One of my very favorite parts of the holiday season is the food. While I generally search for healthy alternatives to unhealthy (but delicious) recipes, the holidays are an excuse for me to be a bit more flexible and try ones that call for Paula Deen quantities of butter. Another bonus of the season is that I get access to my parent’s beautiful kitchen…complete with TWO ovens! In terms of kitchen crafts tackled, this year was one for the books. You can find the roundup below, ranked in order from worst to best.
#8: Iced Browned Butter Sugar Cookies by Cooking Light
By the end, these cookies tasted good. They were crispy and sweet and had a distinct butter flavor. Plus, they were gorgeous. Rewind a bit (or several hours) and you’ll find me in the kitchen dismayed at why the dough was so darn crumbly. It took me forever to tweak the recipe to make the dough work with my star-shaped cookie cutter. I ended up adding an egg and lots of flour before the blob resembled dough. I’m not sure I would attempt this one ever again.
#7: Peppermint Whoopie Pies from Macheesmo
Really, these probably deserve a higher rating, but I’m still a little grossed out that they required five (5!) sticks of butter. Nonetheless, they were fluffy and quite good. I loved how the slightly salty chocolate cake/cookie balanced the uber-sweet and pepperminty frosting. As a bonus, I rolled the sides in crushed candy canes for a little crunch.
#6: Popcorn Brittle by Cooking Light
Simple and quick to execute, this recipe resulted in a product less like peanut brittle and more like a delicious sheet of caramel corn with extra caramel. It was helpful to have two sets of hands–especially for the last step of smoothing everything out onto wax paper (thanks, Abby!)
#5: Two-Bean Soup with Kale by Cooking Light
This is a recipe I’ve made before and now commit to keeping in my repertoire. I love that it purees part of the beans as a thickener. Plus, scrunchy kale in a soup is genius. And the rosemary! So good.
#4: Eggnog Fudge from RecipeGirl
Much like Starbucks drinks, I believe at least one holiday dessert must involve peppermint or eggnog flavors. Check and check. While not a “light” choice by any means, this fudge was quick to make and tasted exactly as I hoped: sweet and nutmegy. We snacked on it all week.
#3: Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Ebelskivers by Mags at The Other Side of 50
I used to not know what an ‘ebelskiver’ was, either. But an education can be a delicious thing. As my mom got an ebelskiver pan last year, I learned that making ebelskivers is a Danish tradition, resulting in puffy, spherical pancakes. And they can be filled with scrumptious things, such as fruit, whipped cream, or cheese. I’ve helped make a sweet breakfast version before and was excited when I came upon this savory recipe. They were somewhat tricky, what with the flipping and oozing cheddar and all, but so spicy and cheesy. And what can be better than that?
#2: Easy & Delicious Veggie Chili by Kelli Best-Oliver at Eat.Drink.Better.
This veggie chili was so packed full of flavor and veggies that my carniverous family didn’t mind that it involved no ground meat. Plus, my grandmother from Texas was convinced for much of the night that the Morningstar crumbles were meat. This one is definitely going to be on repeat for us in the coming year.
#1: Guy Fieri’s Spicy Steamed Mussels
True, I played sous chef on this one. But I couldn’t run down the food we made without mentioning THE BEST MUSSELS I’VE EVER HAD. The ingredients were so simple, yet resulted in a perfect broth to flavor the melt-in-your-mouth mussles. I have to give props to Dale on this one for cooking them so perfectly. What a delicous Christmas Eve treat!
After such a week of treats, it has been difficult to adjust to regular food. But I guess that’s what makes times like this so special, eh?
Butter go, (get it?)
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