Classic Holiday Desserts
12/02/2014 02:35AM ● Published by Family Features
The holidays are a special time of year to celebrate and connect with family and friends. From a cookie swap at work to a formal holiday dinner at home, with the right kind of recipes and a little planning, any holiday gathering can be a sweet success.
But, before you tie your apron strings and grab your rolling pin, avoid the last minute trips to the store by stocking up on baking staples like flour, butter, sugar and especially eggs.
As a versatile and affordable ingredient, eggs can be used in everything and offer limitless baking possibilities — from pies to cookies to eggnog. Plus, at 15 cents apiece, they can be an affordable way to feed a crowd for the holidays.
Mini Pumpkin Pies
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegetable shortening, cold
- 2 egg yolks
- 6–8 tablespoons ice water, divided
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup half and half
- To make unbaked crusts, mix flour and salt in large bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry blender until pieces are size of small peas. Mix egg yolks, 6 tablespoons ice water and lemon juice in small bowl. Add to flour mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring lightly and tossing with fork until moistened and dough just holds together. Add remaining ice water, if needed. Gather dough and shape into six 1-inch-thick disks. Refrigerate, wrapped in plastic wrap, 1 hour or overnight.
- Roll out each dough disk on lightly floured surface, rolling from center to edge, to form 6-inch circle. Fold into quarters; ease and unfold into 4-inch pie plate. Press pastry gently against bottom and sides of pie plate, easing out any air. Trim edge leaving 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang under; flute edge. Refrigerate, covered, at least 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 400°F.
- Whisk eggs, pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in medium bowl. Beat in half and half. Pour approximately 2/3 cup into each mini piecrust.
- Carefully place pies on rack in oven. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 350°F; continue baking 20–22 minutes or until knife inserted midway between center and edge of pie comes out clean.
- Cool completely on wire rack. Refrigerate, loosely covered, until firm, several hours or overnight.
- Garnish with toasted pecans and whipped cream.
Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 2 egg yolks, room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 2/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons meringue powder
- 4 tablespoons water
- Combine butter, granulated sugar and vanilla in mixer bowl. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and egg yolks; beat on low speed until blended. Gradually add flour and salt, beating just until blended.
- Refrigerate dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
- Heat oven to 350°F. Work with 1/2 of dough at a time, keeping remaining dough refrigerated. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out cookies using cookie cutters; place 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined or ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake in oven until edges are lightly browned, 8–10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.
- For icing, combine powdered sugar, meringue powder and water in mixer bowl. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy, 6–8 minutes. If icing is too thick, thin with small amount of additional water.
Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 package (12 ounces) or 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, melted, cooled
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract or vanilla
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 cup crushed peppermint candies or candy canes
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar, for rolling
- Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in large bowl.
- Combine sugar, cooled chocolate, eggs, oil and peppermint extract in mixer bowl. Beat on medium speed until blended. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed until blended.
- Refrigerate, covered, until firm enough to shape, about 1 hour or overnight.
- Heat oven to 350°F. Mix powdered sugar and crushed candy in small bowl. Work with 1/3 of dough at a time, keeping remaining dough refrigerated. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in granulated sugar first and then in crushed candy mixture. Place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined or ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake in oven until lightly browned, 8–10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 1–2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.