Category Archives: holidays & celebrations

Real Candy Cane Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1/2 t peppermint extract
1/2 t vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 t salt
1 cup candy canes, crushed
3 T decorating (green or white) sugar, granulated if you must

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, with an electric beater on medium speed, cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the egg and the peppermint and vanilla extracts and beat until well blended.

Gradually add the flour and salt; mix well.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

Coat two baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

In a shallow bowl, combine the crushed candy canes and the granulated sugar; mix well.

Shape the chilled dough into 1-inch balls then roll each ball in the candy cane mixture; place on the baking sheets and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until browned.

Immediately remove from the baking sheets and place on wire racks to cool.


Minty Marshmallows

This was the perfect last-minute gift.  I took 1 cup powdered sugar and stirred in 3 T of water to make a glaze.  Dip a large marshmallow in the glaze and roll in crushed candy canes.

To make a more complete gift, add in hot chocolate:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

This is what Nathan made for my birthday. It was easy and delicious. It would be easy to use low fat ingredients and turn into a healthier dessert, but – I’m pregnant and it’s my birthday so we didn’t. It was rich and divine.

1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
7 oz sweetened condensed milk
6 oz (1/2 a large tub) Cool Whip, thawed
1 chocolate graham cracker crust (buy or make your own)

Combine 1st 3 ingredients and beat until smooth. Add milk, stir in cool whip. Chill 8 hours in fridge or until set, OR stick in freezer. I love frozen stuff, so we did it that way and it was SO good.

Variations: we put a bit of chocolate syrup on top. I had thought about having Nathan stir in something, but after we tasted it, we don’t want to mess with the smooth texture. I think some mini-chocolate chips or chopped Snickers on top (before freezing) would be really good.

Warning: VERY rich. Decadent. Delicious.

Killer Chocolate Cheesecake

from the book Luscious Chocolate Desserts

This is so good, and so intense.   I’m making it for a small birthday lunch tomorrow, but in a 5″ (I think) springform pan instead of the usual 9″.  In the smaller pan I make 1/3 the recipe, and it’s the perfect size.   Use good quality chocolate.

9 oz chocoalte wafers (I have usually used teddy grahams or TJ’s cats cookies)
6 T unsalted butter, melted

1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
3 8 oz packages cream cheese, room temp
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups sour cream, room temp
2 t vanilla extract

Tightly wrap foil all around the outside of a springform pan.  Butter the inside.

Grind chocolate wafers in a food processor (or blender) until finely ground.  With motor running, slowly add butter.  Press into bottom of pan and bake crust for 8-10 minutes at 350.  Let cool.

Mix chocolate with butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of 1 1/2 inches of nearly simmering water, whisking until smooth.  Whisk in the cocoa powder.  Remove bowl from heat and let mixture cool to room temp (or close).

Beat cream cheese and sugar with mixer, until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.  Beat in salt, then chocolate mixture until just smooth.  Add sour cream and vanilla and beat again.

Transfer filling into springform pan.  Set the pan inside a roasting pan, place it in the oven, and carefully pour in enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan.  Bake for 45 minutes, or until the center is almost set but still slightly jiggly.  Do not over bake!  Cheesecakes firm as they cool.  Remove from roasting pan and let cake cool in the water bath for 15 minutes.

Remove the springform pan from the water and let cool totally on a wire rack,  then remove the foil and refrigerate the cheesecake at least 12 hours.

Peppermint Ice Cream Cake

From Cooking Light (I think 2005?)

You could always use a cake mix, but this cake is really good and doesn’t take long to throw together.  You can even make each layer a couple weeks ahead and store them (individually wrapped) in the freezer until you’re ready to assemble the whole cake.  Merry Christmas!

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup boiling water
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup egg substitute
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups low-fat peppermint ice cream (such as Edy’s/Dreyer’s Slow-Churned Light), softened
3 cups frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
8 peppermint candies, crushed

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. Line bottom of each pan with wax paper.

Combine cocoa, water, and butter, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cool.

Combine sugars in a large bowl, stirring well until blended. Add egg substitute; beat 2 minutes or until light and creamy. Add cocoa mixture, and beat for 1 minute. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to bowl; beat for 1 minute or until blended. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 28 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pans. Wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze for 2 hours or until slightly frozen.

Spread ice cream in an 8-inch round cake pan lined with plastic wrap. Cover and freeze 4 hours or until firm.

To assemble cake, place one cake layer, bottom side up, on a cake pedestal. Remove ice cream layer from freezer; remove plastic wrap. Place ice cream layer, bottom side up, on top of cake layer. Top with remaining cake layer.

Combine whipped topping and peppermint extract, and stir until blended. Spread frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with crushed peppermints. Freeze until ready to serve. Let cake stand at room temperature 10 minutes before slicing.