5 winter desserts perfect for any holiday occasion

Now that most of us have risen from our turkey induced food coma, it’s time to think about the tasty treat possibilities win­ter can bring. It is also a time of tran­sition from fall flavors such as pump­kin spice and apple cinnamon to beloved winter flavors like pepper­mint, gingerbread, eggnog and cocoa. To help ease that transition, here are five festive and fun dessert recipes that are both simple and delicious!

MEXICAN WEDDING COOKIES

Sometimes referred to as Russian tea cookies, these powdery little snow balls couldn’t be more festive if they tried! With only five ingredients, they make for an easy and affordable home­made treat.

(Makes 24 servings)
•1 cup softened butter
•1 cup powdered sugar
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•2 cups flour
•1 cup finely chopped pecans

Start by heating the oven to 350 degrees.
Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until fluffy — this may take several minutes.
Gradually add the flour.
Pour in the pecans and continue to stir until well mixed.
Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and space the balls about an inch apart from each other on a baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, then allow to cool for five minutes.
Roll each cookie in the remaining sugar until evenly coated and then enjoy.

NO BAKE OREO TRUFFLES

Want to bake something for the holidays but don’t have access to an oven? These no bake truffles are the perfect way to get the job done with very little effort.

(Makes 30 servings)
•1 package of Oreos
•8 ounces softened cream cheese
•12 ounces white baking chocolate
•Green food coloring
•Sprinkles

To start, blend the oreos in a food processor or crush them with a spoon until fine.
Pour the crumbs into a bowl and stir in the softened cream cheese until well mixed.
Roll the dough into balls of about 1 tablespoon of dough each.
Set the balls on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in the microwave.
Once it is melted, add about five drops of green food coloring and stir.
Remove balls from the freezer and dip each into the white chocolate mixture using a spoon to carefully roll each ball in the mixture until coated.
Place the truffles back on the baking sheet and then add sprin­kles over each one.
Refrigerate for 10 minutes and serve.

CHRISTMAS COOKIE DOUGH DIP

A delicious alternative to savory dips, this cookie dough dip is great for holiday parties and get togethers. Serve with tasty treats such as straw­berries, Oreos, graham crackers, pound cake or pretzels.

(Makes 8 servings)
•1/2 cup nonfat vanilla greek yogurt
•5 tablespoons softened butter
•2 ounces softened cream cheese
•1/2 cup flour
•1/2 cup powdered sugar
•1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
•1/2 cup sprinkles
•Snacks to dip, such as fruit, crackers or cookies

To begin, place butter, softened cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl and beat mix­ture until light and fluffy.
Add the flour and vanilla to the bowl and beat for another minute.
Add the yogurt 1/4 cup at a time and beat on low.
Stir in sprinkles, saving a few tablespoons for garnish on top.
Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.

GINGERBREAD FUDGE

With only six ingredients and 10 minutes of prep time, this festive fudge is simple and quick.

(Makes 6 servings)
•12 ounces white chocolate
•1 cup sweetened condensed milk
•1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1 teaspoon ground ginger
•1 tablespoon sprinkles

Begin by melting the white chocolate in the microwave.
Combine the melted chocolate and condensed milk in a large bowl.
Add nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger, and mix well.
Stir in almost all of the sprinkles — save some for garnish — and mix until combined.
Transfer fudge to a parchment lined baking dish and smooth out evenly using a spatula.
Sprinkle the remaining sprin­kles on top and refrigerate for an hour. Cut into squares, and enjoy.

MILK CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT BARK

A Christmas staple, this pepper­mint bark is perfect for sharing with family and friends.

(Makes 2 pounds)
•1 teaspoon butter
•3 11.5-ounce packages of milk chocolate morsels
•12 mint Oreos
•1 cup small pretzel sticks
•1 1/4 cup coarse chopped peppermint candies

First, put the cook­ies into a Ziploc bag and break them into pieces using a meat tenderizer or spoon.
Microwave the chocolate mor­sels until melted and smooth.
Transfer the melted chocolate into a mixing bowl. Gently stir the cookie pieces, pretzel sticks and 3/4 cup of the pep­permint candies into the chocolate.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease it with butter.
Spread the mixture onto the sheet and top with remaining chopped peppermint candies.
Let stand until firm.
Cut or break into pieces and serve, or store in the fridge to enjoy later.

PHOTO BY ALEX ALDERMAN

Alex is studying sustainable urban development. She loves going to events around Tacoma and telling people about them. Her goal is to use her degree to make cities more sustainable.

Alex Alderman

Alex is studying sustainable urban development. She loves going to events around Tacoma and telling people about them. Her goal is to use her degree to make cities more sustainable.