3 Simple and Delicious Recipes for the Holidays

Spoil yourself or your loved ones with one of these seasonal holiday treats.
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3 Simple and Delicious Recipes for the Holidays

3 Simple and Delicious Recipes for the Holidays

The holiday season is a time to celebrate, and what better way than with food, family, and friends? Or maybe you’re planning some quiet time for yourself, a time to reflect on the year gone by and make plans for 2021? 

I don’t have a sweet tooth, but at this time of year, I make a couple of different treats to keep in the fridge when I’m looking for a snack or something to share with friends when they pop by unexpectedly. 

Whatever your plans this holiday season, here are three simple and delicious recipes for the holidays that should satisfy everybody’s taste.

Bliss Balls (makes 24-30)

Holiday Recipe - Bliss Balls

Fruit and nuts are plentiful at this time of year, so instead of just tipping them into a bowl, why not create these delicious energy balls? They are a healthy treat, and if you’re catering to somebody with a nut allergy, you can switch out the cashews for sunflower seeds. 

They’re also vegan and gluten-free. You can even add some seasonal spices like nutmeg or cinnamon for that holiday feel. People of all ages love them and what’s more — there’s no baking involved!

Ingredients & Method:

  • 125g (4oz) raw cashew nuts
  • 65g (2oz) raisins
  • 65g (2oz) dates, pitted and chopped
  • 3 tsp organic, cold-pressed coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder

1. Add the cashew nuts (or sunflower seeds) to a food processor and pulse until they are evenly chopped. They should still have some texture — you’re not looking for a fine powder as this will make the bliss balls too dense and unpleasant.
2. Add the raisins and chopped dates to the bowl and pulse again until all the ingredients are chopped, and begin to come together like a dough.
3. Add the coconut oil 1 tsp at a time and pulse at each stage. The coconut oil is the binding ingredient that will hold the mix together. Test the texture by pressing the mixture between your fingers. If it sticks together, that is perfect; if it crumbles, then add another teaspoon of oil and repeat. You may find that you need more than 1 tablespoon of oil if using sunflower seeds, as I find they release less natural oil than cashews.
4. Once your mix is ready, scoop 1 tablespoon into your hand and press together until it becomes firm. Roll it on your hand until you have a sphere shape and place it on a baking sheet. Repeat this with the remainder of the mixture. Place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to firm up.
5. Put the cacao powder into a glass jar or any container with a lid. Add 5 or 6 of the bliss balls, cover and shake until they are evenly dusted with the cacao powder. Remove each one and place it in an airtight container (if storing in the refrigerator) or put straight into your serving bowl.


Star Struck Cookies (makes 36)

Holiday Recipe - Star Cookies

Looking for something to make with the kids, or simply a big kid at heart who wants to unleash your creative talents? Then look no further than these delightful cookies. They’re ready in an hour, and decorating them can be so much fun. 

You can make them in advance and have them on hand if anybody may pop around or when you fancy a little self-indulgence with your coffee. 

If you’re looking to reduce the sugar, you can use 60g (21/2oz) soft brown sugar instead of 100g (31/2oz) caster sugar and increase the vanilla extract to 2 teaspoons. You can also skip the icing as they taste great as they are. 

Ingredients & Method:

  • 100g (31/2oz) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 100g (31/2oz) caster sugar
  • 1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 275g (10oz) plain flour

To decorate:

  • 400g (14oz) icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
  • 3-4 tbsp water
  • Food colouring
  • Edible glitter and sprinkles (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 375F/190C and line a baking sheet with parchment/greaseproof paper.
2. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until it is pale in colour, light and fluffy.
3. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, a little at a time, until it is combined.
4. Sift and stir in the flour until you have a dough.
5. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of ½ inch or 1cm.
6. Using a cookie cutter of your choice or various shapes, cut shapes from the dough and carefully place them onto the baking sheet. If you plan to make hanging decorations, carefully make a hole in the biscuit with a straw, where you can thread through the binding once cooked and decorated.
7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside and leave to cool before transferring to a wire rack.
8. For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a large mixing bowl and stir in just enough water to create a smooth mixture. Add food colourings at this point, or split the icing first if wanting to make several different colours.
9. This is the fun bit — spread the icing onto the cookies using a knife and add the decoration. Get creative!
10. Set aside until the icing hardens. Transfer to an airtight container for storage.


Rocky Road Bites (makes 48 small squares)

Holiday Recipe - Rocky Road

These little morsels are simply delightful. They’re small enough to pop into your mouth but have enough flavour and lusciousness to satisfy any sweet-treat craving. They don’t need baking, just enough time in the refrigerator to set the ingredients, and away you go! 

Ingredients & Method:

  • 250g (9oz) dark chocolate, chopped
  • 150g (5oz) milk chocolate, chopped
  • 175g (6oz) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 200g (7oz) amaretti biscuits
  • 150g (5oz) shelled Brazil nuts
  • 150g (5oz) glace cherries
  • 125g (4oz) mini marshmallows
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar

To decorate:

  • Edible glitter, chopped nuts (optional)
  • Place all the chocolate pieces into a heavy-based saucepan. Add the butter and golden syrup and cook over low heat to melt and combine the ingredients. Remove from the heat.
  • 1. Place the amaretti biscuits into a freezer bag and bash with a rolling pin to make crumbs. Add them to the chocolate mix.
    2. Place the Brazil nuts into a freezer bag and bash them in the same way. Add them to the mix.

    3. Add the glace cherries and mini marshmallows. Fold them in carefully until all the ingredients are covered with the chocolate.
    4. Pour into a 25cm/10” by 30cm/12” greased and lined baking tray and smooth the surface as much as possible. Sprinkle with chopped nuts (optional).
    5. Refrigerate for two hours or until firm enough to slice. While still in the tray, dust with icing sugar and edible glitter (optional). Remove the rocky road from the tray and cut it into 48 small squares.

    Looking for more baking ideas for the holiday season? Why not pop over to the Brookstore and browse the recipes in Bake the Seasons: Sweet and Savoury Dishes to Enjoy Throughout the Year by Marcella DiLonardo. There are lots of great recipes celebrating seasonal flavours and ingredients for you to explore.

    Jacqui Hodges

    With 30 years of general management experience in the global insurance industry and having lived in 4 countries, Jacqui now spends her time between London and New York where she continues to pursue her passion for writing, food, books and travel.

    A Reiki practitioner, yogi and huge animal advocate, her home isn’t complete without a furbaby or three. In addition to being a BooknBrunch contributor, she writes for  industry publications.

    Favourite book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
    Favourite brunch dish: avocado toast with tomato and chilli


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