Read on for some inspired holiday desserts:
Baked Apples Stuffed with Dried Fruit and Pecans
- 8 red apples (gala or rome beauty)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots
- 4 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
- 1 cup apple cider
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- Core apples. Peel about 1/3 down apple.
- Stand apples up in a large ceramic or glass pie plate and make four evenly spaced vertical cuts starting from top of each apple and stopping halfway from bottom to keep apple intact.
- Brush inside and outside of peeled apple with lemon juice.
- Toss together apricots, pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl.
- Rub softened butter into dried fruit mixture with fingers until combined well.
- Pack center of each apple with mixture. Put a piece of remaining butter on top of each apple. Pour cider around apples and cover pie plate tightly with foil.
- Bake in middle of oven, basting once, until apples are just tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes.
- Remove foil and continue to bake until apples are very tender but not falling apart, 20-30 minutes more.
- Transfer to serving dishes and spoon sauce over and around apples.
Sweet Apple Dumplings
- 1/4 cup raisins, soaked in brandy
- 8 apples
- 1 pound prepared pie dough
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 teaspoons water
- Roll out pastry to a thickness of no more than 1/8 inch.
- Using a sharp paring knife, cut into 8 squares. Then, cut each square into a triangle. Cut as many leaf shapes as possible from the pastry scraps, and use the back of a knife to make leaf vein markings.
- Set aside; Keep pastry chilled on parchment-lined or water-sprayed baking sheets until ready to use
- Heat oven to 400ºF.
- Mix sugar, cinnamon, raisins and walnuts in a small bowl. Set aside. Peel apple, but do not remove the stems. Core each piece carefully from the bottom to within 3/4 inch of the top; take care to leave the stems intact.
- Fill each apple with some of the sugar-cinnamon mixture and dot with butter.
- Invert each apple onto the center of a triangle of pastry. Bring the edges of the pastry together, moisten them with water and pinch or press to seal.
- Garnish with dumplings as desired by pasting the leaves on with water.
- Place fruits on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill until ready to bake.
- Mix egg and 2 teaspoons water; lightly brush each dumpling with mixture and bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and nicely browned.
- 2 cups muscat raisins
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- 2 cups shredded coconut
- 2 boxes white cake mix
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 12 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 cups butter
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- zest from 3 oranges
- Prepare cake mix in four round cake pans according to package instructions, adding in vanilla and almond extract. Allow to cool.
- To make the frosting, stir egg yolks and sugar together in the top of a double boiler over simmering water and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and pale in color. Gradually add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, and cook, continuing to stir constantly, until the mixture is thick and translucent. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the bourbon, vanilla and almond extracts. Stir in the fruit, nuts, and coconut and cool slightly to a spreadable consistency before using, about 10 minutes.
- Place one cake layer on a plate and spread the top with a thin layer of frosting; repeat with each layer, and then frost the sides.
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted, cooled
- 3 tablespoons golden brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
- 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- large pinch of salt.
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick)
- 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- 1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted, cooled.
Directions for crust:
- Heat oven to 350°F with a rack in the center.
- Assemble a 9-inch springform pan.
- Combine pecans, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until nut mixture sticks together.
- Press firmly into bottom of pan. Bake crust until golden, about 10-12 minutes.
Directions for filling:
- With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, and lemon peel until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, then add pumpkin, sour cream, flour, vanilla, spices and salt; mix until smooth.
- Place springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Pour filling into pan and gently smooth top.
- Bake 2 hours.
- Let cool 30 minutes.
- Refrigerate in springform pan until cold, about 4 hours. Un-mold, cover and chill.
More from Kitchen Daily:
Holiday Red Berry Trifle
The Secret to Making Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Easy Ways to Dress Up Your Christmas Cookie Recipes
This article is part of Mix It Up, an editorial series created in collaboration with AOL's Kitchen Daily and Huffington Post. It is dedicated to making the lives of mothers easier through articles, videos and slideshows focused on simple and creative solutions to everyday challenges. From healthy recipes to exciting ideas for a more balanced lifestyle, this section aims to become a resource for moms everywhere.