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O Christmas Tree.

Our first real Christmas tree in years.

In the Sparling household, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  The tree is up and decorated, the stockings are hung by the ... something with care (we don't have a chimney), and white lights have cropped up all over the place.  And it's our first REAL Christmas tree in years, because we won't be away from our house for days on end visiting family.  Fake trees have dominated our holidays for the past few years, and there's a warm, snuggly feel to having a pine tree in the living room.  I'm excited!!

I'm not mentioning the three little Christmas stockings we have for the cats.  I refuse to even whisper about that.

This is our first Christmas in several years that we won't spend on the long, clogged highway that is Horrible 95,  so we're trying to get into the swing of things this year.  It's been pretty easy, since I'm sporting a nice baby bump these days, so "nesting" is totally up my alley.  (It's the strangest feeling, that satisfaction I'm getting once I realize all the laundry is done and folded, and how much I'm enjoying vacuuming these days.  VACUUMING!  Even all those shedding pine needles aren't bothering me.  What the hell is wrong with me?!)

I'm looking for some decidedly-non diabetes stuff from you guys, if you have it handy.  My mom and I are going to be making cookies in a few days, and Chris and I are having a dessert get-together at our house coming up, so I'm in dire need of delicious desserts.  Cookies, pies, cakes, breads ... basically, I'm looking for your favorite holiday dessert. (Because, irony being what it is, I'm unable to cook a decent meal, but I can make any dessert recipe under the sun.  It's my only culinary talent, and it's a cruel one indeed.)

If you have a favorite recipe that you'd be willing to link out to, or share in the comments section, I'd really appreciate it!  And my family will appreciate it, too.  You guys are my secret cache of fantastic snacky ideas!

Comments

I have a whole host of recipes for desserts. :) It is a cruel talent for a diabetic to have, isn't it?? :P
My current favorite dessert is raspberry swirl brownies. Yummy! And people LOVE them.
Regular brownie mix, prepare according to package (except the baking part, of course!). Take room temp raspberry jam (no seeds!) and drop spoonfuls on the brownie mix. Take a knife and "cut" the raspberry jam into the brownies so that it is a swirl look. Then top with pecans or walnuts and semi-sweet chocolate chips and bake.
They have to cool a little longer since the jam makes them sticky, but they are a great, easy thing to make.

Kahlua Trifle (not for BSparl)

1 box Duncan Hines Devil's Food Cake
2 pkgs. Jello Instant Pudding (any chocolate flavor your like)
3 C. milk
1/2 C. Kahlua
2 containers (10 oz.) Cool Whip
8 Heath Bars, crushed

Bake cake as directed on pkg. ans cool completely.
prepare pudding using the 3 cups of milk and chill.
In a trifle bowl, or glass bowl, assemble in layers:
cubed cake, drizzle of Kahlua, pudding, Cool whip, candy...repeat layers and top with remaining Cool Whip and crushed Heath bars.
This is the best because you can make the cake and pudding a couple days before, and assmble it quick.

I read 2 blogs every day. Yours and The Pioneer Woman. Here's a link to the desserts section of her cooking site. Enjoy!

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/category/sweets/

Huge fans of snickerdoodles at the Dunlap’s house but like everything else in my life I can't just follow instructions.

The base recipe is here:
http://www.bhg.com/recipe/desserts/snickerdoodles/

But instead of rolling in cinnamon (that would cure diabetes) sugar I used a variety of colored sugar from the cake decorating place. I think it also keeps the cinnamon from masking the tarter-y-ness of the base cookie.

The color makes the cookies look like ornaments on the tree. And since there since enough actual carb-o-liciousness in the things to start with a pop a Hersey kiss right smack in the middle after the have come out of the oven and cooled a little.

Oh and be sure not to over cook’m. Chewy is the way to go. Milk is mandatory.

We probably burn through an extra December bottle of insulin just on these bad boys in our house.

All the best to DSparl, MSparl and BSparl (Dad, Mom & Babe)

Rugelach

(I make mine with whole wheat flour and Splenda and it's fine. Happy Hanukkah!)

1 cup butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup seedless raspberry preserves
1 tablespoon milk
Directions

In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat margarine or butter with cream cheese until blended and smooth. Beat in vanilla extract, salt, 1 cup flour, and 1/4 cup sugar until blended.
With spoon, stir in remaining flour. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Wrap each with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.
To Prepare Filling: In medium bowl, with spoon, stir walnuts, apricots, brown sugar, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon until well mixed.
Line 2 large baking sheets with foil and grease foil.
On lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll 1 piece of chilled dough into a 9-inch round, keeping remaining dough refrigerated. Spread dough with 2 tablespoons raspberry preserves. Sprinkle with about 1/2 cup apricot filling; gently press filling onto dough. With pastry wheel or sharp knife, cut dough into 12 equal wedges. Starting at curved edge, roll up each wedge, jelly-roll fashion. Place cookies on foil-lined cookie sheet, point-side down, about 1/2 inch apart. Repeat with remaining dough, one-fourth at a time.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
In cup, mix remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon. With pastry brush, brush rugelach with milk. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.
Bake rugelach at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) on 2 oven racks about 30 to 35 minutes until golden, rotating cookie sheets between upper and lower racks halfway through baking time. Immediately remove rugelach to wire racks to cool. Store in tightly covered container.

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Raspberry-and-Apricot-Rugelach/Detail.aspx

OMG these sound fantastic! (And Bennet, I'm still laughing at your aside about cinnamon curing diabetes. Of COURSE it does!)

I can't wait to try some of these!!! Thank you, guys!

Okay, I have a TON of fun recipes, as baking is sort of my "thing", so here goes some of the best...

Hershey's Gone to Heaven Chocolate Pie (OMG. So Good. Use a Mrs. Field's frozen pie crust if you want a shortcut...but not a cheapo store brand...Mrs. Field's is best!)

White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies These have been my go-to cookie (sans pecans) for years now. Cannot fail, and use REAL vanilla extract, not imitation, if at all possible.

Extreme Banana Nut Bread This is the absolute best banana bread recipe, ever. Very dense, moist, and rich!

That is one gorgeous tree! Can't wait to get ours going this weekend. I can assure you - once you have kids, Christmas takes on a whole wonderful new flavor!

These cookies are seriously to die for - just don't overcook. I think it's the frosting that makes them so great - they are from my great grandmother:

Orange Cookies:

Cookies:
½ cup butter
1½ cups sugar
2 eggs
Juice and rind of 1 orange (½ cup juice - use juicing oranges if possible - and 1 to 2 tbsp. rind lightly grated)
1 cup soured heavy cream (to sour the cream add 1 tbsp. of vinegar to heavy cream and set until thick)
3½ cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt


Frosting:
3 cups confectioners sugar
⅓ cup soft butter
Rind of 1 orange (1 to 2 tbsp.)
Enough orange juice to spread nicely

Mix together ½ cup butter and ½ cups sugar and cream well. Add and then beat the 2 eggs. Then add juice and rind of 1 orange and 1 cup of soured heavy cream. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and add to the mixture. Drop on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 6-8 minutes at 375 degrees - touch with your finger. Cool and frost with orange frosting.

Frosting:
Mix together all ingredients.

These cookies are simple, and absolutely not from scratch (obviously). But, they will be eaten up before you know it.

1 box any flavor cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Stir until mixed. Drop by heaping teaspoonful onto cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes.

The best thing is, you can use any flavor. We like to use funfetti and golden butter the most. Chocolate is good too, especially with chocolate chips.
Enjoy!

Just emailed a super yummy pumpkin pie recipe. Oh, and it's low fat (but doesn't taste it)!

Here's one I make that is a favorite. However being that I'm a lazy cook and try to take short cuts whenever possible I don't make the icing and just dust with powdered sugar instead.

http://www.landolakes.com/MealIdeas/ViewRecipe.cfm?RecipeID=7730B

My favorite are cake balls! They are a little time consuming but worth it. They are great for parties where people can pick them up with their hands.

1 cake mix any flavor baked according to the package directions

Crumble cake and combine with 1 can of frosting any flavor.

Roll into small balls, refrigerate over night

Dip balls in choc or white choc bark

For an added appeal, drizzle with red or green melting choc.

My favorite combinations are choc cake with choc frosting dipped in choc (you can never have too much choc) and strawberry cake and icing dipped in milk choc.

http://confessionsofadiabeticbaker.blogspot.com/2009/03/cake-balls-not-original-idea.html

Kerri:

I make 2 desserts that always seem to be in demand.

1) CHUNKY BROWNIE COOKIES
(makes about 2 dozen cookies)

1 pkg Brownie Mix (I prefer Betty Crocker Hershey's Triple Chunk)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or grease a cookie sheet).
Combine brownie mix, egg, water, and oil in large bowl. Stir until well blended and soft dough forms.
Drop by level measuring tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto greased or lined cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 8 minutes or until cookies are set in center. DO NOT OVERBAKE!
Cool 1 minute before removing to cooling rack.

2) Fudge

I'm required to make "my" famous fudge for every holiday.

http://www.kraftfoods.com/kf/recipes/fantasy-fudge-51833.aspx

This link is for chocolate fudge, but sometimes I make peanut butter fudge. When I do I use 1.5-2 bags of the Reese's peanut butter chips.

Enjoy the holidays!

Nicole

This is my favorite holiday dessert. I usually make it for Thanksgiving, but it also works well for Christmas.

http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/apple_cranberry_currant_crumble_pie/

All of Elise's recipes are awesome, but this one is my favorite.

I have been quiet on the blog front lately as I struggled with morning sickness ALL DAY for weeks, but I am getting my second wind now and expect to pick up the pace a bit on my blog.

Nici
A Sweet Journey to Motherhood

Here is my favourite and I even worked out the carbohydrates for it too, thanks to http://www.carbperfectionist.com

Bluberry Polenta Cake
4oz Polenta(?Corn meal in the US)
8oz plain flour
pinch of salt
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
5oz golden caster sugar
Grated zest of 1 large orange plus 1 tablespoon of orange juice
5 oz butter
1 egg
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Filling
12oz blueberries
2 teaspoons demerara sugar


Place polenta, flour,salt, baking powder, sugar and orange zest in food processor and whizz briefly to mix. Add butter and whizz until looks like breadcrumbs. Mix egg, oil and orange juice and add to flour mix with processor running slowly.
Once mixed take two thirds of dough and press into buttered and papered 9inch springform tin(one with loose bottom)
Mix berries with polenta and pile into middle of dough base.
Crumble remaining mixture over the top.
Bake in oven 45-50 mins
Gas mark 4, 350 F, 180 C
Cool for 20 mins before removing from tin.
Lovely warm or cold.

Carb ratio 0.48
i.e. 48 g carbs in 100g

Can be made in advance, then put in fridge before baking later.

I have never understood why people think Diabetic bakers are an odd thing. I was a Diabetic Pastry Cook for many years. I also knew many other Diabetic Pastry Chefs, both type 1 and 2.
This recipe is quite simple and absolutely delicious! It is from one of my favorute Chefs and it's low fat. Unlike most low fat recipes it is moist and delicious!

Banana-Chocolate Chip Upside Down Cake


For the topping:

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
3 ripe, medium-sized bananas
Juice of 1/2 lemon

For the cake:

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 cup banana puree (2 medium bananas)
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. To make the topping, mix the brown sugar and water together in an 8-inch square metal cake pan or cast iron skillet.

2. Heat the mixture until it begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer 45 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

3. When cool, slice the bananas into 1/4-inch thick slices. Arrange them in rows over the melted sugar in the pan, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle the slices with the lemon juice.

4. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

5. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir in the granulated sugar.

6. In a separate bowl, mix together the butter, egg, egg white, banana puree, sour cream and vanilla.

7. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and stir in the wet ingredients until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

8. Carefully spread the batter over the bananas and bake for 40 minutes.

9. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes. Loosen the edges of the cake from the pan and invert on a serving platter.

Christine- I make cake balls, too, and everyone raves about them! The most popular are spice cake mixed with cream cheese frosting dipped in white chocolate and chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting dipped in dark chocolate. To make the ball rolling easier, I spread the whole mess onto freezer paper-lined cookie sheet and chill it. Then I make the balls using a cookie scoop. If you want to decorate them check out Bakerella's Cake Pops: http://www.bakerella.com/

Best. Cookies. EVAR!!!11!!!
My brother and I grew up calling them "diaper cookies" because they kinda looked like that, but taste MUCH better.

1 cup flour
1 8 oz brick cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
apricot or raspberry preserves
powdered sugar dusting (optional)

cream butter and CC together, add flour until it's a nice doughy ball. Chill in the fridge.

Break a piece off and roll out. Cut into squares (about 2 inches square, maybe a bit smaller) and replace the unused dough in the fridge to chill again. Dough MUST be cold in order to roll out.

Add a small dollop of preserves in the center of each square (not too much, if it oozes out, it'll burn on the baking pan and that's icky) and roll opposite corners together so they kind of look like a diapery flute.

Bake at 350 until brown, about 6-8 minutes per batch. Oh, yeah, grease that cookie sheet, too. Grease it, baby!

Let them cool on a rack and add powdered sugar once they are about 1/2 way cooled. Batches do NOT last long.

Also, we have found that since it's basically a pastry dough, the more you roll it and reball it and roll it again, it gets more flaky layers.

NOM NOM NOM!!

Cranberry/White Chocolate/Walnut cookies. Basically a chocolate chip cookie base but you swap out the chocolate chips for the aforementioned items. I've made them as thank you gifts and they are loved by all - including people who swear they don't like cranberries, white chocolate, or walnuts. Use sweetened dried cranberries.

This post reminds me of the office dessert contest when I was pregnant with Ryan. Chanel all those cravings! :)

Kerri,

Just finished up a segment on Healthy Gifts for the holidays. I've got some extra organic sugar cookie and organic frosting mixes if you want some. Trust me, they're good. I've only gained 5 pounds trying any and every organic mix known to man.

Let me know if you want them. I'm getting sugar cookie'd out.

http://www.abc4.com/content/about_4/gtu/featured_on/story/Healthy-Treats/4OcMygjC1EK6wXBnE8WsvQ.cspx

Just thought of another one that is actually diabetic friendly. My "Granny" made it for every holiday:

Granny's Famous Jell-o

*1 large box of sugar free Jell-o (or two small ones. We like Cranberry)
*1 brick cream cheese, softened and cut into chunks (light or fat free works fine, but doesn't taste as good)
*1 can crushed pineapple, drained, but reserve the juice
*chopped Walnuts (optional)

1. Mix the Jell-o powder with 1 cup boiling water.
2. Add the cream cheese, a couple chunks at a time, and stir to dissolve.
3. Add 1 cup of pineapple juice.
4. Chill 1 hour.
5. Fold in pineapple and walnuts
6. Chill until firm.

Nici
A Sweet Journey to Motherhood
http://typeoneandttc.wordpress.com/

Love these recipes - thanks Kerry for requesting - I was just sitting down to figure out what I could make this year - think i will borrow some of these delicious ideas!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Oreo "Truffles"
8 oz. cream cheese
1 pound Oreos
1 pound milk or dark chocolate
1/2 pound white chocolate

Grind Oreos to fine powder in food processor. With a mixer, blend cookie powder and cream cheese until thoroughly mixed (there should be no white traces of cream cheese). Roll into small or large balls and place on wax-lined cookie sheet. Chill 45 minutes.

Line two cookie sheets with wax paper. In double-boiler, melt milk or dark chocolate. Dip balls and coat thoroughly. With slotted spoon or fork, lift balls out of chocolate and let excess chocolate drip off. Place on wax-paper-lined cookie sheet. In separate double boiler, melt white chocolate. Using a fork, drizzle white chocolate over balls. Let cool.
Store in airtight container, in refrigerator.

NOTE: I don't have a double-boiler, so that's not necessary. These get RAVE reviews. I use lowfat cream cheese. Can also decorate with a bit of crushed candy cane on top.

I love, love, love this site, not diabetic friendly at all.

http://www.ourbestbites.com/

Lowish carb classic tiramisu:

5 eggs
Sweetener fakery of choice
Savoiardi biscuits (c.150g needed depending on size of dish)
Cocoa
Bowl of strong coffee (by US standards!)
500g Mascarpone cheese

Low carb = fake sugar, only one layer of savoiardi. Large portion (small is impossible) = c.20-25g carb.

1. make the coffee however you choose and leave to cool
2. separate egg whites & yolks into 2 separate bowls
3. take the 5 yolks and beat into them 2-3 tablespoons of sweetener (i use xylitol), beating for a good few minutes and until arm is sore
4. add the mascarpone and gently stir into yolk mix until fully lump free
5. then, using a hand whisk (electric doesn't get the same consistency and arm should've largely recovered by now) whisk the egg whites until a very fine, firm consistency (c.5 mins). whisk in a tiny bit of sweetener.
6. in 2 stages, gently FOLD in the whites in to the mascarpone mix - do not beat further, folding is key
7. take a large dish and put ONE layer only of savoiardi, rolling each biscuit in the tepid coffee (hot = destroyed biscuits) until infused but not soaked through, until a full layer covers the dish.
8. Pour on mascarpone mixture (ideally getting on for an inch thick)
9. Dust liberally the whole top with cocoa
10. Cover & shove in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

You cannot believe how good this!

French Silk Pie

1 c. whipping cream
6 oz. semisweet chocolate pieces (we use Ghirardelli brand)
1/3 c. butter (NOT margarine)
1/3 c. sugar
2 beaten egg yolks
3 T. creme de cacao OR whipping cream
1 baked 8 or 9 inch pastry shell

Combine 1 c. whipping cream, chocolate pieces, butter, sugar in heavy 2-qt saucepan. Heat slowly until chocolate melts; remove from heat. Stir about half of the hot mixture into beaten egg yolks. Return egg mixture to saucepan; heat all together 3-5 minutes until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat. Add creme de cacao or whipping cream. Chill, stirring occasionally, until thick. Beat 2-3 minutes until fluffy. Fill pie shell and top with more whipped cream and shaved chocolate.

Well it isn't a baked good, but it's simple, tasty and diabetic freindly. It's my recipe for punch.
Empty two packets of Sugar Free Kool-aide Tropical Punch into a gallon pitcher. Add Spirte Zero to fill, slightly more than 1 2liter.Stir with ice and serve.

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