Holiday baking for family and friends

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A holiday season filled with gatherings calls for simple recipes that make baking for family and friends easy and enjoyable.
Traditions are often enjoyed more around the holidays and some classic flavors are must-haves for seasonal parties and dinners. Individually portioned desserts are ideal for entertaining, and these smooth, creamy cheesecakes with vivid holiday color are a perfect single serving that is sure to brighten any dessert table. Or put a festive twist on apple pie with a cinnamon roll-inspired crust. Each of these desserts features quick and easy preparation, and the delicious flavors from the great folks at Lucky Leaf Fruit Fillings, which use high-quality fruit and contain no high-fructose corn syrup, for great tasting desserts every time.
An array of popular flavors like apple, blueberry, cherry and strawberry make it possible to prepare your favorite holiday desserts in minutes. Find more inspiration for this season’s holiday baking at luckyleaf.com. Make your holiday baking easy for a change.


Mini Marbled Cherry Cheesecakes
Ingredients:
18 chocolate cookies with white filling
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can (21 ounces) Lucky Leaf Premium Cherry Fruit Filling, divided
Directions:
• Heat oven to 350 F. Line muffin tins with 18 paper liners.
• Place one chocolate cookie in bottom of each paper liner.
• In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. Fold in half of fruit filling. Fill each muffin liner about three-fourths full with mixture.
• Bake 20-25 minutes, or until done. Cool. Top each cheesecake with spoonful of remaining fruit filling.


Cinnamon Apple Pie
Ingredients:
1 refrigerated pie crust
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cans (21 ounces each) Lucky Leaf Premium Apple Fruit Filling
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
1 cup flour
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus additional (optional)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons milk, plus additional (optional)
Directions:
• Heat oven to 400 F.
• On lightly floured surface, unroll pie crust. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle evenly with cinnamon. Roll up tightly and slice into 1/2-inch rounds, like miniature cinnamon rolls.
• Press miniature cinnamon rolls evenly into bottom and sides of 9-inch pie plate, making sure there are no spaces between rolls. Pour fruit filling on top of crust.
• In large bowl, using pastry blender, combine stick of butter, flour and brown sugar, until crumbly. Sprinkle over apple filling.
• Bake pie until top and crust are golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 40-45 minutes (cover top and crust with foil, if necessary, to prevent from getting too dark). Remove from oven and allow to cool.
• In small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and milk to form icing. Add more sugar or milk, if necessary, to reach desired consistency. Drizzle icing over cooled pie.


Poppable, handmade holiday decor

Stringing popcorn for decorating your tree isn’t the only way to use popcorn for the holiday!
’Tis the season to pop up some holiday fun by creating a scenic winter wonderland that tastes as great as it looks. A big bowl for Santa always helps bring on the excitement for the children in the house but I bet they would rather create with it.
Gather the kids and make a hands-on family holiday tradition out of crafting festive, edible decorations. Popcorn is the perfect choice to pop up and eat while decking out your creations. At 30 calories a cup, whole-grain, freshly popped popcorn offers a nutritious alternative to traditional holiday party nibbles. Popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO, gluten-free, has no artificial additives or preservatives and is sugar-free.
These clever recipes can help you make edible decor or gifts to give to friends, family and co-workers. Find more creative holiday recipes from our creative friends at popcorn.org. We bet your family can come up with even more recipes and we would love to see them. Send them to info@crlmag.com and we can share them online.


Chocolate Popcorn Reindeer
Yield:
8 reindeer Ingredients
8 cups unsalted, unbuttered popped popcorn
2 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter or light olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 pretzel sticks
16 eyeball candies
8 red candy-coated chocolate candies
Directions:
• Place popcorn in large mixing bowl.
• In saucepan set over medium heat, heat marshmallows, chocolate, butter and salt, stirring often until smooth. Toss marshmallow mixture with popcorn until well combined.
• Scoop 3/4 cup popcorn mixture into ball. Repeat with remaining mixture to make eight balls total. Place each ball in paper muffin cup liner.
• Insert pretzel stick on each side of ball to resemble antlers, attach two eyeball candies for eyes and red candy for nose. Let cool completely.
Tip: Eyeball candies can typically be found in baking aisles of supermarkets or bulk food stores.


Holiday Popcorn Snowman
Yield:
5 snowmen Ingredients
1 package (1 pound) large marshmallows
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, plus additional
1 teaspoon vanilla
10 cups popped popcorn sprinkles (optional) licorice (optional) gum drops (optional) cinnamon candies (optional)
Directions:
• In large saucepan, melt marshmallows and 1/4 cup butter.
• Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
• Let stand 5 minutes.
• Pour over popcorn and stir.
• Butter hands well and form into balls.
• Decorate with sprinkles, licorice, gum drops and cinnamon candies, as desired.


Slow Cooker Banana Cake
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 4 hours
Servings: 12 Crock-Pot® Cook & Carry Slow Cooker nonstick cooking spray
Ingridients: 3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
pinch of salt
3-4 ripe bananas
2 lemon wedges, juice only
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups honey or 2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups almond milk cream cheese frosting
Directions:
• Grease slow cooker with nonstick spray.
• In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
• In small bowl, mash bananas and lemon juice together; set aside.
• In large bowl, use mixer to cream butter and honey. Add eggs and mix well. Stir in vanilla, then milk. Gradually add flour mixture. Once combined, stir in mashed bananas.
• Pour into slow cooker. Cover; cook on low 6 hours or high 4 hours, or until center of cake no longer looks gooey.
• Uncover and let cake cool. Once completely cooled, frost cake and, if desired, top with sliced bananas and walnuts.
Notes: If adding bananas, do so just before serving or they will brown. If using a non-oval slow cooker, cook 1 hour less on high heat or 2 hours less on low heat.


Holiday drink recipes

Cranberry Sauce Punch
Ingredients:
1/2 cup frozen cranberries
2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 cloves
1 star anise pod
1 cardamom pod, optional
1 cinnamon stick
1 Tbsp. orange zest
3 cup fresh orange juice
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 bottle chilled Champagne
Directions:
• In the saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugars, spices, 2 Tbsp. water and orange peel and bring to a boil.
• Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
• Add 1–1/2 cups of the orange juice to the pan and stir to combine, scraping down the sides.
• Strain into the pitcher, add the remaining orange juice and refrigerate until ready to serve.
• To serve, pour 2–1/2 oz. of the cranberry-orange juice into each of the glasses and top with 2–1/2 oz. of the chilled Champagne.
• Garnish each glass with a cranberry-and-clove-studded orange wheel.


Baked Apple Punch
Ingredients:
4 cup apple cider, or unfiltered apple juice
4 whole cloves 3 cinnamon sticks 2 star anise pods 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped 1/2 cup light brown sugar 2 cup vodka Apple-Pie-Spiced Sugar (recipe below) 1 lemon wedge
Directions:
• In the saucepan, combine the cider, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, vanilla (pod and seeds) and brown sugar and bring to a boil.
• Remove from heat and steep until cooled.
• Strain into the glass pitcher, add vodka and refrigerate until completely cold.
• Before serving, spread a thin layer of the spiced sugar on the small plate.
• Coat the rims of each glass with the juice from the lemon wedge and roll in the sugar.
• Pour 6 oz. of the chilled cocktail into each prepared glass and garnish with an apple ring and a cinnamon stick.
Apple Pie-Spiced Sugar
Yield:
1/3 cup
4 Tbsp. superfine sugar
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients.
Store in an airtight container.


Pumpkin Spice Martini
Ingredients:
1/2 oz. plus
2 oz. pumpkin liqueur
Pumpkin Spice Mix (recipe below)
2 oz. eggnog
2 oz. vodka
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. canned pumpkin pie filling
1 tsp. fine sugar
1/2 oz. heavy cream for garnish
Directions:
• Pour 1/2 oz. pumpkin liqueur onto one small plate and spread a thin layer of the spice mix on the other.
• Dip the rim of the cocktail glass first into the liqueur and then into the spice mix to fully coat the rim.
• Fill the shaker with ice and add the remaining ingredients, shaking until well chilled.
• Strain into the prepared glass and float the cream on top by pouring it over the back of a spoon.
Pumpkin Spice Mix Yield:
1/3 cup
¼ cup superfine sugar
¼ cup pumpkin pie spice mix
In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients.
Store in an airtight container.


Tom & Jerry
From How to Mix Drinks by Jerry Thomas, Adapted by David Wondrich. Note: Thomas’s measurements appear first (Wondrich’s adaptation in parentheses)
Ingredients:
12 eggs
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ small glass (1 ounce) Jamaica rum
5 pounds (2 pounds) sugar
Directions:
• Use a punch bowl for the mixture: Beat the whites of the eggs to a stiff froth and the yolks until they are as thin as water; mix together and add the spice and rum.
• Thicken with sugar until the mixture attains the consistence of a light batter. (In his recipe, Thomas notes that “a teaspoonful of cream of tartar, or about as much carbonate of soda as you can get on a dime, will prevent the sugar from settling to the bottom of the mixture.”)
• Take a small bar glass and to one tablespoonful of the above mixture, add one wineglass (2 ounces) of brandy and fill the glass with boiling water.
• Grate a little nutmeg on top.


Hot Chai-der From 1911 Established
Ingredients:
4 ounces Beak & Skiff fresh sweet apple cider
1½ ounces 1911 Vanilla Chai Vodka
1 apple slice
1 cinnamon stick
Directions:
• Heat the fresh cider and pour into a mug.
• Add vodka and garnish with apple slice and cinnamon stick.
Reprinted from Spirits & Cocktails of Upstate New York: A History by Don Cazentre (Arcadia Publishing, 2017).
© 2017 Eventstyle, LLC

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