Whether for parties and family gatherings, or for the delight of your own household, these Christmas recipes will be a great success! Tried and tested—and decreed to be absolutely delicious!
1. Holiday Cheese Ball
3 tablespoon finely chopped pecans
1 package (8 ounces) Neufchatel cream cheese (at room temperature)
3 green onions (finely chopped with tops, 1/3 cup)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1/4 cup minced parsley
Preheat the oven to 350° and spread out the pecans in a small pan. Bake, tossing once, for 8 minutes or until toasted. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, place the cream cheese, onions, mustard, red pepper sauce, and garlic. With an electric mixer at moderate speed, beat for 3 minutes or until well blended. Stir in the cheddar cheese. Wrap the mixture in plastic wrap, shape into a 4-inch ball, and chill for 15 minutes.
On wax paper, toss the toasted pecans with the parsley. Unwrap the cheese ball and carefully roll it in the parsley mixture, coating it completely. Rewrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until time to serve. Place the ball on a serving platter and surround with an assortment of crackers.
2. Macadamia Biscotti
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on high, beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Beat in the eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Blend to combine. Stir in the nuts.
Halve the dough and, with lightly oiled hands, roll each half into a log about 2 inches thick and 12 inches long. Place the logs on the baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes, or until golden.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place on a rack to cool.
Transfer the logs to a breadboard. Using a serrated knife, slice them about 3/4 inch thick at a 45 degree angle. To avoid crumbling, use firm, decisive strokes. Place the slices flat on a baking sheet and return to a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes, turning once, to dry them.
Cool on a rack. The cookies will keep in an airtight container for two to three weeks.
3. Chilean Christmas bread from Chile
2 cups SR flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
100 grams glaced cherries
1 teaspoon cognac or brandy
1 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup sultanas and chopped almonds (mixed)
1/2 cup glace fruit
115 grams butter
grated rind 1 lemon
1. Sift flour.
2. Cut butter into pieces.
3. Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and mix well.
4. Add sultanas and almonds, glace fruit, lemon rind, vanilla, cherries, and cognac to flour.
5. Mix well and pour into a buttered mould.
6. Bake at 150 celcius for 1 1/2 hours.
4. Candy Cane Sugar Twist Cookies Recipe
1 C. butter, softened
1 C. confectioner's sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. peppermint extract
2 1/2 C. sifted flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cream of tartar
2 T. of red food coloring (for Candy Cane Sugar cookies only)
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and almond extract. Set aside. Mix the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar together. Stir into the butter mixture. Divide the dough in half and add the red food coloring to half the dough. Refrigerate dough for one hour.
Take one teaspoon of each color of dough and roll out into 4 inch long strips. Lay the strips side by side and twist together to make a red and white striped rope. Place the dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. Turn the end into a curve to make the canes handle. Repeat this procedure to make 12 canes.
Place one inch apart on baking sheet. Bake at 375° F. for 10 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Anne Clarke writes numerous articles for websites on gardening, parenting, recreation, education and décor. Her background includes teaching and gardening. For more of her articles about holiday meals and sweets, please visit Christmas Recipes.