When the holidays roll around, one of my favorite traditions is baking Christmas cookies. (Well, the part I like is actually eating them, but baking is something I'll tolerate in order for the sweet end result.) And of course, many families have their favorite holiday cookies that they bake each year. But sometimes it's nice to add something new to the mix. If you're looking for inspiration for a holiday dessert, why not turn to the pages of your favorite books? And I'm not just talking about cookbooks.
Let's be real: Reading descriptions of delicious confections can be awful. Because, if the author is a great writer, you will want to devour that food STAT. And it's stuck as ink on a page. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been reading Harry Potter and really, really wished that I had a glass of pumpkin juice and whatever was for dinner at Hogwarts that night. Luckily, many people have thought the same things, and those who are excellent chefs have been kind enough to find recipes for your favorite literary desserts. From the sweets of Harry Potter’s Honeydukes, to the magical desserts in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, there are plenty of options for your pudding this holiday season.
1. Turkish Delight: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
If it's good enough to sell out your siblings, it's got to be pretty delicious: Bring The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to life with this recipe for Edmund's Turkish Delight. Of course, this one's "non-evil," a holiday must.
2. "Eat Me" Cookies: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
If you're a sugar Christmas cookie fan, start with a basic recipe and throw in some literary-inspired decorations, such as the "eat me" icing from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Sadly, they won't make you shrink, but you can always pretend.
2. Lembas Bread: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
So you want to serve something hearty for a holiday snack? Try this recipe for lembas bread, a LOTR necessity. After all, the holiday season is basically a time to eat like a hobbit. I'm talking six meals a day, people.
3. Cauldron Cakes: The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
There are a thousand sweets to copy from Harry Potter — after all, Honeydukes provides plenty of options — but I think nothing says "perfect for winter" like cauldron cakes. They sound warm and chocolate-y and probably pair well with Butterbeer — sign me up.
4. Christmas Pudding: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Maybe this is traditional in the U.K., but in the USA Christmas pudding is not quite as common. Change that this year by whipping up a classic Christmas pudding, and you'll feel as happy as Scrooge. At the end of the book, not at the beginning, of course.
5. Peeta's Nut And Raisin Bread: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I would recommend not tossing this at your friends, but hey, it could lead to love if you do. Take a page from the Hunger Games cookbook and bake some of Peeta's nut and raisin bread, perfect for a chilly holiday evening.
6. Apple Turnovers And Pickled Limes: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
In Little Women, schoolgirls trade trendy pickled limes. I'm not sure how appetizing they are, but don't they at least sound interesting? Whip up some for your friends, but just in case they turn out less than delicious, make some March family apple turnovers too, which are sure to be a hit.
7. Bruce Bogtrotter's Chocolate Cake: Matilda by Roald Dahl
Bruce polishes off the whole cake himself, and you'll want to, too, when you taste how delicious it is: I recommend this recipe for the most rich and delicious option. Of course, you could also make it in a cupcake tin, if you'd rather share.
8. Chocolate Digestive Biscuits: In The Woods by Tana French
Detective Cassie Maddox is always eating chocolate biscuits in Tana French's murder mystery In the Woods, so why not try making some from scratch this holiday season? Then you can curl up with your creation and the thriller, for the perfect night in.
9. Seed Cake: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Miss Temple gives Helen and Jane some seed cake in Jane Eyre, which is described as "nectar and ambrosia." Um, sign me up. Re-watch your favorite Jane Eyre adaptation and ignore the cold weather while you whip up this pretty and warm dessert.
10. Snow Candy: Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Christmas in Little House on the Prairie sounds so glamorous in its simplicity, and the warm descriptions always melt my heart during the holiday season. In Little House in the Big Woods, the girls make this candy: "Laura and Mary each had a pan, and Pa and Ma showed them how to pour the dark syrup in little streams onto the snow." If you've got to try that yourself, check out this recipe — and don't worry if you don't have fresh snow. You can substitute shaved ice!