Last Minute Holiday Treats That Barely Count as Baking


With the bustle of the season, it's easy to lose track of all your holiday obligations. So what happens when your child forgets he's got a holiday party the next day and you're bringing treats? Need something quick to take to the office potluck? Forgot a hostess gift for an imminent holiday party? No time to run to the store? Try these simple, delicious holiday treats that require little else but common ingredients you probably have in your pantry or refrigerator.

  • Snickerdoodles: When my sister-in-law and I wanted a late-night cookie fix, I knew immediately that I had everything on hand for snickerdoodles. This soft, cinnamon-covered sugar cookie is a snap to make without any special ingredients, and the cinnamon spice is perfect for the holiday season.

            Try this snickerdoodle recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

  • Salted caramels: Don't be intimidated by tales of woeful caramel making. It's not that difficult; the trick is to keep an eye on the syrup as it browns (once it starts to turn, it will go fast) and to be careful when adding your dairy mixture to the sugar mixture as it will bubble quite vigorously. These little sweet bites won't last long.

            Try this salted caramels recipe from Ina Garten.

  • Classic shortbread cookies: The basic recipe for these melt-in-your-mouth cookies only requires four ingredients that you're bound to have on hand; you can modify using the suggestions provided in the Food Network recipe below, or you can add any extract or flavoring you have on hand, such as citrus zest or extract, almond, or maple.

            Try this shortbread recipe from the Food Network.

  • Easy chocolate biscotti: These are awesome chocolate treats to go with your morning coffee. Yes, you must bake the biscotti twice, but the dough is so simple, you won't notice the extra step. They keep a while, too, so you can bake these ahead for a cookie swap or gift exchange.

            Try this chocolate biscotti recipe from Farmgirl Fare.

  • Peanut brittle: Brittle is perfect for those whole love a salty-sweet dessert, and it's quite flexible when it comes to what nuts you use. The recipe from Serious Eats below calls for both peanut butter and peanuts, but you can use any nuts you happen to have on hand. I've made a bacon-cashew brittle before, too, if you really want to make something different and special.

            Try this peanut brittle recipe from Serious Eats.

            Try this bacon-cashew brittle recipe from Chow.

  • Cheddar shortbreads: Not into sweet treats? I've got the perfect savory treat for you. The cheesy shortbreads from Epicurious are downright addictive and require little else but flour, butter, and cheddar. You might want to make a double-batch; they're crowd-pleasers, but you'll want to keep them all for yourself.

            Try this cheddar shortbread recipe from Epicurious.


Image via orangetopic/Flickr

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