This is part three of a "Let's Get Ready" series, designed to help you (and me) get prepared for the holidays, which, by the way, seem to be on a crash course, headed straight towards us. Have you noticed?
I'm trying to get my little ducks in a row, how about you?
I've been thinking about the things I can do ahead of time in order to be able to focus on and celebrate the true meaning of the season. Getting things done in advance also makes entertaining family and friends sweeter and less stressful.
A festive, delicious dessert is always in order after a holiday meal. But yikes, cooking a nice dinner takes a lot of time! Then having to prepare a fancy dessert as well, can just take things over the top for me.
How about some fabulous desserts that can be made long before the celebrations begin? When you have a bit of spare time, throw one or two of these Make-Ahead Celebration-Worthy Desserts together and when entertaining time comes, you can give yourself a little pat on the back as you smile about one less thing to do.
Here are some of our favorites:
Chocolate Pots de Crème - You'll flip when you see how easy and fast this recipe is. You'll REALLY flip when you take the first silky smooth, densely rich, melt-in-your-mouth delicious bite!
Key Lime Tarts with Coconut Pecan Crust - if you're a key-lime lover, you'll go CRAZY over this. It's a classy step up from every day key lime pie and can be made weeks or days in advance and frozen. Just be sure to make extra copies of the recipe. Everyone always wants it!
Best Ever Hot Fudge Sauce - Okay, so you don't have any time and you're thinking about just buying dessert from the grocery store. Whoah!
Do you have 5 minutes? That's all it takes, I promise! Just pick up some good ice cream at the market, whip up this super, super easy sauce (you won't even believe how simple it is) and you'll have a dessert worthy of royalty. It's truly a chocolate lovers dream dessert!
One evening recently I prepared a special dinner for friends. I ran out of time to make dessert so (in less than 5 minutes) I whipped up some of this sauce and served it over ice cream with some shards of Curry Cashew Brittle sprinkled on top. Oh my, we all thought it was one of the best desserts ever and everyone licked the bowls clean!
Portuguese Clementine Olive Oil Cake - citrus, vanilla and olive oil combine to create a fabulous, moist cake. Your going to love this one - we think it’s a keeper, for sure! In fact, last time I made this cake, I had one little sliver. Next time I looked, it was gone!
Layered Cheesecake Jars - I'll let an email from a reader tell the story of these fun little sweet treats;
"I took twelve of these cuties to a July 4th celebration….did six with blueberries, and six with cherry topping….JAWS DROPPED!!! The event was a grilling contest, and I was not part of the competition, but everyone there said my sweet dessert was the winner! Thanks Chris! I will be repeating this for Christmas!"
The wonderful thing about these yummy jar-desserts is that they can be made a few days in advance, sealed up and then pulled out anytime you need a delicious dessert in a hurry.
So there you have a few ideas. But there's lots more inspiration and make-ahead sweet treats in our Dessert Recipe Box. It's not too early to pull out the sugar and flour, start baking or stirring up deliciousness. Lots of these recipes freeze very well. And how wonderful would it be to just pull a fabulous dessert out of the freezer the morning of the big party or family get together!
Whether you have an whole day to prep or just a few minutes, there's something here for everyone. And if you spend, even a little time right now preparing, you'll be thanking yourself over and over when the holiday festivities arrive. Let's get ready!
P.S. Here at The Café, we're in full holiday mode. Our family arrived yesterday from England. Here's a little clip from my Instagram of when the three oldest grandchildren (calmly) walked through the customs/immigration doors to where we were (calmly) waiting for them.
Oops, my nose is growing again...
But seriously, I'm sure glad I've got a few things made ahead and stashed away to feed this hungry herd!