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Holiday season here - bring on the desserts

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The holiday entertaining season is fast upon us and many times social gatherings will consist of family and friends getting together for some relaxed, meaningful conversation over coffee and dessert. The following are some decadently delicious dessert recipes that require little preparation time and promise to 'wow' any guest.

The carrot bars freeze well, making them easy to tuck in the freezer and pull out at a moment's notice. This is one of the best recipes I've tried, especially if you like coconut.

The remainder of the recipes will keep very well for several days in the refrigerator, getting better with age, if any of them last that long.

The Crème De Menthe Cake and the Key Lime Pie fit into the holiday theme with their striking green colors.

If you want the Éclair Cake to take on the same holiday look, dress up each piece with an extra little dollop of Cool Whip and a few raspberries at serving time. The raspberries will only complement its smooth, rich flavor.

The Cherry Cream Cheese Dessert is light, but satisfying, and also freezes nicely if you want to prepare it ahead of time. Just remember to take it out of the freezer about 30 minutes before serving. You can also substitute blueberry and raspberry pie filling in this recipe. And if you would like a little more topping, use two cans of fruit instead of the one called for.

The Cream Puff Dessert, with its airy, melt-in-your-mouth crust, is best served the same day. Share it with a large group and I can guarantee there won't be any leftovers.

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

Crème De Menthe Cake

1 box white cake mix (with pudding)

1 8-oz. jar crème de menthe syrup

1 11 oz. jar fudge topping

8 oz. Cool Whip

Prepare cake mix as directed, add 4 oz. crème de menthe syrup to batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Cool. Top with one jar fudge topping. Mix 4 oz. crème de menthe (or as much as you like for mint flavor) with the container of Cool Whip and spread over fudge topping. Keep covered in refrigerator. This is best if made the night before serving.

Éclair Cake

1 box graham crackers

2 boxes French Vanilla pudding

3 1/2 cups milk

8 oz. Cool Whip


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

3 Tbsp. butter, softened

3 Tbsp. milk

2 tsp. light Karo syrup

2 tsp. vanilla

Grease 9x13 pan. Layer bottom of pan with graham crackers. Mix vanilla pudding and milk for two minutes, fold in carton of Cool Whip and mix together well. Pour half of the pudding over the top of the first layer of crackers. Smooth out and add another layer of graham crackers. Pour remaining pudding over. Smooth out well and add third layer of graham crackers.

Mix all frosting ingredients together well. Frost the dessert and place in fridge at least over night.

Key Lime Pie

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup lime juice

1 8 oz-package cream cheese

8 oz. carton Cool Whip

6 graham crackers, crushed

3 Tbsp. softened butter

Mix butter and graham crackers. Place in pie plate and bake 8 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool.

Beat together softened cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk. Fold in lime juice and Cool Whip. Pour into prepared pie shell and chill. Keep in fridge.

Old Fashioned Carrot Bars

4 eggs

2 c. sugar

1 1/2 c. oil

2 c. flour

1 tsp. soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

3 c. grated carrots

1 1/2 c. angel flake coconut

3/4 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Beat together eggs, sugar, salad oil. Add flour, soda, cinnamon and salt and mix well. Stir in carrots, coconut and nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes in a well-greased jelly roll pan. Frost bars while still slightly warm.


4 oz. cream cheese

2 1/2 c. powdered sugar

1/4 c. cream or milk (add more or less depending upon the consistency you like).

1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together until well-blended and spread over bars.

Cherry Cream Cheese Dessert

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1 pint whipping cream, whipped with about ¼ cup sugar

1 package miniature marshmallows

1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling


1½ cups crushed graham crackers

3 tbsp. brown sugar

1/4 cup butter

Mix crust ingredients well and pat into bottom of greased 9x13 pan.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar; fold in whipped topping and marshmallows. Spread evenly over the crust in the pan. Top with pie filling. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours before cutting into squares. Yield 12-15 servings. (You can substitute Cool Whip for the real whipped cream. I would use at least 12 ounces.)

Cream Puff Dessert

1 cup water

1 cup flour

1/2 cup margarine

4 eggs

Heat water and margarine to a boil. Add flour and stir vigorously until it forms a ball. Remove from heat and add eggs one at a time. Beat well. Spread in greased jelly roll pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. (Press to remove air bubbles as it bakes.)

Prepare two packages instant vanilla pudding with 3 1/2 cups milk. Beat 8 ounces cream cheese into pudding. Spread on crust. Top with 8 ounces of Cool Whip. Refrigerate. Dribble Hershey's chocolate syrup on top just before serving.