published Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Holiday Cooking: Desserts

Double Chocolate Cheesecake Squares

Crust:

1 3/4 cups chocolate wafer crumbs

1/3 cup margarine, melted

Filling:

4 (6-ounce) white chocolate baking bars, divided

2 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

4 eggs

2 t. vanilla

1/4 cup whipping cream

For crust: Combine crumbs and margarine; set aside 2 tablespoons of the mixture. Press crumb mixture onto bottom of 9- by 13-inch pan lined with heavy duty foil and sprayed with Pam.

For filling: Place 16 ounces white chocolate in top of double boiler; melt and cool. Combine cream cheese and sour cream in bow; beat until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and melted chocolate. Pour in pan; bake at 300 F for 30 minutes. Turn off oven and leave in oven for 30 minutes. Cool. Melt remaining 3 ounces white chocolate; stir in whipping cream. Pour over cake and sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Chill 8 hours. Cut into small squares.

— Gerry Allen

Mama’s Chocolate Gravy

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons flour

3 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pat of butter

Biscuits

Dissolve the sugar with milk in a saucepan over medium low heat. Add the flour and cocoa. Bring to a slow boil. Stir in vanilla and butter. Serve over biscuits.

— Bruce Mitchell

Holiday Coconut Cake

Layers

1/3 cup shortening

1/3 cup butter, softened

1 3/4 cups sugar

3 cups cake flour

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 egg whites

Lemon filling:

2 cups plus 4 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup cornstarch

2 cups plus 4 tablespoons water

4 egg yolks, slightly beaten

4 tablespoons butter

6 tablespoons lemon juice

Frosting:

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

1/4 teaspoon cream tartar

2 egg whites (room temperature)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Finish:

1 package frozen coconut

1 package shredded coconut

For layers: Cream shortening, butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to creamed mixture, alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. (Begin and end w/ flour mixture) Stir in vanilla. Beat egg whites until stiff, and fold into batter.

Pour batter into 3 greased, lined or floured 8 ' cake pans. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. Cool nearly completely. Carefully, split the layers into. (I use an unsided baking sheet to lift and transfer to cake plate.)

Spread the lemon filling between layers. Frost the top and sides of cake with frosting. Combine frozen and shredded coconut to equal about 1 1/2 cups and sprinkle over top and sides of cake.

For Filling: Combine sugar and cornstarch; gradually stir in water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil 1 minute. Slowly stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolks; add to hot mixture in saucepan. Boil 1 min longer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and continue stirring until smooth. Stir in butter, lemon juice. Let cool before filling in the layers.

For frosting: Combine sugar, water, cream of tartar in a heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat without stirring until syrup spins a 6 to 8 inch thread. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Continue to beat egg whites and slowly pour in syrup mixture. Add flavorings; beat well.

Tip: May garnish with red and green candied cherries, if desired.

— Pat Daugherty

Choco-Mallow Pizza

1 (12-ounce) package semi-sweet real chocolate chips

1 pound white almond bark, divided

2 cups miniature marshmallows

1 cup rice cereal

1 cup chopped pecans

1 (6-ounce) jar red maraschino cherries, drained and cut in half

3 tablespoons green maraschino cherries, drained and quartered

1/3 cup angel flake coconut

1 teaspoon oil

In large saucepan, melt chocolate chips with 14 ounces almond bark over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in marshmallows, cereal and nuts and pour into a greased 12-inch pizza pan. Top with cherries and sprinkle with coconut. Melt remaining almond bark with oil over low heat, stirring till smooth. Drizzle over coconut. Chill until firm. Store at room temperature.

Note: This is sort of like candy and makes a pretty candy pizza.

— JoAnn Layne

Blueberry Cheesecake

Crust:

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

3 T melted butter

3 T sugar

Cheesecake:

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

1 (8-ounce) container sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Spray 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Combine crust ingredients and spread on bottom of springform pan and part of the way up the sides. Bake at 350 F for 5 minutes.

Beat cream cheese on medium speed. Combine sugar, flour and salt, add to cream cheese. Add eggs one at a time until blended. Add sour cream, vanilla, lemon rind to blend. Gently stir in blueberries and pour into prepared pan. Bake at 300 F for 1 hour and 10 minutes until center of cheesecake is firm. Turn off oven and let cheesecake stand in oven, with door open for 30 minutes. Let cool in pan on wire rack 30 minutes Cover cheesecake and chill 8 hours before releasing sides of pan.

Note: If desired, whipped 1 cup cream and stir in 1/4 sour cream to spread over cheesecake.

— Wanda Radcliffe

Chocolate Chip Cheeseball

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

1/2 cup butter or margarine

3/4 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoons vanilla

3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

3/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Mini vanilla wafers or small graham crackers

Mix cream cheese and butter; slowly add other sugars and vanilla. Add chocolate chips. Form a ball and roll in finely chopped pecans. Chill thoroughly. Serve with mini vanilla wafers or small graham crackers.

— Carolyn Alexander

Chocolate Christmas Candy

1 can vanilla cake frosting

1 (12-ounce) package chocolate chips

Put frosting and chips in a large measuring cup and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave 30 seconds longer. Stir again. Put mixture into a candy squeeze bag with a decorative tip and squeeze onto a sheet of waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. Put in refrigerator to cool and set.

— Marietta Hamby

Boiled Custard

1 quart whole milk

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar

6 eggs, separated

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/2 cup cold milk

1/2 pint whipping cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Nutmeg, if desired

Whipped cream for garnish, if desired

Pour milk into a large saucepan on stove and warm slowly on medium heat. Add salt. When milk is hot, add sugar. Beat egg yolks well and combine with cornstarch that has been dissolved in cold milk. Let mixture simmer slowly for about 20 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from stove. When custard is warm but not hot, add well-beaten egg whites. Mix well. Add whipping cream and vanilla. Pour into custard cups and refrigerate till chilled. When serving, sprinkle with nutmeg and top with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.

— Nanelle Griffith

Golden Fruit Cake

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

6 room-temperature eggs, separated

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup milk, whole or low-fat

1 teaspoon brandy extract

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 cups unbleached white flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups golden raisins

1 cup dried apricots

1/2 cup candied orange peel, chopped

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 275 F. With electric mixer, beat the butter until light and creamy. Gradually add sugar beating until smooth. Beat the egg yolks lightly and add to mixture. Combine milk, brandy extract and vanilla. Mix flour and salt together. Alternately add milk and flour to butter mixture until well blended. Fold in the fruit and nuts. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff but not dry. Fold into batter gently but thoroughly.

Butter and flour 2 (six-cup) Bundt pans. Pour batter evenly into pans. Bake in preheated oven for 2 1/2 hours or until cakes test done. Cool and unmold onto a rack.

Note: If using small pans, bake at 300 F for 1 hour, checking for doneness after 45 minutes.

— Betty Wise

Eggless-Milkless-Butterless Cake

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1 1/2 cup water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 cups dark raisins

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons water

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 325 F. Combine sugar, water, oil, raisins and spices in a saucepan; boil for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Take pan off heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Dissolve baking soda and salt in 2 teaspoons of water and add to raisins mixture (it will foam). Blend in the flour and baking powder. Mix well. Pour batter into a greased 9-inch-square pan and bake for 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cake cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

— Sarah Grasham

Eggnog Pumpkin Pie

1 unbaked pastry shell (9 in. deep)

1 can (15-ounce) solid pack pumpkin

1 1/4 cups eggnog

2/3 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 F. In large bowl, combine pumpkin, eggnog, sugar, eggs, pumpkin spice. Add salt. Pour into pie shell. Bake for 60-65 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Note: I also like to make homemade whipped cream, the trick is to buy heavy whipping cream. Put the beaters and bowl you plan to use in the freezer until they are well-chilled. It whips up a lot quicker.

— Brian H. Johnson

Sausage Cake

1 pound pork sausage

1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup cold strong coffee

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped walnuts

In mixing bowl, combine uncooked meat and sugars and stir until mixture is well blended. Add eggs and beat well. Onto piece of waxed paper, sift flour, ginger, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice. Stir the baking soda into the cold coffee. Add flour mixture and coffee alternately to meat mixture, beating well after each addition. Pour boiling water over raisins and let stand 5 minutes; drain well and dry raisins in cloth. Fold the raisins and walnuts into cake batter. Pour batter into well-greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake 1 1/2 hours at 350 F or until cake tests done. Cool 15 minutes in pan before turning out.

— Patricia McCumber

Key Lime Cake

Cake:

1 box moist lemon cake mix

1 (4-ounce) package lemon instant pudding mix

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

Glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 10-inch Bundt pan. Combine all cake ingredients. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Bake 50-60 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes in pan. Invert to cooling rack. Return back to clean Bundt pan. Combine glaze ingredients. Poke holes in warm cake and pour glaze over top of cake.

— Aurelia Brewer

Butter Pecan Pumpkin Pie

1 quart butter pecan ice cream, softened

1 pastry shell (9 inches), baked

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg

1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping

1/2 cup chocolate ice cream topping, optional

Additional whipped cream

Spread ice cream into the crust; freeze for 2 hours or until firm. In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg; fold in whipped cream. Spread over ice cream. Cover and freeze for 2 hours or until firm. May be frozen for up to 2 months.

Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before slicing. Drizzle with caramel ice cream topping. Drizzle with chocolate ice cream topping if desired. Dollop with whipped cream. Makes 6-8 servings.

— Candyce Rector

Caramel Apple Bars

Crust:

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/4 cup shortening

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional

Filling:

4 1/2 cups coarsely peeled, chopped baking apples

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Dash of cinnamon, to taste

1 package (14 ounces) caramels

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

In a mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening and brown sugar until fluffy. Add flour, oats, salt and baking soda; mix well. Stir in pecans if desired. Set aside 2 cups. Press remaining oat mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan.  For filling, toss apples with flour and cinnamon; spoon over the crust.’

In a saucepan, melt the caramels and butter over low heat; drizzle over apples.  Top with the reserved oat mixture. Bake at 400 F for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. It's very important to cool before cutting into bars. Makes 15-20 servings.

Note: These may be served hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

— Linda Morris

Vanilla Wafer Cake

1 (12-ounce) box vanilla wafers

2 cups sugar

2 cups coconut

1/2 cup milk

6 eggs

1 cup chopped pecans

2 sticks margarine, melted

In large mixing bowl, crumble vanilla wafers. Add sugar, coconut and milk, mixing well. Add remaining ingredients, mix well and pour into greased or sprayed tube pan. Bake at 300 F for 1 1/2 hours. Do not open door. Cool for 30 minutes in pan.

— Glenda Ashley

Sundrop Cold Drink Cake

2 sticks margarine

1/2 cup shortening

3 cups sugar

5 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon extract

3 cups sifted flour

3/4 cup Sundrop soda

Glaze:

2 tablespoons melted margarine

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons Sundrop

Cream together margarine and shortening, adding sugar gradually. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue beating well after each addition. Blend in extracts, flour and Sundrop, Turn into a large greased and floured tube pan. Bake at 325 F for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cake tests done. Turn cake out onto rack.

Prepare glaze by combine melted margarine, confectioners’ sugar and Sundrop. Spoon glaze over hot cake.

— Karen Brantley

Better Than Santa Cake

4 eggs

1 box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix

1 box instant vanilla pudding

1 (8-ounce) container sour cream

1 (6-ounce) bag chocolate chips

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup water

1 bar German sweet chocolate (grated)

Icing:

1 egg

6 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup walnuts

1 cup coconut

For cake: Beat eggs well, than add remaining ingredients. Bake at 350 F for 55 minutes in a Bundt pan.

For icing: Combine ingredients and boil for 1 minute. Ice cake when cool.

— Melanie Fowler

Microwave Peanut Brittle

1 cup sugar

1/2 raw peanuts

1/2 cup white Karo syrup

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large microwave-safe bowl add sugar, peanuts, and Karo syrup. Microwave on high 4 minutes. Remove and stir. Microwave 3 minutes. Remove and add butter and stir. Microwave 2 minutes. Remove and add baking soda and vanilla and stir. Pour onto a greased cookie sheet and spread with a spoon until thin. Cool peanut brittle and break into pieces.

— Addie McCarty

Ugly Duckling Cake

1 package yellow cake mix

1 (16-ounce) can fruit cocktail, undrained

1 cup coconut

2 eggs

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

Topping:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1 1/2 cups coconut

Combine cake mix, fruit cocktail, coconut and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend, then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into greased 13- by 9-inch pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake at 350 F for 40-45 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.

Topping: In a saucepan, bring to a boil the butter, sugar and milk. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring. Remove from heat and stir in coconut. Spoon over warm cake. Serve cake warm or cold.

— Lynette Iles

Lemon Pound Cake

3 sticks butter, room temperature

2 1/2 cups sugar, sifted three times

4 eggs, room temperature

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

2 tablespoons lemon extract

1 cup fresh buttermilk combined with 1/2 teaspoon soda mixed in 1 tablespoon hot water

Do not preheat oven. Cream butter and sugar together well and add whole eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions. Add lemon extract then dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk/soda mixture. Pour into a tube pan greased with 2 tablespoons butter. Put in cold oven, then turn temperature to 325 F and bake for 1 1/2 hours or till cake tests done.

— Claudia Trotter

Southern Ambrosia Apple Pie

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup apple juice

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups thinly sliced and peeled baking apples

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 (9-inch) pastry shell, baked

1 egg

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup flaked coconut

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pecan crumb topping:

1 package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (8-ounce) container whipped topping

Whole pecans, toasted (optional)

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring brown sugar, apple juice, cornstarch and salt to a boil. Stir in apples and lemon juice; cook and stir over low heat until apples are crisp-tender, 5-8 minutes. Pour into pastry shell.

In a small bowl, beat egg, milk, sugar, coconut, vanilla and cinnamon; mix well. Pour over apple mixture. Bake at 350 F for 40-45 minutes or until mixture is set. Cool on a wire rack.

For topping, beat cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir in pecans and vanilla. Fold in whipped topping. Spread mixture over top of pie. Garnish with whole toasted pecans, if desired. Chill for 4-6 hours. Makes 8 servings.

— Willie Mae Plumlee

Almond Joy to the World

4 cups shredded coconut

1/2 cup light corn syrup

Whole roasted almonds

1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate pieces

1/4 cup shortening

Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Place coconut in large bowl; set aside.

In a glass measuring cup, microwave corn syrup until boiling, about 45 seconds. Pour hot corn syrup over coconut and knead with a wooden spoon until coconut is saturated. Shape into bite-sized rectangles, place on almond on top and refrigerate for 15 minutes. (You can refine shape of candies after they have been refrigerated.)

Meanwhile, melt chocolate and shortening in a double boiler or microwave until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Use a fork and dip each candy into melted chocolate, then refrigerate on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet until chocolate has hardened. Store in airtight container. Makes 2 dozen candies.

— Karen Hoag

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

1 box yellow cake mix with pudding in the mix

1 (3.9-ounce) package chocolate instant pudding mix

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup water

4 large eggs

1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Sifted powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine cake mix, chocolate pudding mix, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir with a whisk to remove lumps. Add oil and next 3 ingredients. Stir until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour our until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cook cake in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert pan onto serving platter. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serves 10.

Milky Way Cake

4 (2.1-ounce) Milky Way Candy Bars, chopped

2 sticks, unsalted butter, softened, divided

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1/4 teaspoon soda

1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a Bundt pan. In a saucepan, combine candy bar pieces and 1 stick butter; stir constantly over medium-low heat until melted. Cool to room temperature. In a bowl with electric mixer, cream remaining 1 stick butter and sugar for 1 minute, then scrape bowl and mix for an additional minute. Scrape bowl again. Add eggs, 1 at a time, incorporating each one before adding the next one.

Combine flour and baking soda in a separate bowl. Combine buttermilk and vanilla in a measuring cup. With mixer on low speed, add 1/2 the dry ingredients to the batter, then 1/2 the buttermilk mixture. Mix for 30 seconds or until blended. Repeat with remaining ingredients, scrape down bowl and mix for an additional 30-40 seconds until well blended. Add Milky Way mixture and mix until better is smooth. Fold in pecans. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake for 15 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack. Dust cake with powdered sugar when cooled.

— Joyce Rogers

Easy Apple Pie

1 1/2 cups grated tart apples

1 cup sugar

1 egg slightly beaten

1/2 stick butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together and pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes then turn temperature down to 350 F for 50 minutes. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

— Marilyn Parker

Georgia Pecan Pies

2 (10-inch) deep-dish frozen pie shells

2 cups shredded coconut

2 cups chopped pecans

Butter

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

1 (16-ounce) container whipped topping

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Caramel syrup

Brown pie shells according to package directions. Let cool. Brown in butter the coconut and chopped pecans.

Combine the cream cheese, whipped topping and powdered sugar, then spread evenly into bottom of the two pie shells. Top with coconut/pecan mixture. Drizzle tops of both pies with caramel syrup. Makes 2 pies.

Note: Pies can be frozen.

— Carolyn K. Childs

Christmas Peppermint Cake

1 angel food cake mix (or homemade)

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

6-8 drops green food coloring

Shredded coconut

Chocolate glaze:

1/3 cup butter

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup powdered chocolate, enough to make dark chocolate color

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2-4 T hot water

Follow directions for baking cake, or make your own, adding peppermint extract and green food coloring to mixture. When cool, drizzle with chocolate glaze, call everyone to sprinkle the cake with “snow” (shredded coconut) and create your winter wonderland.

— Juanita Weisbrich

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