RECIPES:
Raisin' Cane Gingerbread Boys & Girls

Fresh Blueberry
Napoleons

Mini Chocolate Ice Cream Cones Minichurros Baked Mac & Cheese BACARDI® Rum Garlic Shrimp

Raisin' Cane Gingerbread Boys & Girls

(NAPSI)-Few things conjure up holiday fun like the image of kids decorating cookies and the aroma of fresh-baked gingerbread.

Gingerbread cookies date back to Queen Elizabeth I, who is said to have had the likeness of important visitors baked out of gingerbread. Since then, the cookies have become a holiday tradition that brings families together. So easy to bake up and decorate with raisins from the pantry, Gingerbread Boys & Girls dress up with dried cranberries, icing and mini candy canes.

To make them as party favors or as a gift for neighbors, teachers and friends, place a large cookie into a holiday cellophane bag (available in craft stores) together with a mini candy cane. Then tie with holiday ribbon.

Raisin' Cane Gingerbread Boys & Girls

Ingredients:
  • 5½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • Tube of icing or royal icing
  • ½ cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins or Cape Cod Cranberries
  • Small candy canes

Directions:

Mix dry ingredients in medium bowl; set aside. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Beat butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add brown sugar, molasses and eggs; beat well. Gradually beat in dry mixture on low speed.

Divide dough into 3 parts and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 1½ hours.

Roll dough on lightly floured surface to ¼-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut cookies and place 2 inches apart on greased or parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven at 350°F for 11 to 13 minutes. Let cool 2 to 3 minutes.

Decorate with royal icing, raisins and dried cranberries. Attach small candy canes with icing onto "hands" of cookies, or serve on the side.

Yield: about 20, 6- to 7-inch cookies.

For more holiday recipes, visit www.sunmaid.com.

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Blueberry Napoleons: A Simply Royal Dessert

(NAPSI)-A classic Napoleon is a decadent dessert that was born in Naples…or Copenhagen…or Paris! While historians can't agree on the exact origins, everyone agrees that the dessert was a favorite of Napoleon Bonaparte and that the alternating crisp and creamy textures with a burst of fruit are worthy of royalty.

This winter, give your guests a majestic treat by serving Fresh Blueberry Napoleons. The gorgeous stacked dessert looks impressive yet is super easy to make. You can even bake the surprisingly simple crisps and stir up the tasty cream the day before, then assemble with luscious fresh blueberries just before serving. The recipe serves four, but if you're expecting more guests, it can be easily doubled.

You'll find plenty of top-quality fresh blueberries in the produce aisle of your market this winter. They come to us from South America, where the climate and growing conditions are perfect for blueberries.

Fresh Blueberry Napoleons

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices firm white sandwich bread, crusts removed
  • 1 teaspoon butter, softened
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (whole or part-skim milk)
  • ¼ cup mascarpone or cream cheese
  • ¼ cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350ºF. With a rolling pin, roll bread slices very thin; cut each slice in half lengthwise. Lightly butter bread on one side; arrange on baking sheet; sprinkle with sugar; bake until crisp and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature. (If making ahead, wrap tightly; store at room temperature.) In medium bowl, with electric mixer, beat ricotta, mascarpone, confectioners' sugar and preserves until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Just before serving, place 8 toasts on work surface. Spread cheese filling on toasts, dividing evenly; dot with berries. Stack 4 of the prepared toasts on remaining prepared toasts; top each with a plain toast; press gently to secure. If desired, sift confectioners' sugar over Napoleons. Serve immediately.

YIELD: 4 portions

Per portion: 349 calories, 39 g carbohydrate, 17 g total fat, 9 g saturated fat

For more nutrition information and great recipes, visit www.blueberrycouncil.org.

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Cool Creamy Treats Add Fun To The Season

(NAPSI)-Adding a few fun twists to some favorite holiday treats can be a terrific-and tasty-way to ring in the season.

For instance, trade in the cocoa mugs for minichurros served with delicious hot cocoa-flavored ice cream. It swirls sweet, fluffy marshmallows with a creamy, chocolate ice cream-and with only 120 calories a serving-that's sure to please your little helpers. And jolly minicones bursting with peppermint ice cream will be a favorite of Santa's elves at any age.

You can find creamy takes on holiday flavors such as eggnog, pumpkin pie and peppermint from Dreyer's/Edy's Slow Churned Light Ice Cream. The festive limited-edition lineup features half the fat and ⅓ fewer calories of regular ice cream but doesn't skimp on taste.

Mini Chocolate Ice Cream Cones

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup superfine sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Directions:

In a bowl, combine egg whites and sugar. Beat on medium speed until frothy. Sift flour and cocoa powder. Add to egg and sugar mixture. Add melted butter, half-and-half and salt. Stir for about 30 seconds.

Leaving space for one or two cookies, spoon 1 tablespoon of batter onto the baking sheet and spread with the back of the spoon into an even circle about 3-4 inches. Bake the 2 cookies for about 8 minutes.

Transfer baking sheet to a heat-resistant surface. Working as quickly as possible, slide a spatula under one of the cookies and lift to a cooler surface, then roll the cookie into a cone shape and let cool. Ice cream cones will start to harden almost immediately. Serve with a scoop of Dreyer's/Edy's Slow Churned Peppermint Light Ice Cream.

Makes 20 minicones.

Minichurros

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat 2 inches of canola oil in a 12-inch frying pan to 375°F. In separate dish, mix sugar and ground cinnamon and set aside. In a 3-quart saucepan, add water, brown sugar, salt and butter. Heat to good boil. Remove from heat and add the flour. Mix it in until well blended.

In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and vanilla together. Then add this mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until well blended and eggs are completely mixed in. Fill a pastry bag with the churro dough and attach a large, star-shaped tip.

Test your oil by placing a small amount of dough in it. The dough should bubble up; otherwise, your oil is not hot enough. Once the oil is hot enough, squeeze some dough with the decorator tool into the oil, about 3 inches long.

You should be able to cook 6-8 churros at a time. Cook them about 3-4 minutes, turning once. Once churros are golden brown, place them on a paper towel−covered plate to absorb excess grease. While still warm, roll each churro into a round dish with the cinnamon and sugar mixture; coat well. Serve with a frosty mug of Dreyer's/Edy's Slow Churned Hot Cocoa Light Ice Cream.

Makes 2½ dozen churros.

For more information and recipes, visit www.slowchurned.com.

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Baked Mac And Cheese: Comfort And Flavor

(NAPSI)-Whether it's served as a side dish, a main course or mixed with a favorite ingredient, mac & cheese is an American comfort food staple. It requires few ingredients, minimal preparation, and satisfies even the strongest comfort food cravings.

Baked Mac & Cheese is a simple but tasty adaptation of the popular pasta dish. Its creamy sauce is a blend of sharp cheddar and Gruyère cheeses with a few dashes of original Tabasco brand pepper sauce, which enhances the flavor. For an added layer of texture, this version of the classic is topped with golden, baked breadcrumbs.

So the next time you're hit with a mac & cheese craving, think outside the box, and try this unique version of a family favorite:

Baked Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 box (16-ounce) corkscrew or minipenne pasta
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons original TABASCO brand pepper sauce
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Breadcrumb Topping
  • ⅓ cup butter or margarine
  • ½ cup dried seasoned breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon original TABASCO brand pepper sauce

Directions:

Prepare pasta as directed on label. Drain; set aside.

Meanwhile, melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour until well blended and smooth. Whisk in milk, salt and TABASCO sauce, gradually. Cook until thickened and smooth, stirring often. Add cheeses to sauce and stir until melted. Toss sauce with cooked pasta in a large bowl. Spoon mixture into ungreased 2-quart baking dish.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Prepare breadcrumb topping: Melt butter or margarine in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in breadcrumbs and TABASCO sauce until well blended. Spoon crumb mixture over macaroni & cheese.

Bake 20 minutes until crumbs are toasted and mixture is heated through.

Makes 8 servings.

For more recipes, visit www.tabasco.com.

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Easy Entertaining For The Holidays

(NAPSI)-One way to keep the season merry for both partygoers and party throwers is to keep things simple.

When you serve dishes that are easy to create, you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time providing guests the gift of your presence.

You can serve:

  • Crisp vegetables with festive dips such as salsa and hummus, chips and crackers.
  • Traditional popcorn balls and trendy salty snacks.
  • Gourmet cheese and fruit.
  • Simple but flavorful recipes such as these:

BACARDI® Rum Garlic Shrimp

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 1½ pounds extra-large (21- to 25-count) shrimp, peeled with tails left on, deveined and patted dry
  • 3 Tbsp. BACARDI® Superior Rum
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley

Arrange shrimp in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Heat remaining ingredients, except parsley, in a small saucepan until butter is melted. Drizzle mixture over shrimp. Bake at 425° F until shrimp become opaque, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley before serving. Serve with piña colada sauce. For an extra hint of festive color, decorate platter with fresh strawberries.

Yield: 4 entrée or 10 appetizer servings

BACARDI® Rum Piña Colada Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • ½ cup cream of coconut
  • ½ cup crushed pineapple, undrained
  • ⅓ cup BACARDI® Superior Rum

Directions:

Combine all ingredients. Cover and chill until served.

Yield: 2 cups sauce

BACARDI® Dragon Berry™ & Ginger Ale

  • 3 parts BACARDI® Dragon
  • Berry™
  • 1 part ginger ale

Pour over ice in glass.

Garnish with lime wedge.

You can find more great recipes and entertaining ideas online at Bacardi.com.

 

 

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