Brownies with Peppermint Frosting

Brownies with a decadent creamy peppermint frosting is the perfect homemade holiday treat to make and gift to family and friends! It’s a unique treat that will help you and your loved ones get in the holiday spirit! Here’s what you’ll need: (This makes about 54 servings, so about 5 gifting portions)

Brownies

1/2 cup butter or margarine

2 squares (1 ounce size) unsweetened chocolate

1 cup sugar 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 square (1-ounce size) unsweetened chocolate

Peppermint Frosting

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups sifted powdered sugar

2 tablespoons whipping cream

1 1/2 teaspoon peppermint flavoring

2 drops red food-coloring directions:

Instructions:

For Brownies: Melt 1/2 cup butter and 2 chocolate squares in a large saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat, and let cool 10 minutes. Add sugar and eggs, stirring well. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to chocolate mixture, stirring well. Stir in vanilla and pecans. Spoon batter into a greased and floured 13- x 9- x 2-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool brownies completely on a wire rack.

Spread with Peppermint Frosting. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 chocolate square in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat, and let cool. Spoon chocolate mixture into a small heavy-duty, zip-top plastic bag or a decorating bag fitted with tip No.2; seal bag. Snip a tiny hole in one corner of zip-top bag, using scissors; pipe chocolate mixture in a decorative design over Peppermint Frosting. Cover and chill thoroughly. Cut into 2- x 1-inch bars. Store brownies in an airtight container in refrigerator. For Peppermint Frosting: Beat butter at medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating well. Add whipping cream, flavoring, and food coloring; beat until frosting is spreading consistency.

Creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake is one of my all time favorite desserts, and I hate having to wait until the fall comes around to enjoy it! Don’t save this recipe just for Thanksgiving, share it all year long!

Ingredients

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese (use the bars, not tubs, you can use regular or low fat), softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (brown sugar is okay, but it doesn’t dissolve as well as white for this recipe)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 medium or largeeggs
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust (you can also make the crust from scratch if you choose)
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed (or I prefer to make real, fresh whipped cream using my own recipe here)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  3. Add in the eggs one at a time.
  4. Remove 1 cup of creamy batter and spread into the bottom of graham cracker crust.
  5. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the rest of the batter in the mixing bowl and stir gently until blended together well.
  6. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust, making sure not to disturb the previous layer.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set (you want it firm, not shaky).
  8. Allow to cool for at least an hour, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
  9. Cover with whipped topping before serving, or if you decide to make the real whipped cream, make it as close as you can to when you’re going to serve the cheesecake so it remains firm and fresh.

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Orange Date Pound Cake

  • Prep Time: 15 min. Bake Time: 70 min. + (time to cool)
  • 12-16 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (just leave it out overnight if you can)
  • 3 cups brown sugar, divided (white sugar is okay too, brown gives a rich color to the finished product)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon shaved orange peel, divided
  • 3 cups all-purpose baking flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1&1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 1 pound chopped dates (chop in half, then in 3rds)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (you can also use walnuts if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whip butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.
  3. Beat in 2 teaspoons of the shaved orange peel.
  4. Combine flour and baking soda together, then add to the creamed mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Beat well, until smooth after each addition.
  5. Stir in dates and pecans.
  6. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. bundt cake pan. You can also use rectangular pound cake pans if you prefer.
  7. Bake at 325° for 70-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
  8. In a small mixing bowl, combine the orange juice, and remaining sugar and shaved orange peel, until blended. Drizzle over the cake while warm.warm cake.

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Chocolate Ganache

This recipe is just for Chocolate Ganache. The pure chocolate mixture can be used for so many different deserts. You can use it to dip strawberries and other fruit, cupcakes, pour over a cake or cheesecake … the possibilities are endless!

Ingredients

  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into squares (you can use Hershey’s Dark Chocolate, it’s cheap and works well)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum (optional – taste great with or without)

Directions

  1. Place the cut chocolate squares into a medium mixing bowl (pyrex or stainless steel is best)
  2. Heat the heavy whipping cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat until it boils.
  3. Don’t over boil, right when it starts to bubble, pull the cream off the flame and pour over the chocolate squares in the mixing bowl.
  4. Whisk the mixture until smooth. If you’re using the optional rum, stir it in at this point.
  5. Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over a cake, cupcakes or dipping fruit in it.
  6. If pouring on a cake, start at the center of the cake and work the ganache outward.

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Chocolate Covered Strawberries

This is as simple as gourmet chocolate covered strawberries can be made. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, or any other special occasion. They symbolize love and romance, so share them with someone special!

  • 16 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries with leaves attached

Directions

  1. Insert a toothpick into the top of each strawberry.
  2. In a double boiler (stainless steel or Pyrex bowl over a stock pot of boiling water) melt the chocolate and shortening together, stirring occasionally until smooth. Holding each strawberry by the toothpick, dip them one at a time into the chocolate mixture.
  3. Turn the strawberries upside down and insert the toothpick into styrofoam for the chocolate to cool.
  4. You can drizzle with melted white chocolate (after cooled) or any use sprinkles or other decorative sugars while they are still warm and will stick.

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Irish Creme Bundt Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix (any brand)
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix (any brand)
  • 4 medium or large eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup Irish cream liqueur (Bailey’s)
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur (will need this as well as earlier amount)
 To make the glaze: In a saucepan, combine butter, 1/4 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup Irish cream.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. Sprinkle chopped nuts evenly over bottom of pan to form the top crust of the cake.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the yellow cake mix and pudding mix. Crack in the eggs, 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup oil and 3/4 cup Irish cream liqueur.
  4. Beat the mixture for 5 minutes at high speed, or until the batter is mixed well. Pour batter over the nuts in pan.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes, then flip it over onto your serving dish.
  6. Poke holes into the top of the cake with a kabob skewer or fork and spoon the glaze over top and brush onto sides of cake so that it seeps into the holes. Allow to absorb glaze repeat until all glaze is used up.

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Bananas Foster

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons rum (dark rum is best)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 bananas, peeled and sliced lengthwise and crosswise
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 pint vanilla bean (vanilla is okay too) ice cream

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Once melted, stir in the sugar, rum, vanilla and cinnamon. When the mixture begins to bubble, place the bananas and walnuts in pan and cook until bananas are hot, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve at once over vanilla bean ice cream. Yum!

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Valentine Jelly Filled Cookies

This recipe yields quite a few cookies (depending on cookie size), but you can split it in half and freeze some of the dough for up to 3 weeks. Or just go all in and share the love!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup pale-pink or white sanding sugar (if you can find it, optional – you can use colored sprinkles if you want)
  • 2/3 cup apricot or strawberry jam, slightly warmed (optional)

Directions

  1. Cream the two sticks of butter butter and sugar until fluffy, about 4 minutes in an electric bowl mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating very well after each is cracked in. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together into large mixing bowl. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour, baking soda and salt mixture to mixer bowl, alternating with the buttermilk, until all is mixed together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and cool in fridge for 1 hour or overnight if you can (until it’s firm).
  2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and place two oven racks centered. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly four the surface of your rolling board and roll chilled dough about 1/8 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut out your heart shapes (using any 1- to 3 1/2-inch heart cookie cutter is best). If desired, cut centers out of some hearts (you will fill with jelly later).
  3. Transfer the heart shaped cookies with a non-stick spatula to your lined baking sheets. Chill for 30 minutes before sprinkling with sanding sugar, if using. Bake until just golden but not too brown, about 10 minutes. Don’t cook too long, even if they don’t look fully cooked after 10 minutes, they will cook fully while cooling, you don’t want to overcook! Transfer cookies to rack. Continue with dough; re-use and roll scraps and cookie cut away!
  4. To make sandwich the hearts, brush the bottom heart lightly with jam and then cover with a second heart with the center cut out The jam will stick the hearts together. Lastly, fill cut-out area with more jam.

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Peppermint Bark

 

This can be customized in many ways. You can decorate with a variety of chocolate drizzles (white, dark, milk), use a variety of peppermint etc. It’s up to you how you want to make it your own!

Ingredients

  1. 8 ounces high-quality semisweet (dark) chocolate, broken into pieces – if you don’t care for dark chocolate you can use white or milk
  2. 2 teaspoons canola oil, (separate)
  3. 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, (separate)
  4. 8 ounces high-quality white chocolate, broken into pieces – you can also use white chocolate chip morsels
  5. 25 peppermint candies, crushed – any kind (canes, mints, etc.)

Directions

  1. Lightly grease (or spray) a 9×9 inch pan and line with waxed parchment paper.
  2. Place the semisweet chocolate and 1 teaspoon of the canola oil in the top of a double boiler over just barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching. When the chocolate is melted, stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the peppermint extract. Pour the melted chocolate into the prepared pan, and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle half of the crushed peppermints over the chocolate layer. Refrigerate until completely hardened, about 1 hour.
  3. Place the white chocolate and the remaining 1 teaspoon canola oil in the top of a double boiler over just barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching. When the chocolate is melted, stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract. Pour the white chocolate directly over the semisweet chocolate layer; spread evenly. Sprinkle the remaining crushed candy over the top and gently press in. Drizzle with melted chocolate for decorative effect.
  4. Refrigerate until completely hardened. Remove from pan and break into small uneven pieces to serve.

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Pumpkin Crunch Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix (any brand)
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar and pumpkin spice. Mix all the ingredients well and pour into a 9×13 inch cake pan.
  3. Sprinkle the dry yellow cake mix over the top, then drizzle with melted butter or margarine. Top with the chopped walnuts.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour or until a pick inserted near the center comes out clean with no cake crumbs attached.