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/ Source: TODAY
By Lyn Mettler

It's a question holiday hosts wonder every year: What's the perfect party dish to whip up that will impress a gaggle of guests but won't take too long to make?

Pinterest is obviously a great place to start when looking for festive food inspiration, but as many home cooks know, something that looks incredibly easy and beautiful online can actually be really difficult to make.

Now, however, the popular social media site shows users if a particular pin has been "tried" by the person who pinned it and will even provide additional tricks and notes about how the recipe actually turned out.

The person who "tried" a recipe (or even a product or craft project) can click a checkmark on the pin, and then add a photo from their own endeavors and also leave tips to share how it really turned out and offer any suggestions to others.

Just in time for the winter holidays, Pinterest released its top five most "tried" holiday-themed recipes, ranging from crafty cookies to beautiful breadsticks. Not only will these recipes provide a great jumping-off point for planning a party spread, but by viewing the "tries," they can also offer helpful hacks to avoid others' mistakes.

1. Christmas Tree Spinach Dip Breadsticks

It's not surprising that this savory starter is No. 1 on the most-tried list. The resulting dish is quite impressive since it's shaped like a Christmas tree, and the recipe poster from the It's Always Autumn blog promises it's simple to make.

To shape the tree, which is made of refrigerated pizza dough, simply cut it into triangles, and then top the "branches" with a creamy spinach mixture. Top with another triangle of pizza dough, and then cut the branches, twisting each one for the final look. Then guests can easily pull apart a stick and dip into some marinara sauce or a creamy dressing.

More than 500 pinners have posted photos of their own versions of the edible tree with a few helpful tips: For example, the pizza dough tends to brown quickly, so keep an eye on it while it cooks.

2. Soft Gingerbread Cookies

It's hard to find a household that doesn't make — or eat! — some type of cookie during the holidays, so it's no wonder folks are searching for cookie recipes on Pinterest.

Melissa Griffiths of Bless This Mess Please describes these cute cut-out cookies as "sweet, soft and lightly spiced." She even claims that people who aren't usually fans of gingerbread will like this recipe, which takes about 40 minutes to prepare and just 10 minutes to cook.

Tips on this recipe left by other pinners include using less molasses to lighten up the flavor and making these cookies ahead of time since some claim they taste even better the second day.

3. Dutch Apple Pie

There's no getting through the holidays without some kind of pie, and this version is truly a classic. This recipe on Pinterest from The Diary of a Real Housewife is simple and includes just a handful of steps.

It starts with creating the apple mixture, which is poured into the pie crust, then heads into combining the ingredients for the topping and piling them on top of the apples. Baking the pie is a cinch, and many pinners recommend serving it with vanilla ice cream.

Pinners raved about this pie in the comments after baking it themselves.

4. Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Want a new spin on Christmas cookies? This frequently "tried" Pinterest recipe for delightful little chocolate cookies is worth a test. Blogger Ali Martin of Gimme Some Oven says this recipe is always a hit and has served her well for years.

To start, make the simple batter with flour, cocoa powder, sugar and eggs (plus a few extras), and then roll the cookie dough into balls. Next, roll each ball in powdered sugar. While baking in the oven, the cookies will then rise and crackle, forming delicate little splits on top.

One pinner recommended adding half a teaspoon of peppermint extract for a delightfully refreshing holiday twist.

5. Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin may be seen as more of a fall staple, but pumpkin pies are served all throughout the holidays because they're filling and incredibly easy to make. This classic recipe from Live Well Bake Often is described as "the only pumpkin pie recipe you will ever need."

Try using homemade pie crust, or go with the store-bought variety, and then mix brown sugar (instead of the typical granulated sugar), eggs, pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, flour and spices for the filling. Avoid any cracks on the top of the pie by checking it in the oven to make sure it doesn't over bake.

Some pinners even recommended prebaking the pie crust for less time to keep it from becoming too hard. The filling will also stay nice and silky, too.