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NORTHWOODS COOKS: Desserts to top off a holiday meal

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There are a variety of recipes for the Italian dessert tiramisu. This dessert can be topped with chocolate-covered coffee beans and a sprig of mint.
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These holiday desserts from allrecipes.com can be made ahead of time and are the perfect ending to a festive meal with family or friends.

This colorful cheesecake can be topped with whipped cream or drizzled with melted chocolate chips before topping with crushed candy canes.

Candy Cane Cheesecake

1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs

3 tablespoons white sugar

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1/4 cup butter, melted

4 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups white sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

3 eggs

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1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

2 dashes red food coloring

1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 9-inch springform pan. Combine cookie crumbs and 3 tablespoons of sugar in bowl. Drizzle melted butter into mixture while stirring until evenly moistened. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven until set, about 10 minutes and set aside to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Combine cream cheese, flour, and salt in a large bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer on lowest speed until smooth and fluffy. Add the 1-3/4 cup sugar, sour cream, and 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla and beat until incorporated. Stir in eggs one at a time, stopping and scraping down sides of bowl between each one.

Divide the mixture evenly into two separate bowls. In one bowl, stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. In the second bowl mix peppermint extract and red food coloring until a reddish-pink color. Alternate layers of 1 cup each of white and pink onto the cooled crust until all filling is used.

Bake in preheated oven until filling is mostly set, 60 to 70 minutes. The center will jiggle slightly when pan is shaken and edges will be slightly puffed.

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Sprinkle crushed candies evenly over cheesecake and gently press into the top. Allow to cool on a rack to room temperature. Cover loosely and refrigerate overnight before serving.

This dessert is described as very easy to make and the recipe cautions to not substitute the mascarpone with double cream and to use the best quality coffee.

Easy Tiramisu

3 egg yolks

1/4 cup white sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/8 cups mascarpone cheese

24 ladyfingers

1 1/2 cups brewed coffee

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

In a medium bowl, beat yolks with sugar and vanilla until smooth and light yellow. Fold mascarpone into yolk mixture. Set aside.

Dip ladyfingers briefly in coffee and arrange 12 of them in the bottom of an 8-by-8-inch dish. Spread half the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers. Repeat with remaining cookies and mascarpone. Cover and chill 1 hour. Sprinkle with cocoa just before serving.

With only three ingredients, this dessert is small yet rich and chocolatey.

Easy Oreo Truffles

16-ounce package Oreo chocolate sandwich cookies, divided

8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

8-ounce packages semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted

Crush 9 of the cookies to fine crumbs in a food processor and reserve 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 a medium bowl. Add cream cheese and mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into 42 balls, about 1-inch in diameter.

Dip balls in melted 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 any leftover truffles in a covered container in the refrigerator.

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 lskarpness@parkrapidsenterprise.com or by mail to the Park Rapids Enterprise, 203 Henrietta Ave. North, Park Rapids, MN 56470 and they may appear in a future issue.

Related Topics: FOODRECIPES
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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