It’s the season for all things festive! In this column, I’m sharing three recipes. Be sure to let your children help with age-appropriate tasks in the kitchen; it’s important to let them learn through hands-on experience, while creating memorable moments that can last a lifetime. From my home to yours, may you have a very Merry Christmas!
Festive Cranberry Upside Down Cake
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 (12 oz.) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1 box yellow cake or organic cake mix
Heat oven to 350°. In large bowl, prepare cake mix as directed on package, set aside. In a 13×9-inch pan, melt butter in oven. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter. Add cranberries on top of brown sugar. Pour cake batter over cranberries and bake per directions on cake mix package or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately run knife around side of pan to loosen cake. Let cake cool for a minute then place serving plate upside down onto cake pan and turn plate and pan over. Leave pan over cake for a minute if needed, so brown sugar topping can drizzle over cake, then give a gentle tap and remove pan. Cool 30 minutes. Serve.
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl combine butter and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and almond extracts, and salt. Stir in the flour just until mixed. Pack some of the dough into a cookie press and fit the press with the desired disk. Press the dough out onto a lightly greased or parchment paper covered baking sheet.Sprinkle each cookie with festive sprinkles if desired.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until cookies are slightly golden around the edges. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container.
2 (12 oz.) bags milk, semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pistachios
3/4 cup dried cranberries
Line a baking sheet with foil, shiny side up. Melt chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat on stovetop. Pour the chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet, using a rubber spatula to spread it into a 10-to-12-inch circle, about 1/4 inch thick.
Sprinkle the pistachios and cranberries over the chocolate, arranging them so each bite has some pistachios, and cranberries. Let the bark harden completely at room temperature, for about one hour.
(If room is warm, you may freeze the bark for a few minutes.) Break bark into pieces and store in an airtight container, or package bark in clear cellophane bags or jars for festive gift giving. Bon Appetit!
Lisa Ann Panzino DiNunzio is author of Seasoned With Love, Treasured Recipes, Lisa Ann’s Seasoned With Love II, and children’s books Snicker Learns An Important Lesson and Readers’ Favorite 5-Star rated Little Twinkle Learns Her Purpose.