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Nearly everyone loves Harry Potter. It was only recently that I finally met someone who genuinely (and appallingly) did NOT love Harry Potter, and even then I was skeptical that we were talking about the same thing. But whether you loved the books or despised them, whether you’ve seen all the movies ten times over or never at all, whether you’re a Firebolt-owning, Hippogriff-loving Potter preacher or a certified muggle, we all have to suffer that one inevitable eventuality in life (besides death and taxes of course): holiday dinner parties. 

Say it again with me. Holiday. Dinner. Parties. 

Ugh.

There are only so many bundt cakes and bean dips that you can throw together haphazardly before everyone starts to resent you. So why not change it up? Witch, wizard, and non-magical folk alike can all take a cue from the wonderful wizarding world and make the evening a little more special with the following seasonal Potter Treats: 

Photo via the Food Network

Butterbeer

The quintessential wizard beverage. There are about a dozen different recipes for this, so I’ve taste-tested them all for you on principle, just to be sure I chose the best one. This hot version by Feast of Fiction was by far the most delicious and perfect for those frigid winter nights. Here’s what you’ll need:

Foam/Cream Topping:

6 Tablespoons sugar
3 Teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Cup heavy cream

In a large bowl, toss the sugar, vanilla extract and the heavy cream and mix on medium speed 2-4 minutes or until the mixture begins to form soft peaks. 

Butterbeer:

4-6 Cups 1% or 2% milk (depending on how many servings you’re making)
2-3 Tablespoon butterscotch topping/ 3-5 pumps toffee-nut syrup
2-3 Tablespoon brown sugar

In a saucepan, mix all ingredients together over medium heat until sugar and topping/syrup is dissolved and beverage is warmed to desired temperature. Pour into some large mugs and top with cream. Sip slowly and pretend you’re in Hogsmeade (that last part is mandatory). If you’re in the mood, and if you’re of legal drinking age, feel free to throw in some butterscotch schnapps or rum.

** Cold and “frappe” versions can be found here for all you lucky-ducks living in warmer climates.

Pumpkin Pasties 

I’ll admit that the first time I heard Ron Weasley ask for these I was intrigued and a little bit confused. If you’re not British you probably thought the same thing. Pasties are basically miniature pies that can be filled with meats, fruits, creams or anything else your heart could dream up. These little beauties will be the hit of the evening -- just follow this recipe by Disney food-vlogger MagicwithMegan:

Ingredients:

¾ Teaspoon ground ginger
½ Teaspoon nutmeg
¼ Teaspoon ground cloves
1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ Teaspoon salt
¾ Cup sugar
15 oz can of pure pumpkin puree
12 oz can of evaporated milk
2 Large eggs
1 Egg, separated
1 Tablespoon milk
Pie dough (enough for 2 nine-inch crusts)

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees; Mix dry ingredients (sugar, salt, etc.) in a large bowl first. In a separate bowl, combine two large eggs and pumpkin puree and mix thoroughly. Combine the sugar mixture and the pumpkin mixture and gently fold in the evaporated milk. Stir until well blended and pour into a pie pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and lower oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30 minutes. 

While the pumpkin mixture is baking, open pie dough and flatten with a rolling pin. Using a cookie cutter or mason jar lid, create small circles of dough and flatten again gently with rolling pin. When pie mixture is finished baking, spoon into the center of the pie-dough circles and fold in half to form a pocket. Pinch the edges closed with your fingers, being careful not to tear the dough. Using a knife, cut small vents into the top of each pastie and brush with whisked egg yolk and milk to create a thin egg wash which will brown the crust. You can also add a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar if you wish. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

Voila! You’ve created a party favorite. Now for the final step: eat all of them at home so you don’t have to share.

Photo via Saveur

Treacle Tart

In terms of difficulty, this one’s pretty simple, but the ingredients may be a little harder to find as treacle tart is a predominantly British dish. If you can find a specialty market that carries the items, you’ll find that making the tart is a lot easier than it seems. One of Harry’s favorites from the books, treacle tart is a definite crowd-pleaser. Here’s how to get started:

Ingredients:

1 ¼ Cup golden syrup (which can be found here)
1 Tablespoon molasses or black treacle (whichever is easier for you to find)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Grated rind of 1 Lemon
4 Eggs, well beaten
6 Tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 Sheet / 8 oz pastry dough

Warm the golden syrup in a saucepan over low heat until it becomes less viscous; remove from burner and add in the molasses/treacle, lemon juice, and lemon rind, and mix gently by hand. Fold in the beaten eggs and stir. Finally, add in the breadcrumbs and whisk until ingredients are blended.

In a pastry pan or flan dish (pie dishes work fine as well), line the bottom and sides with the pastry dough and trim the excess for a clean edge. Chill the dough for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the pan and fill the pastry with the treacle mixture. Place in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. After baking, allow tart to cool until firm. Dish up your tart with ice cream or fresh whipped cream. Serves 8 muggles or 1 Harry James Potter.

Photo via Fictional Food

Chocolate Frogs

The simplest recipe in the bunch. Every Potter fan knows about these Honeydukes sweets and with directions this easy, even a Squib could do it. 

Ingredients

1 bowl of chocolate meltables (light) OR milk chocolate chips
Optional: gummy frogs, crisped rice cereal, crunchy toffee bits
Frog candy mold (you can find one here)

Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove (be careful not to burn it!) until creamy. You can either use a piping bag or use spatula to pour the chocolate into the molds. Freeze for 10 minutes. 

If you’re adding gummies, cereal, or toffee, make sure to only fill your molds halfway and freeze for 5 minutes first. Gently press the extras into the center of each frog and cover with leftover chocolate before freezing for an additional 5 minutes. Pop each chocolate frog out of the mold when finished and serve up on a tray or in your very own DIY box (find a template here).

You don’t need any spells or wands to make this holiday season magical -- these recipes are all you’ll need. That and perhaps a pair of tickets to the Quidditch World Cup. But who’s complaining?