Eight delicious recipes to make this winter vacation

Whether it’s a gingerbread house decorated with frosting snow and colorful sugar beads, or a creamy hot chocolate topped with a giant melting marshmallow, winter and the holidays are filled with many special treats. Making food is always fun, be it baking or cooking, and eating whatever you’ve made is arguably better. Read on for a few special treats to make and enjoy during the holidays this year.

1. Lemon Blueberry Cake

Lemon Blueberry Cake (Pravar Mukkala)

Lemons are largely considered a winter fruit because of their juiciness this season. Add some blueberries, and you have a match made in heaven. The combination stars in this cake. Cream cheese frosting tops the cake as a perfect accompaniment to fruity cakes. You may use fresh or frozen blueberries in the recipe, but be sure to use real lemons; you need the juice and zest of the fruit, which adds a tangy, sour flavor.  Get the recipe here.

2. Dipped Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Peppermint Chocolate Cookies (Pravar Mukkala)

Peppermint is a huge winter flavor. The candy canes’ distinctive red-and-white pattern contrasts with the sheen of the just-melted chocolate on these cookies, which are made from a chocolate-flavored dough. Peppermint extract is also an integral part of the batter, and gives the cookies their wintery feel. If you don’t have peppermint extract, you can use ground-up candy canes as a substitute. However, a small amount of extract has the same flavor of a lot of candy canes, so you may want to experiment with the recipe. Here’s the recipe.

3. Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding

Many people have only heard of a self-saucing pudding becuase of The Great British Baking Show. However, they are a thing in the real world. To make this, the batter is baked over or under some ingredients that mix together in the oven to create a sauce. The sauce provides moisture and flavor to the baked cake. This self-saucing pudding is so rich, and the sauce is like a syrup. Get the recipe here.

4. Gingerbread Fudge

Nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon are all spices used in gingerbread recipes. They give gingerbread the spiciness that goes well with the sugar and molasses in many recipes. This fudge recipe simplifies gingerbread that needs to be baked into something more manageable and keeps it Christmas-y. Get the recipe here.

5. Inside Out Red Velvet Cookies

Inside Out Red Velvet Cookies (Pravar Mukkala)

Red velvet is not chocolate or vanilla, it is a bit of both and even more. These chewy red velvet cookies take the recipe from good to great by stuffing the cookie dough balls with cream cheese frosting. The tangy, chocolate-vanilla cookies go well with the sweet and also tangy cream cheese frosting. Be sure to freeze your dough and frosting so they are easier to work with, and chill the filled dough balls as well. That allows the cookies to be much chewier. Here’s the recipe.

6. Best Peppermint Bark

Essentially a slab of white chocolate, dark chocolate, and peppermint, peppermint bark screams winter. Layered melted chocolate mixed with peppermint extract is set and solidified, ready to be broken apart and devoured. This is the recipe.

7. Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (Pravar Mukkala)

Have any leftover canned pumpkin from Thanksgiving? Well, here’s your chance to get a wonderfully fluffy cake slathered with frosting on top! With all of the pumpkin spice essentials, this cake will not disappoint. This is the recipe.

8. Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Peppermint Hot Chocolate (Pravar Mukkala)

And to finish off, here’s a recipe I crafted myself! Hot chocolate, while not a baking recipe, is still a winter staple. It’s something that helps keep you warm in the bitter cold that comes with December and January, and the combination of chocolate with peppermint is always worth it. Try the recipe below!

Makes 1 large or 2 small servings

1 1/2 cups whole milk

2 tbsp heavy cream

1 tbsp sifted powdered sugar (feel free to add more to taste)

3 mini candy canes/1 normal sized candy cane

Peppermint extract to taste

2 oz finely chopped chocolate (feel free to add more)

1 tbsp cocoa powder (optional)

Vanilla extract (optional)

  • Crush candy canes with a rolling pin or crack them with something hard
  • Heat milk and heavy cream in a saucepan. Stir in sifted powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and crushed candy canes.
  • Once milk is heated but not boiling, remove milk from heat and stir in chopped chocolate until melted. If needed, reheat so that all of the chocolate melts.
  • Add peppermint and vanilla extracts.
  • Top with whipped cream, a marshmallow, and a few more crushed candy canes!