Hello! Can you believe Christmas is only one week away? Have you found gifts for all the people on your “nice” list? If not, be sure to check out my Holiday Gift Guides here (there’s still a bit more time to order in time for Christmas delivery!). I also have a few last-minute options below — a collection of cozy gifts perfect for the next few slower, colder, cozy-stay-inside months.
Gift Bundle One: A beautiful book & some yummy chocolate
Gift Bundle Two: A comfy blanket, gratitude journal, and luscious linen spray
Gift Bundle Three: A cozy sweater and colorful scarf
Gift Bundle Four: A vibrant dish towel, pretty candles, and milk chocolate bombs in a beautiful bowl!
And for your holiday enjoyment, a few of my favorite Instagram accounts, where the photography is always inspiring (with some super-creative edits) and seasonal!
Finally, if you’re looking for a yummy dessert recipe to bring along for your holiday gathering, this is the one. I whipped up this favorite cake recipe for an early Christmas dinner party this past weekend, and it’s always a crowd pleaser. This time I added sugared cranberries, which were a hit … my guests were snacking on the extras before dinner with the hors d’oeuvres! I never knew they were so simple to make, I suspect I’ll be making them more often now, even after Christmas.
Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more, at room temperature, for the pan — *Note: I usually substitute 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce in place of one stick of butter — trust me, it’s still super-rich and yummy, you won’t miss the extra butter!
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for the pan
2 1/2cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup stout beer — *Note: I use a gingerbread stout to give it a little more holiday flavor, but any stout will do.
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2cup sour cream
1/2cup heavy cream
- Heat oven to 350° F. Butter a 12-cup Bundt pan and dust with the cocoa powder, tapping out the excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
- In a small saucepan, combine the butter and stout. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter is melted. Remove from heat, add 8 ounces of the chocolate, and whisk until smooth.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugars on medium-high until fluffy. Beat in the chocolate mixture and sour cream. Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in the flour mixture until just combined (do not overmix).
- Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool 30 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.
- In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream just to a boil. Remove from heat, add the remaining 4 ounces of chocolate, and let sit 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Set the cooling rack with the cake over a baking sheet. Drizzle the cake with the glaze and let set before serving.
12 ounces fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups grainy sugar, such as Turbinado sugar
1/2 cup water
- Thoroughly wash and drain craberries.
- Combine water and 1/2 cup sugar in saucepan over medium heat. Bring to just near boil and continue to heat until all the sugar has dissolved.
- Remove saucepan from heat and add the cranberries. Cover and let cranberries steep for 15-20 mins.
- Strain and place cranberries on wire rack to dry for 1 hour.
- Working in batches (4-5 cranberries at a time), roll the cranberries in the remaining cup of sugar, thoroughly coating each cranberry. Place the sugared cranberries back on the wire rack to dry completely (2-3 hours).
I hope you all have a wonderful week … enjoy precious time with friends and family, and find some rest and peace in this beautiful season of light!