Cakes and Ale holiday recipe linkspam!

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So at the Cakes and Ale facebook party, I asked everyone what their favorite holiday food was. I’m looking at this list, getting hungrier and hungrier, and Mary N. said, “I’m going to need a recipe compilation!”

YES, I thought.

So here it is! The holiday recipe linkspam. I’ve tried to find a recipe that looked both easy to follow and more or less like what you were talking about—if I’ve linked to a recipe that isn’t at all what you had in mind, I’m happy to replace it if you sent me another one!

Catherine M. said “Cherry cheesecake.” I loved the look of this no-bake one from Nigella Lawson!

Linda S., Vicki G., Michiyo R., Diana T. and Tina H. all said “ham.” Tina specified “brown sugar glazed ham,” so here’s a recipe from Martha Stewart that looks amazing and you can watch her make it too! (WARNING automatic video/sound) If you want to try a different glaze, here’s a whole boatload of yummy-looking suggestions.

Danielle C., Deborah O.: “apple pie.” This Smitten Kitchen recipe looks fantastic. I’m also including this recipe for Dried Apple Pie with a whiskey crust that Elisabeth Lane of Cooking Up Romance posted with her review of Cecilia Grant’s A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong, because you know how much I love Cecilia’s novella and because I haven’t stopped thinking about it since she posted it. I don’t know why I haven’t made it yet honestly. It looks SO GOOD.

Angie F said: “8 layer chocolate cake…we make it homemade and the frosting is similar to homemade fudge!” OH MY GOD. I hope this is similar to your recipe, Angie.

Elaine M. C.: “Pumpkin crisp.” And she linked to her recipe, which looks simple and delicious!

Molly L.: “Peanut brittle.”

Sam G., Alexandra B., Morgan V.: “Gingerbread cookies.” Here’s Duff Goldman’s recipe for the thin, rolled, cookie-cutter kind, but I actually love a cakier, puffier gingerbread cookie myself, so take a look at this one too!

Victoria T.: “My mother-in-law’s Italian cookies.” This yummy-looking and detailed recipe includes anise extract—anise is Victoria’s favorite, but I might use almond extract instead. Follow your heart!

Sue P.: “Rosettes.” These require a special iron, but if they look like your thing, the investment is probably worth it because WOW, so pretty!

Laurie L. and Louise R.: “Fruitcake.” I’m not sure I’ve ever had a homemade fruitcake, but this version from the White House chef looks delightful. Laurie uses this Fanny Farmer one, but she uses only real butter and substitutes rum flavoring for the lemon extract.

PJ A.: “Log cookies, Tiger’s Butter, and Kahlua Mousse.” I’d never heard of Tiger’s Butter, but it looks amazing: peanut butter and white chocolate swirled into dark chocolate and eaten as a bark. PJ mentioned that if you serve it warm you can dip strawberries and stuff in it! Wow.

Julie F., Melanie E. and Deborah O.: “Stuffing.” There are so many kinds of stuffing I couldn’t choose, so here’s a selection from the Food Network.

(Melanie also mentioned turkey. Turkey is so tricky and there are so many methods that I hesitate to even indirectly endorse a recipe, but this one is labeled ‘perfect’ which seems promising. 🙂

Maya S. and Michele H.: “Spritz cookies.” These apparently require a cookie press, but if you have one, here’s a recipe that includes some great tips.

Alisha W. and Marissa Y.: “Gingerbread.” This Gramercy Tavern version from Smitten Kitchen is calling my name.

Deiatra F.: Strawberry pretzel salad. I’d never heard of this before! I’m not a big jello person (like my heroine Phoebe Sparks, I have texture issues) but it’s definitely a really impressive-looking concoction.

Sherry M., Sheryl N., and Julia L., Amy H., Pat V.: “Iced sugar cookies.”

Karin A.: “Vanilla kipferl“, a Viennese crescent cookie. OM NOM NOM.

Erika C.: “gingerbread trifle”. I wasn’t able to find a recipe that was as delicious as what Erika described, and I think you could easily create your own recipe based on her description (layers of whipping cream, chocolate mousse, gingerbread, and cinnamon, with chocolate shavings and crumbled cookies on top) but here are a few lovely options:

Gingerbread trifle with cognac custard and pear compote from Martha Stewart
Holiday Pumpkin-Gingerbread Trifle from
Another wonderful one with pomegranate seeds and caramel

Charlotte L.: “bourbon balls.” I want these from Smitten Kitchen NOW. And here’s another from Garden & Gun. (Garden & Gun????? What?)

Angela T.: “glutinous rice cakes”. Yum! Here’s a coconut one made with sticky rice and a red bean one made with glutinous rice flour.

Lita L.: “Mulled wine.” I am crazy about this Martha Stewart recipe.

Sara L: Cardamom cookies. Ooh! I like the look of these crescents from Bon Appetit, these with a cream cheese dough from the Foodess, and these slice-and-bake ones from Mele Cotte.

Heather D: “Lebkuchen.”

Gemma M.: “Noels from the Fanny Farmer Cookbook.” She explains, “Bar cookie with walnuts, egg, brown sugar, a bit of flour and butter. So simple, sooo good.”

Ann M, Ronda F.: “Sweet potatoes.” Here’s the basic recipe. I’m not a fan of marshmallows and I love maple syrup in my sweet potatoes, so this version with meringue looks even better to me! (Both from Martha Stewart.)

Danniell B.: “Swedish meatballs.”

Lori L.: “Shortbread.” Basic shortbread from Martha Stewart. I’ve also wanted to try this version that uses tahini and some olive oil instead of butter, and here’s an even richer version with tahini, dates, AND butter!

Jennifer C., Lori L., Meghan F., Julie M.: “eggnog.” Here’s Alton Brown’s recipe. I don’t like milk, but I really love the almond nog we sell at the store where I work. Here’s a noggish almond-milk and banana smoothie that looks insanely good.

Angela M. “Peanut butter balls and pig lickin’ cake.” I’ve never had peanut butter balls I liked better than my mom’s, which were very simple: add honey to your peanut butter until it’s as sweet as you want it, and then add powdered milk until it’s not sticky any more! Roll into balls and refrigerate. SO GOOOOD. Use natural peanut butter if you can, the kind that you grind right in the store is the VERY best. I had never heard of a Pig Lickin’ cake before, but I looked it up and here it is! (Canned Mandarin oranges are involved, it’s a really lovely color.)

Crystal B., Julie M. Ann M., Karen S., Jennifer B., Nancy A.: “fudge.”

Peanut Butter

Jennifer D.: “Eggnog pound cake.” Nuff said.

No recipes for these, but Nathaniel M. said “hot cocoa with Hershey kisses and Bailey’s” and Sharon A. said “Peppermint mocha.” Can’t argue with that!

Katie K: “Popcorn with white chocolate.” A nice, simple one! (I also saw a lot of versions with sprinkles, which intrigues me…)

Carol S. described a delicious Christmas bread she makes, and was generous enough to scan the recipe for us!! Thank you Carol! Click here for the scan (which includes a few illustrations), or go to the bottom of the post for a transcription (let me know if you spot any errors in transcription!). Carol says: “I usually form it into a wreath shape, (large fat circle – like a donut), bake it, then add icing (powdered sugar, a little melted butter, milk, and almond extract). Then I sprinkle sliced almonds over the top and serve it on a platter with greenery in the center of the wreath.”

Phyllis L. and Staci G.: “buckeyes.” My chief association with buckeyes is as the Ohio State University mascot. I spent a summer at math camp there and the leaves were painted everywhere. Some of them bore a marked resemblance to pot leaves which I found extremely hilarious. But apparently they are also a peanut-butter-and-chocolate candy that looks fantabulous!

Charlene W., Staci G.: “rum balls” (also mentioned by Becky H.) and chocolate pudding pie. I really really love this version using a graham cracker crust and silken tofu, it’s incredibly easy with a wonderful firm texture, and I make it all the time. But if you are less intimidated by custard than me, here’s an egg-based version that looks scrumptious, and here’s a Smitten Kitchen one with homemade crust, thickened with cornstarch.

Miranda B.: “pumpkin pie.” Since I was already on the Smitten Kitchen website, here are her two versions: Classic Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Praline Sauce, and a more newfangled and very intriguing silky-smooth version.

Jennifer S.: “Moravian ginger snaps.”

Mary D.: “sponge candy dipped in dark chocolate.”

Michiyo R: “chocolate cake.” Another Duff Goldman recipe!

Jessica C: “Stollen.” Ooh, check out this David Lebovitz recipe!

Ronda F.: “Sweet Rice with cinnamon on top.” There are so many kinds of sweet rice I couldn’t pick just one!

This one is basically rice mixed with stuff, including coconut oil and honey
Arroz con Leche
A slow-cooking Danish porridge

Diana T.: “Peppermint bark.”

Wendy S: “snickerdoodles.” Okay I know there is a lot of Smitten Kitchen on this list but I have heard her recipes are very trustworthy!

Lisa W: “Olliebollen.” These are a Dutch doughnut.

Jerry P.: “Texas Sheet Cake.”

Ellie R.: “Baklava and bantisa (sweet one with pumpkin for Christmas Eve and one with cheese and eggs.”

Jerry P., Bonny B., Julie E. Caren H., Susan I., Amary C., Erin C., Aleen D, and Mary N. said simply, “cookies. So have 50 Christmas cookie recipes from Sally’s Baking Addiction!

And if you’re not feeling the whole baking thing, there’s always chocolate, as Sharon A., Darlene H., Margaret W. and Amy H all said. Margaret recommends Dove’s Christmas flavors (“best: Peppermint Bark Dark Chocolate. Close second: Milk Chocolate with Mint Cookie bits”), and Amy’s holiday fave is chocolate from Germany. I’m a big fan of Mozart balls myself! And a few of my favorite brands that ship directly are Dilettante, Godiva, and Ghirardelli. (If anyone has a good online source for imported candy, let me know! I try to buy that stuff in person because whenever I go on Amazon all the reviews are “it was stale and old.”)

Happy holidays! Thanks again for coming to my party. 🙂


And now, Carol’s Christmas bread:

Buttery Danish coffee cake, warm and fragrant from your oven, makes a special breakfast treat almost any way you shape it. But with just a few extra steps— rolling, folding, slashing, and twisting—you can turn this oversize coffee cake into a big fanciful butterfly or heart shape to add to the pleasure of making and serving it.

You can fill the coffee cake with traditional cinnamon-sugar and nuts. Or, for variety, try Danish-style frangipane filling made with almond paste, or tangy apricot—nut filling.

1/3 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (about 110°)
3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Cinnamon-nut, frangipane, or apricot-nut filling (recipes follow)

In a pan, combine milk, sugar, salt, and butter (Cut in pieces). Heat, stirring, to about 110° (butter need not melt completely). In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water; blend in milk mixture. Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and stir to moisten evenly. Beat in eggs, almond extract, and lemon peel until smoothly blended. Then stir in 1 cup of the remaining flour.

Turn dough out onto floured board; knead until smooth and satiny (5 to 20 minutes), adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. Turn dough over in a greased bowl; cover and let rise until doubled (about 1 1/2 hours).

Punch dough down, knead briefly on lightly floured board to release air, and roll into a 12 by 18- inch rectangle. Cover with your choice of fillings to within 1 inch of edges. Starting with a long side, roll up jelly-roll fashion; pinch seam along top to seal. Then fold the roll, tightly pinch ends together, and tuck them under. Place on a large, lightly greased baking sheet and slash and shape the roll for either the butterfly or heart. as shown below.

Cover lightly and let rise until almost doubled (about 45 minutes). Bake in a 350° oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 1 large coffee cake.

Cinnamon—nut filling. Brush dough rectangle with 3 tablespoons melted butter or margarine. Combine 1/4 cup each granulated sugar and firmly packed brown sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon; distribute evenly over buttered area of dough as directed; sprinkle with 3/4 cup sliced almonds.

Frangipane (almond paste) filling. In small bowl of an electric mixer, beat 4 tablespoons butter or margarine (at room temperature) until creamy. Gradually add 1 can (8 oz.) almond paste, 1/2 cup unsifted powdered sugar, 1 egg, and 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel; continue beating until well blended and smooth. Spread over dough rectangle as directed; sprinkle with 3/4 cup sliced almonds.

Apricot-nut filling. In a small pan, combine 1 cup moist-pack dried apricots, chopped; 1/2 cup raisins; and 1/4 cup each water and sugar. Cover; simmer, stir— ring occasionally, until mixture is soft and thick (about 10 minutes). Spread over dough as directed; sprinkle with 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts.

8 thoughts on “Cakes and Ale holiday recipe linkspam!”

  1. These recipes look amazing! I was impressed with the amount of recipes you gathered.
    I am so glad you took this opportunity. You are an awesome hostess! your Christmas bread looks like it would be delicious. I am going to keep this close so that I might do some new Christmas cooking in December. Thank you for your research and secret recipes!

    1. Thanks Vicki! I had a lot of fun putting this together and I know I’ll be referring to it next year! Credit for the Christmas Bread recipe is all Carol’s however. 😉

  2. Carol’s Christmas bread looks great, and the vanilla kipferl are just what my mother made, except the recipe says “butter OR margarine”. Sorry, but making these with margarine is an atrocity! Stick with the real thing.

    1. Oh good! I thought it sounded like your description. 🙂 lol, I’m not sure I’ve ever baked with margarine in my life…I feel like I did buy shortening for a baking project once but I can’t remember what it was.

  3. The Garden & Gun Bourbon Balls are potent! I made them for my garden club Christmas Party a few years ago and a friend described them as “a shot in a cookie.” (G&G is like a Southern Town & Country if you haven’t seen the magazine before.)
    I remember the Strawberry Pretzel Salad as a Tupperware recipe and was served at the Fourth of July in my ‘hood. My mother used to sell Tupperware and that was one of the recipe suggested for one of the rectangular containers.
    I am having so much fun looking at the recipes! Thanks again.

    1. “A shot in a cookie” in a good way, I assume? Because that sounds awesome to me!
      That’s a really cool memory, thanks for sharing. <3 I love Tupperware! I have a special Tupperware (actually I think it's Martha Stewart brand, now I think of it) for carrying devilled eggs and it has improved my life DRAMATICALLY.

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