Travel By Food: 10 Holiday Treats From Around The World

Girls Who Travel | 10 Holiday Treats From Around The World

Do you feel like being a little adventurous in the kitchen this holiday season? Bake some of these treats from around the world to experience all sorts of new flavors and maybe even some old favorites.

Travel By Food: 10 Holiday Treats From Around The World

Girls Who Travel | Travel By Food: 10 Holiday Treats From Around The World

The Netherlands – Pepernoten

Girls Who Travel

Sinterklass is celebrated on December 5 in the Netherlands. Pepernoten are confection-like cookies associated with this holiday and omg are they scrumptious! Don’t just take our word for it – try your own! Here’s how:

What you will need:

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 tbsp milk

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

¾ cup unsalted butter

¼ tsp kosher salt

½ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp cloves

½ tsp ginger

How to make it:

Line a baking tray with cookie paper and preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, salt, flour, baking powder, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Mix well. Add the butter and continue to mix well for 5 minutes.

Make small sized balls of the dough and place on the baking tray with enough distance to spread on baking.

Bake for 10 -15 minutes. Cool and serve.

Malaysia – Pineapple Tart

Girls Who Travel

Pineapple tarts are served at all major cultural holidays in Malaysia, but especially at the Chinese New Year celebration. They’re the perfect balance of sweet and savory, which means it’s totally acceptable to eat them at all times of the day (we’re big fans of desserts for breakfast)!

What you will need:

2 pineapples

1 cinnamon stick

60g rock sugar

3 cloves

200g all-purpose flour

100g margarine

1 egg

½ tbsp water

¼ tsp  salt

How to make it:

Chop and blend pineapples. Use the pulp only to shorten cooking time.

Cook the pineapple with the cinnamon stick and clove on medium heat for at least 25 minutes . Add the rock sugar and continue to cook on low heat to a golden brown and jam-like consistency. Remove the cinnamon stick and clove. Leave aside to cool.

In a clean bowl, rub margarine into the flour. Add the egg, salt and water. Combine the ingredients well to make a dough. Don’t over knead or it will get hard. Cover the dough and keep in the refrigerator for at least 30minutes.

After 30 minutes, flatten the dough and use a tart mould or cookie cutter to make shapes. Spoon the pineapple jam in the center of the dough. Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes

Australia – Rum Balls

.Girls Who Travel

Rum balls are the quintessential Australian Christmas treat. These chocolate, coco-nutty goodies are so delish that we will be enjoying them all year long!

What you will need:

250g Scotch Fingers

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1tsp orange zest

1/3 cup Dark Rum

1 Cup Desiccated Coconut

1/4 Cup Cocoa – sifted

1/2 Cup Coconut – toasted

How to make it:

Put Scotch Fingers in food processor and blitz until no large chunks are left.

Add together in a large mixing bowl, orange zest, sweetened condensed milk, cocoa, coconut and rum. Mix until combined.

Place mix in fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.

Toast coconut in a pan until golden.

When mixture is solid roll into balls of the desired size and roll in toasted coconut. Keep in fridge until ready to eat.

Tip: You can add more rum or scotch fingers, or add in 1 cup of sultanas soaked overnight in rum to change the flavor up.

Georgia – Gozinaki

Girls Who Travel

Gozinaki is a traditional treat from Georgia loaded with the delicious goodness of caramelised nuts mostly walnuts and honey. This treat is served exclusively at New Year’s Eve and Christmas. It is believed to be a symbol of wealth and also as a promise for a happy and successful life.

What you will need

4 cups walnuts

1tbsp vegetable oil

1 cup honey 2 tbsp sugar

How to make it:

Preheat the oven to 350 °F.

Roughly chop the nuts and place them on a bake sheet. Ensure that there is no powder from the chopped nuts.

Grill in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until the nuts become fragrant. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Take honey and sugar in a large pan. Cook on medium heat stirring occasionally until the honey becomes dark.

Now add the grilled nuts using a wooden spatula. Mix without stopping to coat the nuts and to continue the caramelization for another 4 to 5 minutes

Once the caramel is dark, pour it on to a pre greased bake sheet. With the help of a spatula, create an even, one-inch-thick, rectangular wafer.

Be careful: do not touch the caramel with your fingers as it is very hot. Let rest for ten minutes then, with a large knife, cut it into squares or diamonds

Latvia – Piparkūkas

Girls Who Travel

Piparkukas or spiced cookies are an essential part of Christmas treats in Latvia. With a close resemblance to gingerbread cookies, these tasty crunchy cookies can be cut in circles or in shapes. They have an amazing aroma thanks to the cinnamon as they bake and will make your kitchen smell great.


What you will need:

1/3 cup  molasses

1⁄3 cup  brown sugar

1⁄3 cup  honey

1⁄2 cup  butter

3 tbsp lard

5 cups  flour

1 tsp  cinnamon

1 tsp  ginger

1/2 tsp  black pepper

1⁄2 tsp on  clove

1⁄2 tsp  nutmeg

1⁄2 tsp cardamom

1⁄2 tsp coriander

2   eggs

1⁄2 tsp baking soda

1 1⁄2 tsp  baking powder

How to make it:

Take a large pot and heat the molasses, brown sugar, butter and lard together, stirring constantly under medium-low heat until the butter, lard and sugar are completely melted. The process can be sped up by first softening the butter and lard in the microwave. Do not allow the mixture to scorch, or the cookies will not hold together.

Take the mixture off the heat and add 2-1/2 cups of flour, along with all of the spices. Mix thoroughly and set aside to cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally.

Lightly beat the eggs and incorporate them into the dough. Let it cool completely.

Sieve together the remaining flour with the baking soda and baking powder. Add the flour gradually to the dough, stirring thoroughly after each addition. When the dough becomes too thick to stir, knead with your hands — first in the bowl, then on a well-floured work surface. Initially the dough will stick like glue, but eventually you will get a smooth, shiny and quite heavy dough. Add more flour if needed, but only a bit at a time.

Grease a bowl with butter and put the dough in it. Cover with cloth and let rest for a couple of hours.

To bake: Generously flour your work surface. Take a piece of dough and roll it out very thinly. Cut out shapes and place on a cookie sheet. No need to grease the sheet .

Bake in a 400 degree oven. The cookies should bake in no more than five or six minutes — watch them carefully, and when the bottom edge begins to brown and the surface looks dry, they should be ready. Take the cookies out of the oven and put the pan on a rack.

India – Motichoor Laddu

Girls Who Travel

Any reason or season to celebrate in india in incomplete with the laddu. Basically laddu refers to a sweet treat that’s circular in shape and there are a million varieties. Coconut laddu, besan laddu, boondi laddu, til laddu, dry fruits laddu to name just a few. The most festive of them all is the motichoor laddu which combines some simple ingredients with great skill to become food fit for the gods.

  • 2 1/2 cup gram flour
  • 3 cup ghee
  • 2 pinch baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon green cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon edible food color
  • 3 cup sugar
  • 2 cup water

First take 2.5 cups of gram flour in a large bowl. Add a little water and the food colour, mix well. Add the baking soda and mix well to ensure there are no lumps.

The next step is to make the boondi for the laddu. Heat ghee in a large frying pan or wok. Place a perforated ladle on top of the oil. Now pour a spoon of the gram flour batter on to the ladle. The batter will fall in drops into the oil. Let it cook till golden brown. Remove on to a tissue paper to remove excess oil.

Now we will prepare the sugar syrup. Take a pan and add the sugar and water. Let it boil till you get a 2 string consistency. Add the cardamom powder and continue to boil. Add the boondis and mix well. Once well mixed, turn off the flame.

Now comes shaping the laddus. Grease the palm of your hand with ghee. Take a tablespoon of the boondi sugar mixture and roll into a ball shape. The size of the laddu depends entirely on your preference.

China – Tang Yuan

Girls Who Travel

Tangyuan is the most loved dessert during the Chinese New Year and the Lantern Festival. These glutinous rice balls have a variety of sweet filling inside them making for a delicious treat.

What you will need:

For the outer rice ball:

130 gm glutinous rice flour

3 tbsp boiling water

4 tbsp water at room temp.

For the filling

30g butter

2.5 tbsp sugar

80 g peanuts or black sesame seeds

How to make it:

For the outer ball:

Take the rice flour in a large mixing bowl and add boiling water little by little ensuring there are no lumps. Keep stirring as you make a smooth dough while adding the rest of the water. When the dough comes together in a smooth ball, divide to 20 small balls.

For the filling:

Toss the peanuts or black sesame seeds in a frying pan on low heat taking care not to burn them. Remove from heat, cool and grind to a fine paste with sugar in a food processor. Now add in the butter and mix well. Divide this mixture into 20 small balls and refrigerate.

Next steps:

Take a ball of dough and make it a flat circle. Place one ball of the filling in the center and wrap it on all sides. Repeat for the rest of the balls.

Now put a large wide pot of water to boil. Slide the balls carefully into the boiling water and wait for them to float up. Move them around so that they don’t stick together or the bottom. After a minute, remove from the water and they are ready to serve. Moist and delicious Tang Yuan.

Russia – Christmas Sochivo

Girls Who Travel

Sochivo is a traditional dish from Orthodox Russia. Every country has its own customs and traditions for the festive season and Sochivo is one such treat. It is a wheat based dish with dried berries and honey and is typically served on Christmas Eve.


 What you will need:

50 gm dried apricots

      50 gm raisins

      50 gm walnuts

   150 gm Wheat

      01 tbsp honey

How to make it:

Wash the wheat well and soak in a large bowl of boiling water for 12 hours or even overnight.

Rinse it and transfer to a saucepan of water enough to cover the wheat.

Cook on medium flame for 3 hours or till done.

Wash and soak the apricots and raisins in boiling water for about 20 minutes.

Add these to the wheat and mix well. Transfer to a bowl and serve hot.

Colombia – Natilla

Girls Who Travel

Colombians love to celebrate the festive cheer with this delicious custard like dessert called Natilla. There are several versions of this popular dish with coconut, nuts or raisins.

What you will need:

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 tbsp molasses

4 cups whole milk

2 cloves

3 cinnamon sticks

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp butter

¾ cup cornflour

1 tsp vanilla

How to make it:

In a bowl, combine the cornflour and 1 cup of milk till it is a smooth paste. Keep aside. Next take a large pan and use the rest of the milk. To this add the brown sugar and molasses. Now add salt, baking soda, cloves and the cinnamon sticks and stir well while on medium heat. When it comes to a boil, remove the cinnamon sticks and cloves. Now add the cornflour milk paste and mix well. Keep stirring on medium heat for about 10 minutes till the mixture thickens and starts to leave the sides of the pan. Add raisins or any chopped nuts of your choice and remove from heat. Now add the vanilla and butter and mix well. Pour the mixture in a pre-greased pan and refrigerate till firm. Demould and cut into desired sizes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and its ready to serve

Germany – Christstollen

Girls Who Travel | Stollen

Christstollen, or Stollen, is a classic German Christmas cake that has been around for nearly 700 years. (This recipe makes 3 stollen).
What you need:
3 cups (454g) fruitcake fruit blend
1/3 cup (74g) orange juice or rum
1 tablespoon instant yeast
3/4 cup (170g) warm water
1 large egg
8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup (28g) dry milk
3 1/2 cups (418g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup (71g) chopped toasted almonds

First, prepare the fruit. Combine the fruit blend with the orange juice or the rum. Set it aside for about 12 hours, at room temperature.
To prepare the dough, mix together all dough ingredients except the almonds, using a stand mixer. Mix and knead until the dough is smooth and soft. Cover the dough to let it rise. After 60-90 minutes it should be puffy.
Make the filling next. Divide the marzipan into three pieces, then shape each piece into a flattened 7″ log.
Next, assemble the Stollen. Knead the fruit and almonds into the dough, then turn the dough out onto a lightly greased surface. Divide the dough into three pieces, and shape each piece into an 8″ x 6″ oval. Now place one piece of almond paste or marzipan down the longer center of each oval. Fold the dough over it lengthwise, but make sure you are leaving the top edge of the dough just shy of the bottom edge. Press the top edge of your Stollen firmly to seal it to the dough below.
Finally, place the loaves on a lightly greased baking sheet. It could be parchment-lined, too. Cover and let them rise for bout 45 to 60 minutes, until they are puffy. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack in the upper third. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. It should turn golden brown and the internal temperature should read 190°F on a digital thermometer.
Now you can remove the Stollen from the oven. Brush them with melted butter. Wait about 5 minutes, then dust them with superfine sugar and/or confectioners’ or non-melting sugar. Let your Stollen cool completely. Wrap them airtight and store them at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. It is possible to freeze them for longer storage.

We hope you love these holiday treats from all over the world! If you are looking to add a little extra to your holiday meal, check out the world’s 10 best desserts!


Jenny grew up in Germany. All she ever wanted out of life was to leave and have adventures. Jenny always traveled as much as the budget would allow, and when she met her husband traveling became a full-time thing. You can follow Jenny on her blog and Facebook.

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