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Eating Well: Days of Desserts features best of holiday goodies

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This week's Eating Well column is taking on a little bit different twist.

The past two years we have been sharing our "12 Days of Desserts" recipes as a special feature on our website at westfargopioneer.com

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This holiday season we thought we'd spread this sharing just a bit further by also including the recipes on page as a little gift from our staff to all of you.

Last week, I initiated the holiday baking mood by sharing some favorite coconut recipes. The following are five days of holiday baking favorites from each of our staff members that they have either personally prepared or enjoyed within their ranks thanks to the traditional habits of family members.

Next week we will be bringing you the remaining seven "Days of Desserts" holiday treats for your added baking pleasure.

We hope that you will be enticed to experiment and enjoy each and every one of them as much as we do in bringing them to you.

Until next time, from my kitchen to yours, happy baking!

White-Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

Jamie Grant

1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup cold butter

12 ounces white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 drops red food coloring (optional)

2 teaspoons shortening

White nonpareils and/or red edible glitter (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread cherries on paper towels to drain well.

In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in drained cherries and 4 ounces (2/3 cup) of the chopped chocolate. Stir in almond extract and, if desired, food coloring. Knead mixture until it forms a smooth ball.

Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar, flatten balls to 1-1/2-inch rounds.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are set. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

In a small saucepan, combine remaining 8 ounces white chocolate and the shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. If desired, roll dipped edge in nonpareils and/or edible glitter. Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set. Makes about 60.

Oreo Cookie Balls

Carrie Snyder

1 Regular Size Package Oreo Cookies

1 - 8 oz. Package Philadelphia Cream Cheese

1 Package Almond Bark

Place Oreo Cookies in a large plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush cookies well, place into a large bowl.

Mix the cream cheese and crushed cookies together. Refrigerate about 15 minutes.

Take mixture and form into 1 to 1-1/2 inch balls and lay them out on wax paper, refrigerate to help set.

In a large microwave safe glass bowl microwave almond bark on high one minute at a time until melted.

Using a toothpick, dip the Oreo balls in the melted almond bark and place them back on the wax paper and put in fridge to set. (About 30 minutes).

Salted Nut Bars

Will Foss

1 - 16 oz jar dry roasted peanuts

1 pkg. Peanut Butter chips

3 Tbsps. Margarine

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 - 10 oz. pkg. miniature marshmallows

Crush the peanuts coarsely, set aside. Melt chips and margarine, add milk and heat for 1-2 minutes. Add peanuts and mix well. Gently fold in marshmallows and quickly press mixture into a buttered 9x13 pan. Cool and cut into bars.

Cake Batter

Rice Krispie Treats

Erin Shoberg

3 Tbsp. butter

1 (10 oz.) bag of mini-marshmallows

1/4 cup yellow cake mix (the dry cake mix, not prepared into a batter!)

6 cups crispy rice cereal

1 (1.75 oz.) container of sprinkles

Method:

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat and add marshmallows. Stir until they begin to melt, adding in (dry) cake mix one spoonful at a time so its combined. Stir in cereal so it is completely coated with marshmallow mixture. Sprinkle in half of the sprinkles and mix. Press into a baking dish (any size will do) and top with remaining sprinkles. Let sit for about 30 minutes before cutting. I find spraying a knife with nonstick spray helps to cut them.

Butter Brickle Dessert

Will Foss

1 pkg Butter Brickle cake mix

1 lg. can peaches, sliced, including juice

1 ½ sticks margarine

1 cup chopped nuts

Chop peaches and put in a 9x13 pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over peaches. Melt 1 ½ sticks of margarine and pour over cake mix. Top with one cup chopped nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until done. Serve with Cool Whip or ice cream.

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