Holiday Recipes to Wow Your Guests

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

In past Novembers, I’ve shared my favorite holiday recipes. Today I want to offer you two more proven recipes that are on my menus for family and friend celebrations. These are easy, yummy, and can be prepared ahead of time. I’m all about getting meal prep done early so I can enjoy family and friends.

Drum roll for a fall-filled bundt cake. This taste treat is amazingly moist and a definite do-ahead recipe. It’s great the day after and the day after that, if the cake lasts that long. The title alone will make your mouth water. I saw the recipe here – and tweaked it a bit for my taste.

Cranberry-Apple Pumpkin Bundt Cake

3/4 cup finely chopped pecans – see directions below for roasting
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced Granny Smith apples
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup finely chopped sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 large eggs
1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour – I prefer King Arthur
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Sugared Pecans and Pepitas

Caramel Ice Cream Topping

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake chopped pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 6 to 8 minutes or until toasted, stirring halfway through. Cool 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

2. Toss diced apples in 2 Tbsp. melted butter to coat in a medium bowl; add cranberries, next 2 ingredients, and toasted pecans, and toss until well blended.

3. Beat granulated sugar and 1 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add pumpkin and vanilla; beat just until blended.

4. Stir together 3 cups flour and next 3 ingredients. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended after each addition. Spoon half of batter into a greased and floured 10-inch (12-cup) Bundt pan. Spoon apple mixture over batter, leaving a 1/2-inch border around outer edge. Spoon remaining batter over apple mixture.

5. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack; cool completely (about 2 hours).

6. Meanwhile, prepare Sugared Pecans and Pepitas.
1 cup pecan halves and pieces
1/2 cup salted shelled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Roast on 350 until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and mix well. Set aside.

When cake is cooled, drizzle caramel sauce over top. Let it drizzle down the sides and middle. Arrange pecans and pepitas on cake.

Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream. You’ll be the hit of the day.

Seeduction Bread

The following bread recipe came from my addiction to Seeduction Bread at Whole Foods. I searched through cooking sites until I found the closest to the store’s baked variety. Delicious nutrition and comfort food—if that’s possible. Here’s the link and the recipe is below: I tweaked the recipe to make it mine, and so I could make it in my bread maker.

1 1/4 cups warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons honey
1 (.25 ounce) envelope active dry yeast
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour – I prefer King Arthur
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
3 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
2 tablespoons millet seed
3 tablespoons malted barley flour
1 tablespoon wheat gluten

1. Pour warm water into bread-maker. Add molasses, honey, and oil.

2. Add King Arthur bread flour, whole wheat flour, salt, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, millet seeds, barley flour, and vital wheat gluten.

3. Make a small well in the top of the dry mixture and add the envelop of dry yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast.

4. Close the lid on the bread machine and use whole wheat setting.

Definitely an experience for bread lovers.

Here’s blog posts from prior years.

2016 –

2015 –

Where do you find your best recipes?

DiAnn’s Library Corner

Librarian —

Tip 1:  Tis the season to bring out your display of cookbooks. Local and state recipes are always a treat to readers.

Tip 2:  Are you a librarian that uses LibraryReads list for buy decisions? Help your fellow librarians shelve Clean and Wholesome novels for their patrons by nominating DEEP EXTRACTION and earlier DiAnn Mills novels via your NetGalley and Edelweiss accounts.


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