Christmas as an expat, specifically an expat in Taiwan is tricky. There will be holiday parties, but without ovens there won't be as many holiday treats. Sure, cookies can be bought at the bakery, but its not the same as filling your kitchen and home with that perfect cookie smell. This does not mean you can't spread the holiday joy. I've put together a list of ten sweet Christmas treats that the average do-it-yourselfer can make under most circumstances, minus the oven.
Peanut butter and chocolate is a timeless classic, that nails it every time. Don't call them peanut butter truffles. They are just buckeyes, the seasonal candy hailing from my home state of Ohio. You can add stuff to them, but they just wouldn't be Buckeyes anymore. Get the recipe here.
|image by Lindsey Johnson|
Roasted pears are my number one favorite healthy, but still holiday dessert. For the oven-less, poached pears are just as tasty. They are wonderful on their own and with a touch of whipped cream or ice cream. To really impress the stockings off your friends serve them along side gingerbread or spiced cake. This David Lebovitz recipe looks like a new classic waiting to happen. I might also try this Chai pear recipe just for the chai cream. Any warm wintery spices go well with pears really, like this ginger honey poached pear recipe. Have half a bottle of wine laying around? Save it for poaching some red wine pears.
|image by Haruka Sakaguchi|
Nothing take the nip out of the air better than a mug of warm, mulled wine or punch. Its the holidays, and most of us are ready to party. With a bounty of pomegranates during the winter months go for this Pomegranate Mulled Wine, or stick to the classic, Basic Mulled Wine recipe. Apples aren't just for fall either, everyone will agree when you make this Tree-Trimming Cider Punch. Champagne punch, another easy but elegant one, makes the best of holiday citrus flavors. Bourbon Punch should also have the power to transform any dull holiday get-together into a party.
|image from BrooklynBrewshop.com|
Bars, we're talking toffee, brittle, bark, nuts, fruit, brickle. All that. If you don't have an oven and are looking for a snacky dessert to send the holiday love with, there are soooo many bar recipes to choose from. Toffee and Peppermint Bark, may not be everyone's favorite, but they are cult favorites that only come around this time of year. My Sugar-Coated, Chili-Rubbed Peanut Bacon Brittle never last very long at any party. I'm thinking this IPA Beer Brittle would probably disappear off tables too. One of these years I'm going to make this Saltine Brickle, its everything great about salty and sweet flavors. If you were to swap in Cheezits, you would end up with a Butterfinger candy bar-like treat. These No-Bake Coconut Date Bars are classic a Christmas standard, and these layered Pistachio Bars are too!
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Christmas in Taiwan means one thing, Ferrero Rocher Truffles. Not sure why, but they own the Christmas dessert market. So as an oven-less community, why not welcome their addition? If you are a decorating guru, cake truffles might be for you. Ginger Bread Truffles or Christmas Pudding Cake Truffles both look adorable, and will be easy to make with some store-bought cake you roll up into balls. Booze + dessert is always a hit. If you agree go for these Bourbon Balls. For a simple, decadent take, a chocolatey Mocha Truffle will please everyone.
|image by Kylie Held Mitchell|
Yes Virginia, you can make cookies without an oven. This oven-less no-bake category is also the gluten-free, raw, and vegan category. This Jam Thumbprint Cookie recipe is all 3 of those things, not to mention delicious looking. Gotta have Gingerbread Cookies too. These raw Fig Cookies look tasty and kid friendly. If you aren't into the raw-thing but you still want to make beautiful holiday cookies consider coating some cookies in chocolate and other Christmas pretties.
|image from Cute as a Fox|
You guys, I did not know about the world of Krispies until just now. You can create entire universes from Krispie Treats. For instance you could make a snowman, or a candycane, or Christmas Tree, or your own perfect holiday wonderland. I prefer krispie treats that are either a) Chocolate or b) covered in candy and other junk food. Whatever you like this fast treat can be made without an oven, another holiday win for the oven-less.
|image from Bakers Royale|
No offense to the Krispie Treats, but trifles are another easy way to do something pretty fast, and in advance that really stops the show. There are infinite combinations of pudding/cream, cake/cookies, fruit, candy, etc. etc out there. For the holidays a Peppermint Trifle might be all you need. A Blueberry-Orange Trifle may also have that holiday appeal, but with a lighter fruit flavor. If there isn't eggnog-something it just isn't the holidays, try out this Eggnog Trifle recipe. Or maybe a Pear and Caramel Trifle for those with a sweet tooth. Who are we really kidding here? You don't need a recipe for trifle, put stuff in layers, in a pile, chill and serve.
|image from Popsugar|
Eggnog is one of those holiday foods that only comes around once a year. Another cultish "love it, or hate it" standard. Even if you hate it, you might throw some back, if it has rum or whiskey in it. You have two options for making eggnog: 1) Classic Eggnog made from raw eggs or 2) Eggnog that's been tempered. Oh, and a third option, Vegan Eggnog. The greatest thing about making eggnog, if you live in a country without such traditions, is once you make it you can use it as an ingredient in hundreds of other dishes. Wouldn't you just love some eggnog french toast, or eggnog ice cream with that poached pear? What about eggnog creme brulee, eggnog cheese cake, all washed down with eggnog-tini?
|image from 12 Tomatoes|
Finally, if you want to be the person who really shows everyone up, then make a cake! Tiramisu can be made oven-less, as can Cheesecake. This Nutella Icebox Cake looks dreamy. A chocolate berry flavored Retro Cake would make a flavor and style statement at your gathering.
So Oven-less friends, are you inspired? Will you be doing any holiday non-baking?