Monday, December 16, 2013

Top Favorite Sweets for Christmas

Top Favorite Sweets for Christmas from Deep South Dish

When the holidays roll around, things can get pretty hurried up and hectic, that's for sure. It's awfully convenient to run by the deli and pick up already made cookies and sweets, or order gourmet treats from across the internet, and I certainly do that too, but there's really nothing that can beat the taste of homemade from scratch treats that come right out of your own kitchen.

There's something about the love that comes from receiving a shiny gift tin filled with handmade treats or the tradition of a beautiful platter or stand displayed on the dining room table year after year. One of the most joyful memories of my Mama is that of her annual cookie making night with her sisters every Christmas, and knowing those treats would be prominently displayed in our home.

This is a wonderful collection of some of my top favorite Christmas treats for the sweets tray all from Deep South Dish! It doesn't cover every possibility, but it's some of my top favorites that routinely show up on my holiday tray. For my family Christmas dinner menu from appetizers to desserts, start to finish, plus a wide variety of side dish casseroles, veggies and even more goodies, click over to my recipes for Christmas page.

Merry Christmas y'all from Deep South Dish, The Cajun and me!

Old Fashioned Ting-a-Lings, made with melted chocolate and cereal, are a fantastic addition to your holiday sweets tray, as stocking stuffers, and as party favors to hand out to those holiday guests.

A classic butter cookie made using a cookie press, lightly glazed and decorated with sprinkles, candied cherry halves and nonpareils.

A classic Christmas cookie for many families, this soft and puffy butter cookie uses anise for flavoring and is finished with a lemony, powdered sugar glaze and colorful nonpareils.

A heritage recipe from my Mama's collection, these pecan shortbread finger cookies are known by many names. Mama's recipe is just perfect and it is the one Christmas cookie above all others in my holiday baking!

Another old fashioned heritage confection, Martha Washington Candy is a rich mixture of buttery coconut and condensed milk with pecans, rolled into a tight ball and dipped in chocolate.

A wonderful heirloom recipe dating back 100 years, this simple pecan cookie bar is topped with a brown sugar meringue layer, giving them a slightly crisp, cracked topping.

Rich and decadent, dense and fudge-like, Mississippi Mud Cake is made with cocoa, topped with marshmallows, a buttery cocoa icing and salted, toasted pecans.

Saltine crackers, spread with a boiled brown sugar and butter sauce, then topped with chocolate, sometimes called Christmas Crack or Crack because they are downright addictive.

Cookie crafting is a bit easier than it appears - it just takes preparing the cookies in steps and layers. It's fun and it's creative, not to mention beautiful, and above all, a delicious recipe!

Forgotten Cookies are another heritage recipe that has been around for years. Made with egg whites and sugar whipped up into a meringue, and typically chocolate chips and minced pecans folded in, they are always a holiday favorite.

No matter how you layer them, these classic Magic Cookie Bars are addictive. Most often they are layered with a graham cracker crust, sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, and sometimes butterscotch, or even a combination of them, coconut and nuts.

Jam Thumbprints - a rich buttery cookie with a dab of jam in the center.

One of the easiest candies to make, this Tiger Butter Bark is made using almond bark candy coating mixed with peanut butter, topped with chopped peanuts and melted semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Thin Mint Cookies made with Ritz crackers

Rum or bourbon balls made with crushed vanilla wafers, powdered sugar, cocoa, ground nuts and bourbon or rum. Balls may be rolled in a variety of coatings including powdered sugar, cocoa mixed with powdered sugar, ground nuts or crushed cookies.

A slight crunch on the outside and chewy on the inside, these light and airy cookies are made with coconut, sugar, flour and beaten egg whites.

Chocolate Snowcaps - rich chocolate dough rolled in powdered sugar that as they bake, breaks open to reveal the chocolate cookie underneath, leaving behind a cracked powdered sugar coating.

Classic Southern pecan pie bars with a touch of cocoa in the crust, a layer of melted chocolate, salted and roasted pecans, and a splash of bourbon in the filling... if you like.

Crockpot Chocolate Peanut Clusters are a favorite holiday candy made from a mixture of almond bark, baking chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate chips and peanuts.

Old fashioned peanut butter balls are a rich dessert, both in its heritage and its taste. A classic Christmas confection, peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar are rolled into balls and dipped in chocolate. If you remember these from your childhood, one bite will take you right back.

Whether you choose the old fashioned route, or a shortcut version made a little easier by using marshmallow creme, divinity is a Christmas classic. The key is never try to make it when it's raining and don't give up on the beating until the divinity is ready!

Classic sugar cookies with icing and sprinkles. Use a royal icing to flood, or make a thick paste of powdered sugar and half and half. Powdered sugar will stiffen on drying but will not harden like royal icing, which allows for stacking.

Old fashioned, authentic southern tea cakes are basic, simple sugar cookies in their list of ingredients - butter, sugar, flour and eggs - but they speak so much more to our history, heritage and memories.

Cookie Mix in a Jar is a great holiday gift and this recipe for Butterscotch Pecan Cookies is a delicious choice.

My Mama's fresh apple cake, made from fresh apples, raisins, nuts, cinnamon, cloves and coffee, drizzled here with a whiskey sauce.

Pusharatas are a Croation doughnut that is fruit and citrus based, and is a traditional recipe included on the Christmas cookie trays on the Gulf Coast.

Santa Claus Whiskers Cookies - a slice and bake butter cookie, filled with chopped candied cherries and pecans, and rolled in coconut before baking.

Little bite sized pecan desserts, made with a cream cheese pastry crust baked with a brown sugar based pecan filling.

Chewy oatmeal cookies, with dried cranberries and white chocolate chips scattered throughout!

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Fudge - Classic Fantasy Fudge becomes a magical story that you can share with your children or grandchildren as you make this old fashioned favorite together!

A crisp cookie, made with butter and shortening, brown sugar and pecans.
A crisp cookie, made with butter and shortening, brown sugar and pecans.

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  1. What a fantastic list of all those treats!!! I have put several on my list to try!

  2. Mary, thank you so much for your inspiration this morning. Sometimes I need a nudge and push, and I have looked at a lot of cookie recipes. I felt that I needed something new because I had gotten into a "baking rut", but these recipes have kicked my bee-hind!!!!! I can have the Grandkids help me with some of these cookies, which I know they will truly love doing. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Mary, to you and your entire family!!!

    1. Toni, your note just brought a huge smile to my face and completely made my day. Sometimes I need that nudge myself, so I completely understand! Merry Christmas to you and your family and best wishes for a Happy New Year!

  3. DROOLING!!!!!! I wish I could make cookies like these for my (or with) my grands but they ALL have nut,dairy and egg allergies!! Maybe I will make me and grandpa some anyway! Thank -You for all the wonderful recipes,God Bless and Merry Christmas!!


      Ignore the review. .they did something wrong. My grandma made these growing up

    2. You could probably sub the butter for coconut oil

  4. They all look so delicious-can't decide which to try first!

  5. I want to make them all! No I don't-cause I would eat them all! Maybe just a few of them-Yum.

  6. Mary I made you Ham Bone Beans and would like to do a post about it, but wanted your permission first. Please email me at I can't seem to get your email address to come up.

    1. I sure will Bunny! The only thing that I ask is that bloggers not copy and paste and republish recipes as is. If you made no major changes please link to my page for the recipe instead of offering the recipe as a duplicate!

  7. Oh Mary, reading this post took me back to my childhood in Mississippi, where from December 1 to January our house was filled with sugary goodies. I have so many good memories of the times spent in the kitchen making treats. I only wish I could afford to keep the tradition going with my own daughter.

    1. Aw! Just pick a few of your favorites and carry on the tradition in a smaller way. We don't do the huge sweets like mama did with her sisters either anymore. Pick the ones that bring back the best memories for you!

  8. I made your Martha Washingtons for my Christmas candy trays, and they were a HIT! Thanks!!

  9. My grand mother from Illinois made potato candy which is awesome and real easy to make , my sister and I make it for Christmas.

  10. I made crock pot candy last year, now I can't find my recipe it had 2 kinds of chocolate and white chocolate as well. It was in the crock pot for 3 hours, my little granddaughter helped roll it into balls. Hope some one has the recipe. I just remember you put in the crockpot in layers. I too have an old crockpot. I would like to make it again.

    1. I'm not familiar with that one - sounds interesting though!

  11. Hello again Mary!!!

    I am back again (it's Christmas!) and I am cooking this I am scouting your site for sides and desserts/menu ideas, as I am pre-ordering a ham from "Honey Baked Ham" that requires no cooking. I can then focus my energy on cooking other yummy things. So far, Mud Hen Bars have made the list! I will post reviews after Christmas.....cheers :)

    1. Welcome back! I hope that you enjoy trying that dessert - it's definitely different!

  12. Hi thanks for sharing your Christmas recipes! I am adding many to my Christmas cookie trays! Happy Holidays!


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