I love the holidays, not just for the magic of it, when everyone is a bit kinder, but it brings people together to cherish the ones we love. Why not cherish your loved ones by bringing something fabulous to the table? Make them something special this year.
This recipe is elegant, and yet so simple to make, you may find yourself being the “talk of the the holiday party”. These are so yummy and actually pretty good for you too, up against most holiday desserts (except for the pastry, butter and sugar part, ha ha, but seriously, better than most!). These beautiful bites will disappear in a wink and people will love them for their bite size bursts of joy.
Cranberry, Walnut, and Dark Chocolate Purses Can Be Made Informal or Formal
Informal : More like a phyllo dough tart, baked in miniature muffin tins using the pre-made phyllo shells, filled with cranberries, walnuts and dark chocolate, topped w/ butter and brown sugar, and baked (no jeweled ribbons and an easier shortcut).
or Formal ; Create “purses” instead of tarts, tied with “jeweled” carrot ribbons. This way is so beautiful you might not want to eat them, but I’m sure you’ll find a way to scarf them down, they’re just too good.
Both Formal and Informal are explained in the recipe directions below:
Ingredients for purse shells:
One box frozen phyllo dough (thawed) ( makes anywhere from 15-24 purses) OR Packaged Pre-Baked Phyllo Shells (24 shells for informal purses)
1 stick of melted butter and a pastry brush
Ingredients for cranberry filling:
1 cup cranberries (washed and drained)
3 TBL brown sugar
1 TBL lemon juice
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
1 TBL butter
1 TBL Kircsh cherry flavored liquer
Put all flling ingredients in a small sauce pan stirring when needed until cranberries break down into a nice sauce. Cranberry sauce will look somewhat like a preserve. Remove from heat, and let cool.
Next, ready Ingredients for nut and chocolate filling:
½ cup walnuts (roughly chopped)
⅓ cup good dark chocolate (chopped), or ⅓ cup dark chocolate chips
24 sugar-jeweled carrot ribbons for the Formal purses:
Peel a carrot. And using the same peeler, make long strips of carrots into thin “ribbons”. Soak them in warm, lightly sugared water.
The sugar-soaked carrot ribbons may also be colored by adding food coloring to the warm sugar water. A drop of green, yellow, orange or red can be used for different color “ribbons” and add a gourmet touch.
Bring these to fancy parties, or use for multiple holidays and occasions, such as Christmas (red), or Thanksgiving (orange or yellow). And for an even fancier look, add a light dusting of colored crystallized sugar on the bow for that ‘sparkly’ touch. You’ll definitely get “wow”s for this one!
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Brush melted butter on two cookie sheets, (you may use a parchment-lined baking sheet if you prefer) while the phyllo dough is thawing. If you are inspired enough to make your own phyllo dough, here’s a great recipe from; grouprecipes.com., but I don’t recommend it, you might lose all inspiration after attempting what even a great chef calls a challenge. In fact, that’s why I included the Informal version of this recipe, for those who just don’t have the patience for tying tiny bows around phyllo dough. But promise me this, at least TRY the Formal version once, you’ll be surprised at how “zen” it is if you just breathe and smile thinking of who you’re making them for. They’ll be beautiful no matter how they turn out with all that love wrapped up inside. :D
For Informal Purses or Tarts:
Place the pre-baked phyllo shells one in each hole of the buttered miniature muffin tin. Fill each with 1 tsp. of cranberry filling sauce, a few crumbles of dark chocolate, and a few crumbles of walnuts on top. Bake for 15 min. at 375. Cool completely and remove carefully to serving tray.
For Formal Purses:
Thaw, and unroll phyllo and lay 1 sheet flat on a work surface; rewrap dough your not working with to keep it from drying out (I use a damp kitchen towel over it). Brush the whole surface of the sheet you are working with lightly with melted butter, lay another sheet on top and repeat until there are 4 layers.
Sprinkle top layer with a little cinnamon and nutmeg. Use a pizza cutter to cut phyllo dough into approx. 3 in. square pieces, (about 6 squares). Repeat with remaining dough. You should have enough dough total for about 24 squares. Place 1 tsp. cranberry sauce in the middle of each square. Then, sprinkle dark chocolate pieces over it, and a few walnut pieces on top of that.
Gather up each corner of one square to the middle and secure by pinching it closed so it resembles a purse by gently twisting the packet just above the pocket of goodies to create frills at the top. Not too tight, be careful not to squeeze the filling out! Tie each purse with the warm and color-sugared carrot strings and carefully place on parchment-lined baking sheet or buttered cookie sheet.
Bake for 12 min. at 375 degrees, just keep your eyes on it for the last couple minutes.
Remove carefully after allowing them to cool for a few minutes and place on a serving tray.
Fantastic served with dried cranberries, nuts and ice cream sprinkled with nutmeg!
This fabulous holiday dessert recipe can be adjusted to as many as you feel like making. Since they are bite size purses, just count about 2 per person (or 3 if your family is like mine! ha lol!).
If neither of these sound like they would work for you, or you don’t like phyllo, it’s just as easy to use a pre-made pie-crust and a biscuit cutter, place rounds in miniature muffin tin, fill with fillings, and bake for 15-20 min. at 375 or until crust is done. You can also use won ton wrappers instead of filo dough and kitchen twine instead of the carrot ribbons. (Just don’t eat the twine!!) . Also, crepes may be used for the purses, they’re delicious!
You can also use your imagination and create a different “shell” or fillings for these yummy holiday “purses” that everyone will love!
Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!
More Holiday Recipes;
Unusual and Easy Fudge Recipes; Layered Lavender Fudge & Variations for Classic Winter Holiday Treats
Cookie Gifts for Christmas
Holiday Recipe to Warm You Up; Spinach Bacon & Bean Soup
Holiday Spiced Cider Recipe
Granny-Smith-Caramel-Apple & Pecan Bread Pudding & Cranberry and Walnut Cake with Maple-Bourbon Sauce
Asian Chicken Won Ton Cups; Holiday Recipes and Perfect Party Fare
Scallop Ceviche; Holiday Recipes and Perfect Party Fare
Easy Mushroom Puffs; Holiday Recipes and Perfect Party Fare
Swedish Meatballs; Holiday Recipes and Perfect Party Fare
Baileys and Kahlua Recipes and How-To Video; Homemade Holiday Treats
What to Serve at a Party? Easy Sweet Treats; Dessert Cheeseball Recipes; Key Lime, Turtle Cheesecake Ball Recipes and More