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Wellness

Exciting Recipes to Help You Stand Out at Holiday Parties

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

The holidays are upon us! I don’t know about you, but the first thing that I think of when I think of the holidays is the food. All those parties with elaborate menus or potluck style get-togethers just warm my heart. However, it can be difficult to decide what to bring sometimes. If you are having trouble finding a recipe or just want to spice up the same old classics, you’ve come to the right place! Below are some of my favorite twists on holiday classics that will make you stand out at your next holiday gathering.

Cornbread with Caramelized Apples and Onions

I know what you’re thinking. Apples and onions in cornbread??? Believe me, I was skeptical at first. But this is one of the best, most unique cornbread recipes I have ever tried. The cornbread comes out so moist and sweet and is perfectly complemented by the addition of caramalized onions and apples. It’s not super complicated to make and it’s easy to slice up and serve. I promise you, you will not regret trying this out.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 medium red apples, thinly sliced
  • 5 tbsp. Sugar
  • 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 ½ cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. Baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk

Directions

Step 1:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in an 8” cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Pour all but 2 tbsp. Butter into a small bowl; set aside.

Step 2:

Add onion to butter in skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add apples, 2 tbsp. Sugar, and 2 tsp. Thyme and cook, stirring often, until apples are softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer onion mixture to a medium bowl.

Step 3:

Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, 1 tsp. Salt, and remaining 3 tbsp. Sugar in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in eggs, buttermilk, and ¾ cup reserved melted butter until smooth. Fold in half of the onion mixture and scrape the batter into an 8 inch skillet or round baking dish. Top with remaining onion mixture and remaining 1 tsp. Thyme.

Step 4:

Bake cornbread until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30-40 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Gingerbread Maple Scones

Gingerbread cookies are an essential around the holidays, but they are also very basic. If you want to go the extra mile and try something a little outside of the box, try these gingerbread maple scones! This recipe is relatively simple compared to some scone recipes I’ve seen, so even if you’re not the most knowledgeable baker, you can do this!

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup butter

Glaze

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk

Directions

Step 1:

In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients except for the butter.

Step 2: 

Once combined, cut in the cubed butter with a fork until it resembles coarse chunks (should be slightly bigger than pea-sized).

Step 3:

Pop the bowl in your freezer and preheat your oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is preheating, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step 4:

Once the oven has reached the baking temperature, place the chilled dough on your baking sheet. Using your hands (wet them, it helps), pat the dough out into a circle that’s 1-1 ½ inches thick.

Step 5:

Cut the circle into 4-6 triangles and bake for 10-12 minutes. DO NOT over-bake. 

Step 6:

Let them completely cool before glazing.

Glaze

Step 1:

Whisk the ingredients in a small bowl.

Step 2: 

Dunk or spoon the glaze over the scones.

Step 3:

Let them sit on a cooling rack to harden.

Salted Honey Butter Parker House Rolls

Perhaps the most important part of any holiday dinner party is the dinner rolls. These dinner rolls are going the extra mile! Packed with flavor and delightfully fluffy, these are game-changers! People will be begging you to bring these to every party.

Ingredients

  • 3 ¼ – 3 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup warm whole milk
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp salted butter at room temp
  • 1 large egg at room temp
  • Flaky sea salt for topping

Honey Butter

  • 6 tbsp salted butter melted
  • 3 tbsp honey

Directions

Step 1:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the warm milk, honey, the egg, and butter. Using the dough hook, mix until the flour is completely incorporated, about 4-5 minutes. If the dough seems sticky, add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or up to a few hours at room temperature. 

Step 2:

To make the honey butter. Combine the butter and honey together in a small bowl. 

Step 3:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Step 4:

Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Turn out the dough, punch it down, and divide the dough in half. Roll each half to a 12-inch square, about 1/4-inch thick. Brush each square with honey butter, saving any leftover butter for serving. Cut each square of dough into 6 strips. Roll each strip into a coil (see above photo) and arrange seam side down in the prepared baking dish. 

Step 5:

Cover the dish and let the rolls rise for about 30 minutes, until they’re puffy. Alternatively, you can let the rolls sit in the fridge overnight.

Step 6:

Bake the rolls for 18-25 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the oven and brush with the remaining honey butter. Pull them apart to serve warm with flaky sea salt.

Autumn Harvest Honeycrisp Apple and Feta Salad

Who says salad can’t be a showstopper? This flavorful, complex salad will capture the attention and the tastebuds of anyone who tries it. No more boring iceberg lettuce and tomato salad. This recipe is loaded with so many different flavors and textures, it’s impossible to be bored!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup raw pecans
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • flaky sea salt
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 6 cups arugula or shredded kale
  • 2 honeycrisp apples, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, diced 
  • arils from 1 pomegranate
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Apple Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple butter (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

Directions

Step 1:

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Step 2:

On the prepared baking sheet, toss together the pecans, pumpkin seeds, maple, cayenne, and cinnamon. Arrange in a single layer. Lay the prosciutto flat around the nuts. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the nuts are toasted and the prosciutto is crisp. Watch both closely. Sprinkle the nuts with sea salt.

Step 3:

Meanwhile, in a large salad bowl, combine the arugula, apples, avocado, and pomegranate arils.

Step 4:

To make the vinaigrette. Combine all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake. Taste and adjust as needed.

Step 5:

Pour the vinaigrette over the salad, tossing to combine. Top the salad with toasted nuts, prosciutto, and feta. Eat and enjoy!

Are you looking for some fun new cookie recipes to try out? I’ve got you covered! Check out my article from last year below where I share with you some of my FAVORITE holiday cookie recipes that are fun to make and sure to impress!

👯‍♀️ Related: Holiday Cookie Recipes You Have to Try

Kallan Doyon

U Conn '23

My name is Kallan! I am a junior at the University of Connecticut. I am a Psychology major. Fun fact about me: I switch my major twice before the second week of school (thank you mental breakdowns). I have a passion for writing and am so excited to finally have an outlet to channel my ideas into. Thank you for reading my work!
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