The arrival of November, and the crisper air that comes along with it, can only mean one thing… it’s time for the holidays! It’s never too early to turn on Christmas movies, make some hot chocolate, and bring out the box of decorations, right? Well it’s also never too early to start practicing some new recipes for the season, either. Typically, apple and pumpkin pies are thought of around the end of the year; though, this is no ordinary year. Here are some simple, yet unique, recipes to try this holiday season!
- Mini Cheesecakes
Did someone say cheesecake? Cheesecake is the perfect dessert for any time of year, but what makes this recipe new and exciting is that they are mini! Seriously, everything mini is better: cupcakes, mini M&Ms, munchkins. Plus, these mini cheesecakes are the perfect size for the holidays, as your friends and family will be able to try one while also filling up their dessert plate with other goodies, too. I first made these for my girlfriend’s graduation, (trying to make up for the fact that COVID-19 stripped her of a real celebration), and she raved about them. We have probably made them five more times since then, because they are not only absolutely delicious, but they are super easy to make! When I think of cheesecake, I think of how difficult it may be to make, but this recipe makes it super user-friendly, with only a few ingredients and not much work. Plus, the vanilla wafer crust on the bottom is so soft, and it doesn’t hurt to eat a few from the box while they bake!
- Salted Caramel Chocolate Pretzel Bars
These bars make the perfect sweet and salty snack for any time of year. The holidays can be extremely busy, but this recipe will only take about 20-30 minutes of your time, and there are only four ingredients: chocolate chips, pretzels, caramel bits, and sea salt. I have to say that this is one of the easiest recipes I have ever tried, not to mention how addicting they were. I found myself going back for “just one more” like three more times. So, it might be best to make two batches, since they will probably vanish as soon as you set the tray down!
- Cheese Danish
Who knew a homemade cheese Danish could taste just like one from Starbucks, if not better? This recipe, like the rest, tastes like it requires a lot more effort than it really does. Simply stir the filling ingredients together (basically softened cream cheese, flour, and sugar), then spread the cheesy-goodness over rolled out crescent dough, and pop it into the oven. Soon, your home will be transformed by the smell of delectable pastry and cream cheese, as if you just entered a bakery. Once I smelled it for the first time, I decided this Danish had to be a holiday tradition. Something about the aroma and the light, flaky texture of the crust transported me to wintertime and reminded me of holiday mornings with my family. This baked treat is a must for the holiday season!
- Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies
These, while they might not scream “holiday treat,” are perfect for this upcoming season. Just a few ingredients – peanut butter, bananas, oats, and chocolate chips, if desired – are listed in the recipe for this healthy cookie. Simply mix all of these together and spoon teaspoon-sized balls onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheets, and they’ll be ready after just under ten minutes of baking at 350 degrees! Not only are they easy to make, they are simple enough to pop in your mouth during your busy day. Schedules around the holiday season can be packed with shopping, visiting people, cleaning, cooking, and more. These are a simple tasty treat that is also nutritious – the perfect snack for those busy days!
Baking always relieves me of stress; I find it is the perfect activity to boost your mood, especially the part where you get to taste the batter! Try one (or all) of these recipes by yourself or with a friend this season, and I am sure it will bring you some much needed joy!