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7 Delicious, Easy Treats to Leave for Santa that Aren’t Cookies

Meyer Lemon Squares


It’s tough to know what exactly Santa will require for sustenance when he disembarks from his sleigh. It’s been a long night for the Man in Red, and as the song goes, it’s cold outside. So aside from maybe making him a mug of creamy hot chocolate, consider one of the following desserts. Each is easy to make, appropriate for various meal times (to suit Santa’s hither-and-yon schedule), and delicious. And if there happen to be any helper elves at home, they’d enjoy anything St. Nick is too full to polish off.


1. Pumpkin Chai Mini Pies

Pumpkin Chai Mini Pies


If you’ve got pie dough in the fridge or freezer and a can of pumpkin puree, you’re halfway to enjoying these pumpkin chai mini pies. Easy as, well, pie to make, they can be baked simply in muffin tins. No standing mixer is required, so there are a minimum of dishes. Sweet whipped cream makes for a Santa-worthy presentation.


2. Mini Ricotta Donuts

Mini Ricotta Donuts


For some folks, deep-frying is a walk in the park, whether because they grew up doing it or they own a deep fryer. For these cooks, donuts are a breeze, particularly when the batter is as straightforward as this delicious lemon zest-spiked ricotta number. Serve the accompanying honey-thyme dip alongside so Santa can decide whether or not to take those big gloves off while he tucks in, and do be sure to taste-test these before serving. You might need two in order to suss out whether they’re worthy. (Tip: They are.)


3. Black Currant and Pear Mini Upside-Down Cakes

Black Currant Jam and Pear Mini Upside-Down Cakes


Show Santa you appreciate his fancy side even if no one else does with these gorgeous, sophisticated mini pear-currant cakes. They’re so much simpler than you’d guess, in part because you bake them in a muffin tin. Cardamon lends the batter a sophisticated flavor, buttermilk gives it tenderness, and that presentation requires just a swirl of jam and a slice of seasonal pear.


4. Chocolate-Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies


Chocolate and peanut butter together in dessert form appeals to most of us, and Santa is no exception. These whoopie pies can be ready in less than an hour, believe it or not. The outer discs are easier to pull together than cookie dough, and the creamy center is simply a nutty buttercream. They’re divine.


5. Apple Hand Pies

Apple Hand Pies


Respect St. Nick’s busy schedule with hand pies. (One for now, and one for the air.) These feature apples, pistachios, cinnamon and cardamom. You might want to set a few aside for household creatures stirring in the night who also require dessert. While they’re still warm, these are particularly excellent with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


6. Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


Give the man of the hour a dessert that will suit his look. These red velvet cupcakes go nicely with a red velvet suit (and a “ho, ho, ho.”) Cream cheese frosting swirled to resemble the snow is red velvet cake’s ideal foil, and glazed pecans are a sweet final touch.


7. Meyer Lemon Squares

Meyer Lemon Squares


Don’t forget about seasonal citrus this time of year. Meyer lemon squares feature one of the most elegant citrus juices around. Floral, bright, and not-too-sweet, it’s just the sort of flavor a well-traveled man like Santa will appreciate. We love the snowfall of confectioners’ sugar over the whole thing, lending a season-appropriate flourish he’ll smile about as he heads back out into the real deal.

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About Mary Ellen Bellusci

Mary Ellen Bellusci is a longtime resident of Baltimore, Maryland... A foodie, traveler, writer, and pursuer of happiness.