More Holiday Recipes

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      Ruby Red Party Cider

      Preparation time: 10 minutes

      Cooking time: High 1 to 2 hours

      Yield: About twelve 6-ounce servings

      1/2 gallon (64 ounces) cranberry juice

      2 large oranges

      4 pieces cinnamon stick, 3 inches long

      4 pieces of fresh gingerroot (each 1 inch long, peeled and crushed)

      1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar

      Pour the cranberry juice into a 4-quart slow cooker.

      Using a sharp paring knife, remove four 3-inch-long strips of peel

      from the oranges. Juice the oranges and strain out the pulp. Add the

      peel and juice to the slow cooker along with the cinnamon sticks and

      ginger. Stir to combine.

      Cover and cook on high for 1 to 2 hours, or until hot. Add sugar to

      taste and stir until dissolved. Turn to low and serve in mugs.

      You can also use cranapple or raspberry-cranberry juice in this

      recipe.

      .

      Dressed Up Brownies

      Sometimes an occasion calls for decorating your brownies. With a few

      quick and easy touches you can make an ordinary plain brownie mix

      into an extra-special dessert.

      Mix equal parts of confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder together.

      Place a stencil over the top of the brownies and dust with the

      mixture. Carefully lift the stencil off, so you don’t disturb the

      pattern left by the sugar mixture.

      Drizzle the tops of the brownies with a contrasting color of melted

      chocolate, like milk or white chocolate.

      Use your favorite frosting or icing to spread over the tops of the

      brownies. Or place the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a large

      star tip. Pipe rosettes, shells, or stars on top. Chill briefly to

      set the topping, then cut into squares.

      Cut a brownie and arrange it on a dessert plate. Pour hot fudge over

      the top of the brownie and place a couple of small scoops of ice

      cream next to it.

      Cover a dessert plate with a pool of raspberry sauce. Place a brownie

      on top of the sauce, then arrange fresh raspberries around the

      brownie.

      Whip cream to soft peaks. Fit a pastry bag with a large star tip.

      Pipe the top of each brownie with a star or rosette, then top with a

      chocolate cut-out, fresh berries, or finely chopped toasted nuts.

      Use any shape cookie cutter to cut out the brownies. For example, for

      Valentine’s Day, use a heart shaped cutter!

      What to do with the leftover brownies after cutting them with a

      cookie cutter? Gather the scraps together and press into balls. Roll

      the balls in cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar, or ground toasted

      nuts, then place them into candy cups.

      .

      Pear Tart, an Autumn Treat

      Specialty tools: 8-inch springform pan

      Preparation time: 15 minutes

      Baking time: 60 minutes

      Yield: One 8-inch tart

      3/4 cup sugar

      1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

      1 cup flour

      1 teaspoon baking powder

      2 eggs

      2 to 3 firm, ripe pears (peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch slices)

      Juice of 1/2 lemon

      1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste

      1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste

      1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

      2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream the 3/4 cup sugar and butter

      until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the flour, baking powder, and eggs

      and mix well.

      3. Spoon the batter (it will be thick) into an 8-inch springform pan

      and spread it around to cover the bottom evenly. Arrange the pear

      slices on top of the batter in a decorative fashion.

      4. Drizzle the lemon juice on top, sprinkle with the cinnamon and

      sugar, and bake for 1 hour. Cool the tart and remove the springform

      pan before serving.

      If you don’t have pears on hand, then tart baking apples, peeled

      peaches, and fresh apricots (cut in half, unpeeled, and pitted) also

      work well.

      .

      Kelly in IL

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