As days grow shorter and cooler weather makes its debut, the hours we spend around a table tend to get longer. In honor of dimming daylight and a season made for gathering, we’re sharing two favored dessert recipes from our first-ever special edition of Magnolia Journal.
From the Thanksgiving table to Christmas morning, this special issue of Magnolia Journal features a compilation of over 70 of our favorite holiday recipes—plus tips to inspire hosting during the most wonderful time of the year. Get your copy here or on a newsstand near you.
For now, here’s a (sweet) peek into what you’ll find within its pages!
Jo’s Cinnamon Squares
a breakfast treat where the preparation is (almost) as enjoyable as the end result
STORY BY JOANNA GAINES
These cinnamon squares have been a holiday favorite of ours for years. When we make them at home, it’s typically all hands on deck because it’s really a labor of love—but I think we all agree that the bit of extra effort required for these cinnamon squares makes them all the more delicious. I think it probably helps that these squares are the best iteration of a cinnamon roll that any of us has ever tasted. It can be hard to get a good balance with cinnamon rolls—they either have too much bread or too much cinnamon. The way I make these, rolling and folding them repeatedly so that the filling is between several thin layers of dough, results in a square that has a perfect amount of both bread and cinnamon, so every bite is balanced.
Top it off with a Favorite Flavor
CHERRY SQUARES WITH VANILLA - BOURBON ICING
After spreading the filling in, sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped dried tart cherries over half of the filling. Continue as directed. For icing, in a medium bowl whisk together 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp. bourbon, 1 tsp. vanilla, and enough milk (3 to 5 Tbsp.) to make it easy to spread or drizzle. Drizzle over slightly cooled cinnamon squares.
WALNUT SQUARES WITH CITRUS ICING
Substitute walnuts for pecans in the filling. For topping, preheat oven to 350°F. Spread 1/3 cup chopped walnuts in a shallow pan. Coat with canola oil cooking spray. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake 5 to 10 minutes or until nuts are toasted, shaking pan once. For icing, in a medium bowl whisk together 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 to 2 tsp. lemon or orange zest, and enough lemon juice or orange juice (4 to 6 Tbsp.) to make it easy to spread or drizzle. Drizzle over slightly cooled cinnamon squares. Sprinkle with walnut topping.
MAPLE - PECAN ICING
Whisk together 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/4 cup heavy cream or milk, and 3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup in a medium bowl. Whisk in 2 to 3 cups powdered sugar to make it easy to spread or drizzle. Drizzle over slightly cooled cinnamon squares. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup finely chopped toasted pecans.
Chocolate Bundt Cake
a classic chocolate Bundt cake lightly dusted with powdered sugar
PREP: 30 minutes
BAKE: 55 minutes
COOL: 1 hour
MAKES: 12 servings
Unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped (2/3 cup)
3/4 cup (11/2 sticks) salted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
11/2 tsp. vanilla
11/4 cups water
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Generously grease a 10-inch fluted tube pan. Add cocoa powder. Shake and tilt pan to generously coat bottom, sides, and tube; shake out any excess cocoa powder.
2. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl microwave unsweetened chocolate in 30-second intervals 1 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring until smooth. Cool slightly.
3. Place butter in a large bowl. Beat on medium to high 30 seconds. Add granulated and brown sugars. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add melted chocolate and vanilla; beat until combined. Alternately add flour mixture and the water to chocolate mixture; beat on low after each addition just until combined. Pour into prepared pan, spreading evenly.
4. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the cake’s center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan; cool completely on wire rack. Sift powdered sugar over cooled cake. If desired, sift additional unsweetened cocoa powder over cake.
*Parts of these stories and recipes were adapted for clarity.
Here’s to hosting, we’ll see you in the kitchen!