The end of the year is a great time to indulge and treat yourself a bit, and happily the holiday season comes with all sorts of delectables and sugary desserts to help you do so.
These delicious ideas are great for anyone hosting a get-together this December, or even just for anyone who wants to reward the family with something sweet.
Chocolate Dipped Pretzels
This is the perfect holiday treat because not only does it make a great dessert, but it can also be a wonderful gift or stocking-stuffer. Swapping in white chocolate or a creative topping like coconut shavings is easy because this is such a straightforward recipe.
- 8 oz. milk chocolate
- 27 pretzel rods
- Green, red and white sprinkles
Add chocolate to a microwave-safe mug or bowl. Cover with wax paper and microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally until smooth. Place sprinkles on a separate sheet of wax paper.
Take one rod and dip in melted chocolate, covering the top half evenly. Drip excess chocolate back into the bowl. Top the chocolate-covered pretzel with sprinkles.
Place each finished pretzel rod in a pie plate or shallow bowl, leaving the uncoated portion on the edge. Repeat with remaining pretzel rods and try to keep dipped rods from touching in the pie plate or bowl. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
Fig and Walnut Cheese Ball
Nut-coated cheese balls are among the most traditional holiday desserts, and are also incredibly tasty. Try this recipe to really wow friends and family.
- 2 packages of reduced-fat cream cheese
- 1 cup dried Calimyrna figs
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup walnuts
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
Beat cream cheese in a bowl with a mixer for about 1 minute. Reduce speed and fold in figs, Parmesan cheese, honey and pepper.
Shape one-third of the mixture into a ball on plastic wrap and cover. Repeat process with two more equal-sized balls. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight if possible. Unwrap the cheese balls and roll in chopped walnuts.
Let stand for at least 30 minutes in room temperature. Serve with crackers or soft bread.
Peppermint Bark Cheesecake
This recipe is perfect for anyone feeling especially ambitious this holiday season. The reward is worth the effort, however, as this is a seriously memorable dessert.
- 20 Oreos, crushed
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 6 oz. white chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 1/2 packages softened cream cheese
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp. peppermint extract
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 2/3 cup peppermint bits or crushed candy canes.
- 2 oz. white chocolate
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the outside of a 9 inch springform pan with aluminum foil. In a bowl, stir crushed Oreos with melted butter until smooth. Press the mixture into an even layer along the bottom of cake pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and set to cool. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. Boil 4 quarts of water in a pot.
Add 6 oz of white chocolate and 1/2 cup of heavy cream to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on low for 20 seconds, stir and repeat until melted and smooth. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whip cream cheese and sugar together with a hand mixer until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and then blend in peppermint and vanilla extract and sour cream. Next add melted white chocolate.
To release air bubbles, tap bowl against countertop forcefully about 25 times. Add 5 oz of chopped chocolate and crushed peppermint and quickly fold into mix.
Spray the sides of the springform pan with non-stick spray and pour mixture over crust. Set pan in a larger roasting pan. Carefully pour boiling water around the springform pan until the water level goes halfway up. Place roasting pan in oven and bake for 90 minutes. Remove from oven and roasting pan and allow to cool for 45 minutes. Partially cover with plastic wrap. Chill overnight or for 8 hours.
Melt white chocolate using the same 20 second interval method. Set aside and cool until room temperature. In a bowl, whip heavy cream with a hand mixer until soft peaks form and add sugar. Whip until stiffer peaks occur.
In a separate bowl, whip cream cheese until smooth and add melted white chocolate and peppermint extract before folding in whipped cream. Spread in an even layer over cheesecake and return to refrigerator for 90 minutes. Top with remaining chopped chocolate or peppermint bits.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living