Friday, December 30, 2011

Countdown Cheesecake

Countdown Cheesecake
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 24 squares)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 cartons (8 ounces each) spreadable strawberry cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1-1/2 cups slices fresh strawberries
Red decorating gel
1 fresh strawberry, halved
In a bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press onto the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a greased 9 inch springform pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes; cool.
In a bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Fold in the whipped topping. Gently spread a third of the filling over crust. Arrange strawberries on top. Spoon remaining filling over berries; smooth top. Refrigerate overnight.
With decorating gel, pipe numerals and the minute and hour hands for a clock dial on the cheesecake. Place strawberry halves at the tips of the clock hands.

Recipe and picture from

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Good Tidings Yule Log

Good Tidings Yule Log
Yule log
3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
2 cups powdered sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons hot water
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons instant coffee granules or crystals
Chocolate leaves, if desired
12 to 18 fresh nonpoisonous (unsprayed) leaves, (such as lemon, grape, mint or rose leaves or pliable plastic leaves)
1/2 cup semisweet, milk chocolate or white vanilla baking chips
1 teaspoon shortening
Chocolate decorations, if desired
1/2 cup semisweet, milk chocolate or white vanilla baking chips
1 teaspoon shortening
Fresh cranberries, if desired
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 15x10x1 inch pan with foil or waxed paper; grease foil with shortening. In small bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer on high speed about 5 minutes or until very thick and lemon colored. Pour eggs into large bowl; gradually beat in 1 cup granulated sugar. On low speed, beat in 1/3 cup water and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Gradually add flour, baking powder and salt, beating just until batter is smooth. Pour into pan, spreading batter to corners.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Meanwhile, generously sprinkle clean towel with powdered sugar. Immediately loosen cake from edges of pan; turn upside down onto sugared towel. Carefully remove foil; trim off stiff edges of cake if necessary. While hot, carefully roll cake and towel from narrow end; place on cooling rack. Cool at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix butter and baking cocoa until well blended. Stir in 2 cups powdered sugar. Beat in 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 to 2 tablespoons hot water until frosting is smooth and spreadable. Cover; set aside.
In chilled medium bowl, beat whipping cream, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and the coffee granules with electric mixer on high speed until stiff. Unroll cake; remove towel. Spread whipped cream mixture over cake. Roll up cake. For stump, cut off 2 inch diagonal slice from one end. Attach stump to one side of cake using 1 tablespoon frosting. Frost cake with frosting. Make strokes in frosting with tines of fork to resemble bark. Loosely cover cake; refrigerate while making chocolate leaves and chocolate decorations.
To make chocolate leaves, wash and dry leaves. In 1 quart saucepan, melt 1/2 cup chips and 1 teaspoon shortening over low heat, stirring until smooth. With small brush, brush melted chocolate about 1/8 inch thick over backside of leaves (leave small amount of stem uncovered so it is easier to peel off leaf). Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm. Peel off leaves, handling as little as possible so chocolate leaves do not become dull or melt. Refrigerate chocolate leaves until ready to use.
To make chocolate decorations, in 1 quart saucepan, melt 1/2 cup chips and 1 teaspoon shortening over low heat, stirring until smooth. Pour chocolate mixture into small plastic bag, large envelope, squeeze bottle or pastry bag fitted with small pastry tip; cut off small corner of bag or envelope to pipe out chocolate. Draw desired designs, such as twigs, on plain paper using dark pen or pencil. Place paper with designs on cookie sheet; cover paper with waxed paper. Pipe chocolate over outline of designs. If desired, sprinkle with granulated sugar. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm. Carefully remove designs from waxed paper, handling as little as possible.
Decorate cake with chocolate leaves, chocolate decorations and cranberries. Store cake covered in refrigerator.

Recipe and picture from

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Reindeer Treats

Reindeer Treats
12 ounce vanilla flavored candy coating or almond bark, cut into pieces
24 caramel corn flavored miniature rice cakes (from 4 ounce package)
48 miniature pretzel twists
48 chocolate chips
24 red cinnamon candies
Line cookie sheet with waxed paper. In medium saucepan, melt candy coating over low heat, stirring constantly.
For each Rudolph, dip rice cake in candy coating; place on waxed paper lined cookie sheet. Dip rounded side of 2 pretzels in candy coating; place on cookie sheet on each side of rice cake to resemble antlers.
Decorate with chocolate chips for eyes and cinnamon candy for nose. Let stand 15 minutes or until set. Carefully remove from waxed paper; store in tightly covered container.

Recipe and picture from

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Candy Train

Candy Train
Fun size candy bars, unwrapped
Candy bar miniatures, unwrapped
Chocolate frosting (from 16 ounce can)
Bite sized round buttery crackers and/or bite sized creme filled sandwich cookies, separated
Assorted candies
For each engine, attach candy bar miniature to top of fun size candy bar with frosting. Attach bite sized cookie halves to sides as wheels. To form smokestack, attach 1 candy, wide end up, to top with toothpick.
For coal or log car, with frosting, attach crackers to fun size bar. With frosting, attach candies for cargo or pretzel sticks for logs. Let stand until frosting is set.

Recipe and picture from

Monday, December 26, 2011

Snowshoe Cookies

Snowshoe Cookies
12 Nutter Butter peanut butter sandwich cookies
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
12 miniature marshmallows
12 pretzel sticks
Place cookies on a wire rack over a large piece of waxed paper. Drizzle chocolate over cookies in a crisscross pattern to form snowshoes. Let stand until chocolate has hardened. For ski poles, thread a marshmallow on one end of each pretzel stick. Serve a set of poles with a pair of snowshoes.

Recipe and picture from

Friday, December 23, 2011

Bethlehem Angels

Bethlehem Angels
48 Triscuit thin crisps triangular crackers
12 slices American cheese
24 Ritz Bits crackers, any flavor
Arrange four triangular crackers on a plate to make bodies for two angels.
Use a plastic knife to slice the cheese into two triangles to make angel robes.
Place the robes (cheese triangles) on the angels.
Add a Ritz Bits cracker to the top as a head. Repeat.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Drummer Boy Cake

Drummer Boy Cake
1 tub (8 ounces) whipped topping (do not thaw), divided
1 package (2 layer size) chocolate cake mix
1 package (3.9 ounces) chocolate instant pudding
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon milk
11 vanilla wafers
4 squares semi sweet chocolate, chopped
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 jar (10 ounces) maraschino cherries, well drained, chopped
1 strip peelable red licorice
2 marshmallows
2 pretzel rods
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Refrigerate 1/3 of the whipped topping. Return remaining whipped topping to freezer. Prepare cake batter; blend in dry pudding mix. Bake as directed on package for 2 (9 inch) round layers. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes; invert onto wire racks. Cool completely.
Meanwhile, mix 2 tablespoons powdered sugar and milk. Brush onto wafers. Microwave frozen whipped topping and chopped chocolate on High 1-1/2 minutes or until chocolate is melted, stirring after 1 minute. Cool 15 minutes to thicken.
Beat cream cheese and remaining sugar with whisk until well blended. Stir in cherries and thawed whipped topping. Stack cake layers on plate, filling with cream cheese mixture. Frost with chocolate mixture. Decorate with wafers and remaining ingredients to resemble a drum and sticks. Refrigerate leftovers.

Recipe and picture from

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Caroling Kids

Caroling Kids
1 roll (16.5 ounces) refrigerated sugar cookies
1/4 roll (16.5 ounce size) refrigerated gingerbread cookies
Round or flower-shaped candy sprinkles
40 miniature candy coated chocolate baking bits
Red sugar
Red and green decorating icing or gel
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove half of sugar cookie dough from wrapper; refrigerate remaining dough until needed. Cut half of dough into 15 (about 1/4 inch) slices. Leave 10 slices whole to resemble carolers’ heads. On ungreased large cookie sheet, place 2 inches apart.
Cut remaining 5 slices in half crosswise to make collars and hats. For collars, cut half slice into 2 pieces and attach under head. For hats, shape half slice of dough with fingers into hat shape; do not attach at this point.
Place small portions of gingerbread dough into garlic press. Press to make long, short and medium hair; attach to heads gently. Add hats to top of heads as desired.
Place candy sprinkles (blue or green) on face for eyes. With drinking straw, poke hole for mouth. If desired, shape small pieces of gingerbread dough for earmuffs. Sprinkle red sugar on cheeks to resemble blush. Repeat with remaining half of dough.
Bake to 11 to 13 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; carefully remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. If necessary, re-poke holes for mouths. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Decorate hats, collars and faces with decorating icing.

Recipe and picture from

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sweet Macaroon Angels

Sweet Macaroon Angels
1-1/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1-1/4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
1-1/2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
36 Necco wafers
Thoroughly combine the two types of coconut in a large bowl.
In a medium size bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Add the egg whites, honey, and vanilla extract and rapidly whisk the batter until smooth and frothy, about 30 seconds.
Pour the mixture over the coconut and toss with a fork, then use a wooden spoon to continue mixing until the coconut is evenly coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 300 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil lightly coated with cooking spray. Place 12 evenly spaced mounds of dough on the baking sheet, each about 1/4 cup, loosely packed. With your hands, gently shape each mound into a tall cone with a blunt top. If the dough sticks to your fingers, dampen them with water, shake off the excess, then continue.
Bake the macaroons on the center oven rack until they’re light golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool them for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool for several hours.
Make a slot for the candy wings and head by using a sharp serrated knife to saw a groove partway down the cone. Once you’ve started the cut, lightly pinch together the sides of the cookie to keep it from crumbling as you slice.
Insert two Necco wafers into the sides of the groove for the wings, and wedge a third in the top for the angel’s head. Gently press the macaroon back together to secure the wafers.

Recipe and picture from

Monday, December 19, 2011

Baby Jesus (Haystacks)

Baby Jesus (Haystacks)
1 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup peanuts (optional)
2 cups chow mein noodles
6 large marshmallows
12 whole almonds
Black decorating gel
Using kitchen shears, cut two circular ends off each marshmallow. cut a small slit in the middle of each marshmallow piece, and insert an almond through the slit. Draw eyes with black gel. Set aside.
Melt the chips and peanut butter in the microwave (3-5 minutes)
Stir in peanuts and chow mein noodles.
Drop in spoonfuls on wax paper, and place marshmallows on each.
Refrigerate for faster set, or let sit overnight on the counter.

Recipe and picture from

Friday, December 16, 2011

Elf Cookies

Elf Cookies
1/2 tube refrigerated sugar cookie dough, softened
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
3 tablespoons milk, divided
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract, divided
6 drops red food coloring, divided
140 milk chocolate M&M’s (about 2/3 cup)
56 almond slices (about 4 teaspoons)
56 brown M&M’s miniature baking bits (about 1 tablespoon)
28 red M&M’s miniature baking bits (about 1-1/2 teaspoons)
In a small bowl, beat cookie dough and flour until combined. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with a floured 1-3/4 inch x 3-1/4 inch diamond cookie cutter. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.
For one batch of glaze, in a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, 4-1/2 teaspoons milk and 1/4 teaspoon extract. Remove 1 tablespoon glaze to another bowl. Tint remaining glaze with 3 drops food coloring.
Working with one cookie at a time, spread red glaze over top half of cookie. Place one M&M at top for tassel and four M&M’s across edge of glaze for hat brim. For ears, place two almonds above M&M’s on each end. Dip baking bits in plain glaze; place brown bits on cookie for eyes and a red bit for nose. Repeat with 13 more cookies.
Make second batch of glaze with remaining confectioners’ sugar, milk, extract and food coloring. Decorate remaining cookies as above.

Recipe and picture from

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pizza Pocket Wreath

Pizza Pocket Wreath
30 square wonton wrappers
Pepperoni slices
1/3 cup pizza sauce, plus extra for dipping
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 large green pepper, cut into thin strips
Small bowl of water
Vegetable oil
Lay the wonton wrappers on a dry work surface. In the center of each wrapper, place a slice of pepperoni, 1/2 teaspoon of pizza sauce, 1/2 tablespoon of cheese, and 1 pepper strip.
Dip you finger in water and moisten all 4 edge of the wonton, then fold it in half, pressing along the edges to seal it.
Heat one teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the pockets until brown, about 2 minutes on each side, adding more oil as needed.
Remove the wontons from the pan and place them on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Arrange them in a wreath shape, and serve with extra sauce for dipping.

Recipe and picture from

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Package Cheese Snack

Christmas Package Cheese Snack
8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
Red bell pepper
Mix the dried dill, garlic powder, and salt into the softened cream cheese.
Pack the mixture into a rectangular container lined with plastic wrap (you can reuse the cream cheese box).
Refrigerate it for at least 3 hours. Before serving time, set the unwrapped block of cheese on a platter and decorate it with a scallion bow and red pepper polka dots and gift tag.

Recipe and picture from

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Reindeer Ritz

Reindeer Ritz
6 ritz crackers
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
12 raisins
3 maraschino cherries, halved
6 pretzel twists, halved
Spread crackers with peanut butter for “reindeers’ heads.” Add raisins for “eyes,” cherry halves for “noses” and pretzel twist pieces for “antlers.”

Recipe and picture from

Monday, December 12, 2011

Herbed Holiday Spread

Herbed Holiday Spread
2 containers (6.5 ounces each) garlic and herb spreadable cheese
3/4 cup basil pesto
1/2 cup sun dried tomato pesto or spread
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup marinated piquante peppers from deli
80 assorted holiday crackers
Spread garlic and herb spreadable cheese on flat plate, 9 to 10 inches in diameter, to within 1/2 inch of edge.
Carefully spoon and slightly spread basil pesto into 3 separate star points; carefully spoon and slightly spread sun dried tomato pesto into 2 separate star points, ending at edge of plate and leaving about a 3 inch circle uncovered in center. Sprinkle pesto star with parsley. Place peppers in center. Serve with crackers.
*Use toothpicks to mark points of star; spoon pestos into 5 separate star points.

Recipe and picture from

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cherrios Christmas Trees

Cherrios Christmas Trees
6 cups honey nut cherrios cereal
6 tablespoons butter
4-1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
Green food color
Red cinnamon candies or sliced gumdrops
Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper.
Pour the cereal into a 4 quart bowl. Set the bowl aside.
Place the butter and marshmallows in a 3 quart saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
Stir in the food color until the mixture is evenly colored. Pour the marshmallow mixture over the cereal and stir until the cereal is evenly coated.
Lightly spray your hands with cooking spray. For each tree, shape about 1/4 cup of the cereal mixture into a Christmas tree shape on the cookie sheet.
Press the candies into the trees to decorate. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store the trees in a loosely covered container.

Recipe and picture from

Thursday, December 8, 2011

O Christmas Treat Pizza

O Christmas Treat Pizza
1 package frozen, chopped spinach
Yellow, red and orange bell peppers
Olive oil
Pizza dough for one 12 inch round pie
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 to 1/3 cup grated Romano cheese
Feta cheese
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Cook the spinach, drain, and press it to squeeze out excess liquid. Set aside.
Use tiny cookie cutters to shape circles and stars from the peppers. Set aside.
Coat a 12 inch pizza pan with olive oil, then sprinkle on the cornmeal. Roll the dough into a circle and place on the pan, pushing the edges to the rim.
Spread the tomato sauce on the dough and sprinkle on the grated Romano cheese. Top with the chopped spinach and then drizzle olive oil over the spinach. Sprinkle the crumbled feta over the spinach and arrange the pepper circles.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the bottom of the crust is browned. Cut the pizza into triangular slices and then trim the crust to form a trunk. Finally, top each slice with a yellow star.
Recipe and picture from