December 2015 Recipes

Red Velvet Thumbprints
Photo: Hector Sanchez

The holidays are one of our favorite times of year, and at Southern Living our December issue is always filled with mouthwatering recipes. We know how much readers love to enjoy dishes like our Roasted Fennel-and-Prosciutto Flatbread and our Veal Chops Milanese with Lemon and Herbs. To make it simple to keep all these fantastic recipes on hand, here are all the Southern Living December 2015 recipes. Enjoy a drink like the Southern-inspired Peanut Whiskey and Cola, our Southern Lemon Americano, or the simple pleasure of a Hot Chocolate. For a sweet taste of the season, you will love the Gingerbread Baked Alaska and the Praline Cream-Beignet Tower. So plan your holiday menu now and enjoy the Southern Living magazine December 2015 recipes.

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Spice Cake with Cranberry Filling

Spice Cake with Cranberry Filling
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: 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.

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Milk Punch

Milk Punch
Cedric Angeles

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

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Creamy Shrimp Dip with Crispy Wonton Chips

Chicken Liver Mousse Crostini with Pepper Jelly
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: 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.

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Cheese Grit-and-Chive Muffins

Cheese Grit-and-Chive Muffins
Photo: Cedric Angeles

Recipe: Cheese Grit-and-Chive Muffins

These biscuits are a perfectly savory accompaniment to country ham.

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Speakeasy Sparkler

Speakeasy Sparkler
Photo: Alison Miksch

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

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Inside-Out Hot Brown Bites

Inside-Out Hot Brown Bites
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Inside-Out Hot Brown Bites

We've reimagined this signature Kentucky sandwich of bacon, turkey, and cheese sauce into beautiful bite-size cups.

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Chicken Liver Mousse Crostini with Pepper Jelly

Chicken Liver Mousse Crostini with Pepper Jelly
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: 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.

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Smoked Trout Crostini with Radishes and Dill Cream

Smoked Trout Crostini with Radishes and Dill Cream
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: 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.

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Grapefruit-Beet-Goat Cheese Flatbread

Grapefruit-Beet-Goat Cheese Flatbread
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: 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.

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Roasted Fennel-and-Prosciutto Flatbread

Roasted Fennel-and-Prosciutto Flatbread
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: 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.

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Cheddar-Horseradish-Walnut Cheese Ball

Feta-Olive-Fresh Herb Cheese Ball
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Cheddar-Horseradish-Walnut Cheese Ball

You can also shape the cheese mixture into a Yule log.

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Blue Cheese-Red Currant Cheese Ball

Feta-Olive-Fresh Herb Cheese Ball
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: 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.

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Feta-Olive-Fresh Herb Cheese Ball

Feta-Olive-Fresh Herb Cheese Ball
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: 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.

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Petite Sweet Potato Biscuits with Pulled Pork and Slaw

Petite Sweet Potato Biscuits with Pulled Pork and Slaw
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Petite Sweet Potato Biscuits with Pulled Pork and Slaw

The sweet potato biscuits freeze beautifully—thaw, bake, and top them just before serving.

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Spice Chocolate Stout Beer Cocktail

Southern Lemon Americano
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: 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.

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Retro Rum Punch

Southern Lemon Americano
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Retro Rum Punch

This not-too-fruity cocktail is going to be a crowd pleaser.

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Rosemary Collins

Southern Lemon Americano
Photo: Hector Sanchez

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.

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Peanut Whiskey and Cola

Southern Lemon Americano
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Peanut Whiskey and Cola

A Southern childhood favorite gets a grown-up spin just in time for the holidays.

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Southern Lemon Americano

Southern Lemon Americano
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Southern Lemon Americano

This refreshing and refined cocktail is best served in a champagne flute.

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Classic Roasted Duck with Orange-Bourbon-Molasses Glaze

Classic Roasted Duck with Orange-Bourbon-Molasses Glaze
Photo: Alison Miksch

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.

Recipe: Classic Roasted Duck with Orange-Bourbon Molasses Glaze

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Dirty Rice Risotto

Dirty Rice Risotto
Photo: Alison Miksch

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.

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Veal Chops Milanese with Lemon and Herbs

Veal Chops; Photographer: Alison Miksch; Prop Stylist: Caroline Cunningham; Food Stylist: Erin Merhar
Photo: Alison Miksch

Recipe: 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.

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Broccolini with Pecans and Cane Syrup Vinaigrette

Broccolini with Pecans and Cane Syrup Vinaigrette
Photo: Alison Miksch

Recipe: 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.

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Grilled Pork Loin Steaks with Cherry-Plum Sauce

Grilled Pork Loin Steaks with Cherry-Plum Sauce
Alison Miksch

Recipe: 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.

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Spice-Rubbed Tenderloin with Mustard-Cream Sauce

Spice-Rubbed Tenderloin with Mustard-Cream Sauce
Alison Miksch

Recipe: 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.

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Roasted Garlic Duchess Potatoes

Roasted Garlic Duchess Potatoes
Photo: Alison Miksch

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.

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Gnocchi Mac and Cheese

Charred Ambrosia with Toasted Coconut and Marshmallow Crème
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Gnocchi Mac and Cheese

Turn this kid-friendly side into an entrée by serving with a salad and warm, crusty bread.

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Charred Ambrosia with Toasted Coconut and Marshmallow Crème

Charred Ambrosia with Toasted Coconut and Marshmallow Crème
Alison Miksch

Recipe: 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.

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Fontina-Chive Yorkshire Puddings

Charred Ambrosia with Toasted Coconut and Marshmallow Crème
Alison Miksch

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.

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Grilled Cornish Hens with Herb Brine

Grilled Cornish Hens with Herb Brine
Photo: Alison Miksch

Recipe: 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.

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Christmas Salad

Christmas Salad
Alison Miksch

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.

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Hoppin' John Cakes with Tomato-Jalapeño Gravy

Hoppin' John Cakes with Tomato-Jalapeño Gravy
Alison Miksch

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.

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Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan Cream

Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan Cream
Photo: Alison Miksch

Recipe: 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.

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Creamy Shrimp Piccata

Creamy Shrimp Piccata
Photo: Alison Miksch

Save on prep time by buying shrimp peeled and deveined.

Recipe: Creamy Shrimp Piccata

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Belgian Spice Cookies

Belgian Spice Cookies
Photo: Hector Sanchez

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.

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Praline Cream-Beignet Tower

Praline Cream-Beignet Tower
Photo: Linda Pugliese

Recipe: Praline Cream-Beignet Tower

Make the praline filling and dough up to two days ahead.

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Gingerbread Baked Alaska

Gingerbread Baked Alaska
Photo: Linda Pugliese

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.

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Coconut Snowballs

Coconut Snowballs
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Coconut Snowballs

If the melted white chocolate is too firm after it is heated, stir in about 1/4 tsp. coconut oil.

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Pecan-Cranberry Shortbread

Red Velvet Thumbprints
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Pecan-Cranberry Shortbread

Making shortbread with melted butter skips the wait for it to soften.

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Chocolate-Peppermint Crackle Cookies

Red Velvet Thumbprints
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Chocolate-Peppermint Crackle Cookies

For the best "crackle" effect, reroll balls in powdered sugar just before baking to cover any exposed dough.

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Triple Chocolate Brownie-Mousse Stacks

Triple Chocolate Brownie-Mousse Stacks
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: 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.

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5-Ingredient Sugar Cookies

5-Ingredient Sugar Cookies
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: 5-Ingredient Sugar Cookies

When glazing, use a shallow bowl that will accommodate the entire cookie.

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Chocolate-Peppermint Cheesecake

Chocolate-Peppermint Cheesecake
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Chocolate-Peppermint Cheesecake

Don't worry if your cheesecake cracks; the light and fluffy layer of whipped cream will cover it.

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Coconut-Macadamia Nut Pound Cake

Chocolate-Peppermint Cheesecake
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Coconut-Macadamia Nut Pound Cake

Lightly toasting the macadamia nuts brings out their rich, buttery flavor.

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Hot Chocolate

Chocolate-Peppermint Cheesecake
Hector Sanchez

Like your hot cocoa extra-rich? Increase heavy cream to 3 cups, and decrease milk to 1 cup.

Recipe: Hot Chocolate

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Best Homemade Marshmallows

Chocolate-Peppermint Cheesecake
Hector Sanchez

For smooth slices, dust your knife and the individual marshmallows in powdered sugar between each cut.

Recipe: Our Best Homemade Marshmallows

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Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls

Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls
Photo: Hector Sanchez

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.

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Apple-Pecan Streusel Muffins

Apple-Pecan Streusel Muffins
Photo: Alison Miksch

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.

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Smoky Sausage-and-Grits Casserole

Smoky Sausage-and-Grits Casserole
Alison Miksch

Recipe: 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.

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Festive Fresh Fruit Salad with Mint-Lime Simple Syrup

Smoky Sausage-and-Grits Casserole
Alison Miksch

Recipe: 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.

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Mini Chocolate Chess Tarts

Mini Chocolate Chess Tarts
Photo: Alison Miksch

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.

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Cream Cheese Pastries

Brunch for a Crowd Cream Cheese Pastries
Alison Miksch

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.

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Holiday Ham with Apricot Glaze

Holiday Ham with Apricot Glaze
Photo: Alison Miksch

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.

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