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Desserts

Nibbles

Lemon Cream Cheese Muffins

These tart-sweet lemon muffins, topped with a brown sugar crumble and lemon glaze are deliciously moist, since the cream cheese is mixed right into the batter.

Yield: 12 muffins Total time: 35 minutes
Nibbles

Mom’s Rum Balls

When I was little, I remember mom making these rum balls for holiday parties. Made from crushed Nilla wafers, chopped nuts, cocoa, and light rum, they’re not for kids (but that didn’t stop us from sneaking one when the adults weren’t looking).

Cookies

Candy Cane Blossoms

Bake these soft sugar cookies, rolled in red or green sugar sprinkles until just done, and then press a peppermint-striped Hershey kiss into the top of each cookie. They’re the perfect holiday project for a child eagerly awaiting Santa’s visit.

Yield: 3 dozen cookies Total time: 3 hours
Cakes

Jamy’s Apple Crumb Cake

Apple desserts aren’t always my favorite (I’ll choose chocolate every time), but this apple crumb cake is sooooo good. It has quite a few components (shortbread base, thinly sliced apples, custardy sauce, and crumb topping) and is a labor of love, but it’s a special dessert that’s worth the work.

Serve with a German Riesling.

Yield: 8 servings Total time: 2 hours
Nibbles

Chocolate-Covered Bacon

We first tried chocolate-covered bacon at the Big Top Candy Shop on South Congress Avenue, and decided to make it for our friend Atticus’s bacon-themed first birthday party.

Making a double batch for a party on a warm Austin day wasn’t the best idea, but if you give yourself plenty of time and reserve this project for a cool day, the results are delicious.

Yield: 64 pieces Total time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Nibbles

Hungarian Pastry Jam Bars

These bars have a tender pastry base, a layer of raspberry jam, a layer of browned egg whites similar to merengue, and a sprinkling of chopped walnuts. They’re the perfect dessert for girls’ night.

Yield: 12 to 16 bars Total time: 50 minutes
Nibbles

Double Chocolate Quick Bread

This quick bread is moistened with apple sauce and either sour cream or Greek yogurt, and has both cocoa powder and chocolate chips.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cold Desserts

Leesa’s Hawaiian Rainbow Jello

During my junior high years, we lived in Hawaii, and I spent most of my time at my BFF Kim’s house. Her mom often made this layered rainbow Jello, and I though it was pure magic.

Now that I have a child, I want to add a little magic to his and his friends’ lives, so I’m excited to have found the recipe.

Yield: 20 servings Total time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Cakes

Grandma’s Italian Cream Cake

This white cake made with buttermilk, coconut, pecans, and cream cheese frosting is my mother’s favorite. She recently found Grandma’s hand-written recipe – Grandma always served an Italian Cream Cake at the family’s Thanksgiving feast.

Yield: 8 to 12 servings Total time: 2 hours
Cakes

Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake

This cheesecake, with a gingersnap crust, pumpkin filling, and salted caramel sauce, is a beautiful holiday dessert, and serves enough to take to a party.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings Total time: 6 hours 30 minutes