Festive Recipe Ideas

Vegan Sugar Cookies by Renee on FlickrThe holidays are a time when you choose a variety of ways to celebrate your family and what you have been given in life. One small way you might choose to do that is by preparing a hearty meal with treats to match. You probably also decorate your home with festive ornaments. Well, why not meld the two together and make your treats decorative too? The easiest foods to make festive are desserts, though you can implement the idea in other ways too.

A simple and tasty chocolate snowman shaped cake is easy to make and highly festive. Best with Dutch cocoa, you can use coconut flakes to create the coating. You can use black licorice sticks for the arms, black licorice drops for the eyes and peppermints for buttons with gum drops on top. For the mouth, you can use a piece of red shoestring style licorice. Fruit leather makes a great decorative scarf.

Alternatively, or in addition to, you can create a Christmas tree cake with equal festivity. By creating individual cake squares, you can stack these to create a tree-like shape with green frosting and other colored frostings to your liking. You can use candies for ornaments and smaller cake squares decorated with colored frosting to make presents under the tree.

Gingerbread houses are a classic way of creating decorative treats. However, there are more creative ways to make artistic gingerbread treats. One less known design is the gingerbread lantern, created by four rectangular pieces of gingerbread connected by frosting. You can cut holes in the pieces to let the light out, such as stars or hearts. Once settled, you can place candles inside these and use them as actual lanterns.

Another creative design is the gingerbread train. You have a great amount of creative license with this, in that there is room to decide how intricate you want to get with the design. However, there is a minimum amount of intricacy involved. The frosting is used for piping and a combination of circular and rectangular gingerbread cookies create the body. You can use candies, licorice and frosting to decorate it anyway you like. Gum drops work well to top the train while licorice works well for the pistons. You can also decide how long you want to make the train.

If you are looking to go more gourmet than flashy, you can make chocolate espresso snowballs with fair trade coffee. Using cocoa, pecans and sugar you can have a treat both decedent and decorative. There are plenty of ways to brighten up holiday cheer just with culinary creativity.

Candy Coated Pecans

Candied Pecans by Julie Magro on FlickrSubmitted by NutsOnTheNet.com
Serves 6-8


1 large egg white ¼ c. loosely packed light brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract 2 c. Zenobia Mammoth Pecans
¼ c. sweetened coconut flakes


  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the egg white in a medium sized stainless steel bowl & whisk until frothy.  Add the brown sugar & vanilla & stir until smooth.
  3. Add the pecans & coconut, if desired, & stir until well coated.  Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet & arrange in a single layer.
  4. Set aside at least 30 minutes & up to two hours.  Transfer to the oven & bake, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
  5. Immediately loosen the nuts with a spatula & set aside to cool.

Pina Colada Dipping Sauce

Submitted by jennifer_ann7
For use with Parrot Bay Coconut Shrimp


1 c. Pina Colada mix ¼ c. water
2 tbsp crushed pineapple (drained) 1 tbsp + 1 tsp sweetened coconut flakes
3 tbsp + 1 tsp powdered sugar 1½ tsp corn starch
3 tsp cold water


  1. Mix Pina Colada mix, water, crushed pineapple, coconut, & powdered sugar in a saucepan. 
  2. Heat on medium low temperature until sauce begins to simmer, stirring frequently. Let mixture simmer slowly 10-12 minutes. 
  3. Mix corn starch & water together, add to sauce & blend well. Let mixture simmer for 3 – 5 minutes longer while stirring during & after adding cornstarch. 
  4. Remove from heat & bring to room temperature. Sauce is served at room temperature with Parrot Bay Coconut Shrimp.

Parrot Bay Coconut Shrimp

Submitted by jennifer_ann7


½lb large shrimp, butterflied 1 c. sweetened coconut flakes
1 c. plain bread crumbs ¼ c. corn starch (for breading mix)
½ c. Pina colada mix 3 tbsp Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
1 tbsp powdered sugar ½ c. corn starch
Vegetable oil for deep frying


  1. Mix bread crumbs, ¼ c. corn starch, & coconut in a deep bowl & set aside. Combine Pina Colada mix, powdered sugar & rum in a small mixing bowl & set aside. 
  2. Place ½ c. corn starch in a separate bowl. Heat oil for deep frying. Oil is ready for frying shrimp with it reaches 375°F.
  3. Coat shrimp first in corn starch, then into the Pina Colada mix, then dust shrimp in bread crumbs, coconut mixture. 
  4. For the second coating place back into Pina Colada mix, then again into coconut, & then the bread crumb mixture. 
  5. Place prepared shrimp carefully into hot oil. Fry until golden brown, remove from fryer & drain.
Chef’s Note: Pairs with Pina Colada Dipping Sauce