Festive Dishes for Christmas

Seasons greetings!

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you all had a wonderful day celebrating! I definitely celebrate it and believe it was a hit for us!

The first time ever, our family worked together to make a wonderful product for when my aunt, uncle, and cousins came over. I made dessert. My little sister and I helped peel potatoes, and chop up vegetables. And then when in crisis, we both dropped everything and helped out as well.

And yes, a crisis did happen.

My mom had went out to walk Austin before everyone came over, while she was walking him I heard a loud bang and immediately thought “Shit, that’ll make the walk short” (Austin is terrified of loud noises). Shortly after that bang, the house phone rang and I told my sister to go answer it as I continue cleaning some dishes. As soon as she answered the phone she went outside. I thought this was rather odd so I followed her and realized that that loud bang I’d heard had terrified Austin to the point of pulling free from moms grip on the leash. He was missing in the night without mom and could possibly hurt himself. We instantly returned to the house to put on shoes and a jacket and go out in the night to find our furry friend. I quickly went up to Dad who was showering and told him what happened and what we were doing and we were gone. Luckily in under ten minutes we found him. A couple was walking towards us and had a Malinois in a broken leash. I walked towards them and called out to Austin and realized it was him. I was elated. I explained what had happened and thanked them profusely. Right after I had Austin in my hand, mom was notified and we all relaxed a little.

Austin loves Christmas
Austin loves Christmas

After that, the night went rather smoothly.

When everyone came we started the night with a punch. It was perfect! Everyone loved it.

It called for the following:

1 container of Strawberries, washed and sliced
1 Bottle White Zinfandel
½ a 2L Bottle of Lemonade
½ a 2L bottle of Ginger ale

Alongside this punch I made a few trays of vegetables as an appetizer.

Vegetable TreeAll you really need to do is choose an assortment of vegetables and make a Christmas tree out of them. The cauliflower in this case would be considered presents while the broccoli is the tree and the tomatoes the garland. The pretzels are obviously the trunk of the tree.

We served the vegetable Christmas tree with hummus and onion dip.

We then had a massive dinner with a 6 kg turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, a creamy salad, green beans with bacon, and it seemed like so much more.

By the end of that meal, I was afraid no one had room for more. But luckily most people love desserts, so they definitely enjoyed what came next.

Santa Brownies

What was left of the Other Desserts
What was left of the Other Desserts

For the brownie hats here is the recipe I followed:

Ingredients

  • 1 pan of brownies (made from a mix, I made Albert Heijn Excellent Brownies)
  • small strawberries (tops cut off)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter -softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 TB half and half
  • 1/2 t vanilla

Instructions

  1. Cut brownies into small circles with a shot glass once brownies have cooled from oven. (I put the brownies in the fridge overnight and then began cutting the shapes I wanted – this did not work as we thought, so always cut fresh brownies!)
  2. For frosting, combine butter, powdered sugar, half and half, and vanilla in large bowl. Beat with a mixer until icing is thick and creamy. 
  3. Next top cream on brownie shapes and add chopped strawberries on frosting. Then add a small dollop of cream on top of strawberry to make a Santa hat. 
  4. Cool until ready to serve later.

On the second platter you could see shortbread cookies with maraschino cherries, pumpkin gingerbread cake wedges, and raw brownie bites. 

For the shortbread cookies one really doesn’t need to follow a recipe. It is shockingly straight forward. I never knew. But here is the recipe I did in fact follow:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup icing (powdered) sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • red and green maraschino cherries, halved

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325ᵒF (170ᵒC)

  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine butter, icing sugar, and flour.  Using the whisk attachment, mix on medium-high speed for several minutes until fully incorporated.  Turn the mixer to high speed and whip the batter for 10 minutes until it is very, very light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl every minute.

  3. Once cookie dough is mixed place in piping bag and begin to pipe cookies into 1.5 – 2″ thick circles. For each cookie add a halved cherry to the center. Cook for 15-16 minutes. (If you do not have a piping bag then just roll small balls of dough and keep them ¾ an inch away from each other. Cookies will flatten out when in oven.)

  4. If cookies have not reached a golden state, allow to cook a little longer than instructed. Remove from oven and allow to cool then place on cooling rack to further cooling process. 

  5. Enjoy!

For the Pumpkin Gingerbread cake, I wasn’t the one to make these so I am not completely sure what recipe was used, but this recipe looks awfully similar to what I came across when walking into the kitchen looking for food. When mom made this… WOW. The house smelled 100% like winter. Truly amazing. I definitely advice you to make that recipe.

Now for the Raw Brownies! I was thinking of making these for a while, but at home my mom doesn’t have a food processor and I assumed they wouldn’t like it. Oddly enough though, both mom AND dad liked the raw brownies. Who would’ve thought?! The recipe I followed was SO easy.

So dad and I popped over at my apartment and picked up my small food processor after we did some last minute Christmas shopping on Sunday, the 22nd.

At de Beijenkorf
At de Beijenkorf

And of course while Daddy and I were out shopping I HAD to get a photo with Santa. This was taken at de Bijenkorf. He made my day.

Once we got home I started with my raw brownies mix:

  • 1 cup pecans 
  • 1 cup dates
  • 5 tablespoons raw cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

1. Place pecans alone in your food processor and process until the pecans become small and crumbly.

2. Add dates to the raw brownie recipe and process again until the mixture sticks together and the dates are well processed.

3. Add the remaining ingredients to this raw brownie recipe and process again until the mixture turns a lovely dark chocolatey brown. Stop processing before it gets too buttery. (There should still be air between the small bits so that you will be able to press them down into your brownie pan.)

4. Dump the mixture into a brownie dish or small cake pan and press down firmly using your clean hands. You can even add the brownie mix to a plastic container. 

5. Refrigerate this raw brownie recipe for a couple of hours. You do not have to refrigerate it, but it is much easier to slice when chilled. By the way, this is actually a raw brownie recipe that keeps its shape! So it can be good for serving to non-raw fooders because the presentation of this raw brownie recipe is good when chilled.

6. Store this raw brownie recipe in the refrigerator if it lasts that long!

Because my food processor is super tiny, I halved my mixing. Luckily the recipe is that easy to follow that it worked out perfectly!

These were my lovely desserts for the family. My two cousins LOVED everything, which was great. I am pretty sure both of them left our household with a food baby in their bellies. While my aunt always loves my sweet things. I am pretty confident that she may be my biggest fan and I love it!

Anyway, I hope you all had a lovely week so far and are preparing for what is to come in 2014! Keep having fun and living life!

De Bijenkorf Tree

The Passage in Den Haag
The Passage in Den Haag
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