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Published: Thursday, 12/1/2005

The Secret to Making Great Homemade Desserts Over the Holidays

(ARA) Tis the season to make memories with family and friends, when good food and drink abound. To make the most of your gatherings, special occasions and dinners, make sure you show up with a delicious treat that everyone is sure to enjoy! Don t forget about all the cookie swapping and recipe sharing that takes place, too. Instead of making the same baked goods that you ve made year after year, treat your loved ones to these unique desserts that will stand apart from the crowd.

The secret to success is to offer your guests delicious holiday goodies made with time-saving ingredients. Here are some recipes you may want to try:

Apple Butter Cheesecake

Ingredients

Crust:

1 1/2 cups crushed ginger snaps

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, melted

Cheesecake:

2 pounds cream cheese

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 cups sugar

1 cup sour cream

5 medium eggs

1 1/2 cups apple butter

3/4 cup butter, melted

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine crushed ginger snaps, sugar, and melted butter. Blend well. Press the crust into a 10-inch springform pan. Make sure to cover the bottom and the sides evenly. Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 8 to10 minutes, and then let it cool.

In a large bowl, mix cream cheese and dry ingredients until smooth. Add sour cream to the mixture. Beat in the eggs. Add apple butter and butter, and beat until smooth. Pour the mixture into the prepared ginger snap crust. Bake at 350 degrees in a water bath for about 2 hours.

Apple Sauce Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup raisins

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup apple sauce

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream shortening and sugar. Add egg and mix well. Stir together flour, baking powder, soda, salt and spices. Stir in raisins and rolled oats. Add dry ingredients alternately with apple sauce to creamed mixture. Chill in refrigerator at least one hour before baking.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Cherry Coconut Squares

Ingredients

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup margarine

1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 bag (7 ounces) sweetened, shredded coconut

1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream sugar and butter. Sift flour and salt together, and then add to creamed mixture. Mix in coconut.

Pack 1/2 of this mixture into a greased 9-inch square pan. Spread cherry pie filling on top. Put remaining crumb mixture on top of pie filling. Pat down firmly. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. When cool, cut into 16 squares. Courtesy of ARA Content.



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