In my family, we always start off the holidays by baking. Every year, my dad cooks Thanksgiving dinner while my aunt, my sisters, and I make breakfast and dessert treats. This tradition always begins the holiday season on the right foot. With all the tragedy surrounding this year, my family is determined to make the best holiday treats yet, and you can too! This year has been filled with lots of ups and downs, but food makes everything better. We try to incorporate some new and some old recipes every year, and this year, we are trying out the recipes below. You and your family can try these recipes this holiday season and make the end of the year a little brighter.
Spiced Banana-Chocolate Muffins
Recipe from the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen
These muffins could serve as either a breakfast or a dessert. It’s a perfect way to incorporate some healthy food in your breakfast with fruit to prepare you for a day full of treats! These banana muffins are especially delicious when topped with a chocolate drizzle. This is a simple recipe that only takes about a half hour to prep and bake.
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. chia seeds
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/4 cup mashed banana (from about 3 very ripe medium bananas)
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large egg, beaten
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (60 to 70% cacao), melted
Preheat the oven to 400 ˚F. Line 18 muffin-pan cups with paper liners.
In a large bowl, put oats, flour, sugar, chia seeds, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger and whisk.
In a medium bowl, stir together bananas, buttermilk, oil, and egg. Fold banana mixture into flour mixture.
Divide among 18 cups in muffin pan.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into centers of muffins comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from the pan; cool completely on the wire rack.
Drizzle tops with chocolate.
Recipe from the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen
If you love apple pie and can’t wait for dessert to eat it, start your day off with a preview with these delicious apple fritters. Making apple fritters is quite simple and also quite tasty. They only take about 30 minutes to make. These deep fried donut holes are guaranteed to start off your Thanksgiving morning with a burst of holiday joy!
Canola oil, for frying
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. apple pie spice, divided
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup fresh apple cider
1 large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 large Granny Smith apple
Fill a large Dutch oven with 1½ inches oil and heat to 350 ˚F. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine granulated sugar and ½ tsp pie spice; set aside.
In another large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and remaining ½ teaspoon pie spice.In a separate bowl, whisk together cider, egg and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
Peel and core apple. Coarsely grate half the apple and cut the remaining half into ¼-in. pieces. Gently fold into batter.
Working in batches, drop spoonfuls of batter (about 2 tbsp each) into oil. Fry, turning once, until golden brown, 2 to 4 min.
Toss warm fritters in sugar-spice mixture. Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Recipe by Laura Miyashiro
It’s a sandwich cookie delight! These cookies consist of a cookie sandwich with two cookies and a creamy white filling in the middle. These whoopie pies are a twist on the traditional chocolate pies. Instead of chocolate cookies, this recipe calls for a taste of autumn to make the perfect Thanksgiving dessert.
3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened, divided
1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin puree (about 2 cups), preferably chilled
2 large eggs
3 tsp. pure vanilla extract, divided
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp. maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin spice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
In a separate large bowl using a hand mixer, beat brown sugar, vegetable oil, 1/2 cup butter, pumpkin puree, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until smooth. Add dry ingredients and stir until combined. (The dough will be sticky and soft.)
Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 2” between each cookie. Bake until springy to touch, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Make filling: In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together remaining 1/2 cup butter and cream cheese. Add powdered sugar, maple syrup and remaining 2 teaspoons vanilla and beat until fluffy.
Spread filling onto the bottoms of half of the cookies. Place the remaining cookies, bottom side-down, on top. Serve immediately or store in the fridge in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.
Struffoli is my personal favorite holiday dessert. It is a long-standing tradition in my family to make struffoli every holiday season for dessert. This dessert is, at its core, small, deep fried dough balls, rolled in honey and topped with sprinkles—preferably rainbow sprinkles to truly encompass the holiday spirit. This is my aunt’s own recipe for struffoli that anyone can make!
5 cups flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter – softened
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 cups vegetable oil
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients above except the eggs and honey.
When all is mixed, add the eggs and knead.
Roll the dough into skinny strips and then cut into tiny pieces.
Fry each piece in the vegetable oil in a pot on the stove.
Add the honey while the struffoli is still hot.
Cool then add nonpareils.
Here are some other treats my family has deemed successful over the years that you can try too:
Brie and Apple Tart
Strawberry Cheesecake Flapjacks
Raspberry Swirl Rolls
Glazed Berry Breakfast Tarts
Pumpkin Spice Pretzel Bites
Caramel Apple Crescents