Treats from the Garden: 4 Holiday Recipes
We always love cooking up the latest harvest goods from the garden for holiday dinners and special occasions, but we wanted to serve up something extra sweet this year! We gathered up four of the tastiest winter recipes using delicious garden produce and even some fresh in-season flowers, so you can have plenty of sweet treats ready to serve for when company comes to visit.
4 Sweet Holiday Recipes from the Garden
For weekend brunches, late-night desserts, or just general snacking (because that’s always allowed over the holidays!), try some of these creative recipes full of garden delights. Ultra-decadent, yet deceptively simple, and they look just as incredible as they taste—your holiday snack spread will be pretty dang impressive this year!
White Chocolate Pistachio Pansy Bark
Few recipes are as simple as this white chocolate pistachio pansy bark, and yet it’s one of the most beautiful and luxurious desserts we’ve ever seen! It truly delights the senses, with a creamy crunchy texture, delicate flavor, intoxicating aroma, and stunningly beautiful edible flowers that look almost too lovely to eat.
What sets this chocolate bark aside from other recipes is the infusion of rosewater—a fragrant delicacy from the Middle East that pairs perfectly with pistachios and sweet white chocolate. It’s quite inexpensive, and you can usually find it in the international section of your supermarket.
- 8 oz. white chocolate melting wafers
- 1 4 oz. white chocolate baking bar
- 1½ tbsp rosewater
- ⅓ cup roasted salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
- 15-20 fresh pansies
- Harvest your pansies from the garden early in the morning you plan on using them. If you need to store them in the fridge for a few hours, moisten a paper towel and place it in the bottom of a Tupperware container. Lay the pansy heads on the moist towel, seal the lid and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to use them.
- In a saucepan, melt the chocolate on a low heat setting, stirring constantly. Once melted, add in the rosewater and keep stirring until it’s blended in.
- Line a 10×15 cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper and pour in the melted chocolate. Sprinkle on the pistachios, and then gently press in the pansies, face-side-up. We recommend pulling apart a few of the flowers so you can sprinkle on some loose petals, in addition to some fully-intact flower heads.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until solid, and then break the bark into pieces.
Grapefruit Vanilla Shortbread
Grapefruits are so tart and juicy when they’re in season in Houston, adding an unexpected zip to all sorts of creative recipes. We really dig the unexpectedly complex notes of this grapefruit vanilla shortbread. If you have any more edible flower petals from the garden, like pansies, hibiscus, or roses, you can use those for decorative garnish!
Note: For this recipe, you’ll need a 9-inch springform pan—the kind you typically use for cake baking.
- ½ cup unsalted room temperature butter, plus more for the pan
- 1 tbsp fresh grapefruit zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1⅓ cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp fresh grapefruit juice
- Optional garnish: pansy, hibiscus or rose petals, Himalayan pink salt, cracked pink peppercorns, pink and red edible glitter, sprinkles, or sanding sugar
- Coat your pan with a light layer of butter.
- In a food processor, pulse vanilla extract, ½ cup butter, ⅓ cup powdered sugar, and grapefruit zest until smooth and well integrated. Add in the kosher salt and flour, and pulse until it’s just combined—don’t overmix it.
- Remove this dough and press it into your pan, smoothing the top down with the bottom of a flat glass or a non-slatted spatula. Chill the dough for at least one hour (or you can prepare it ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours).
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Using a fork, prick the shortbread all over the surface, around 1–2 inches apart. Bake for 15–18 minutes, until the edge is golden and the center is light in color but firm to the touch.
- Release the spring band from the pan and cut the shortbread into 16 wedges like a pizza. Let them cool.
- Whisk grapefruit juice, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup of powdered sugar in a small bowl until blended. Spread it all over the shortbread, leaving a little sliver of crust around the edge, again, just like a pizza! While the glaze is still wet, you can sprinkle on all your desired toppings: flower petals, pink salt, sprinkles, whatever! Let the glaze set, and it’s ready to serve alongside some tea or hot cocoa.
Creamy Pecan Pumpkin Trifle
Still got a stash of pumpkin puree left over from Thanksgiving? This rich, creamy dessert is perfect for serving at the halfway point to Christmas!
- 1 pkg spice cake mix
- 1 pkg instant vanilla pudding
- 1 cup pureed pumpkin
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cups cold 2% milk
- 2 pkgs Jell-o cheesecake flavor instant pudding
- 2 cups whipped cream
- 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 1 cup Skor bits
- Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9X13 baking dish.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, pumpkin puree, oil, water, eggs, and pie spice. Pour into the greased baking dish. Bake for 45–50 minutes, cool on a wire rack, and then cut up the cake into 1-inch cubes.
- Whisk together the milk and cheesecake pudding mix and sit for 3 minutes until set. Then, gently fold in the whipped cream.
- In a large glass bowl, layer ⅓ of the cake cubes, ⅓ of the cream filling, ⅓ of the chopped pecans and Skor bits, and repeat the layers two more times until you’ve used up all your ingredients. Chill for one hour before serving.
Pomegranate Pecan Baked Brie
Pomegranates and pecans are both ready to be picked in December, and luckily they make a terrific pairing, especially on creamy baked brie! This sweet and savory snack makes a great holiday appetizer to bring to parties. You’ll love how all the different sweet, sour, and salty flavors mingle together!
- 1 8 oz. wheel of brie, chilled
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
- 2 tbsp pecans, chopped
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- Honey for drizzling
- Toasted baguette, crostini, or crackers
- Flaked sea salt, or Himalayan pink salt (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking pan with some parchment paper.
- Put the brie wheel in the middle of the pan and bake for 8 minutes, until soft and melted in the middle.
- Remove from the pan and place in a serving dish. Top with pomegranate seeds, pecans, honey, rosemary, and a sprinkle of salt (optional). Serve with baguette or crackers, and provide a good cheese knife for spreading.
By the end of the year, once you’ve harvested all your amazing winter plants and cooked up plenty of magnificent recipes, your garden might be looking a little sparse! Now is a great time to get started on sprouting seeds and planning your spring garden. For the best edible plants in Houston, visit Plants for All Seasons to see what’s new for 2021!