Has this ever happened to you? You look at the calendar in shock that Christmas is just 12 (!!!) days away … and you’re not ready. Like, not at all.
Is your home ready? What will you wear? What gifts do you need to buy? What will you cook?
Have no fear, friend. You’re not alone. Let’s cross off that checklist one item at a time and get ready to get holly and jolly with your favorite people. In fact, you might even have some time left over to do some shopping of your own.
We already gave you an original holiday playlist for all your gatherings, fool-proof party looks, a guide to gifting clothing and now we’re sharing some crowd-pleasing holiday party recipes from The Authentic Lee Cookbook. These types of cookbooks are my favorite, because they’re filled with everyone’s best recipes. From cover to cover, all you get is top picks from people you trust.
From those top picks, we narrowed it down to four. It was a challenging task, but we’re confident in our selections. Here are four amazing, fool-proof recipes that are sure to please even the pickiest party-goers:
Go a-wassailing with this spicy party punch from Lee team member, Marilyn. It’s like a warm cup of cozy.
2 ½ c. boiling water
2 Tbsp. instant tea or 6 tea bags
¼ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¾ c. sugar
1 pt. (2 c.) cranberry juice cocktail
1 ½ c. water
½ c. orange juice
1/3 c. lemon juice
Pour boiling water over tea and spices. Cover and let steep for 5 minutes
Strain tea and tea bags then add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add remaining ingredients, except candy canes, and heat just to boiling.
Serve hot with candy canes as stirrers.
2. Chocolate-Hazelnut Biscotti
Not only are these biscotti from Lee team member Kathy’s kitchen delicious, but they make a great presentation. You’ll have everyone fooled to think you labored over them for endless hours. (BONUS: If you have leftovers, these keep well as edible gifts!)
½ c. unsalted butter (room temperature)
¾ c. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. grated orange zest
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 c. hazelnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
Preheat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat together butter, sugar and orange zest. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in vanilla.
In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture and stir to blend thoroughly. Stir in nuts. (The dough will be soft.)
On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Lightly flour each piece and shape into a log 1½ inches in diameter and 8-9 inches long. Place logs about 3” apart on ungreased baking sheet. Press each log down to make it about ¾ inches thick and 3 inches wide. Bake until puffed and lightly browned on top (about 20 minutes). Cool 10 minutes in pan, then slide logs to work surface.
Using a long, sharp knife, cut each log crosswise into ¾-inch thick slices. Make each cut with a single swipe of the blade. (Don’t saw – this breaks the cookies.) Place the cookies, cut side down, on the baking sheet – cookies can touch. Bake 10 minutes; remove from oven and turn each cookie over. Bake until brown, 10-14 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
Place 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate on the tip of each cooled biscotti and spread the chocolate from the tip to the center so the biscotti is nearly half covered. Place the biscotti on a wire rack and let set until the chocolate is hard (2-3 hours). Makes 36.
3. 1-2-3 Milk Punch
This “adult milk punch” from Lee team member, Judy, isn’t as rich as eggnog and is no work at all to make. The richness of the vanilla ice cream balances out the bite of the liquor for a delicious flavor that’s sure to make your evening merry.
2 qt. vanilla ice cream
2 qt. cold milk
2 c. bourbon, brandy or light rum
Grated nutmeg (garnish)
Combine vanilla ice cream and cold milk in a punch bowl 30 min before serving.
When ready to serve, add bourbon, brandy or light rum. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
Note: If preferred, half the amount of spirits may be used. May also use extracts of flavoring to taste in place of spirits.
4. Pumpkin Bars
Venture away from the traditional pumpkin pie with these delicious pumpkin bars from Lee team member, Kay. These can be served as a finger food, meaning less utensils (and less clean-up)!
2 c. sugar
¾ c. vegetable/canola oil
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
2 c. flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 dashes of nutmeg
1 can pumpkin
½ tsp. salt
Chopped nuts for topping (optional)
3 oz. cream cheese
½ c. margarine
1 ½ to 2 c. powdered sugar
Combine all ingredients (except frosting). Pour into square pan. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. As bars are cooling, whip ingredients for frosting well. Frost cooled bars and sprinkle with chopped nuts.
What are your go-to holiday recipes? Tell us in the comments below!