Food & Drink

Try these tasty desserts to ring

Top off your New Year’s party with a cheesecake, truffles, tarts or cream puff — desserts that are sweet, rich and luscious. From Better Homes and Gardens magazine Web site,

— Better Homes and Gardens



5 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

5 egg yolks

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup ground toasted almonds

3/4 cup sifted cake flour

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Powdered sugar

1-3/4 cups whipping cream

1 8-ounce can almond paste

1/4 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons amaretto or 2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 cup toasted almond slices

Purchased marzipan pigs or assorted fruits (optional)

Makes 12 servings.

Grease a 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan. Line with waxed paper. Grease and flour waxed paper; set aside. Beat egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).

Beat egg yolks in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes or until thick. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating on high speed until sugar is almost dissolved. Stir in the 1 teaspoon vanilla and the ground almonds. Stir flour, nutmeg and cinnamon together; gently stir into egg yolk mixture. Fold about one-fourth of the egg white mixture into the flour mixture to lighten. Fold remaining egg white mixture into flour mixture just until combined. Spread in the prepared pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until cake springs back. Do not allow to brown.

Immediately loosen cake from pan. Invert cake onto a towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Remove waxed paper. Roll up warm cake and towel together, jelly-roll style, starting from a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For almond filling, beat 1-3/4 cups whipping cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form; set aside. Crumble almond paste into a medium bowl. Add 1/4 cup whipping cream and amaretto or 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Fold about one-fourth of whipped cream into almost paste mixture to lighten. Fold remaining whipped cream into almond paste mixture.

Unroll cake. Spread half of the almond filling on cake to within 1 inch of the edges. Roll up cake, without towel, into a spiral, starting from a short side. Place on a serving plate. Lightly frost cake with remaining filling and sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds. Garnish with purchased marzipan pigs for luck or assorted fruits, if desired.


3 large pears; peeled, cored and sliced

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup cranberries, dried (or raisins)

1-inch slice panettone

3 eggs

2 cups eggnog (or half-and-half or light cream plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Powdered sugar

Dried cranberries (optional)

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel, core and slice three large pears; saute in hot butter until softened. Arrange pears in a greased 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Sprinkle pears with sugar, ground cinnamon and dried cranberries or raisins. Top with panettone, tearing to fit. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, eggnog and vanilla. Pour over panettone in dish; press down lightly with the back of a spatula or large spoon to moisten all the bread. Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes or until egg portion appears set. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar; serve warm. If desired, sprinkle with additional dried cranberries.


1 recipe Chocolate-Pecan Ice Cream “Frosting”

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 ounces sweet baking chocolate 1/4 cup water

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk

Caramel ice cream topping

2/3 cup toasted shaved coconut (See NOTE.)

Makes 12 servings.

Prepare Chocolate-Pecan Ice Cream “Frosting” (recipe below.) Cover and freeze. Line twelve 2- 1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a small saucepan combine chocolate and water. Cook and stir over low heat until melted; cool about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Beat in sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; beat on low speed until combined then beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Beat in chocolate mixture. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Spoon batter into bake cups, filling cups about 2/3 full.

Bake about 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool thoroughly.

Just before serving, heat caramel ice cream topping until warm. Remove wrappers from cupcakes; place cupcakes on plates or in shallow bowls. Top each cupcake with one round of Chocolate-Pecan Ice Cream “Frosting.” Top with toasted coconut and drizzle with warm caramel ice cream topping. Makes 12 servings.

NOTE: Toasted Coconut: With vegetable peeler, shave strips of coconut from a peeled, halved coconut. Place in a shallow baking pan. Toast in a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned, stirring occasionally. You may also use purchased raw chip coconut, but only toast for 2 to 3 minutes.

Chocolate-Pecan Ice Cream “Frosting”: Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper; set aside. Slice 1/2 gallon chocolate ice cream into sheets about 2 inches thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut rounds just larger than cupcakes from frozen ice cream. Place on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. Press 3/4 to 1 cup toasted pecan pieces into ice cream letting pecans protrude from the ice cream. Cover and freeze 4 hours or overnight.


1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened

2 to 3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 14- or 14- 1/2-ounce package gingerbread mix or 9-by-9-inch purchased gingerbread

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup butter

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

9 small pears, peeled, cored, and halved or three 16-ounce cans pear halves, drained

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

In a bowl combine softened vanilla ice cream with ginger. Cover and freeze 4 hours or overnight.

Prepare and bake gingerbread mix according to package directions using the 9-by-9-by-2-inch pan option. Cool. Cut into 1-1/2-to 2-inch chunks.

In a 12-inch skillet combine sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Cook and stir over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Carefully add pears, stirring to coat. Cook and stir an additional 8 to 10 minutes for fresh pears or 3 minutes for canned pears.

To assemble, place gingerbread in a 3-quart au gratin dish or oval casserole. Top with scoops of ice cream and pears. Drizzle with half of the sauce in skillet. Pass remaining sauce. Serve immediately.