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Compiled by:
Medha Sthalekar and Jessica Holman
staff writers

As the holidays approach there are several common activities that most people love to take part in. And while doing holiday shopping, touring around to look for the best display of Christmas lights or engaging in a boisterous snowball fight all take place outside the house, baking is one holiday tradition that can easily take place at home. To help our readers get in the holiday spirit we’ve compiled a list of wonderful holiday dessert recipes from our favorites at ALLRECIPES.com and the contributers to the site. So get baking, and the next holiday cookie swap will be a breeze.

Oreo Cookie Balls

1 pound chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed

Photos Courtesy of allrecipes.comOreo Cookie Balls

Photos Courtesy of allrecipes.com
Oreo Cookie Balls

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 pound vanilla-flavored candy coating, melted

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine crushed cookies and cream cheese to form a stiff dough. Roll into balls and dip in melted candy coating with a fork. Let rest on waxed paper until set.

Prep Time: 50 mins
These were really easy and fun to make and the recipe makes a lot! Also, when we brought them into school, they were a really big hit!

Easy Sugar Cookies

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Easy Sugar Cookies

Easy Sugar Cookies

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll the dough to about ¼ inch thick and cut funky shapes into them.
  3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time : 10 min
These cookies would be good to make for any time of the year! They were really fun and easy!

Easy Soft Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups quick cooking oats

  1. In a medium bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Flatten each cookie with a large fork dipped in sugar.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 10 min

Perfect Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup of boiling water
2 eggs
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 teaspoons salt
¾ cocoa powder
2 cups sugar

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans. Greasing and flouring the pans will allow the cakes to be easily removed from the pans after cooling.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Then add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; on medium speed of mixer, mix for 2 minutes. Or you can just hand whisk it with a whisk. Stir in the boiling water. The batter will be really thin, and you’ll think you’ve done something horribly wrong, but don’t worry! This is the perfect consistency.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remember to always poke in the CENTER. All the sides of the cake may be cooked all the way through, but you can’t serve people a raw cake in the middle.

4. Let the cakes cool  for about 10 minutes; remove them from the pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with any frosting you like!

Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 30-35 min

To spice up this cake for the holidays try these fun ideas!

  • Make peppermint frosting!

    Peppermint Frosting

    Peppermint Frosting

For Peppermint frosting:
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
3 large egg whites
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
Red food coloring if desired

1. Combine sugar, 1/2 cup water, egg whites, and corn syrup in large bowl of heavy-duty stand mixer. Whisk by hand to blend well.
2. Set bowl with mixture over saucepan of gently simmering water; whisk constantly with hand whisk until mixture resembles marshmallow creme and ribbons form when whisk is lifted, 8 to 9 minutes.
3. Whisk in peppermint extract. Remove bowl from over water and attach bowl to heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until mixture is barely warm to touch and very thick, 7 to 8 minutes. 4. If desired, add food coloring.
5. Using offset spatula and working quickly, spread frosting over top and sides of cake. Crush up some candy canes and sprinkle them on top. Chill the cake, and spread the joy, happy holidays!

  • Make a simple chocolate frosting and cover them with festive sprinkles!

For chocolate frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.Melt the butter and stir in the cocoa powder.
2.Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. This doesn’t seem very important, but believe me, this gives the frosting a nice, rich and creamy texture.
3. If the batter is looking a little thick, add small amounts additional milk.
4.Stir in the vanilla.

This recipes makes about 2 cups of frosting, So frost your cakes generously. You can never have enough frosting!

  • Instead of making one giant cake, use the same cake recipe and make cupcakes! Cupcakes are always for fun for the kids and adults the same. Prepare the cupcakes as you would the cakes, but bake them in cupcake tins at the same temperature, and bake for 22-25 minutes. Frost with any frosting and cover with festive sprinkles or crushed candy canes.

Spicy Gingerbread Men

Spice Gingerbread Men

Spice Gingerbread Men

½ cup margarine or butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup molasses
1 egg yolk
2 cups of sifted all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Stir in molasses and egg yolk. Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg; blend into the molasses mixture until smooth. Cover and chill this for at least an hour. Gingerbread dough is always very sticky, so to get rid of this stickiness, you must chill it.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface (remember that gingerbread dough is usually sticky), roll out the dough to ½ inch thickness. Cut into the shapes you want and place the cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven, until they look firm. Remove from the cookie sheets to cool on wire racks. Frost and decorate when cool.

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 8-10 minutes

These gingerbread and incredibly spicy and delicious. This is the gingerbread recipe I use every single holiday, and everyone loves them! If you have younger siblings have them join you, decorating cookies is one of my best memories as a little one.

Marbled Peppermint Angel Cake

Marble Angle Cake

Marble Angle Cake

Although this cake doesn’t puff up as much as other angel food cakes do during baking, the refreshing minty flavor and festive red swirls raise this version of a classic above ordinary desserts!

1 ½ cups egg whites
1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups sugar, divided
¾ cups all-purpose flour
6 drops red food coloring

Glaze:
2 cups of confectioner’s sugar
¼ cups milk
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract extract
6 drops of red food coloring
¼ cup crushed peppermint candies

1. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and extracts and salt on high speed. Gradually add ¾ cup of sugar, beating until stiff peaks form and the sugar is dissolved.
2. Combine flour and remaining sugar; gradually fold into the batter. ¼ cup at a time.
3. Divide the batter in half; tint half with the red food coloring. Alternately spoon plain and pink batters into an ungreased 10-in tube pan.
4) Cut through the batter with a knife to remove air pockets. Swirl the knife a little too, it makes these pretty little ripples of color. But be careful to not swirl too much or you’ll end up with a pink cake.
5) Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes or until the cake springs back when you lightly touch it.
6) Immediately invert the pan; and cool the cake completely. run a knife around the sides of cake and remove from the pan.
7) For the glaze, combine the confectioners sugar, milk, extract and food coloring; food coloring is optional though. Drizzle this over the cake, and sprinkle with crushed candies!

Prep TIme: 20-30 min Cook Time: 30 to 40 min

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