Festive Recipes for a Sumptuous Christmas Spread

To make Christmas extra special this year, we’re compiling our first ever recipe guide for a delectable feast that you can wow your guests with come Christmas eve (and even New Year’s Eve!) Every week, we take on four recipes of mouthwatering desserts and drinks catered for a wide range of audience. Whether you’re a health junkie or bargain lover, we’ve got your tastebuds covered this December thanks to a variety of recipes that have caught our eyes on the net.

For the first week, we kick off the guide with recipes made for the foodie who’s a sucker for artisanal, unique food choices and the fitness lover who’s all about the latest #fitspo trends:

For the artisanal foodie:

Holiday Stuffed Squash


What you need:

2 medium acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed
Sea salt (grinder), optional
Black pepper (grinder), optional
2 cans (19 oz/540 ml ea.) lentils, drained and rinsed
2 C (500 ml) steamed seasonal veggies, chopped
2 Tbsp (30 ml) Bacon & Roasted Tomato Nutritional Yeast
1 Tbsp (15 ml) Holiday Seasoning
1/2 C (125 ml) Apple & Beet Nourish Dressing, prepared
3 Tbsp (45 ml) roasted nuts or seeds, optional

How to:

1. Season squash halves with salt and pepper, if desired.
2. Place two halves at a time (or all four if small enough), cut-side down, in a Multipurpose Steamer. Cover and microwave on high for 15 min. Set aside and repeat with the two other halves, if needed.
3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° F (175° C) and prepare filling by combining lentils, veggies, nutritional yeast sprinkle, and seasoning.
4. Arrange the acorn squash halves cut-side up on a Baking Sheet lined with a Bake & Roll and divide the stuffing evenly among each.
5. Bake for 15 minutes or until the stuffing is heated. Remove from oven and let stand for 2–3 minutes. Drizzle with nourish dressing and top with nuts, if desired.

Tip: Prep ahead by stuffing the squash the day before and baking to heat through right before serving.

Hack: Be creative and use any leftovers you have in your refrigerator to create a new squash nourish bowl.


Pomegranate Pimms


What you need:

200ml Pimms No. 1 Cup*
200ml pomegranate juice*
Ice cubes
1 cup (250ml) soda water
1 cup (250ml) lemonade
1/4 telegraph cucumber, halved cut into long, thin slices
1 orange, thinly sliced
1/4 cup mint leaves
Borage flowers* (optional)

How to:

1. Place Pimms, juice and ice cubes into a jug. Fill with soda water and lemonade.
2. Stir in the cucumber, orange and mint. Serve garnished with borage, if using.


For the fitness lover:

Vegan Gluten-Free Gingerbread Men


What you need:

1 flax egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup almond butter
3 Tbsp molasses
1/4 cup vegan butter, softened
3/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 – 1 3/4 cups gluten free baking / pancake mix

How to:

1. In a large mixing bowl, prepare flax egg by mixing flax and water and letting rest for 5 minutes.
2. Add softened butter, molasses, almond butter, brown sugar, salt, spices, baking soda and beat on a low with a mixer, or vigorously whisk.
3. Add gluten free flour to the wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon. Stir until well combined. Your dough should hold its shape when pressed, but not feel dry. I found that 1.5 cups was about the perfect amount, but this will depend on your blend.
4. Cover and chill dough for at least one hour, preferably overnight.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6. Roll out dough to a little thicker than 1/8 inch between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment/wax paper, generously sprinkling the bottom layer and the top of the dough with white or brown rice flour before rolling. You don’t want it too thin or they’ll be too crisp.
7. Remove top sheet and, working quickly, dip your cookie cutters in rice flour and cut out shapes. Next, lift the plastic wrap (with all of the dough) and place it on a baking sheet or large plate and freeze for 5 minutes to let them firm up. This will make them easier to transfer to your baking sheet for baking.
8. Next, use a lightly floured spatula to carefully transfer the cookies to a baking sheet, working quickly. Leave 2 inches for spreading.
9. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until they appear only slightly browned on the edges. They’ll continue firming up as they sit on the pan. Let rest on the pan for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
10. Once cooled, decorate with frosting or sprinkle with powdered sugar. I think a perfect, simple frosting option is piping on a mix of 2 cups icing sugar, 1 Tbsp melted butter, and 1-2 Tbsp almond milk. Just make sure it’s on the thicker side so it doesn’t run.
11. Store covered at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer term storage. The batch should make between 25-35 cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter / or if you decide not to cut them and roll them into balls.


Almond-Fennel Cooler


What you need:

¾ oz. Orgeat (almond-flavored syrup)
¾ oz. Fennel Syrup
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
6 oz. chilled club soda
1 fennel frond (optional)

How to:

1. In a collins glass, combine the orgeat, Fennel Syrup, and fresh lemon juice, and stir well.
2. Add ice, stir in the chilled club soda, and garnish with the fennel frond.


For the beauty obsessed

Scallops with Fennel Grenobloise



2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound sea scallops
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium fennel bulb—trimmed, halved and thinly sliced, fronds reserved for garnish
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

How to:

1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil. Season the scallops with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until golden brown on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Turn the scallops and cook until just opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a platter and keep warm.
3. Melt the butter in the skillet. Add the sliced fennel and capers and cook over high heat, stirring, until the fennel is crisp-tender and lightly golden, 2 minutes.
4. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the fennel around the scallops and garnish with chopped fennel fronds. Serve with lemon wedges.


Something May Catch Fire:



2 oz. Tamarind Infused Espolon Blanco Tequila
3/4 oz. Cherau Aloe Vera Liquer
3/4 oz. Yellow Chartreuse
1 oz. Lemon juice
3/4 oz. Pineapple juice

How to:

Shake/strain/serve over crushed ice. Garnish with lime wheels, cassia sticks, and rosemary. Burn rosemary and cassia with a butane torch.


For the wanderlust traveler

Black Forest Floor



Chocolate Mousse:
250 ml cream
80g caster sugar
1 egg
2 egg yolks
180g 70% dark chocolate

Cherry Coulis:
300g frozen cherries
50g icing sugar
1 tbsp kirsch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum

Chocolate Log:
250g 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped

Choc Earth:
100g 70% dark chocolate
100g digestive biscuits
1 tbsp beetroot powder
40g popping candy
100g macadamia nuts, toasted

150g fresh cherries
1/3 cup port

Edible flowers

How to:

1. For the Chocolate Mousse, place cream into a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip to stiff peaks. Set aside.
2. Place sugar and 1 tablespoon of water into a small saucepan over medium heat and heat to 118C.
3. Meanwhile, place egg and yolks into a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk until pale. With the mixer running on high speed, slowly pour the 118C sugar syrup into the eggs and continue to whisk on high until mixture triples in volume.
4. Place a small saucepan of water over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Place chocolate into a medium bowl and sit over the saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Fold a little whipped cream into the melted chocolate and continue to add in batches until fully combined. Fold chocolate cream mixture into the egg mixture until fully combined. Transfer to a piping bag and set aside in the fridge.
5. For the Cherry Coulis, combine cherries, icing sugar and 4 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil then remove from heat and blend to a puree with a stick blender. Add kirsch and xanthan gum and blitz with stick blender to incorporate. Allow to cool completely then transfer to a piping bag and set aside.
6. For the Chocolate Log, place 150g of the chocolate in a glass bowl. Microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring in between each burst, until completely melted. 7. Add remaining chocolate and stir until temperature reaches 32C.
8. Spread chocolate thinly onto a 12cm x 40cm sheet of acetate. Carefully roll acetate strip, lengthways, to create one large roll and secure with some sticky tape. Set aside in the fridge to set.
9. For the Choc Earth, place chocolate into a glass bowl. Microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring in between each burst, until completely melted. Pour melted chocolate out onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and allow to re-set.
10. Once chocolate has set, break up into small pieces and add to a food processor with remaining ingredients. Blitz to a coarse crumb and set aside.
11. For the Cherries, place cherries into a small saucepan and cover with port. Bring to the boil over medium heat then reduce heat to low and simmer until port has reduced to a syrup, about 8-10 minutes.
12. To serve, spoon some Choc Earth onto the plate. Remove Chocolate Log from the fridge and carefully remove acetate. Use a knife dipped in hot water to carefully cut large log into 4 even logs. Fill each Chocolate Log with some Chocolate Mousse and place on top of the Choc Earth. Spread some Cherries and Cherry Coulis around the plate and finish with edible flowers.


Holiday Mule



1/2 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz unsweetened cranberry juice
1 1/2 oz gin or vodka
2 oz chilled ginger beer
1 Rosemary sprig
Orange slice, for garnish
Sugared cranberries, for garnish

How to:

1. Combine simple syrup, cranberry juice, and gin. Pour over ice and top with ginger beer.
2. Serve garnished with rosemary, orange wedge and sugared cranberries, if desired.


For mommies who want to have fun with their kiddies

Santa Claus Crackers


How to:

1. Assemble jolly hors d’oeuvres for a holiday party with kids among the guests. Your kids can be little helpers!
2. Use kitchen scissors to cut a pepperoni hat; attach to cracker with a dab of ricotta. Spread on a ricotta beard.
3. Add celery slices for mustache and capers for eyes and nose. Cover bottom of hat with more ricotta for fluffy trim.


Pumpkin Spice Churro Milkshake



(Makes 2 servings)
8 large scoops of vanilla ice cream
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup caramel sauce
2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
2 graham crackers
2 churros
whipped cream (optional)
2 medium pumpkins with insides scooped out (optional)

How to:

1. In a blender, add about eight large scoops of vanilla ice cream.
2. Pour in milk to thin out the consistency, then add canned pumpkin puree and sprinkle in pumpkin pie spice.
3. Throw in graham crackers. Break them in half for a more thorough blend.
4. Drizzle in about caramel sauce, and blend until smooth. You may need to add a bit more milk if the mixture is too thick.
5. Pour the milkshake into your pumpkins. Top with whipped cream, churro, some pumpkin pie spice and a fun straw.


For the fashionable trendsetter

Prosecco jelly



750 ml bottle of prosecco
50 ml lemon juice , (from about 2 1/2 lemons)
9.5 x 15 g leaves of gelatine
250 ml elderflower cordial
500 g plums and seasonal berries , plums destoned and halved
4 sprigs of fresh mint , plus extra leaves to decorate
edible flowers , to garnish (optional)
pouring cream , to serve


1. Start your jelly the night before. Pour the prosecco into a large mixing bowl, along with the lemon juice. 2. In a separate bowl, leave the gelatine to soak in ice-cold water. Set both aside.
3. Warm the elderflower cordial in a pan over a medium heat and, once hot, take off the heat to cool slightly. Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine leaves and add it to the warm cordial, stirring until the leaves have completely dissolved.
4. Add the gelatine mixture to the prosecco and stir very gently with a spatula or large spoon until completely combined. Place the mixture in the fridge and give it another stir every 15 minutes. You want the jelly to be almost set but still liquid; this is so the fruit doesn’t float to the top when you add it.
5. Reserving 100ml of the jelly, pour a quarter into a 1-litre jelly mould, then stud with a quarter each of the fruit and mint. Repeat three times.
6. Heat the reserved jelly until liquid, then pour over the top; this will create a flat base, so the jelly sits nice and flush. Set overnight in the fridge.
7. To remove the jelly, dip the mould in warm water for 30 seconds. Gently release the jelly sides with your fingers, then invert the mould onto a serving platter and give it a wiggle.
8. Decorate the jelly with flowers, if using, and extra mint leaves, then serve with lashing of cream.


Eggnog martini



1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice, plus more for garnish
8 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
3 cups brandy


1. Set a large fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl. Place bottom of bowl in an ice bath; set aside. Off heat, in a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, and pumpkin-pie spice. Gradually whisk in 4 cups milk, taking care to incorporate the cornstarch. Whisk in egg yolks.
2. Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the first large bubble sputters, 10 to 12 minutes. Reduce heat to low; cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute more. Remove from heat; immediately pour through sieve into bowl. Stir in remaining 4 cups milk. Let cool completely in bowl still set in ice bath.
3. Just before serving, stir in brandy, and ladle into glasses; garnish with pumpkin-pie spice.


For the tech geek

5 Ingredient Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies



1 box Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake Mix
½ cup (1 stick) room temperature butter
2 eggs
⅔ cup milk chocolate chips, divided
½ cup peppermint bits, divided

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Stir together cake mix, butter and eggs until combined.
3. Stir in ½ cup chocolate chips and ¼ peppermint bits.
4. Using a cookie scoop, divide dough onto baking sheets. Top with remaining chocolate chips and peppermint bits, if desired.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 13-15 minutes or until cookies are puffy and no longer glossy.
6. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets before transferring to cooling racks.
7. Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte



2 cups milk (dairy or non-dairy)
2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1 to 3 tablespoons sugar, depending on how sweet you like it
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for serving
1/2 cup strong hot coffee
Whipped cream, for serving

How to:

1. Add milk, pumpkin puree, and sugar to a saucepan over medium heat. Heat until hot, but do not boil.
2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and the coffee.
3. Divide the mixture between two mugs. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.


For the interior-loving home entertainer

Cinnamon caramel pecan cake



For the butter pecan cake:
3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/3 cups (140 grams) chopped pecans
2/3 cup (150 grams) butter, softened but still cool
1 1/3 cups (270 grams) granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup (160 ml) whole milk, at room temperature

For the brown sugar and cinnamon swiss meringue buttercream:
10 ounces (280 grams or about 10 large) egg whites (I used liquid egg whites)
1 1/2 cups (330 grams) light brown sugar, packed
pinch of salt
6 US sticks (3 cups or 680 grams) unsalted butter, softened but still cool and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

How to:

For the butter pecan cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
2. Place the melted butter and pecans in a baking pan, stir to coat the pecans, and bake 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. Grease and line 2 8-inch baking pans with parchment paper.
4. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium high for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
6. Turn the mixer town to medium and beat the eggs in one at a time until incorporated.
7. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.
8. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
9. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and the milk into the creamed mixture in alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
10. Stir in 1 cup of the toasted pecans.
11. Divide the batter between the 2 pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Watch the cake carefully at the end of the baking time as it can over bake and dry out quickly.
12. Cool on wire racks for about 10-15 minutes.
13. Run a knife around the edge of the cake pans and turn the cakes out on the wire racks to cool completely.
14. For the Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
15. In a large bowl (I used the bowl of my stand mixer), combine the egg whites, brown sugar, and salt.
16. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk often. The water should not touch the bowl, since it’s the steam that will be heating the egg whites. If they heat up too fast, you’ll end up with scrambled eggs.
17. Using a candy thermometer, heat the mixture to 160 degrees fahrenheit while continuing to whisk the mixture. 160 degrees is for food safety issues. If you use pasteurized egg whites, you can stop heating around 120-140 degrees until the sugar has dissolved.
18. Remove the egg whites from the heat and use a whisk attachment to beat the egg whites on medium high until stiff peaks form and the meringue has doubled in volume (about 8-10 minutes). At this point, the meringue should look stiff and glossy, and the bowl should be neutral (not warm) to the touch. If your meringue is still warm, you’ll run into problems later.
19. Turn the mixer down to low and mix in the cubes of softened butter, one at a time until they become incorporated into the mixture. It may look curdled at first, but continue mixing until the frosting has become smooth.
20. Add the vanilla extract and cinnamon and beat to combine.

To assemble the cake:
1. Split the cake layer in half horizontal with the knife to divide them. Place one layer of the cake on an 8-inch cake board.
2. With an offset spatula, spread about 1 cup of the frosting on top of the first layer, followed by about 1/3 cup of the caramel sauce (If the caramel difficult to spread, warm it up slightly in the microwave and use a piping bag to drizzle it on the buttercream).
3. Repeat this process with the second and third layer, spreading another 1 cup of the frosting and 1/3 cup of caramel on top of each.
4. Place the 4th layer of cake on top. Place the cake on a turntable, and apply a thin layer of the frosting on the sides and the top of the cake to lock in the crumbs.
5. Let the frosting set up in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
6. Apply the remainder of the frosting to the sides and top of the cake, using an offset spatula and a bench scraper to smooth out the sides.
7. Put the cake in the fridge for another 1/2 hour-1 hour to let the frosting set. (This will keep the frosting from melting when you add the caramel sauce and help control the “drippiness” of the caramel).
8. If the caramel sauce has gotten too thick, microwave it 10 second intervals until it is slightly runny but not hot.
9. Pour small amounts of caramel sauce over the top of the cake until is starts to gently run down the sides.
10. Smooth the top of the cake out with an offset spatula if necessary. Top with the remaining toasted pecans and serve at room temperature.

Bubbly French 75 cocktail



1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 oz vodka
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
Champagne or Spanish Kava
1 marachino cherry
orange or lemon twist

How to:

1. Pour the lemon juice, vodka, and sugar into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
2. Shake well, strain into a champagne flute and top with champagne and garnish with a maraschino cherry and an orange or lemon twist.


For the wellness crusader:

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecakes



10 ounces crushed oreo cookies
2 Tbsp coconut oil (or sub melted or vegan butter)

1.5 cups raw cashews, soaked in water 4-6 hours then drained
1 lemon, juiced (scant 1/4 cup)
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp full fat coconut milk (see instructions for note)
1/2 cup maple syrup or agave nectar (or honey if not vegan)
1/3 cup salted natural peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)

Chocolate Ganache Swirl:
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (dairy-free)
3 Tbsp full fat coconut milk, warmed to a simmer

18 mini dark chocolate PB Cups (vegan-friendly), chopped

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and blitz oreos in a food processor until a fine meal remains. Add 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil (or vegan butter) and pulse once more.
2. Cut 12 small strips of parchment paper (or use paper liners) and place them in a standard, 12-slot muffin tin. One at a time, hold down a strip in the center of the tin, add 1 generous spoonful of crust mixture, then use a small cup or your spoon to pack it down as evenly as possible. I like using a small glass because it packs it in really tight and gets the top flat. Continue until all tins are filled and no crust remains.
3. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove and set aside to cool.
NOTE: For the coconut milk, I like to scoop the “cream” off the top because it provides a richer texture. But if yours is already all mixed together, just add it in as is.
4. Add drained cashews, lemon juice, coconut oil, coconut milk, maple syrup and peanut butter to a blender and process until very smooth and creamy – about 3-4 minutes – scraping down sides as needed. You need to make sure you get it really smooth with no small pieces or you’ll taste them in the final result. If your mixture is too thick, add a bit more coconut milk or oil to get it going. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
5. Pour evenly into muffin tins on top of crust and gently top on counter to remove air bubbles.
6. Prepare ganache by bringing 3 Tbsp coconut milk to a simmer in the microwave (30 seconds) or on the stove top in a small saucepan. Place the chocolate chips in a small mixing bowl and pour the coconut milk on top. Do not touch for 3 minutes so it has a chance to warm the chips. Then stir gently until smooth. Microwave or set over a double boiler briefly if the chips didn’t fully melt.
7. Spoon 1/2 Tbsp amounts of ganache over the cheesecakes and swirl with a toothpick or knife.
8.Sprinkle 3/4 of the peanut butter cups on top of the cheesecakes and press down slightly.
9. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze until firm – at least 3 hours.
10. To remove from muffin tin, simply pull on tabs at the same time and the cheesecakes should release. Otherwise, use a butter knife to pop them out. Serve immediately frozen or let soften for 10-15 minutes.
11. Top with any remaining ganache (reheated), chopped peanut butter cups and/or coconut whipped cream.


Peppermint Hot Chocolate



1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 quart milk
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (3 ounces)
7 peppermint sticks; 3 crushed (1/4 cup), 4 left whole
pinch of salt

How To:

1. Place cocoa in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk until cocoa has dissolved. Add chocolate chips and crushed peppermint; simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate and peppermint have melted, 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Add salt. Ladle into mugs; serve each with a peppermint stick.


For the artsy-fartsy:

Colour blocked chocolate bark with edible flower confetti



White chocolate candy melts
Gel food coloring
Edible flowers
Colourful sprinkles (optional)
Wax paper
Sheet pan
Wooden spoon
Flat spatula
Wooden skewers

How to:

1. Melt the chocolate according to the directions on the packaging, either on the stovetop or microwave.
2. Separate the melted chocolate into 2 containers and add gel food coloring to each one. I chose violet and pink for my colors.
3. Then, pour the melted chocolate onto a sheet pan that has been covered with wax paper. Keep the half of the pan one color and the other half the second color to get a color blocked look. Smooth with a flat spatula, if needed.
4. Next, remove the petals from your edible flowers. And while the chocolate is still in a liquid state on the pan, sprinkle the flower petals over the top of the chocolate.
5. Add colorful sprinkles as well, if desired.
6. Then wait for the chocolate to harden completely. You can speed this process up by putting the pan into the fridge.
7. Once the chocolate is completely hardened, use the back of a wooden spoon to break the chocolate up into pieces of bark, as shown in the photos.


Sparkling pomegranate punch



2 cups pomegranate juice
1 1/2 cup orange juice
2 (12 ounce) bottles apple cider (use non-alcoholic if desired)
juice from 1 lemon
1 (750ml) bottle champagne or sparkling wine OR sparkling water/club soda (for a non-alcoholic version)
couple dashes of orange bitters
arils from 1 pomegranate

Candied Rosemary
12 rosemary sprigs
1 cup granulated sugar

How to:

1. In a large punch bowl, combine the pomegranate juice, orange juice, apple cider and lemon juice. Stir to combine.
2. Place in the fridge to chill until ready to serve. When ready to serve, slowly pour in the champagne (or whatever you choose to use) and a couple dashes of orange bitters.
3. Gently mix to combine and then add the pomegranate arils. Ladle into glasses. Top each glass with a sprig of candied rosemary (recipe below).
4. Alternately, you can ladle the punch into glasses before adding the champagne and then top each glass with champagne and pomegranate arils.

Candied Rosemary recipe:

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Gently run the rosemary under a little water to dampen it and place on the prepared baking sheet.
3. Sprinkle the rosemary with sugar on all sides, making sure the rosemary is throughly coated in sugar all around.
4. Allow to dry on the baking sheet for 1 hour. The rosemary can be made 1 day in advance and stored at room temperature.


For the film fanatic

Reindeer Crunch




12 cups plain popped popcorn
1½ cups salted mixed nuts
½ cup butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces chocolate chips or chocolate candy melts

How to:

1. Preheat over to 250.
2. Combine popcorn and nuts in large bowl
3. Melt butter in medium heavy saucepan. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring now and then. Stir in vanilla.
4. Working quickly and carefully (sugar mixture is super-hot!), pour sugar mixture over popcorn and nuts. Stir with a wooden spoon until coated.
5. Spread mixture in a single layer on two lightly greased two baking pans. Bake at 250 for 30 minutes, stirring once.
6. Cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes and break into chunks.
7. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave (if you use the microwave, melt on 50% power for 30 second increments, stirring after each 30 seconds until melted). Drizzle melted chocolate over popcorn.
8. Cool until chocolate hardens (this goes faster in the fridge.) Store in airtight container


Frozen mint Baileys Kahlua mudslide



4.5 oz chocolate mint flavored Bailey’s Irish cream
1.5 oz Kahlua
7 Tbsp chocolate sauce, plus extra for rim
3 cups ice
1/2 cup chocolate sandwich cookie crumbles

How to:

1. Blend Baileys, Kahlua, chocolate syrup and ice in blender.
2. Dip glass rim in small amount of chocolate syrup then into cookie crumbs.
3. Fill glass and garnish with straw. Serve immediately.


For the bargain hunter:

Rolo pretzel sandwiches



50 small square pretzels
25 ROLO’s
8 ounces white chocolate
1/4 cup holiday sprinkles, optional


1. Preheat the oven to 250°F. Place 25 of the square pretzels on a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil. Place one Rolo candy on top of each pretzel.
2. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake 3 minutes, until the Rolos have softened. Remove from the oven and place a square pretzel on top of each Rolo to form a sandwich. Let cool completely.
3. Add the melting wafers to a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 1 minute at 50% power, then stir. Continue to heat at 30 second intervals , stirring in between, until melted.
4. Dip one half of each pretzel sandwich into the melted chocolate. Allow the excess chocolate to run off, then return to the baking sheet. Sprinkle with holiday sprinkles. Allow to cool completely before serving.


Apple pie Moscow mule



4 ounces apple cider
4 ounces apple pie vodka (or caramel vodka in a pinch) (My favorite is homemade! Click HERE for the recipe!)
1 bottle ginger beer
cinnamon sticks and apple slices for garnish

How to:

1. Fill two copper mugs with crushed ice.
2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the apple cider and vodka. Shake to combine.
3. Pour half of the apple cider mixture into each mug.
4. Top each mug with ginger beer until full.
5. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and apple slices.
6. Enjoy!


Recipes credits to Epicure, Minimalist Baker, Delish, Taste, Food & Wine, Marie Claire, TenPlay, Home Sweet Jones, Martha Stewart,, Foodie Crush, Cake Merchant, Minimalist Baker, Half Baked Harvest, Paper & Stitch, Framed Cooks, Everyday Dishes, The Cookie Rookie, I Heart Naptime

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