December 2018 Better Homes & Gardens Recipes

Holiday Pavlova Parfaits with berries and whipped cream
From fast-fix brunches to festive winter desserts, this is your must-make recipe lineup for the chilliest months of the year. Our new favorite speedy dinners, make-ahead breakfasts, and sweet treats feature seasonal ingredients and flavors, including grapes, citrus, cauliflower, nutmeg, and chocolate (lots and lots of chocolate).

Basic Thumbprint Cookies

Dress up your Christmas cookie spread with a variety of thumbprint cookies. Customize each with sprinkles, fruit, candy melts, jam, nuts, and candies.

Tip: Bake a batch in advance! These thumbprint cookies can hang out at room temp for three days or be frozen for up to three months.

Triple-Layer Hazelnut Spice Cake

Fruit cake gets a massive upgrade in this spice cake studded with rum-soaked dried fruit. The crowning achievement? A luscious buttercream (the middle layer includes a swirl of lemon curd, too) and crunchy candied hazelnuts.

Herb-Rubbed Pork with Squash and Grapes

Roast grapes to caramelize their sugars and concentrate their flavor. The subtle sweetness makes a nice contrast to the savory pork in this sheet-pan dinner recipe.

Tip: Make a double batch of the roasted grapes to serve on goat cheese-slathered crostini as an appetizer.

Monte Cristo Breakfast Casserole

The Monte Cristo, a mash-up of French toast and a ham-and-Swiss sandwich, is the inspiration for this showy a.m. casserole. The diner classic often comes with a side of jam for dipping, so try smearing a layer of berry jam along with the butter between the sandwich layers. Or if you prefer a bit of freshness and crunch, sneak in thin slices of apple or pear.

Eggnog Baked Alaska

No eggnog ice cream? No sweat! Doctor up classic vanilla ice cream with a shot of bourbon, a pinch of nutmeg, and a spoonful of vanilla. Then layer your dessert creation onto red velvet cake then spread with meringue before setting your dessert (safely) aflame with a kitchen torch or toasting under the broiler.

Blueberry and Mascarpone-Stuffed French Toast Casserole

Why fuss over single flapjacks or slices of French toast? Fresh berries and rich mascarpone cheese are stuffed between each layer of this easy baguette breakfast bake. Equally fitting at brunch and as dessert, this French toast casserole only needs a drizzle of maple syrup (and perhaps a dusting of powdered sugar) as a finishing touch.

Roasted Curry Chicken and Cauliflower

A cool cucumber-yogurt sauce (it might remind you a bit of tzatziki sauce) tames the warm spice in the roasted chicken. This low-carb, gluten-free recipe is perfect for dinner parties because it fits many diets and calls for only 10 minutes of prep time.

Holiday Pavlova Parfaits

Cranberries aren’t only for sauce, you know. Try them in two layers of these low-fuss parfaits: the berry sauce and the sugared cranberry topping. Add crunchy, airy meringue cookies and a tangy lime cream and this stacked dessert looks and tastes like you slaved over it all day. (Even though it can all be made ahead.)

Tip: Crunched for time? Turn to store-bought meringue instead of making your own from scratch.

Mini Bacon and Egg Bakes

Make these mini bacon and cheddar quiches a meal by serving with a leafy green salad or a fruit salad and a slice of toast. Or make it an on-the-go meal by stuffing one of the egg bakes between English muffin or bagel halves.

White Chocolate Cheesecake Bombe

Shake up your winter dessert routine with a cheesecake in a shape inspired by a snow globe. (Psst ... it’s baked in a bowl.) Beyond the fun bombe format, we adore the fact that strategically placed white chocolate shavings disguise any and all imperfections.

Chilaquiles Breakfast Casserole

Make it Mexican for brunch this weekend. Crunchy tortillas, chipotle-sauced chicken, creamy avocado. Yes, please!

Tip: Prep this breakfast casserole the night before. All that’s left to do come morning is crack eight eggs, season to taste, and bake.

Ginger Shrimp and Vegetables

While the shrimp and vegetables cook, boil rice noodles or warm leftover rice for a speedy side dish. Toss your starchy side of choice with a splash of sesame oil and a squeeze of OJ to echo the Asian flavors in this takeout fake-out dinner recipe.

Silver and Gold Yule Log

The magic to this showy yule log is in the timing. The almond praline, the meringue mushrooms, and the Swiss buttercream can all be made ahead. Just be sure to roll the cake while it’s warm to avoid cracks.

Homemade Lemon or Lime Curd

Citrus curd is remarkably versatile. A few of our favorite uses:

  • Mix into pancake batter for a fresh and tangy touch.
  • Stir into yogurt and top with berries and granola for breakfast.
  • Fold into meringue for a creamy yet punchy pie filling.

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