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Christmas Office Party Pies

Pies to Make and Take To Any Office Christmas Party

Being asked to bring a pie to a Christmas party is a nice compliment. Apparently, the host or hostess has great confidence in your culinary talents, so you must present a magnificent Christmas pie.  The choices for what pie to take are as varied as can be, so choose cleverly.

The following suggestions might offer motivation to reach far back into the pantry for those extra-choice ingredients that will create a splendid Christmas pie.

Christmas parties are usually well-organized and often are “potluck” fashioned. So with that in mind, here are some fun and appetizing Christmas party pies.
Dreamsicle Pie

Dreamsicle Pie:

This is a fun flashback to the past. Creamsicles were ice cream treats sold in the 20th Century and were a delicious combination of orange sherbet surrounding a core of vanilla ice cream. (A truly luscious and fun treat!) The Dreamsicle Pie is just that — luscious and fun — and it’s simple to make.

Directions for Dreamsicle Pie:

  1. Combine one (3 oz.) package of orange Jell-O with a (room temperature) 8 oz. package of cream cheese; beat well, then add 1 cup of orange juice and 1 small package of instant vanilla pudding.
  2. Whip this into the cream cheese mix.
  3.  Fold in 2 cups whipped topping, and then scoop it into a cookie or graham-cracker crumb crust.
  4. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least two hours.

Havarti Party Quiche:

This is a great potluck or office party pie, it has great flavor and bakes into a pleasant side dish to offer the guests, and it is easy to transport to the party.  It goes together very quickly and has a classy, gourmet touch because of the Havarti cheese and uncommon wild rice base. Any cook can make this delicious pie because it’s made with a mix and a frozen pie shell.
Havarti Party Quiche

Ingredients for Havarti Party Quiche:

  • 1-frozen deep-dish pie shell (thaw and prick the thawed crust with a fork and pre-bake for 6 minutes at 400oF before using.)
  • 1 box of Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice mix, prepared according to package directions.
  • ½ cup of finely cut green onions
  • ½ cup of diced bell peppers, in a mix of colors.
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ tbsp. mustard
  • 4 well beaten eggs
  • 1 ½ cups shredded Havarti cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions for Havarti Party Quiche:

  1. Stir the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl to combine.
  2. Pour into the par-baked pie shell, place in a preheated 350oF oven and bake until nicely browned on top and a knife blade inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.  This (Christmas) Quiche can be served hot or cold.

Nutty Peanut Butter Pie
No doubt there will be children at a lot of the Christmas parties so make a pie that they will love.  Most kids love peanut butter so why not tempt them with a quick and easy, no-bake peanut butter pie?  Here it is!

Nutty Peanut Butter Pie

Ingredients for Nutty Peanut Butter Pie: (for two pies)

  • 1 package of Nutter-Butter cookies, made into crumbs and pressed into a 9-inch pie plate
  • 16 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup smooth or crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • One 8 oz. tub of Cool-Whip, thawed
  • 4 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chopped into small chunks
  • Hershey’s chocolate syrup

Directions for Nutty Peanut Butter Pie:

  1. Mix the first five ingredients together on low speed of an electric mixer.  Add Cool-Whip and fold gently, then stir in the candy chunks.
  2. Scoop into the cookie crust and smooth the top.
  3. Cover with cling-wrap and put in the freezer and allow at least 2 hours for the pie to set up.
  4. Cut into child-sized pieces and serve with a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

Christmas parties are always a good time to pull out all the stops and make the party a celebration with fabulous food. So – if you are asked to “bring a pie” just whip up one of these Christmas pies for an enchanting, dramatic presentation.

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CHRISTMAS HOT CHOCOLATE

CHRISTMAS HOT CHOCOLATE for Grown-ups

CHRISTMAS HOT CHOCOLATE for GROWN – UPS

For Christmas when it snowing outside and the fire is crackling inside this hot chocolate is a lovely way to end a busy day. This is a rich and warming brew of good chocolate fortified with coffee liqueur.

Ingredients for CHRISTMAS HOT CHOCOLATE:

  • 4 squares (4 oz/125 g) Semisweet Chocolate* 4
  • 2 squares (2 oz/50 g) Unsweetened Chocolate* 2
  • 2 tablespoons granulated Sugar 25mL
  • 1 ½ cups boiling Water 375mL
  • 1 cup Milk 250mL
  • 1 cup light Cream 250mL
  • ½ cup Coffee Liqueur (Kahlúa or Tia Maria) 125mL

TOPPING for CHRISTMAS HOT CHOCOLATE:

  • ½ cup whipping cream, whipped 125mL

METHOD for CHRISTMAS HOT CHOCOLATE:

Place chocolate and sugar in heavy saucepan. Add boiling water; stir over medium heat until chocolate is completely melted. Add milk and light cream. Stir with whisk over medium heat until completely smooth and very hot but not boiling. Add liqueur. Serve in small cups with spoons. Top each serving with whipped cream. Makes 6 servings.
*Six ounces (175 g) of good – quality Swiss bittersweet chocolate may be used to replace the semisweet and unsweetened chocolate.

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Christmas Pumpkin Fudge

Christmas Pumpkin Fudge

Recipe for Christmas Pumpkin Fudge

During a search for one Christmas season for this year’s goodies to give or keep and guard, I found quite a unique recipe for Christmas Pumpkin Fudge to include in my repertoire.  The trouble is every time I make it (since finding the recipe years ago) I can’t seem to make this fast enough to keep up with the demand.  Once it’s made it’s gobbled up by my family!

I found this recipe in the back of a foods magazine, just sitting there quietly waiting to be discovered.  I tweaked it up a bit, simplified the whole process and have been making it the following way ever since.

Hint: I use King Arthur flavored baking chips

Ingredients for Christmas Pumpkin Fudge:

  • 2 cups vanilla baking chips
  • 1/4 cup butterscotch baking chips
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon baking chips
  • 2 tsp. candied orange peel strips, diced
  • 1-14 oz. can Eagle Brand condensed milk, not evaporated
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin, not pie mix
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup broken pie crust
  • 1/2 cup toffee candy bits

Directions for Christmas Pumpkin Fudge:

Preheat oven to 300oF.

  1. Bake pie crust until quite hard, at low temperature, do not allow to brown.  This requires leaving pie crust in oven  until hard but not browned.  Since  all ovens are not the same, lower oven temperature if it starts to brown.  Once pie crust is totally dry, remove  from oven, cool and break into small pieces, about the size of a dime or  smaller.  Reserve 1 cup.
  2. Spray 9 inch square cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Line pan with quick release Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil, leave at least 4 inches on each side for wrapping fudge.
  3. Place pumpkin into a small micro safe bowl, cover loosely with cling wrap.  Heat for 35 seconds to cook and keep hot.
  4. Using a double boiler over simmering water, add condensed milk and all baking chips stir to incorporate.  When completely melted, stir to combine.  Add hot pumpkin, reserved pie crust, vanilla, diced orange peel, pumpkin pie spice, and stir together.
  5. Pour at once into prepared pan.  Sprinkle with toffee candy bits.  Allow to sit undisturbed for at least 2 hours.
  6. Using foil overhang as handles, remove fudge from pan.  Slice into 2 inch servings using a long bladed knife or pizza cutter.

Store tightly covered in the refrigerator — Keeps well for two weeks. This recipe makes a nice, firm-textured and delicious fudge.

Why not try this totally unique Pumpkin Fudge this thanksgiving as a sweet treat?  Or arrive at any holiday party with this fudge as a hostess gift; you’ll receive rave reviews for your efforts!

 

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TRUFFLES

A TRIO OF TRUFFLES

A Trio of Truffles
What could be more decadent and delicious after a huge Christmas feast than a truffle? These three recipes for truffles produce delectable variations on a truffle theme. Add some sensational new white truffles to your chocolate collection, then mix and match the other flavorings and coatings to make an impressive assortment for nibbling or gifting. Truffles keep well in the refrigerator – in fact are even better after a few days of mellowing.

BLACK AND WHITE CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

Use this recipe to make a batch of dark chocolate truffles or a batch of white, or halve the recipe and make some of each.

  • 8 oz Chocolate* 250 g
  • ½ cup soft Butter 125mL
  • 1 cup very finely chopped Almonds (not ground) 250mL
  • 2 tablespoons Liqueur** Cocoa or Icing Sugar 25mL

METHOD for BLACK AND WHITE CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES:

In top of double boiler or in very heavy saucepan, melt chocolate over very low heat. Add butter, stirring until melted. Stir in nuts and liqueur. Chill until firm enough to shape. Roll into 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls. Roll in cocoa or icing sugar to coat lightly. Store in refrigerator. Makes about 36.
*Use semisweet baking chocolate (8 squares) or Swiss bittersweet chocolate or white chocolate. White and dark chocolate are often available in bulk in specialty shops selling dried fruits, nuts and baking ingredients.
** Almost any liqueur (almond, coffee, orange, kirsch) or brandy or rum works well.

WHITE RUM TRUFFLES

  • 1 cup ground blanched Almonds or Hazelnuts (filberts) 250mL
  • 1 cup sifted Icing Sugar 250mL
  • ½ soft Butter 125mL
  • ¼ cup White or Light Rum 50mL
  • Desiccated Coconut or chopped blanched Nuts
  • Cocoa or Chocolate Sprinkles

METHOD for WHITE RUM TRUFFLES:

With electric mixer or spoon, beat nuts, icing sugar, butter and rum together thoroughly. Chill until firm enough to shape. Roll into 1-inch (2.5cm) balls. For a white coating, roll in desiccated coconut or very finely chopped blanched nuts. For a dark coating, roll in cocoa or chocolate sprinkles. Store in refrigerator. Makes about 24.

ALMOND TRUFFLES

Amaretti biscuits (Italian almond macaroons, available in large supermarkets or specialty shops) crushed into fine crumbs; give these truffles a nice brownish color and almond flavor. If unavailable crushed vanilla wafers or any dry sweet biscuit may be substituted. Add a few drops of almond flavoring if desired.

  • 1 cup amaretti crumbs 250mL
  • ½ cup soft butter 125mL
  • 2 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur 25mL

CHOCOLATE COATING:

  • 4 squares (4 oz/125 g) semisweet chocolate
  • ½ teaspoon shortening 2mL

METHOD for ALMOND TRUFFLES:

Combine crumbs, butter and Amaretto; mix thoroughly. Chill until firm enough to shape. Roll into 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls; chill again until cold and firm.
CHOCOLATE COATING: In very heavy saucepan or top of double boiler, melt chocolate with shortening. Using fork, dip balls in chocolate to coat evenly. Place on waxed paper; chill. Store in refrigerator. Makes about 24.

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CHOCOLATE MERINGUES WITH LEMON FILLING

CHOCOLATE MERINGUES WITH LEMON FILLING

Recipe for CHOCOLATE MERINGUES WITH LEMON FILLING

CHOCOLATE MERINGUES WITH LEMON FILLING are melt – in – your – mouth meringues that are delectable and pretty with a tart lemon filling and a drizzle of chocolate. This is a perfect small dessert when just a nibble of something sweet finishes off that huge Christmas feast. A selection of both white and chocolate meringues is even more attractive. For white meringues, simply omit the cocoa.

CHOCOLATE MERINGUES:

  • 3 egg whites, at room temperature 3
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar 2mL
  • ¾ cup fine granulated sugar 175mL
  • ¼ cup dry unsweetened cocoa 50mL

LEMON FILLING:

  • 1 egg 1
  • 3 egg yolks 3
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 250mL
  • ½ cup lemon juice 125mL
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel 15mL
  • 2 tablespoons butter 25mL

CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE:

  • 1 square (1 oz/25 g) semisweet chocolate 1
  • ¼ teaspoon shortening 1mL

METHOD for CHOCOLATE MERINGUES WITH LEMON FILLING:

Line large baking sheet with parchment or plain brown paper. Trace twelve 2 – inch (5 cm) circles on paper, at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart.

MERINGUES:

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar to soft peaks. Very gradually add ½ cup (125mL) of the sugar, beating constantly until very stiff and shiny. Combine remaining sugar with cocoa and gradually beat into meringue mixture. (For white meringues, omit cocoa.) Spoon or pipe meringue mixture onto circles, making base about ¼ inch (5mm) thick, and building up sides to make a rim. If desired, make a rim of rosettes piped through a small star tip. (This works best with white meringue; chocolate meringue is a bit softer and will not hold the rosette shape as well.) Bake in 275 degrees Fahrenheit (140 degrees Celsius) oven for about 1 hour or until crisp and dry. (If white meringues start to brown, reduce oven temperature.) Carefully peel off paper and cool meringues thoroughly.

LEMON FILLING:

In double boiler or small heavy saucepan, beat egg and egg yolks lightly. Add remaining ingredients. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until thickened, about 20 minutes (do not boil). Mixture will thicken more when cold. Chill thoroughly; store in covered jar in refrigerator. Use to fill cooled meringues. (Any leftover filling is delicious in tart shells, on toast or biscuits.)

CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE:

Melt chocolate with shortening. From tip of small spoon, drizzle over filled meringues. Store filled meringues in refrigerator. Makes 12 meringues.

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RUM CAKES

Recipe for Rum Cakes

Recipe for Rum Cakes

These small golden rum cakes, with a rich, moist sponge – cake texture, are deliciously glazed with buttery rum syrup. Somehow rum always seems to be part of the Christmas scene. Maybe that is because in North America we mostly have snow and cold weather creating the need for warmth. Rum is associated with that warm cozy feeling.

  • ¾ cup Pecan Halves (optional) 175mL
  • 1 cup soft Butter 250mL
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar 250ml
  • 5 Eggs, separated 5
  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour 250mL
  • 1 tablespoon Baking Powder 15mL
  • ¼ cup light or dark Rum 50mL

RUM SYRUP:

  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar 250mL
  • ½ cup Butter 125mL
  • ¼ cup Water 50mL
  • ½ cup light or dark Rum 125mL

METHOD for RUM CAKES:

Grease 20 to 24 medium – sized plain or fluted muffin tins (each about 1/3 cup/ 75mL capacity). If desired, arrange 6 to 8 pecan halves in bottom of each. Cream butter with sugar thoroughly. Add egg yolks and beat well until light and fluffy. Sift or mix together flour and baking powder; add alternately with rum to creamed mixture, beating lightly after each addition. With clean beaters, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Stir about ¼ of the beaten whites into batter to lighten it, and then thoroughly fold in remaining whites. Spoon into prepared pans, filling about 2/3 full. Bake in 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) oven for about 20 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then loosen cakes by running knife around inside edges of pans; remove from pans by inverting onto cake racks. (Bottoms of cakes are now the tops.) Place waxed paper under racks to catch drips from rum syrup.

Method for RUM SYRUPS:

In small saucepan, combine sugar, butter and water. Bring to boil; boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in rum. Spoon about half the warm rum syrup over “tops” and sides of cakes; allow it to soak in, then gradually spoon remaining syrup over. Cool cakes completely, then store, covered, in airtight container at room temperature. Makes 20 to 24 cakes.

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How to Plan a Christmas Party

A Christmas party is a lovely way to connect with family and friends. It helps to get everyone in the mood for the festive season. In able to pull this off without undue stress at a time of year when there are many demands upon your time early planning helps.

First you want to decide who will be invited to the party. Will it just be your friends or will it be your friends and your children’s friends and their families. Having decided that you are then able to plan the time you would like to have your guests attend and on what day. If you have decided on having children particularly young children an afternoon or very early evening time works best. If you get your invitations out early you will have a better attendance, as people will not have committed their time to other activities.

Sometimes it is wise to stagger the times. Have the families and small children come early and the strictly adult crowds come later. Before you finalize the guest list take stock of how much room you have to accommodate a crowd. You want your guests to be able to mingle and have enough space to be comfortable. Your invitations need some sort of reply in them from the list of people invited. A “regrets only” invitation with your phone number saves you from numerous phone calls. Now a days many people are using the computer to send out their invitations. Evaluate the age group that is being invited, as many seniors are still not comfortable with computers. You can either send them all by regular post or some by e-invitations and some in the mail.

Time to take stock of your home. Does it reflect the Christmas feel and smell? Walk through your home and decide if your Christmas decor allows room for people to freely move about without knocking over your displays. Are there precious ornaments in reach of small children? Can you detect the lovely odors of Christmas? Does your home smell of pine and Christmas baking? After making sure the Christmas decorations won’t be harmed during the party, put some spices like ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon in water and heat these on the stove; they can easily produce the scents. There are potpourris with Christmas scents available or room sprays. If you have an artificial Christmas tree buy some fresh pine boughs to use as decorations.

Will your party have a particular theme? Have you planned some activities to keep the children entertained? Have you decided on what type of food will be served? Will it be finger food only? Are you thinking of having a variety of appetizers? Are you maybe going to cook up a big ham and a roast of beef so your guest can make themselves sandwiches? You can make these decisions based on whom your guests will be and what time they are coming. If you decide on a theme you need to plan well in advance so you have time to select all the items needed to carry it off.

Skating Party: For a family party you might want to book the local indoor rink or in the very cold parts of the country an outdoor facility. After everyone is finished skating they can then come back to your home for hot chocolate, warm snacks, and Christmas cookies.

Pot Luck: Your guests arrive with their favorite Christmas hors d’oeuvres and maybe the recipe for them. This saves you from the major food preparation.

Craft Party: Plan some crafts that children can easily make. They love to draw, paint, and glue. They love to feel the accomplishment of making something. There are making ideas for making Christmas decorations that they can take home with them.

Cocktail Party: This is a more formal way to entertain. You can get out all your recipes for appetizers and starting early make several then freeze them until the day of the party. If you are under a lot of stress and very busy you can buy a huge selection of snacks at the grocery store. Or you can have the party catered. Don’t forget to plan on the beverages. A non-alcohol punch is a must. Children usually love the blend of juices and the designated drivers will be grateful. Christmas eggnog is fun to have. This rich beverage can be a Christmas tradition. Wine and beer seem to have taken the place of other forms of spirits.

The idea to have a Christmas party is to have fun and enjoy your guests. Early planning will help you stay relaxed and not over tired. Christmas parties are a great way to entertain.

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Gingerbread Boys

Gingerbread Boys

This is a Christmas tradition that I started years ago when my children were young and now I do this every year with my Grandchildren. It is something that we all look forward to doing. We also make Gingerbread Girls.

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup Molasses
  • 2 Tbsp Vinegar
  • 5 cups sifted All-purpose Flour
  • 11/2 Tsp Soda
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • 2 to 3 Tsp Ginger
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp Cloves

Thoroughly cream shortening with sugar. Stir in egg, molasses, and vinegar; beat well. Sift flour together with dry ingredients. Stir into molasses mixture. Chill at least 3 hours.

On lightly floured surface roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with gingerbread boy or girl cutters. Place 1 inch on greased cookie sheet. Bake in moderate oven 375 degrees for 5 to 6 minutes. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet and cool on rack. Quantity depends on size of your cutters.

To decorate we use icing tubes (you can make your own icing and use a pastry tube – I just find with several children the tubes work better). We use white, red, and green icing. We decorate with Smarties, Jelly Beans, and other cake decorating sparkles. The fun is to just let the children do their own thing and be there to help.

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Christmas Eggnog

Holiday Eggnog
We have loved to have Christmas parties. As our children got older we always combined our friends with theirs. This Christmas Eggnog was always a hit. Early in our lives we bought two punch bowls with glasses and they have served us well through the years.

  • 12 Egg Yolks
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 32 ounces Milk
  • 26 ounces White or Gold Rum (can use Ginger Ale Instead)
  • 32 ounces Whipping Cream

Beat the egg yolks until light. Beat in sugar until thick. Stir in milk then rum. Chill at least 3 hours. Whip cream until stiff. Fold into other ingredients. Serves 24
Garnish each cup with Nutmeg.

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Ginger Crackles

Ginger Crackles Cookies

Ginger Crackles Cookies

This is another family favorite Christmas cookie. Because she loves them so much my daughter has taken over making them each year. Perfect for ginger lovers.

  • ¾ cup Shortening
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • ¼ cup Molasses
  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tsp Baking soda
  • ¼ Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tsp Ginger
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp Cloves
  • Granulated sugar

Cream shortening and sugar. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine dry ingredients and blend in. Shape into 1 inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Bake in 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes. *Don’t over bake. Cookies should be slightly soft when removed from oven. Makes about 31/2 dozen.

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