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Recipes for Holiday Desserts

Don’t you just love the smell of fresh coffee brewing and a fancy dessert table during the holidays? It just makes everything so much more festive.

Put on a pot of hazelnut coffee and the wonderful aroma will put even the non-coffee drinkers into a great mood. Then roll out these two easy, yet impressive desserts and you will be the talk of the town.

CARROT CAKE

To make this cake look wonderful, bake it in a Bundt or Tube pan.

2 cups of flour
2 cups of sugar
1 ˝ cups of canola, corn or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons of nutmeg (I use a bit extra of this)
2 teaspoons of cinnamon (I use a bit extra of this)
2 cups of carrots finely grated (1-16 oz bag will do the trick)
4 eggs
2 teaspoons of baking soda
˝ teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla
˝ cup of shelled walnuts

No need for a mixer here. I use a big wooden spoon to mix.

-Mix oil and sugar together.
-Add eggs one at a time-mix well after each.
-Add vanilla.
-In a separate bowl, sift dry ingredients (if you don’t have a sifter, use a strainer—it works just as well).
-Add to mix in thirds.
-Fold in grated carrots and mix thoroughly. Note: If the grated carrots are too big, they will make your cake doughy. To get the carrots grated finely on my Cuisinart, I run them through the grater blade and then through the chopper. If grating by hand use the smallest side of the grater.
-Add walnuts (If you are using whole shelled walnuts, break them up so they are not so large although some people like them this way).
-Spray the pan with Pam or other vegetable spray (vegetable oil or shortening will work as well). Then dust with a little flour

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes and test for doneness-a toothpick in the center should come out clean. Remember that ovens do vary.

You can dust this cake with confectioners’ sugar and forgo the icing if you like. The cake has great flavor and stands on its own. However, this cream cheese frosting and crushed nuts makes a beautiful presentation.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. (16 oz.) confectioners’ sugar (about 4 cups), sifted

-Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.
-Add sugar gradually, beating until well blended after each addition.
-Don’t frost the entire cake. Just go around the top piling it on just thick enough to cause it to drip down the sides a bit.
-Crush walnuts and sprinkle them on top. If you have nut allergies, here are a few other things you can try. Grate dried apricots (grated on the large side of the grater). For a Christmas theme, sprinkle with just a bit of red and green sugar. Sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon sugar (available in most supermarkets).

NO-BAKE BANANA PUDDING

This is really a hit and truly delicious in my book. And believe it or not, it’s great with a cup of coffee!

2 packs of instant vanilla pudding
4 cups of cold milk (for the pudding—confirm this on the box)
1 box of vanilla wafers
1 bunch of ripe bananas
Cool Whip (room temperature -If frozen, defrost in microwave in 15 second increments until creamy.)

-Make pudding according to box instructions.
-Try to use a bowl that makes a nice presentation, preferably glass.
-Lay vanilla wafers around bowl bottom and sides (as high as you can before they begin to fall.)
-Layer slices of banana
-Smooth in a layer of pudding
-Repeat layering process ending with pudding leaving room at the top of the bowl for Cool Whip
-Cover with soft Cool Whip
-Crush a few cookies and sprinkle on top
-Cover with plastic wrap and pop into the fridge until ready for serving.

Tastes even better the second day. I love making this with ginger snaps instead of vanilla wafers also.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Gayle E. Santana. All rights reserved.
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