How Sweet It Can Be
Keeping with a gastronomic theme (only this time of a sweeter nature), let’s explore some quick and easy desserts that might be a hit around the holidays.
- Chocolate-covered Delights. The real name for these luscious cookies is uncertain, but they are delightful, so this one will do. Melt a 12-ounce bag of semisweet chocolate chips and a 12 ounce bag of caramel or butterscotch chips together in a microwave-safe bowl for two minutes or so (the chips should be melted, but do not burn): stir thoroughly. Immediately add a 6-ounce can of La Choy Chow Mein noodles and 8 to 10 ounces of cocktail peanuts. Mix all the ingredients together. Line a large baking sheet or other flat pan with wax paper and spoon 1 ½ to 2 inch dollops of the mixture onto the paper (the cookies will appear almost spider-like because of the noodle pieces protruding). Refrigerate until hardened and eat! NOTE: These cookies can be frozen if you wish to make them ahead of time. Other ingredients such as shredded coconut or raisins can also be added for variety. White chocolate chips can be substituted for the semisweet chocolate chips, as well. *Keep the cookies refrigerated until ready to use, as the chocolate may become too soft at room temperature.
- Chocolate Pecan Pie. In a large bowl, combine 1 ¼ cup of dark corn syrup, 2 large eggs, ¾ cup of sugar, 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and ½ cup of semisweet chocolate chips: blend thoroughly. Add 8 ounces of pecans. Place the mixture in a 9 inch, unbaked pie crust (store-bought or homemade). Cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool before serving. NOTE: You may need to loosely cover with foil about halfway through baking to prevent crust sides from becoming too brown.
- White Cake with Strawberries and Cream. Not crazy about chocolate? How about a deviation from the tried-and-true. Bake a white (or yellow) cake mix according to directions in a 9 by 13 pan. When done, poke holes on the top and let cool. In the meantime, mix 2 packages of instant vanilla pudding with 3 cups of milk. Beat until thickened. Add 8 ounces of Cool Whip (or real whipped cream) and blend: set aside. Pour 8 to 10 ounces of frozen sliced strawberries with juices (thaw first) over the cake and spread evenly, allowing the liquid to seep into the cake. Evenly distribute the pudding/cream mixture over the thawed berries. Top with fresh halved strawberries (round side up). NOTE: If making your own whipped cream, beat 1 cup of whipping cream with 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of Confectioners Sugar and beat until peaks form (do not over beat). Proceed with above directions.
The holidays are wonderful for many reasons: one being food. So, as we enter this glorious season with celebrations, thanks, reflections, and culinary delights, let’s not forget how sweet this time can be!