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ISO relatively quick Christmas dessert that transports well

Minutes ago I was just tasked with bringing a dessert to a Christmas Day get together. Christmas Eve is a regular work day for me, so I will have minimal time tomorrow night to stop at the grocery store (if necessary) and then throw something together. I will be transporting said dessert one hour by car that will also be loaded with 2 adults, a large dog, and a slew of wrapped gifts. Don't fear, the dessert will not ride next to the dog. I am looking for nothing delicate, nothing too fussy, and nothing I will have to mess with on Christmas Day itself.

I am coming up with uninspired things like brownies (from scratch, but still). Sure they come together fast and fit the bill but they seem so...everyday. I am counting on you all for inspiration. Any ideas?

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  1. If all adults, Bacardi rum cake, the longer it sits the better so it's an awesome do-in-advance. If you have a cake carrier or get a bakery box it travels very well. I made it in a bundt pan.

    2 Replies
    1. re: weezieduzzit

      Good point, weezieduzzit (love the name, BTW)...there will be kids present, ages 5-13.

      1. re: mels

        Why not "dress up" the brownies?

        You can add crushed peppermint candies which are christmasy and add a pretty white and red to the brownies. Another option is mint chocolate chips or hershey peppermint "hugs".

        Salted caramel brownies are a hit with kids and adults alike. Swirl it into the top of the brownie before baking.

        You can also make brownies in a sheet pan and cut out into christmas shapes using cookie cutters. Add some frosting and sprinkles.

        All of these travel well, layered between pieces of wax paper.

    2. Chocolate raspberry boxes
      These look amazing and are not too time consuming. Putting the boxes together is the most laborious part. You could skip that part and put it in lovely glasses. We have done that and garnished with a Pepperidge Farm pirouette cookie.
      Important recipe NOTE: We double the amount of raspberries called for for a really wonderful flavor.


      1. I heard about this dessert idea on the radio recently. It requires a chocolate chip cookie dough for the base layer, Reese's (or any other brand) Peanut Butter Cups for the middle layer and a brownie recipe for the top layer. If you have the time, make the cookie dough and brownie batter from scratch, but if not, buy mixes. Layer as described above in greased muffin tins and bake, according to recipe directions. Result is 3-layer decadence.

        The ultimate quickie dessert recipe might be a trifle. You can buy a good quality pound cake, fresh fruits, quickly whip cream with a touch of powdered sugar and a splash of liqueur, assemble, and you're good to go.

        You can buy prepared chocolate cups and fill them with a mousse. Mousse is not that complicated to make and always impresses.

        As long as you have the ingredients, tiramisu comes together quickly and will improve during the one-hour drive.

        1. What about this dark molasses gingerbread cake?


          I haven't tried it yet but it looks terrific to me.

          1. Sticky toffee pudding, which is really a cake, and which you could actually make tonight and it would still be fine on Christmas. You can make the sauce and bring it in a container to reheat before serving.

            For the cake
            8 ounces (225g/generous 1 cup) chopped dates

            ½ pint (300ml/1¼ cups) brewed tea

            4 ozs. (110g/1 stick) unsalted butter

            6 ozs. (170g/scant 1 cup) castor (superfine) sugar

            3 eggs

            8 ozs. (225g/scant 1½ cups) self-rising flour

            1 rounded teaspoon bread soda (baking soda)

            1 teaspoon vanilla essence

            1 teaspoon Espresso coffee or 2-3 teaspoons instant espresso
            Hot toffee sauce
            4 ozs. (100g/1 stick) butter
6 ozs. (170g/3/4 cup) dark brown sugar

            4 ozs. (110g/generous ½ cup) granulated sugar

            10 ozs (285g/3/4 cup) golden syrup

            8 fl. ozs. (225 ml/1 cup) heavy cream

            ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
            8-inch (20.5cm) spring form tin with removable base
            Set the oven to 350 degrees.
            Soak the dates in hot tea for 15 minutes. Brush the cake tin with oil, flour, then put oiled parchment on the base.
            Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then mix in the sifted flour. Add the baking soda, vanilla essence and coffee to the date tea and stir this into the flour mixture. Pour into prepared pan, and cook for 1-1½ hours or until a cake tester comes out clean.
            To make the sauce, put the butter, sugars and golden syrup into a heavy bottomed saucepan and melt gently on a low heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes, remove from heat, and gradually stir in the cream and vanilla. Put back on the heat for 2-3 minutes until the sauce is absolutely smooth.
            To serve, pour some hot sauce around the cake and pour some additional sauce over the top. Put the remainder in a sauceboat, and serve with the pudding as well as softly whipped cream.

            1. I cannot think of anything easier than the old standby, Pumpkin Pie Cake, though some/many might be quite finished with pumpkin flavors now and until next fall. (And then there is the cake mix issue in this recipe so this might not suite your group.) It can be done with yellow or spice cake mix and I do my own spice blend for the pumpkin custard filling instead. Can be baked ahead, served cold, warm, or room temp, with either ice cream or whipped cream.


              1. Chocolate stout cake is so easy and always very well received.http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                1. Christmas Bread Pudding. Take a 2 lb panetone, slice into 1 inch slices, toast in broiler (about 30 secs) until brown on both sides. Let stand/cool for at least 1 hr. Then tear it into 11/2 pieces and pour 1 qt half and half or light cream over it. Let it sit another hour to absorb the cream.
                  Separately, mix, 1 cup sugar, 1 1/2 TBS vanilla, 1tsp almond extra and 3 eggs. Mix till creamy.
                  Preheat oven to 325, pour egg mixture over bread and mix.
                  Pour it all into 9X13X2 in deep (you'll need a fairly deep pan, but a 10 inch foil lasagna dish works, too.) Bake for about a hour or until top starts to brown. There's not much work, just waiting time. You can make this a day ahead.
                  Reheat when serving. A great topping is an Amaretto sauce made from (in double boiler or small bowl over boiling water) 1 stick butter, cut into pieces; slowly whisk in 1 c. confect sugar; (stir until creamy, 30 secs) add two egg yolks, one at a time; add 3 TBS Amaretto (or use extract, but less);whisk constantly until it reaches consistency of honey...5 minutes or more. Make ahead and take in jar to put on pudding top. Broil for just a few minutes until bubbly. Serves 12.

                  1. Shop this evening - most grocery stores around here are closing at 5 PM Christmas Eve.
                    Anything baked in a Bundt pan looks festive.
                    Peppermint Ice cream (transport in a cooler)

                    1. My suggestion would be a pudding cake. My circa 1970 Better Homes and Garden cookbook has a recipe for chocolate and also for lemon pudding cakes. Very easy. Serve with whipped cream. The mixture goes in a casserole dish with a hot water mixture poured on top. This magically sinks to the bottom and becomes the sauce during baking. I recently tried a recipe for apple pudding cake that was a similar idea. Family loved it. This looks like what I made - very simple but you would probably need to buy cider http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/apple...

                      1. Magic Cookie Bars. make with butterscotch chips option. TDF


                        1. peppermint candy cane meringue cookies and chocolate chip meringue cookies. So easy to make the night before, back in plastic containers, and pretty and light.

                          1. This sounds like the time for store-bought dessert - but - if you're not so inclined, the following recipe is VERY Christmassy and not hard. It might need a cold pack underneath it.


                            1. I took Amanda Hesser's almond cake to a party this weekend. Made a pear compote to go with it (chopped pears, sugar, wine, spices, reduced the wine to syrup after removed cooked pears). It takes some time baking but the prep is simple and it got rave reviews.

                              1. Got a pretty glass bowl? How about a trifle? You could even do it with brownies, maybe some raspberries and whipped cream. Or buy an angel food cake and go from there. Definitely try to get to the store tonight. As someone said, a lot of stores will be closing early tomorrow.

                                1. I made this "Cranberry Walnut Pie" -- really more like a big cookie -- last year for Christmas, http://coleensrecipes.blogspot.com/20....

                                  Incredibly easy, delicious, sturdy in terms of traveling well, and the cranberries give it a seasonal feel.

                                  1. Please let us know what you made.

                                    1. Oh my goodness, you are all fantastic. Thank you so much for the ideas! I am going to make a trifle, as I just discovered a pound cake I made over the summer in my freezer (fret not, it is wrapped well!). SCORE! Bonus points because I have heavy whipping cream in my fridge already that I can put to use. I am also going to make a pan of brownies (jazzed up, as suggested), since I know some of the kids will enjoy them more than trifle and again, I have the ingredients on hand. I may even be able to get away without going to the grocery store!

                                      1. Trifle - use storebought pound cake or lady fingers. If need be, buy storebought vanilla pudding rather than making pudding or custard. I'd use good quality raspberry preserves for a colorful red striation, though you could go chocolate cake, crushed peppermint in the whipped cream, etc. If you don't have a big bowl, make individual ones in clear glasses or dessert bowls.

                                        ETA: Oops, I responded before getting to the bottom of the posts and seeing this already discussed and decided upon. Hope it is a big hit!