Our Most Popular Recipes in December

By: Hannah Lee Leidy

Cravings for warm, comfort foods shaped our most popular recipes in December. An appetite for spiced cookies and sweet breads, elegant hams, and cranberry preserves demonstrated readers’ determination to revive the ritualistic holiday feasts. Riffs on the classic fare added variety to the expected holiday spread—marinated beef fondue over roast beef, tomato aspic instead of jello salad, sausage balls reimagined as eye-catching pinwheels. From the old faithfuls to the new guard, these cozy, indulgent recipes give winter a warm welcome.


Marinated Beef Fondue

Cozying around a steamy pot to prepare dinner feels like the perfect solution to ward off the cold. No need to reserve fondue to a fancy dinner out thanks to this super simple marinade recipe.

Winkler’s Moravian Sugar Cake

Many North Carolinians will tell you that it’s not the holidays without a Moravian sugar cake. Saturated with brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter, this traditional treat is like a sheet-pan version of monkey bread.

Tomato Aspic

Step aside, festive jello salads, tomato aspic stole the spotlight on holiday tables in 2021. This aspic from Bill Bowick and David Bouffard of Sugar Bakeshop in Charleston tastse like “a bloody mary in solid form.”

Cranberry Preserves

Forget cranberry sauce; 2021 was the year for preserves. This one-pot mix cooks down fresh or frozen cranberries with orange zest, vanilla, and warming spices. Try these preserves spooned over biscuits, with meat, or on top of buttermilk ice cream.

Sausage Pinwheels

Wrapped in a flaky biscuit dough and filled with your favorite breakfast sausage, these pinwheels double as both a breakfast treat and cocktail hour snack.

Super Ginger Molasses Cookies

These soft, chewy ginger cookies stole readers’ hearts when they first appeared in the 2015 winter issue of the Local Palate magazine. Created by Arley Arrington of Arley Cakes in Charlottesville, Virginia, these cookies’ bold flavor is inspired by Arrington’s Jamaican grandmother’s homemade ginger beer recipe.

Marinated Louisiana Crab Claws

A few seasonings and an hour of marination turn these crab claws into an instant party snack. Don’t forget to serve it with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the briny, lemony marinade.

Fresh Ham with Cracklings

Cracklings, we’d argue, are the best part of holiday ham, period. Scoring the skin all over helps it crisp into a crunchy, savory exterior.

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