2 make-ahead holiday treats

These are two wonderful holiday treats you can make ahead, store, and serve when the guests are craving something sweet.

2 make-ahead holiday treats

Cherry-nut rugelach

Rugelach is a decadent treat, and the best ones are almost always homemade. Typically they are filled with raisins, chocolate or ­cinnamon and sugar, but this version goes in another direction and takes full advantage of the tangy-sweet flavour of cherry preserves.

Prep time 45 min

Cook time 20 min

Makes 4 dozen

  • 230 g (1 c/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 225 g (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 100 g (1/2 c) sugar
  • 400 g (3 c) all-purpose flour
  • 2 g (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 175 ml (3/4 c) cherry preserves
  • 250 ml (1 c) very finely chopped walnuts
  1. Combine the butter and cream cheese in a medium bowl. With an electric mixer, beat on high speed until light, one to two minutes.
  2. Add the sugar and beat on medium, ­stopping to scrape down the bowl, until combined, one to two minutes. Stop the mixer and add the flour and salt and mix on low speed until a rough dough forms, about two minutes.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, four or five times.
  4. Divide the dough into eight pieces and form into balls. Flatten each ball into a 7.5 centimetre (three inch) disk and wrap in plastic. Chill at least three hours or overnight.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  6. Remove from the refrigerator and, working a disk at a time, roll the dough between pieces of floured wax paper to an 18 centimetre (seven inch) diameter circle. Remove the wax paper and spread each disk with 20 millilitres (four teaspoons) of the preserves and 30 millilitres (two tablespoons) of the nuts.
  7. Cut each circle into six wedges. Starting at the outside edge, roll each wedge up tightly jellyroll–style. Place rolls, tip pointing down, on an ungreased baking sheet and form into crescent shapes.
  8. Bake until lightly browned, 20 to 22 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Loosen the cookies with a small spatula, if necessary. Store in an ­airtight container until ready to serve.

Ingenious!

  • Need cookies on hand for the holidays? Make a batch or two of these rugelach.
  • Cool completely, then freeze in ziplock freezer bags for up to three months.
  • Thaw before serving.

French Christmas cookies

Graham crackers have a sweet, nutty taste that makes a fabulous flour for cookies when crushed into crumbs. Chopped walnuts enhance the nutty flavour even more. With a simple chocolate topping, these moist treats will have everyone reaching for seconds.

Prep time 15 min

Cook time 15 min

Makes 9 dozen

  • 220 g (1 c) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 115 g (1/2 c/1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
  • 675 ml (2 3/4 c) graham cracker crumbs
  • 500 ml (2 c) finely chopped walnuts
  • 570 g (3 1/4 c/20 oz) milk chocolate chips, divided
  • 250 ml (1 c) milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).
  2. In a large bowl, cream the sugar and butter or margarine. Add the cracker crumbs, walnuts, 350 grams (two cups) of the chocolate chips, and the milk. Mix well.
  3. Fill miniature paper baking cups three-quarters full. Place the cups 2.5 centimetres (one inch) apart on baking sheets. Bake until the surfaces look dry, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
  4. Melt the remaining 220 grams (1 1/4 cups) chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl on medium heat for three minutes, stopping to stir every minute. Top each cookie with one millilitre (1/4 teaspoon) melted chocolate. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
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