I really enjoy trying to make recipes that are tasty, easy, and healthy, but sometimes it’s nice to splurge and make a recipe that may not be the healthiest. All things in moderation, and some of my Christmas recipes are special in that I only make them during this time of year. That way splurging seems special, and we don’t have to miss out on treats!

I’m a firm believer that there are no bad foods, there are just some foods we eat less of. While balance is basically a myth, it’s important to have some sort of variation. While some recipes aren’t healthy, I do enjoy making them with my kids, and sharing family recipes that are sentimental. For me, that’s my balance. 

So, while many of these recipes aren’t healthy, they are fun and tasty if you want to give them a try!

Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 12 Rolls

Plan for 4-5 hours from start to finish to allow dough to double rise.

Roll Ingredients:

1 package yeast

1 tsp sugar

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup Crisco

1 egg

1.5 cup warm water

1 Tablespoon salt

6 cups flour

4 Tbsp butter

1 cup brown sugar

2.5 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (or up to 1 cup if you like extra nuts)

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Icing Ingredients:

2 cups powdered sugar

5 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream, cold

1 tsp vanilla extract

Roll Directions:

In a small bowl, dissolve 1 package yeast and 1 tsp sugar in 1/2 cup warm water (appx 110-115 degree water). Set aside and allow yeast mixture to get a little bubbly (should take 3-4 minutes for it to get foamy).

Using an electric mixer, cream well 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup Crisco in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture, 1 beaten egg, 1.5 cups warm water, 1 Tbsp salt, 6 cups flour. It is easier to mix with a wooden spoon as the sticky dough can get caught in the electric mixer. I suggest adding 3 cups of flour, mixing, then adding the remaining three cups.

Place on a lightly floured surface and knead dough until it isn’t sticky (about 5 minutes). Cover with a towel and let rise until double in size.

*TIP* If you want the dough to rise faster, you can place the bowl in your oven at the lowest temperature your oven will get to (usually 170 degrees). If the dough is in a cold room, it most likely won’t rise.

Grease a pan that has deep sides with 1-2 Tbsp butter. Make sure all sides are completely greased with butter to avoid rolls from sticking. Place the remaining butter in a small dish and melt in microwave.

Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped nuts in a medium sized bowl.

Once dough has doubled in size, divide into two batches. Roll into rectangular shapes. Brush generously with the remaining melted butter. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over dough.

Roll up from long side. Slice into 6 rolls. Repeat with other piece of dough. Place in greased pan that has deep sides. Cover with a towel and let rise until double in size.

Once doubled, drizzle with unwhipped whipping cream. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes until edges of rolls start to turn light brown. Frost while warm.

Frosting directions:

Mix together powdered sugar, unwhipped whipping cream, and vanilla with a spoon. Save any remaining icing in a ziploc bag to use if reheating rolls later.

Because these take so long to make, I usually make them on Christmas Eve and cover for the next morning or I make them the week before and freeze them without the frosting. Disposable cake pans that come with a lid are great to make these in because you can bake them in the container, use the lid to store, and then throw it away when you are done.

Grandma’s Caramels

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

2 cups light Karo syrup

Dash of salt

3 c. heavy whipping cream

1 Tbsp vanilla

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:

Use a large pot to cook this. A good heavy aluminum or iron pan works well. When the sugar mixture starts to boil the mixture doubles in size and you don’t want it to overflow from the pot. Put sugar, Karo syrup, and salt in a pan and cook over medium-high heat until it starts to turn light tan in color. Make sure you are regularly stirring while this boils. This will take 7-8 minutes.

Heat heavy cream in the microwave until it is quite warm (about 3 minutes). Add to sugar mixture SLOWLY. Stir with a long-handled spoon and NEVER stop the boiling process. (Be very careful as the steam can really burn your hands). Cook to 243 degrees on a candy thermometer. This will take a while. Make sure you are constantly stirring or the sugar will burn on the bottom of the pan and ruin the entire batch.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and nuts. Pour into a well buttered 8×8 cake tin or a small glass casserole pan. Let cool completely in a cool spot overnight or place in freezer for 30 minutes. Cut into long strips and then into whatever size desired. Wrap individual caramels in waxed paper cut into 3×3 squares. If left in long strips, wrap in Saran Wrap and then aluminum foil.

Lemon Protein Muffins

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour

½ cup vanilla protein powder

½ cup xylitol (or ¼ cup stevia)

2 ½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

¾ cup cottage cheese

½ cup water

¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

Zest of 2 lemons

2 tbs. lemon juice

1 egg

2 tbs. chia seeds

2 tbs honey

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. In a blender or food processor, blend all the wet ingredients, excluding the honey, until pureed well.

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Form a “well” in the middle of the bowl and pour in the previously blended wet ingredients. Mix together until dough forms, it will be sticky.

Line a muffin tin with foil liners. Using a spoon, equally distribute the dough between the liners, about ¾ full. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Once removed from the oven, melt 2 tablespoons of honey for about 10 seconds in the microwave. Brush the muffins with the melted honey and allow to cool.

Peppermint Fudge

Ingredients:

2 packages (12oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk

4 candy canes

Directions:

If you have a double boiler, this is the perfect time to use it.  As an adult, I just never got around to buying a double boiler and so instead I just use a medium sized glass mixing bowl and set it on top of a pan that is just slightly smaller in size.  I fill the pan about half full with water and bring to a boil. The steam from the water is going to melt your chocolate without burning it from the heat of the stove. I usually have to use a hot pad to hold onto the edge of the glass bowl so that it doesn’t tip over.

Empty the packages of chocolate chips into the glass bowl and pour your sweetened condensed milk over the chocolate. Place the glass bowl over your boiling water and cook on medium-high heat until everything has melted together.

While this is melting, unwrap your candy canes and put them in a Ziploc bag. Use a rolling pin (or anything heavy) to crush the candy canes into tiny pieces.

Then take a piece of aluminum foil and spread it out over the bottom of an 8×8 pan.  Make sure to really press the foil down well so that it is nice and flat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Once the chocolate has melted, you want to work quickly because if you overcook the fudge it will start to get really crumbly. Use a rubber spatula to get the fudge out of the glass bowl and into your foil-lined pan. Use a butter knife to make the top of the fudge nice and flat. Sprinkle your crushed candy canes on top and use your hand to gently press into the fudge. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and set in the fridge to cool for about two hours.

When the fudge is cooled, you just lift the foil right out of the pan and use a long knife to cut it into bite-sized pieces! This recipe is so easy and is very easy to add peanut butter or different extracts to make different flavored fudge.

Chocolate Chip “Cookie Dough” 

This recipe is by Dr. Monique Middlekauff, a friend of mine who wrote Abs, Core, & Pelvic Floor with me!

Ingredients:

15oz can chickpeas

1/4 cup almond butter

1 Tsp vanilla

A splash of almond milk (or milk of your choice)

1 TBS maple syrup (or your choice of sweetener)

2 TBS oat flour

Chocolate chips to taste!

Directions:

Start with a 15 oz can of chickpeas in a food processor. Add the almond butter, vanilla, and milk. Then add the syrup, flour, and chocolate chips to taste. Mix together. 

(I like to eat it cold with a spoon!) Enjoy!

If you try any of these, share a photo on social media! I’d love to see!

Happy holidays!

xo Natalie