There’s less than three weeks until Christmas, which means that everyone is kicking their shopping, cooking, and decorating into high gear. Read on for some sweet—not to mention easy—ideas for how to make your big bash this year the most festive yet.
Host a sweets swap
Sharing is in the holiday spirit, and one of the best things to share is dessert! Sweeten up your Christmas bash this year with a sweets swap. Think of it like a potluck, only with desserts and plenty of take-home treats. Each person brings one homemade dessert enough for the whole group, and a fabulous exchange ensues. As host, all you need to do is whip up one dessert, lay out the sweets on pretty platters, and let everyone mingle as they sample the goodies. Take it to the next level by providing cellophane treat bags and ribbons for guests to create their own cute little take-home favors.
So what’s a good treat to make for a sweets swap? Well, practically any handheld treat is suitable, from cookies to cupcakes to cake pops. It’s not Christmas without fruitcakes, so here we’ve included a recipe for them in darling miniature—perfect for everyone to get a bite! You’ll also find a recipe below for some delectable boozy pecan truffles sure to sway everyone.
Get kids in on the fun of baking! They’ll love decorating the cakes with colorful sprinkles.
Mini Christmas Fruitcakes with Luscious Icing
Adapted from Padhus Kitchen
The traditional fruitcake recipe gets a twist as adorable cupcakes with an indulgent layer of royal icing on top. It keeps for a week tightly sealed so it’s great for making ahead.
For the icing:
- 200g icing sugar
- 2 egg whites
- 3 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Sift the icing sugar into a bowl.
- Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff peaks form, then fold them into the sugar.
- Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract.
- Beat until well combined and set aside.
For the cake:
- ¼ cup rum
- 400g mixed dried fruits and nuts (sultanas, cherries, cashews, tutti frutti, etc.)
- 150g butter
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 130g brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 ¼ cup water
- 2 eggs
- 300g all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- Soak the dried fruits in the rum for at least one day and up to a week.
- Grease and flour a cupcake pan and set aside.
- Remove the dried fruits from the rum and mix with the nuts. Sprinkle one teaspoon of flour and toss to coat. This will prevent all the fruits and nuts from sinking to the bottom of the cakes.
- In a medium pot, whisk the butter, baking soda, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and water over a medium flame until boiling. Simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes, then remove and let cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Beat two eggs lightly and add to the cooled mixture until well combined.
- Sift together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Fold the flour and baking powder into the liquid mixture until just combined. Try not to over mix!
- Spoon the batter into the pan until each mold is ¾ of the way full. Drop the pan on the counter a few times to get rid of the air bubbles.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center of the cake should come out clean.
- Let cool for 10 minutes, then run a knife around each cake and invert them onto a rack. Once the cakes have cooled completely, spread or drizzle icing over the top. Serve!
Boozy Pecan Truffles
Don’t worry, these drunken delights won’t actually make anyone tipsy. Do be aware that they might not be suitable for kids, though. Makes about 24 mini truffles.
- 1 ¼ cup toasted pecans
- ½ cup crushed digestives
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or golden syrup
- ⅛ cup bourbon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3.5 ounces dark chocolate
- 1 teaspoon corn syrup
- Finely chop the pecans, either by hand or in a food processor.
- Mix together the pecans, digestives, brown sugar, and salt. Add the syrup, bourbon, and vanilla extract and stir until well combined.
- Use your hands to form the mixture into balls about one inch across. Set them on a cookie sheet or large plate and insert a toothpick or decorative pick into each one. Freeze for about 2 hours.
- When the balls are firm, microwave the chocolate for 45 seconds. Stir and add the corn syrup, then return to the microwave in 15 second increments until chocolate is just melted. Dip each frozen ball in the chocolate and let sit until the chocolate has set.
Hang some DIY paper star lanterns
Light up the night with your very own paper star lantern.
You know it’s Christmastime when paper star lanterns light up the night. This year, give your decorations a special touch by making your very own paper star lanterns in just a few simple steps.
To decorate your lanterns, you can either hand cut your own designs or use decorative hole punchers like snowflakes. The simplest way to light these up is to use LED tea lights so you don’t have to worry about an open flame or hot bulb. Check out the easy instructions below and you’ll be decking your halls in no time!
- For each star, print two copies of the template and cut out the stars.
- Fold the stars along all the dotted lines and glue the flaps to the insides of the opposite star, leaving one side open for inserting your tea light later.
- With the star folded, use your hole puncher or scissors to create your desired designs. Use a needle or a small hole puncher to make a hole for your string or ribbon.
- Glue a tea light into the interior of the star and close the remaining side.
- Hang up inside or out and let all your family and friends bask in its festive glow!
Last but not least…
Send out Christmas cards
Spread the joy with Christmas cards.
You know everyone’s going to be displaying the Christmas cards they receive, so don’t let your family be left out of the lineup! Order by 20 Dec. to get your personalized cards in time for Christmas.
How does your family celebrate Christmas? Do you have any special traditions or recipes?