanie J. Clarke

    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 Garlic
    James Carrier

    Ojai Roast Turkey with Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic

    This 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 Shortbread

    Mocha-Chocolate Shortbread

    Chocolate-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 Torte
    James Carrier

    Caramel-Cloaked Chocolate-Hazelnut Torte

    Notes: 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.

  • Smoked Salmon Crostini
    Becky Luigart-Stayner

    Smoked Salmon Crostini

    This elegant appetizer features toasted baguette slices topped with smoked salmon, fresh herbs, and creamy cheese spread.

  • Meringue and Streusel-Topped Sweet Potatoes
    Becky Luigart-Stayner

    Meringue and Streusel-Topped Sweet Potatoes

    If 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.

  • Joe's Molten Marshmallow-Chocolate Cakes
    Photo: Leigh Beisch

    Molten Marshmallow-Chocolate Cakes

    Thirteen-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
    Randy Mayor

    French Onion Soup

    Once you try this classic French Onion Soup recipes, you'll never try another. It culminates in a rich-tasting soup with melt-in-your-mouth onions.

  • Simple Baked Ham
    Randy Mayor

    Simple Baked Ham

    This easy baked ham recipe makes a great starring entrée for holiday meals.

  • Cream Cheese-Coconut-Pecan Pound Cake

    Cream Cheese-Coconut-Pecan Pound Cake

    As 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 Martini
    Becky Luigart-Stayner

    Classic Dry Martini

    Unlike 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 Torte
    Becky Luigart-Stayner

    Grand Marnier Meringue Torte

    This 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 Pie
    Becky Luigart-Stayner

    Peppermint-Marshmallow Ice Cream Pie

    Brushing 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 Raisins

    Fennel, Parsley, and Radicchio Salad with Pine Nuts and Raisins

    Pale fennel, dark green parsley, and magenta radicchio glisten with the citrusy vinaigrette. Serve this salad with Butternut Squash Soup with Toasted Walnuts.

  • Dry-Cured Rosemary Turkey
    Monica Buck

    Dry-Cured Rosemary Turkey

    Letting this turkey dry-cure in a home-ground mixture of salt, marjoram, thyme, juniper berries, peppercorns, and anise seeds gives it incredible, earthy flavor once it's roasted. 

  • Roasted Kabocha Squash Bowl with Autumn Vegetables
    Monica Buck

    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 Soup

    Spiked Pumpkin Soup

    This 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 Salad

    Roasted Beet, Avocado, and Watercress Salad

    This 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 Roast

    Garlic and Herb Standing Rib Roast

    A 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 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.

  • Oven-Roasted Green Beans

    Oven-Roasted Green Beans

    This easy vegetable side dish adds color to the meal, and you can roast the green beans at the last minute while you finish setting the table.

  • Roasted Cauliflower with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan

    Roasted Cauliflower with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan

    Use 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 Challah

    Sweet Challah

    Allowing 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.

  • Flaky Dinner Rolls

    Flaky Dinner Rolls

    These superlative rolls derive their texture and beautiful shape from employing a simple folding technique twice and allowing them to rise just once.

  • Eggnog and Dried Fruit Bread Pudding

    Eggnog and Dried Fruit Bread Pudding

    This 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.

  • Maple-Date Bars
    Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

    Maple-Date Bars

    Topped with a crumbly cookie topping, these bars are filled with gooey, fruity goodness and make a unique dessert for school parties. (Just be sure to save a few for yourself!)

  • Rossini Bellini
    Randy Mayor

    Rossini Bellini

    Strawberries take the place of peaches in this version of the classic Italian drink.

  • One-Bowl Chocolate Mocha Cream Cake

    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 Thumbprints
    James Carrier

    Chocolate Thumbprints

    Kids of all ages will indulge in our sweet little butter cookies filled with chocolate ganache. Thankfully this recipe makes a big batch.

  • Ice-cream Crêpes

    Ice-cream Crêpes

    This recipe makes 3 crêpes to be shared by 6 people. Scoop ice cream into 1/3 cupfuls, and freeze on a baking sheet until ready to assemble.

  • Black Walnut French Toast

    Black Walnut French Toast

    Take French toast to the next level by adding fresh fruit, crunchy nuts, and a sprinkle of nutmeg in addition to the traditional cinnamon. Kid-friendly and adult-approved, this breakfast-meets-dessert treat is great for all ages.

  • Oatmeal Pecan Pie
    Becky Luigart-Stayner

    Oatmeal Pecan Pie

    Rolled oats add heartiness to the filling of this classic Thanksgiving dessert. Make the pie up to a day ahead, but store it in the refrigerator if you do.

  • Marsala-Glazed Ham
    Becky Luigart-Stayner

    Marsala-Glazed Ham

    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.

  • Herbed Yukon Gold Potato Latkes
    Leo Gong

    Herbed Yukon Gold Potato Latkes

    Flavored with chives, parsley, rosemary, and thyme, these elegant latkes also make a great starter course or brunch entrée.

  • Mediterranean Salmon With White Beans

    Mediterranean Salmon With White Beans

    Any fish fillet may be substituted in this mediterranean salmon dish with white beans. However, the salmon is packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fats and has great flavor.

  • Mississippi Mud Cake
    Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas

    Mississippi Mud Cake

    Mississippi 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 Glaze
    Jennifer Davick

    Ham Steak With Orange Glaze

    For 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.

  • Apricot-Apple Cider Sipper

    Apricot-Apple Cider Sipper

    Make the perfect cool-weather party punch. This warm fruity sipper is sweet and spicy, and guaranteed to warm you from the toes up.

  • Maple-Cranberry Baked Apples
    HOWARD L. PUCKETT

    Maple-Cranberry Baked Apples

    Tips: 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.

  • Layered Sun-dried-Tomato-and-Basil Spread

    Layered Sun-dried-Tomato-and-Basil Spread

    Make this festive top-rated holiday dip recipe up to 3 days before the party. The colorful layers make it a fun addition to any appetizer buffet.

  • Chocolate Fudge Brownies

    Chocolate Fudge Brownies

    This basic, but outstanding fudge brownie recipe offers endless dessert options you can add nuts or mix things up by turning them into cheesecake brownies. This brownie recipe is a must-have for your recipe box.


     

  • Peppermint Brownie Tarts
    Photo: Tina Corbett; Styling: Buffy Hargett

    Peppermint Brownie Tarts

    This delicious brownie tart recipe makes two tarts, so plan to share one with a friend or neighbor this Christmas season.

  • Sweet Potato Bundt Cake with Creamy Orange Glaze
    Becky Luigart-Stayner; Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

    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 Cream
    Becky Luigart-Stayner; Jan Gautro

    Chocolate Lava Cakes with Pistachio Cream

    These 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.

  • Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole
    Becky Luigart-Stayner; Jan Gautro

    Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole

    Sprinkle a buttery, brown sugar and pecan mixture over the top of the creamy potatoes in this sweet potato casserole that's sweet enough to be dessert.

  • Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail

    Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail

    Pomegranate 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 Onions
    Randy Mayor; Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

    Savory Yogurt Cheesecake with Caramelized Onions

    Serve 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.

  • Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake

    Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake

    Chocoholics are sure to love this ultra-rich cheesecake, which features traditional cheesecake filling sandwiched between a chocolate-pecan brownie base and a thick, homemade chocolate glaze.

  • Cherry Chutney Cheese Torte
    Howard L. Puckett

    Cherry Chutney Cheese Torte

    Prepare 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 Sauce
    Charles E. Walton IV

    Chocolate Clementine Cake with Hot Chocolate Sauce

    This 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 Cake

    Chocolate-Mint Cake

    This 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

    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.

  • Chocolate Decadence
    Photography: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

    Chocolate Decadence

    This rich and indulgent chocolate dessert is sure to satisfy the craziest of chocoholics. 

  • Cranberry Ginger Chutney
    James Baigrie

    Cranberry Ginger Chutney

    Make this holiday side dish recipe early in the week--it's much better once the flavors have a chance to meld.

  • Apricot-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

    Apricot-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

    Frozen biscuits provide an easy shortcut to these breakfast rolls. Save this recipe to your Recipe File for the holidays, when quick, drool-worthy brunch treats are always needed.

  • Cream Cheese-Swirled Brownies
    Becky Luigart-Stayner; Jan Gautro

    Cream Cheese-Swirled Brownies

    For 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.

  • Chai Shortbread
    Becky Luigart-Stayner; Jan Gautro

    Chai Shortbread

    A combination of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper gives these chai cookies a taste reminiscent of Indian spiced tea. The fine texture of powdered sugar helps them retain the characteristic shortbread crunch.

  • Black and White Striped Cookies
    Becky Luigart-Stayner; Jan Gautro

    Black and White Striped Cookies

    Cutting 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.

  • Double-Coconut Cake
    Photo: Oxmoor House

    Double-Coconut Cake

    Coconut Cake makes an indulgent end-of-meal dessert. Coconut milk, found with the Asian foods in the supermarket, makes this cake moist and rich.

  • Baked Compote of Winter Fruit
    Becky Luigart-Stayner; Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

    Baked Compote of Winter Fruit

    This simple compote of pears, apples, and cranberries smells wonderful while it bakes. The applesauce adds body to the syrup.

  • Cranberry-White Chocolate Cookies

    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 Eggnog

    Aunt Kat's Creamy Eggnog

    If 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.

  • Cupid's Creamy Peppermint Punch

    Cupid's Creamy Peppermint Punch

    If you serve this dreamy drink in a large punch bowl, hang peppermint candy canes on the bowl's rim.

  • Curried Chickpea Canapés with Ginger-Carrot Butter
    Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

    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.

  • Lemon-Coconut Snowballs

    Lemon-Coconut Snowballs

    Lemon and coconut add a new twist to the traditional wedding cookie. Don't be shy when rolling these in powdered sugar—the more powdered sugar, the bigger the snowball!

  • Sugar Cookie Pops
    Oxmoor House

    Sugar Cookie Pops

    To 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 Swirl
    Becky Luigart-Stayner; Jan Gautro

    Pumpkin-Date Loaf with Cream Cheese Swirl

    White cream cheese batter contrasts with the orange pumpkin in this loaf.

  • Cornmeal-Cranberry Muffins
    Beth Dreiling Hontzas

    Cornmeal-Cranberry Muffins

    Add a zing to your traditional cornbread muffin by adding tart cranberries to the homemade batter. This recipe is quick and delicious, making it perfect for a breakfast on-the-go or a sweet treat to round out your meal.

  • Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusel Buns
    Randy Mayor; Mary Catherine Muir

    Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusel Buns

    To make these year-round, substitute canned pumpkin puree and add an extra cup of all-purpose flour.

  • Potato Fougasse
    Randy Mayor

    Potato Fougasse

    A 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 Margaritas

    Pomegranate Margaritas

    Celebrate 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.

  • Caramel-Pecan Tart
    Jennifer Davick; Buffy Hargett

    Caramel-Pecan Tart

    Serve this top-rated pecan tart recipe for dessert at holiday dinners and parties.

  • Caramel-Pecan Pie

    Caramel-Pecan Pie

    Create this rich gooey caramel pecan pie for your family and friends. It is a perfect special occasion pie.

  • Sweet Potato-Pecan Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting
    Photo: Van Chaplin; Styling: Lisa Powell Bailey

    Sweet Potato-Pecan Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

    Keep 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 Potatoes

    Creamy Herbed Mashed Potatoes

    Yukon 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.

  • Double Coffee Tiramisù
    Beth Dreiling Hontzas

    Double Coffee Tiramisù

    This chilled dessert recipe makes three servings, so plan to enjoy the two extra servings the next day.

  • Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake
    Jennifer Davick

    Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake

    Beautiful to look at and a treat to eat, this Bundt cake is a show-stopper at dinner parties.

  • Caramelized Onion-Cranberry-Cream Cheese Bites
    Jennifer Davick

    Caramelized Onion-Cranberry-Cream Cheese Bites

    You 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 Sauce
    Becky Luigart-Stayner; Leigh Ann Ross

    Double Chocolate Soufflés with Warm Fudge Sauce

    These 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 Sauce
    Photography: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

    Gingersnap-Crusted Ham with Apricot-Mustard Sauce

    Whole 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.

  • Gingerbread People
    Becky Luigart-Stayner

    Gingerbread People

    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.

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