December 2015 Recipes
Spice Cake with Cranberry Filling
Pipe a ring of frosting around the cake layer, just inside the top edge, to keep filling from oozing out.
Milk punch is a hallowed tradition in New Orleans. Although it's often made with bourbon and brandy, this recipe uses rum.
Recipe: Milk Punch
Creamy Shrimp Dip with Crispy Wonton Chips
If you don't have time to make fried wontons, use fancy potato chips or crispy tortilla chips.
Cheese Grit-and-Chive Muffins
Recipe: Cheese Grit-and-Chive Muffins
These biscuits are a perfectly savory accompaniment to country ham.
This festive Champagne sparkler gets a lift from moonshine and limoncello. You can purchase any number of fine bottles of handcrafted moonshine at your local package store.
Recipe: Speakeasy Sparkler
Inside-Out Hot Brown Bites
Recipe: Inside-Out Hot Brown Bites
We've reimagined this signature Kentucky sandwich of bacon, turkey, and cheese sauce into beautiful bite-size cups.
Chicken Liver Mousse Crostini with Pepper Jelly
For a different presentation, make this mousse in a 1 1/2-qt. ovenproof dish instead of small jars.
Smoked Trout Crostini with Radishes and Dill Cream
For a fresh appetizer, try the smoked trout crostini with radishes and dill cream. An appetizer consisting of sour cream spread on a triangle of toasted crostini and topped with smoked trout and radishes will give guests a break from warm appetizers typically served at a dinner party. These perfect little triangles also offer a beautiful presentation, fooling guests into believing you worked much harder than you did on this appetizer. A fresh squeeze of lemon juice will also give guests the burst of freshness that will perfectly balance out your appetizer platter. For an even more colorful spread, replace the trout with smoked salmon.
Grapefruit-Beet-Goat Cheese Flatbread
Garnished with golden beets, red grapefruit, and goat cheese, this bright appetizer will look great on any appetizer tray. The appetizer is elegant enough to be served at any upscale dinner or cocktail party, yet simple enough for guests to enjoy at a casual dinner party or a game night. It is great alternative to pizza and a wonderful vegetarian option to have on the menu. Not to mention, nothing says refreshing more than fresh mint leaves and toasted pine nuts also give crunch to the flatbread appetizer. Letting bakery pizza dough rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes also makes it easier to knead.
Roasted Fennel-and-Prosciutto Flatbread
Topped with traditional Italian flavors such as fresh thyme and oregano and gooey fontina cheese, this flatbread will surely be a crowd pleaser. Crushed red pepper adds an extra kick while a balsamic glaze takes the flavor palette to the next level. The natural paring of fennel and prosciutto marry this appetizer in a harmonious way that will leave guests searching for seconds. Cook the flatbread until the crust is golden brown, and broil the pizza for one minute for perfectly melted cheese. Substituting sweet onion for fennel and bacon for prosciutto is also a great alternative that still serves up delicious flavor in this flatbread appetizer.
Cheddar-Horseradish-Walnut Cheese Ball
You can also shape the cheese mixture into a Yule log.
Blue Cheese-Red Currant Cheese Ball
Perfect for the holidays, this blue cheese-red currant cheese ball can be served with gingersnaps on a beautiful cheese or dip platter. Held together by cream cheese, crumbled blue cheese and coated with currants, guests will enjoy the smooth and creamy texture of the appetizer with a little added texture. The strong ginger flavor will also help to enhance the flavor of the blue cheese while also bringing out the hint of lemon zest and red currant jam. You can shape the cheese mixture into a Yule log during the holiday season or into a regular ball shape for any other special occasion.
Feta-Olive-Fresh Herb Cheese Ball
Closely related to the blue cheese-red currant cheese ball, this appetizer will wow guests with big flavors packed in such a simple dish. Feta and cream make this creamy appetizer while flat-leaf parsley and finely chopped green onion give a burst of freshness and crunch to the outside. The bright green appearance will also draw guests to aesthetically appeasing appetizer that is best served with cucumber slices. Other ingredients including green olives, hot sauce, lemon zest, and Worcestershire sauce add another layer of flavor to balance out the others. Add a little holiday flair by shaping this cheese mixture into a Yule log or keep it traditional in a classic cheese ball shape.
Petite Sweet Potato Biscuits with Pulled Pork and Slaw
The sweet potato biscuits freeze beautifully—thaw, bake, and top them just before serving.
Spice Chocolate Stout Beer Cocktail
Brandy, simple syrup, chocolate stout, and a cinnamon stick come together to form the beer-lover's new favorite cocktail.
Retro Rum Punch
Recipe: Retro Rum Punch
This not-too-fruity cocktail is going to be a crowd pleaser.
Recipe: Rosemary Collins
Have all the fixings for this easy cocktail on the bar cart this holiday season to ensure you're always ready for drop-in guests.
Peanut Whiskey and Cola
Recipe: Peanut Whiskey and Cola
A Southern childhood favorite gets a grown-up spin just in time for the holidays.
Southern Lemon Americano
Recipe: Southern Lemon Americano
This refreshing and refined cocktail is best served in a champagne flute.
Classic Roasted Duck with Orange-Bourbon-Molasses Glaze
The secret to crispy skin is a dry duck. Pat ducks with a paper towel before, during, and after refrigerating. Store uncovered in the back, coldest part of your fridge for up to two days ahead.
Dirty Rice Risotto
Recipe: Dirty Rice Risotto
Adding hot broth slowly to the mixture helps release the starch from the rice, giving the risotto its characteristic creamy texture.
Veal Chops Milanese with Lemon and Herbs
Ask your butcher to "french" the chops for you so you take home clean meat that's ready to prep.
Broccolini with Pecans and Cane Syrup Vinaigrette
Easy, in-a-pinch substitutions: Use molasses for cane syrup and broccoli florets in place of fresh Broccolini. Pomegranate seeds add a festive touch.
Grilled Pork Loin Steaks with Cherry-Plum Sauce
Make the Cherry-Plum Sauce three to four days ahead, and reheat over low heat. If it's too thick, add water, a little at a time, until it reaches desired consistency.
Spice-Rubbed Tenderloin with Mustard-Cream Sauce
Since beef tenderloin doesn't have much fat, it can easily become dry and overcooked. For tender slices, don't cook past a meat thermometer registering 130° in the center.
Roasted Garlic Duchess Potatoes
Recipe: Roasted Garlic Duchess Potatoes
Want to make a fancy presentation and don't have a pastry bag? A 1-gallon zip-top plastic freezer bag will do the trick. Simply snip a small hole in one corner of the bag, and pipe.
Gnocchi Mac and Cheese
Recipe: Gnocchi Mac and Cheese
Turn this kid-friendly side into an entrée by serving with a salad and warm, crusty bread.
Charred Ambrosia with Toasted Coconut and Marshmallow Crème
Because the marshmallow-egg white mixture isn't cooked, it's necessary to use pasteurized egg whites.
Fontina-Chive Yorkshire Puddings
Recipe: Fontina-Chive Yorkshire Puddings
Don't skip the first step: For the fluffiest, puffiest puddings, make sure the muffin pan is super hot. You can also make these in popover pans.
Grilled Cornish Hens with Herb Brine
If you don't own kitchen shears, that's ok—a pair of heavy-duty scissors will work just as well.
Recipe: Christmas Salad
A warm vinaigrette will soften these sturdy greens, but their structure will hold up for up to an hour or two on a holiday buffet. Prep all the ingredients ahead of time, and store in individual zip-top plastic freezer bags in your refrigerator until ready to toss with warm vinaigrette. We love Chiogia beets, with their candy-striped interiors, for this recipe.
Hoppin' John Cakes with Tomato-Jalapeño Gravy
We suggest cooking rice one to two days ahead of time so it has time to dry out.
Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan Cream
For the most tender Brussels sprouts, look in your produce section for sprouts sold on the stalk. Then cut off the sprouts, and store in a zip-top plastic freezer bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge.
Creamy Shrimp Piccata
Save on prep time by buying shrimp peeled and deveined.
Recipe: Creamy Shrimp Piccata
Belgian Spice Cookies
Recipe: Belgian Spice Cookies
To create a lacy design on these cookies (also known as Speculoos), place a stencil or doily over the cooled cookies before dusting with powdered sugar.
Praline Cream-Beignet Tower
Recipe: Praline Cream-Beignet Tower
Make the praline filling and dough up to two days ahead.
Gingerbread Baked Alaska
Recipe: Gingerbread Baked Alaska
The mixing bowl from a heavy-duty stand mixer makes a perfect mold for assembling the cake and ice cream. Be sure your plastic wrap extends well beyond your bowl to completely cover your cake and ice cream mixture.
Recipe: Coconut Snowballs
If the melted white chocolate is too firm after it is heated, stir in about 1/4 tsp. coconut oil.
Red Velvet Thumbprints
Recipe: Red Velvet Thumbprints
There's no need to use a pastry bag to fill cookies. Just transfer the frosting to a zip-top plastic freezer bag, and snip the corner.
Recipe: Pecan-Cranberry Shortbread
Making shortbread with melted butter skips the wait for it to soften.
Chocolate-Peppermint Crackle Cookies
For the best "crackle" effect, reroll balls in powdered sugar just before baking to cover any exposed dough.
Triple Chocolate Brownie-Mousse Stacks
Allow plenty of time to make fillings, and immediately assemble stacks. You can chill the assembled stacks up to 24 hours ahead of time.
5-Ingredient Sugar Cookies
Recipe: 5-Ingredient Sugar Cookies
When glazing, use a shallow bowl that will accommodate the entire cookie.
Recipe: Chocolate-Peppermint Cheesecake
Don't worry if your cheesecake cracks; the light and fluffy layer of whipped cream will cover it.
Coconut-Macadamia Nut Pound Cake
Recipe: Coconut-Macadamia Nut Pound Cake
Lightly toasting the macadamia nuts brings out their rich, buttery flavor.
Like your hot cocoa extra-rich? Increase heavy cream to 3 cups, and decrease milk to 1 cup.
Recipe: Hot Chocolate
Best Homemade Marshmallows
For smooth slices, dust your knife and the individual marshmallows in powdered sugar between each cut.
Recipe: Our Best Homemade Marshmallows
Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls
Recipe: Chistmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls
Make sure your butter is very soft when you spread it on the rolled dough so the dough doesn't tear.
Apple-Pecan Streusel Muffins
Recipe: Apple-Pecan Streusel Muffins
These muffins are simple enough to make with kids. Reheat by wrapping in foil and popping into a 325° oven for 15 minutes.
Smoky Sausage-and-Grits Casserole
The key to this delicious brunch dish is in the smoked sausage. Salt, thyme, garlic powder, and cheddar cheese give depth to the casserole’s savory flavor, but the most rich and filling flavor comes from the sausage. Choose local links for unique flavor. We love Conecuh Hickory Smoked Sausage, made in Evergreen, Alabama, since 1947. You can also opt for a breakfast sausage, flavored with sage and black pepper, for a classic breakfast dish. Low on time? You can assemble this up to four days ahead, and keep in the fridge; then let it stand at room temp for 30 minutes before baking.
Festive Fresh Fruit Salad with Mint-Lime Simple Syrup
Mint-Lime Simple Syrup may be kept in refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Use leftovers in cocktails and to sweeten iced tea. Or spoon it over any fresh fruit.
Mini Chocolate Chess Tarts
Recipe: Mini Chocolate Chess Tarts
If you make tarts often, Pam suggests investing in a tart tamper. It will make quick work of fitting dough rounds into the pan. Another quick-prep tip: Stack piecrusts to cut multiple rounds in one turn.
Cream Cheese Pastries
Recipe: Cream Cheese Pastries
Pam found this recipe in an old issue of Southern Living and was making this family favorite long before joining the staff in 2003.
Holiday Ham with Apricot Glaze
Recipe: Holiday Ham with Apricot Glaze
Refrigerate any leftover ham in individual servings. In the days after Christmas when your house is still full and your energy is waning, this will make it easy for guests to fix a meal on their own.