Christmas Desserts Guide
Christmas Desserts 101
No matter how hectic the holidays become, Christmas desserts are not optional. Your family and guests expect them, and you deserve them! Fortunately, you have plenty of choice, and there are many delicious store-bought desserts, including Christmas cakes, pies and puddings, that will save you valuable time. Other traditional Christmas goodies include seasonal pastries, cookies, hard candies and, of course, chocolate. If you enjoy baking, Christmas is the ideal time to roll up your sleeves and express your talent and imagination, whether it's creating the perfect Yule log or surprising the family with colourful, delicious Christmas trifle. Kids enjoy baking as well, so why not pull out your favourite recipes and make it a family affair?
Christmas Dessert Favourites
Traditional Christmas cake is a fruitcake. Most varieties are dense, richly spiced and packed with soaked dried fruits. After preparing your Christmas cake, you typically store it in an airtight container for at least a week to allow the flavours to mature and blend. By adding a fondant icing, you can create an airtight seal that will help it last longer in storage. For a modern update on the Christmas cake, try a warm spiced cake with walnuts and brandy cream or a carrot cake with rich cream cheese frosting.
Christmas pies are an effective way to incorporate healthy fruits (and veggies) into your holiday desserts. Pumpkin and pecan pie fans might think a holiday dinner is incomplete without one. Mince pie is a traditional English holiday dessert made with mincemeat filling. Use bottled mincemeat and pre-made pie shells to quickly and easily prepare this delicious seasonal treat for your family. Canned pie fillings hold in the freshness of the summer’s fruits for the winter holidays. The best part is that frozen pie shells usually come in twos, so you can make two different types of pie to please everyone.
Christmas pudding, also known as plum pudding, is another traditional English holiday dessert. Intended to be served on Christmas day, it features warm Christmas spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger, mixed into a dark pudding made with egg, suet and treacle or molasses. The addition of dark beer or brandy will give your Christmas pudding a rich flavour. To serve, boil or steam the store-bought pudding, then pour brandy over it and light on fire. Rum butter, cream or custard are other serving options.
Classic Christmas cookies, also known as sugar cookies, evoke the warm memories of childhood. Whether you use refrigerated cookie dough or make your own with flour, butter and sugar, baking sugar cookies is a great way to get the kids involved with holiday prep. They can cut shapes and decorate with coloured frosting, sprinkles and candy, and even turn them into edible Christmas tree ornaments. Jam-filled thumbprint cookies, shortbread and ginger snaps are some other holiday season favourites. If you want to go all out, consider building an old-fashioned gingerbread house. Store-bought cookies are also an easy way to keep the pantry stocked during the holidays.
This tasty dessert takes its inspiration from the traditional wood log placed in the fire at Christmas time. A Yule log consists of a layer of yellow cake that is frosted then rolled into a cylinder and then frosted again. You can give your Yule log an authentic look by running a fork along the surface to create a "bark" pattern and sprinkling icing sugar to resemble a light dusting of "snow." To complete the illusion and make your dessert even more memorable, add fresh berries and meringue “mushrooms.” It makes for a cozy Christmas scene that tastes good, too.
Christmas candy is a great idea for a stocking stuffer. Fill your loved ones' Christmas stockings with boxes of chocolate, wrapped hard candies and toffees. Cuddle up on the couch with your family and share a bowl of caramel popcorn as you watch a Christmas movie. The undisputed king of the Christmas candies is the candy cane, which not only tastes good, but adds charm when hung from your Christmas tree or other pieces of holiday decor. If you're looking for candy to make yourself, consider a peanut or nut-free brittle.
Your cravings for sweets should be guilt-free during the holidays — and nothing beats a Christmas pastry to start or end the day. Tasty morning treats such as warm cinnamon buns or croissants will give your mornings a continental vibe, and they're a perfect breakfast for overnight guests. For dessert, a pretty plum tart or cream-filled pastry puffs can offer all the richness of a cake or pie, but with half the sweetness. If you have a hankering for Christmas pastries with an Italian flair, try struffoli, which is made with fried, honey-dipped dough, or grispelle (fried potato donuts).
Chocolate & Fudge
Chocolate is to Christmas desserts what snow is to Christmas Day: they go perfectly hand in hand. On the long winter nights during the holiday season, you'll create lasting family memories by serving rich, hot cups of cocoa. Friends and co-workers will appreciate boxes of chocolate as Christmas gifts; they're easy to shop for and send a warm message in harmony with the season. And for dessert after a holiday meal, try a decadent chocolate mousse or individual flourless chocolate cakes.
Christmas fudge, rich, creamy and full of flavour, is an ideal dessert for intimate gatherings or big holiday to-dos. Use your imagination to combine popular seasonal flavours while also creating great looking dessert. For example, consider preparing a white chocolate, raspberry and peppermint fudge with red, white and green swirls. Fudge is also a great vehicle for other Christmas-y ingredients like dried fruits and nuts. Since fudge is easy to make, you and the kids can experiment by adding edible decorations and molding your creation into interesting holiday shapes, like Christmas wreaths or snowflakes.
Christmas trifle is easy to make and instantly conjures the festive spirit of the holidays . The secret to trifle is in the layers and your options are endless. You could whip up tasty pudding, insert slices of fresh fruit or use cubes of pound cake or lady fingers soaked in coffee. And don't forget about these old standards: whipped cream and Jell-O. Stack it all in a clear glass bowl to bring a smile to your kids' faces and make their mouths water. Part of the fun of eating Christmas trifle is that one mouthful can be rich and creamy, while the next is light and fruity. There's something for everyone, so it's the perfect crowd pleaser.
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