I love this time of year and I’m so happy to be back with a Christmas post full of sweet delights! I have wonderful, sweet memories of kids when they were younger and stockings and decorating a tree. And, there are certainly the memories of our early married years which includes Christmas mornings featuring upcycled toys, hand-stitched gifts, and stockings with more fresh fruit than chocolate candy.
No matter where we are today, it’s the time together that matters most for me. This year is an especially exciting since all our people will gather together and those with a partner are bringing them along for the fun.
What’s a family gathering without delicious food and a dessert table to pick from all day long? This year, I wanted to focus on the fun of Christmas and created a mixed bag of desserts to choose from while incorporating the new 12 Days Of Christmas sets.
I am crazy about the new Fiesta Twelve Days of Christmas Salad Plates and Java Mugs! This first in a series of three is gorgeous and functional – which is right in my butter zone. My favorite feature of this design is the liberal use of color I can pair with it – Lapis, Sunflower, Scarlet, Shamrock, Slate, and Tangerine.
The Lapis Luncheon plate looks amazing with the four Calling Birds. Right away, the start of the dessert table begins with a personal-sized Cherry Pie baked directly in the Bouillon Bowl. I love baking in this shape and the ramekins for portion control and ease of serving.
So much of the fun of being a kid at a family gathering during the holidays – nobody is paying too much attention to a houseful of children running through the place.
This Lollipop Tree is an ideal distraction from the chocolate and offers an alternative to some common allergies. It’s made with a Styrofoam cone hot-glued to a round piece of cardboard (I used a cake board) and stuck with nearly four pounds of DumDum pops. It’s a party all by itself! A shiny bow on top finishes the look.
I sat the tree on a Shamrock Luncheon plate and hot glued it to an upended Shamrock Tapered Mug. Later when you want to take these two apart, let them soak in a sink of hot soapy water or pop the whole thing into the dishwasher, if you have one.
Sugary Shrink Tip: If you need to take a dish to a community holiday gathering – take one of these! I’ve seen one get destroyed in less than 10 minutes, it was amazing.
(Caution: watch for choking hazards with the wee ones.)
I think the star of this table is the Scarlet Tiered Serving Center with a Red Velvet Cake on top. From top to bottom, this focal point is filled with fun and deliciousness.
The Triple-Layer Red Velvet Layer Cake is filled with Cream Cheese Buttercream and finished with a light crumb coat. I topped it with everything but the kitchen sink! There are three snow-covered trees with red ornaments: ice cream cones, buttercream, and mini-M&Ms. Yogurt covered pretzels, Hershey Kisses, Peppermint Bark, and a few Raffaellos complete the look.
When contemplating the fussiness of the top compared to the simple frosting I realized the look was quite balanced.
Remember, to cover the buttercream with the sprinkles connect with the frosting, treat each cupcake immediately after the swirl. Don’t wait until you’ve piped a whole tray, the buttercream will likely set and the sprinkles will slide off not sticking to the frosting.
Popcorn Balls is this year’s hot, hot dessert. One thing I love about making popcorn balls is that you can get creative! Add in your favorite candy, nuts, dried fruit, crushed pretzels, toffee bits, etc. Don’t be afraid of this classic. In the past I was nervous about boiling sugar, but a few successes with my candy thermometer helped reduce the anxiety.
Another option is to treat the popcorn like you would Rice Krispie treats and make the popcorn balls with butter and a bag of marshmallows. Did you know you can do that!? It’s simple and easy and your family and friends will go bonkers wanting more.
If adding chocolate, wait until the marshmallows are fully integrated and the pan has begun to cool – just as it’s time to start forming the balls.
For a dessert table, I chose to form smaller treats – a bocce sized ball instead of a traditional softball size.
My Omni Trays look like a Wreath this year!
Shamrock is such an amazing color and ideal for creating a wreath with a Scarlet center with the Omni tray. This combination is a classic and makes for a perfect platform for all those Christmas Cookies scored at your annual cookie exchange.
I didn’t attend one this year, so I decided to fill the trays with some of my favorites – mostly homemade goodies.
In the 12 o’clock position are two amazing donuts I found at the bakery – tinted glazed donuts. They were stunning and almost too pretty to eat.
The Rice Krispie Trees are one my favorites – the design is very approachable and the result is Christmas fun. I used a triangle cookie cutter, piped on very thin buttercream, sprinkled the non-pareils, and chocolate-glued a wafer cookie on for a trunk. I promise you these will disappear.
The Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Star) Cookies are a classic in Germany. The cinnamon goodness gets even more delicious year after year. The light glaze is just enough sweetness to this very moist and slightly spongey cookie.
The Sugar Cookie Marzipan Wreath is a new one for me this year. I’m not much of a cookie baker at all. I can prepare of pan of dropped cookies or no-bake yumminess – but I begin to fall apart at the step “roll dough flat.”
My cookies have a more ‘rustic circle’ quality to it, so I needed some cover-up. Marzipan holly leaves worked great as a cover and a wreath was born. Each cookie only needs a few mini-M&Ms, which means anything remaining is a reward for yourself, just some of the perks of baking.
Sugary Shrink Tip: Don’t be stingy with the tinting gel, be bold and your creations will be the talk of the party.
The Java Mugs are intended to coordinate perfectly with the Christmas Dessert Plates. I love the level of detail in each design – the clear colors, numbers, and aesthetic of each day represents the quality of the work that has gone into this new series. Who else is anxious to see the next set?!
A Christmas classic in a non-drinking household is hot apple cider with extra cinnamon. It’s as if these mugs were made just for me! And of course for you too! Nothing says holidays in the cold like coming into a warm kitchen with apple cider on the stove.
I couldn’t find a real Poinsettia plant anywhere, however, this silk arrangement looks terrific in my Sunflower Large Disc Pitcher. The colors coordinate with the Twelve Days of Christmas and looks incredibly Christmassy.
There was room on my 15” White Baking Tray for a few brave Christmas Trees. These inverted ice cream cones are covered with buttercream and sugar pearls to make these adorable Christmas Trees. I then placed them to sit on a chocolate cupcake with a base cover of white vanilla Buttercream. Aren’t there always-young ones running around who would gladly tackle this beauty?
As many parties as I’ve attended, slicing the cake is the tell-tale sign that “desserts have started!” My favorite aspect of slicing and serving a cake is watching my family and friends jab their fork into that first bite and returning with “hmm…mmm… oh yeah…mmmm.” It’s cake talk for, “how soon is too soon for seconds?”
I simply love all the color on this Christmas dessert table. It’s welcoming and inviting, but mostly sweet thanks to the desserts and the family that will share them with us.
The holidays are loaded with individual, family, and cultural traditions. I know we each carried the traditions of our youth into our new family and we had an opportunity to start our own traditions. Now, it’s very rewarding to watch our family develop some of their own Christmas traditions.
I love that Fiesta has been and continues to be a part of our holiday celebrations – right alongside the Christmas Tree with too many ornaments, the Christmas present that was put away in a “safe place” in August that no one can remember where, and the regifted decorative candle.
I appreciate the relationships I enjoy with our people and do not take them for granted. Mostly, I am joy-filled in my walk today.