5 Holiday Recipes To Cook Together

holiday recipes couple
Self

The holidays: the ultimate recipe for good times or high stress with your loved ones, depending on how you play it. One way to make the season a little more jolly is to work together, especially on the party preparations that can drive a single individual mad. By joining forces, you take the pressure off one person and, if you work at it, even build a little camaraderie in the process.

One of the best places to work together is in the kitchen. Holiday meal preparations can be grueling, but if both of you put on an apron, that means half the work—and twice the chance to coat each other in whipped cream.

YourTango asked chef Rebekah Peppler to design some recipes for couples to cook together. To make these dishes, one of you be Partner 1, the other Partner 2, and follow the simple instructions below for an enjoyable, less-taxing and more-collaborative holiday season. We promise you: the Cornish hens won't be the only things heating up. – Jack Murnighan

Hazelnut Butter Cookies
Makes 25-30 one-inch cookies.

½ cup hazelnuts
½ cup granulated sugar, separated
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
1 Tbsp Frangelico
Powdered sugar for finishing

Partner 1:

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Toast hazelnuts till lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from oven, cool slightly then wrap still warm nuts in dishtowel and roll until most of the brown skins are removed. Lower oven to 300° F. Cool nuts completely before moving on to next step.

2. Grind nuts with 1/3 of granulated sugar in the food processor until the consistency of coarse cornmeal and set aside for your partner.

Meanwhile, Partner 2:

1. Cream butter and 2/3 of sugar until light and fluffy.

2. Add vanilla extract

3. Mix in ground nuts, flour and salt just to combine.

Then, together:

1. Divide dough and roll into 1-inch balls.

2. Bake 15-18 at 300° F.

When done,  

Partner 1: Lightly brush warm cookies;

Partner 2: Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar.

Photo: Rebekah Peppler

More Juicy Content From YourTango:

Cherry-Orange-Walnut Rugelach
Makes 32 cookies.

For the dough:
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
Zest of ½ orange
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
Generous pinch salt

For the filling:
½ cup orange juice
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
Pinch ground cloves
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
1/3 cup dried cherries, finely chopped
1 Tbsp Cointreau
1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt and 2 tsp milk, for egg wash
Demerara sugar

Partner 1:

1. Cream the cheese and butter together until light and fluffy.

2. Using your fingers, rub orange zest together with sugar then add to the cheese/butter mixture.

3. Mix in vanilla.

Meanwhile, Partner 2:

1. Sift together flour and salt.

2. Add flour mixture just till combined.

3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, shape into a ball and divide into quarters.

Then together:

1. Gently shape each quarter into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.

2. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

After refrigerating dough

Partner 1:

1. Line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.

2. Combine sugar, spices and walnuts.

Meanwhile, Partner 2:

1. Bring orange juice to a boil and simmer until reduced to 1/8 cup.

2. Toss chopped cherries with Cointreau.

Then, together:

1. Roll each ball of dough into a 8-inch circle on a lightly floured surface.

2. Brush circle with orange juice.

3. Sprinkle with the walnut mixture and cherries.

4. Cut the circle into 8 equal triangles. Starting at the wide end, roll up each triangle and place on baking sheet with the points tucked under. Refrigerate for one hour.

Partner 1: Preheat oven to 350° F. Brush each cookie with the egg wash.

Meanwhile, Partner 2: Sprinkle each cookie with demerara sugar.

Together: Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, rotating sheets midway through, until lightly golden. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Photo: Rebekah Peppler

Bourbon-Pecan Christmas Bread Pudding
Serves 6-8

¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
5 cups stale challah, cut or torn into 1-inch cubes
2 cups whole milk
3 Tbsp bourbon
4 eggs
Zest of ½ lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup vanilla sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
½ tsp salt
¾ cup pecans, toasted, cooled and coarsely chopped

For bourbon whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
1½ Tbsp high quality bourbon
3 Tbsp confectioners' sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

Partner 1: Toss bread cubes in melted butter and place in 8-inch baking dish.

Meanwhile, Partner 2:

1. Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over bread, making sure it is evenly coated.

2. Refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.

After it's refrigerated, Partner 1 or 2:

1. Bake at 350° F until custard is set, about 30 minutes.

2. While pudding is baking, whisk together whipping cream, bourbon and vanilla mixture until it begins to thicken. Whisk in confectioners' sugar until soft peaks form. Set aside.

3. Serve warm with whipped cream at the table

Photo: Rebekah Peppler

Herb-Roasted Cornish Game Hens
Serves 2

2 (1½-pound) Cornish game hens
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 shallots, thickly sliced
8 fresh sage leaves
4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
½ lemon, thickly sliced

Partner 1:

1. Preheat the oven to 425° F

2. Separate fresh herbs into two equal piles, and using kitchen twine, tie together two small bouquets. Set aside.

Meanwhile, Partner 2:

1. Remove the giblets from the hens and rinse inside and out. Pat the outsides dry.

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2. Rub olive oil all over the hens and season generously with salt and pepper both inside the hens and out.

Then, Partner 1:

Loosely stuff the cavities of each hen with shallots, lemon slices and herb bouquets.

Partner 2:

Tie the legs together with kitchen twine, tuck the wing tips under the body of the hens and place in roasting pan.

Once the hens are tied, they should be roasted for 60 minutes or until the juices run clear.

One or the other partner should remove the hens from the oven, transfer to serving platter and tent loosely with foil. Rest 10 minutes.

While hens are resting, prepare the gravy.

Photo: Rebekah Peppler

Cognac-Herb Gravy
Makes 1 cup

Pan juices from Cornish game hens
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
¾ cup reduced-sodium chicken stock
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons plus 1 tsp Cognac
1½ tsp cornstarch mixed with 1½ tsp cold water
Salt
Pepper

Partner 1: Skim excess fat from pan juices.

Meanwhile, Partner 2:

1. Place a pan over heat and whisk in butter.

2. When butter is melted, add chicken stock, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

3. Stir cognac and fresh thyme and allow to cook for 5 minutes.

4. Stir in cornstarch mixture and cook for one minute.

5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Photo: Rebekah Peppler

Finally: Enjoy the feast you've created as a couple!

Have a recipe you like to cook with your significant other? Share it with us here.

The holidays: the ultimate recipe for good times or high stress with your loved ones, depending on how you play it. One way to make the season a little more jolly is to work together, especially on the party preparations that can drive a single individual mad. By joining forces, you take the pressure off one person and, if you work at it, even build a little camaraderie in the process.

One of the best places to work together is in the kitchen. Holiday meal preparations can be grueling, but if both of you put on an apron, that means half the work—and twice the chance to coat each other in whipped cream.

YourTango asked chef Rebekah Peppler to design some recipes for couples to cook together. To make these dishes, one of you be Partner 1, the other Partner 2, and follow the simple instructions below for an enjoyable, less-taxing and more-collaborative holiday season. We promise you: the Cornish hens won't be the only things heating up. – Jack Murnighan

Finally: Enjoy the feast you've created as a couple!

Have a recipe you like to cook with your significant other? Share it with us here.