Festive Holiday Treats
November 20th, 2018 by Jennifer Brown

Photo by Brandon Pomrenke

Savory and sweet party foods will wow your guests and set a festive mood

Candy Cane Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels

  • One bag of pretzels, soft or hard, any size
  • 12 ounces solid dark chocolate, such as Ghirardelli’s dark melting wafers
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 4 to 5 candy canes or 5 to 7 ounces peppermint candies, crushed

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Set aside.

Place the crushed candy canes on a wide plate. In a small saucepan, combine the melting chocolate and coconut oil. Melt over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once melted, dip each of the pretzels into the chocolate, covering as much of the pretzel as desired.

Before the chocolate cools and hardens, pat each pretzel gently into the crushed candy canes, or roll if using pretzel sticks. Lay pretzels on the wax paper to cool. Reheat the melting chocolate as needed to maintain viscosity during the process.


Strawberry, Mint and Mozzarella Skewers

  • 16 strawberries, washed
  • 16 mini-sized mozzarella balls
  • 16 fresh mint leaves, washed
  • 4 tablespoons sweet balsamic vinegar reduction sauce
  • 16 small wooden skewers

Slide one strawberry, one mint leaf and one mozzarella ball onto each skewer. Position the mozzarella, mint and strawberry in the middle of the skewer. Repeat the same pattern on all skewers.

Lay the skewers on a s platter and drizzle with the sauce in a zigzag pattern.

Serves 4


Stuffed Grilled-Cheese Wedges

  • 2 jumbo-size flour tortillas
  • 1 large roasted or baked poblano pepper, sliced
  • ¼ small red onion, diced and lightly sautéed
  • 1 portabella mushroom, diced
  • 1½ cups cheddar cheese, grated (measure once grated, do not pack)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups sour cream or salsa, for dipping
  • Fresh cilantro, diced, for garnish

Butter one side of each tortilla. Lay one tortilla on a large piece of wax paper, buttered side down. Sprinkle cheese on the open face of one tortilla. Add poblano pepper, onion, mushroom, salt and pepper, sprinkling evenly. Sprinkle all ingredients almost to the edge of the tortilla, leaving about a 1/2-inch margin around the edge. Place the other tortilla on top, buttered side up.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat.

Carefully slide the tortilla off the wax paper and into the pan. Take care to ensure the ingredients do not fall out by gently pulling the sides of the wax paper up while sliding.

Sauté the tortilla for 2 to 5 minutes per side, or until the down-facing tortilla is slightly golden and the cheese has begun to melt. Using two spatulas to keep the ingredients intact, flip the quesadilla and grill until the other side is golden brown and the cheese is melted through. Slide the quesadilla onto a large cutting board. Using a pizza cutter, slice into as many wedges as desired. Garnish with cilantro and serve with salsa or sour cream.

Serves 4


Vanilla Plum Scoops

  • 4 large scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 4 plums, halved
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Dash of cloves

Melt the butter in a small frying pan. Add the plums, open side down. Sauté over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Scoop vanilla ice cream into four bowls. Place two plum halves on top of each bowl. Sprinkle each with a dash of cinnamon and cloves. Drizzle with honey and serve immediately.

Serves 4


Toasted Baguette and Brie Apple Bites

  • 1 baguette, sliced into at least 12
  • ¼-inch slices
  • 7 to 10 ounces brie, cut into at least 12 ¼-inch slices
  • 1 Braeburn apple, cut into 1/8-inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Pinch of salt
  • Approximately ½ stick butter

Heat oven to 300 F. Lay the bread slices on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Spread butter on all the bread slices. Layer the apples and cheese on each slice, beginning with the apple and finishing with the cheese. Drizzle honey over each slice and sprinkle with salt.

Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and edges of the bread are crisp.

Serves 4


Orange Pomegranate-Spiced Champagne Coolers

  • 1 navel orange, sliced into large rounds
  • 6 ounces frozen pomegranate seeds
  • 1 bottle (750 mL) dry prosecco champagne
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 to 6 thin round slices of Braeburn apple
  • 1 2/3 cups orange juice

Pour orange juice into a large pitcher. Add cinnamon sticks, apple slices, pomegranate seeds and orange rounds. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Add champagne just before serving.

Serves 4


Hot Cocoa With a Kick

  • 6 to 7 ounces powdered hot cocoa mix
  • 64 ounces creamy cashew or coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 dashes cayenne pepper
  • Heavy whipping cream

In a saucepan, whisk cocoa mix with the milk over medium heat until all clumps are gone and the mixture is steaming but not boiling. Reduce heat to low. Add ghee, whisking until mixed. Add spices and mix thoroughly. Serve hot and top with whipped cream.

Serves 4

Recipes by Chelsea Glanz