NORTHWOODS COOKS: Celebrate Leap Day with special treats

Take advantage of an extra day in February to enjoy a Leap Day dessert. Cheesecake with raspberry sauce is just one of many options. Adobe stock.

February 29 only comes around every four years, so take advantage of Leap Day to bake and enjoy a decadent dessert. Here is a sampling from

Can’t Wait Microwave Lava Cake

cooking spray

15.25 ounce package spiced cake mix


1 cup water

3 eggs

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

16-oz. can chocolate frosting

1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar (optional)

Grease a microwave-safe bowl or ramekins with nonstick cooking spray. Combine cake mix, water, eggs, and oil in a large bowl and beat with an electric blender on low speed until moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes.


Stir walnuts and chocolate chips into the batter. Pour half of the batter into the prepared microwave safe bowl or ramekins.

Spoon chocolate frosting over the batter and spread evenly over the top. Pour the rest of the batter on top. Microwave until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, 7 minutes for a bowl or 3 to 4 minutes for smaller ramekins. Remove from microwave and let rest, about 5 minutes. Dust with confectioners' sugar.

Easy Oreo Truffles

16-oz. package Oreo or other brand chocolate sandwich cookies, divided

8-oz. package cream cheese, softened

2 (8-oz.) packages semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted

Crush 9 of the cookies to fine crumbs in food processor, reserving for later use (Cookies can also be finely crushed in a resealable plastic bag using a rolling pin.) Crush remaining 36 cookies to fine crumbs and place in medium bowl. Add cream cheese and mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into 42 balls about 1-inch in diameter.


Dip balls in chocolate and place on wax paper-covered baking sheet. (Any leftover chocolate can be stored at room temperature for another use.) Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.

Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store leftover truffles in a covered container in the refrigerator.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs

3 tablespoons white sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

10-oz. package frozen raspberries


2 tablespoons white sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/2 cup water

2 cups white chocolate chips

1/2 cup half-and-half cream

3 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup white sugar

3 eggs


1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. In a saucepan, combine raspberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 5 minutes or until sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove seeds.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt white chocolate chips with half-and-half, stirring occasionally until smooth.

In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate. Pour half of the batter over crust. Spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake batter into the pan, and again spoon 3 tablespoons of raspberry sauce over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours before removing from pan. Serve with remaining raspberry sauce.

Readers are invited to submit four to five of their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to or by mail to the Park Rapids Enterprise, 203 Henrietta Ave. North, Park Rapids, MN 56470 and they may appear in a future issue.

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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