Holiday Dishes to Make One Week Ahead
Chocolate Truffle Layer Cake
This outrageous chocolate cake was born from a lucky mistake. Pastry chef Kimberly Sklar was baking a crème fraîche–spike chocolate cake and, by accident, took the pan out of the oven early. Discovering that the cake was superfudgy, she layered it with dark chocolate and white chocolate ganache, then covered it in dark chocolate frosting.
Rosemary, Almond and Parmesan Cocktail Cookies
To bring out the flavor of the rosemary in these barely sweet cookies, Dorie Greenspan first rubs the leaves with granulated sugar—a technique she learned from renowned French pastry chef Pierre Hermé.
Maple-Soy Snack Mix
Savory snack mixes are typically flavored with soy sauce, Worcestershire and butter. Grace Parisi prepares her crunchy mix with a little maple syrup for sweetness and Thai curry paste for heat.
Soft Apple-Cider Caramels
These chewy treats are like caramel apples in candy form, combining the tangy-sweet flavor of cider with buttery caramel. To create your own spin on them, use a flavored apple cider or add different spices, like ground ginger or black pepper.
Savory Ricotta-Squash Tart
Instead of appearing in a soup, squash gets cut into rings, caramelized and baked in a tart that can be served with a salad as a starter, or as an unusual side dish.
Chicken Liver Pâté with Pistachios
Marcia Kiesel's pâté makes an elegant holiday gift presented in a pretty porcelain ramekin with crackers or crispy wafers. The buttery, earthy pâté can be spread on crostini, stuffed into Cognac-poached prunes, or even shaped into small balls and deep-fried with sage leaves.
These sweet and chewy two-bite macaroons have only five ingredients (not including the delicious bittersweet-chocolate drizzle). Baker Danny Cohen, a.k.a. Danny Macaroons, doesn’t think all macaroons have to be round. “Make whatever shape you want,” he says. “There are no rules.”
Roll-and-Cut Sugar Cookies
“Roll-and-cut” sugar cookies are made by flattening dough with a rolling pin, then cutting out shapes. The dough recipe here is ideal: durable enough to withstand rolling and rerolling, yet soft enough to cut neatly. The cookies themselves are extremely versatile. They can be simply sprinkled with sugar and baked; or, after they’re baked, they can be decorated with royal icing or sandwiched with jam and sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.
Overnight Oatmeal with Almonds and Dried Cranberries
Holiday Brunch Idea: Many people miss out on the nutty flavor and nubby texture of oatmeal made with steel-cut oats because they assume it's too time-consuming to prepare. This prepared oatmeal can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Roasted Winter Squash and Onion Turnovers
The filling for these turnovers also makes a terrific side dish on its own.
Chocolate Chip-Pretzel Bars
These bars were inspired by the candy and cookies you’d mail to a homesick kid at summer camp.
Scott Conant serves these tender, peppery breadsticks as a starter. He packs them into a tall glass or plates them with small wedges of La Tur cheese (a dense, buttery Piedmont cheese made from a blend of cow, sheep and goat milk), drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with flaky sea salt.
Old-Fashioned Banana Bread
Recipe for Holiday Houseguests: This extraordinarily simple and tasty banana bread has a moist center and crispy crust.