#FRIDAYFOOD Favorite Christmas Desserts (YUM!)

img_3162eThey make them for every special family occasion, but the holidays would not be the holidays without Aunt Margie’s banana pudding or my mom’s chocolate pies.

Red Velvet Cake just seems like Christmas, even though we do not typically have that at our family gatherings. Patricia Cummings said she loved Red Velvet Cake with four layers with cream cheese frosting.

And then there’s the candy…

I recently asked Facebook and Twitter friends what foods make the holidays memorable for them? And while an overwhelming majority said turkey and dressing, there were several interesting suggestions for desserts.

Angie McGinnis said she loves Mildred Quinn’s Coca Cola Cake. Angie has tried making one, but it is never the same as Ms. Mildred’s!

Cala Tabb loves the Peppermint Milkshakes at Chick-fil-a for the holidays! YUM!

Cindy Alderman said she considers sweet potato casserole a dessert and several people, including Angela Clanton.

“(I loved) anything my Mom or Gran cooked!” said Clanton. “But, I must say, Gran’s sweet potato pie was my favorite childhood holiday food.”

Jeane Minyard said she loves pumpkin pie and pecan pie from Madole’s Bakery. Quite a few folks like a good pecan pie. It is the South, after all! Mary Rowe also likes pecan pie on her holiday table, while Jan Miller likes pecan pie cheesecake.

Christle Morrow loves divinity candy, and it is typically at everyone’s house at some point over the Christmas holidays! Everyone seems to love pecans and pecan treats.

divinityDivinity Candy

3 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

2/3 cup warm water

2 egg whites

1 tsp vanilla extract (or other flavor of your choice)

1 cup chopped nuts of your choice, typically pecans (optional)

Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Continue cooking without stirring until the mixture reaches 250 degrees, firm-ball stage. Beat the egg whites in the bowl of a large standing mixture until stiff peaks form. Slowly pour about half of the sugar syrup into the egg whites, beating constantly. Continue to cook the remaining syrup until it reaches 270 degrees, soft-crack stage. Stream the remaining syrup mixture into the egg whites while the mixer is running. Continue to beat until the candy is thick, shiny and holds its shape. Mix in extract and nuts until fully incorporated. Drop by the teaspoonful onto cookie sheet, and let cool until full set.

Another pecan candy treat that many people love are pralines! Pam Awad and Carolyn Swanson both love them!

pralinesSouthern Pralines

1 ½ cups of toasted pecans

1 ½ cups of white sugar

3/8 cup butter

¾ cup brown sugar

½ cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In large saucepan over medium heat, combine pecans, sugar, butter, brown sugar, milk and vanilla. Heat to between 234 and 240 degrees F (112 to 116 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from the water and placed on a flat surface. Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet. Let cool completely.

Denise Redfern said she particularly loves Martha Washington balls or any dessert her mom, Sue Knight, makes. “(Everything) Mama Sue makes at Christmas is delicious!”

Tracy Palmer loves a pumpkin roll, and so does Becky Johnson.

Georgia McCulloch loves Japanese Fruit Cake that her mom used to make. By the way, Georgia is the only one who mentioned fruitcake!

Donna Skelton loves Fresh apple cake with cream cheese icing for the holidays, but at our house, that is typically the cake we eat for my mother-in-law’s birthday on Jan. 29.

But, I am not the only one that likes chocolate pie for the holidays.

Margie Hillhouse said she love her momma’s homemade chocolate pie. She said the recipe was passed down from her grandmother.

Grandmother’s cooling tends to be a favorite for most over the holidays. Mary Katherine Carpenter loves her granny’s homemade chocolate pie.

In keeping with the chocolate theme, Johnny Hood’s Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake is a new family favorite at our house.

Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

1 pkg. Butter Flavor Yellow Cake Mix (Duncan Hines)

1 small pkg. of Chocolate Instant pudding mix

3 eggs

½ cup of oil

½ cup of water

6 oz. Semi Sweet Chocolate chips

8 oz. Sour Cream


Mix cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, oil and water for about two minutes. Fold in sour cream until mixed, add chips and mix into the batter.

Pour in to greased and floured Bundt pan or spray with Pam. Bake 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees. It is GREAT with a hot cup of coffee and good company to visit with on a cold holiday afternoon. (Or for breakfast at our house–Pepper says he likes his eggs “in a chocolate cake!)

Fudge is always a favorite treat during the holidays, and several said fudge was one of their favorite holiday treats. Jill White said she liked the fudge her Aunt Sue makes, while Laura Mitchell said her mother-in-law makes the best fudge in the world.

“Brian’s mom makes the best fudge –chocolate and peanut butter flavors– I’ve ever had,” said Mitchell. “It’s always perfectly moist. It’s not Christmas until there’s fudge. She was gracious enough to make it as a favor for ALL of our wedding guests too.”

June Mitchell’s Fudge

3 cups sugar

¾ cup of butter or margarine

1 small can (5 oz.) of evaporated milk (Do NOT use sweetened condensed milk)

1 jar of marshmallow creame

3 pkg. (4 oz. each) of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1 tsp. vanilla

Line 9-inch square pan with foil, with the ends of the foil extending over the sides. Bring sugar, butter and evaporated milk to full rolling boil in a large saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Add chocolate and marshmallow creme; stir until melted. Add nuts and vanilla; mix well.

Pour into prepared pan; spread to cover bottom of pan. Cool completely. Use foil handles to lift fudge from the pan before cutting into squares.

Laura said if you want peanut butter fudge, substitute 1 cup of JIF peanut butter for the chocolate chips.

Becky Johnson said she would say her family loves the Milky Way Cake that her daughter, Rebecca Feather, makes every year because that is really the only time they have it. “It is probably 1,000 calories a slice!”

For Christmas, Jill White likes the sugar cookies her mom used to make. And Lynn Hartshorn Chicarell loves soft cut out cookies.

One of the very first things I learned to cook on my own was Amish Sugar Cookies from the old Bell’s Best Cookbook. It never fails to be a favorite. The first time I made these cookies, I had to be 10 years old and I was so proud of myself. For a while there, I made them all of the time.


1 cup of granulated sugar

1 cup of butter

1 cup of powdered sugar

1 cup oil

4 1/2 cups of flour

1 tsp. cream of tartar

1 tsp. soda

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

Blend sugars, butter and oil. Add eggs and beat well again. Add vanilla. Combine flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt and add to fist mixture. Mix well. Drop small balls of dough in granulated sugar. Put on baking sheet, flatten with tines of fork. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Makes 8 dozen cookies. Note: You may need a little more flour.

Coconut cake was also a favorite with many people for the Christmas holidays. Jo Wray and Beth Collum both like made-from-scratch Coconut Cake. Jay Yates, owner of The Veranda in Starkville said he likes fresh coconut cake that is ice cold from the refrigerator.

But Jay Reed’s family has the most unusual dessert tradition I have ever heard of for the Christmas holidays.

“We have homemade ice cream at Christmas dinner – usually Butterfinger flavor,” said Reed. “Sometimes in Mississippi it’s warm at Christmas! But even if it’s snowing, we have it!”

Jay said he started eating this ice cream flavor in college. A buddy of his, Ronnie Green from Nettleton, came up with it.

Butterfinger Ice Cream

5 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 can evaporated milk

1 cup crunchy peanut butter

1/2 gallon milk

2 boxes Butterfinger chips (crushed)

1 tsp vanilla flavoring

Mix all this up and freeze it in your ice cream freezer.

“These days, people can be sensitive about raw eggs in ice cream, so most of the time when we make this now we leave out the eggs and use two cans each of the condensed and evaporated milk instead,” Reed said. “I also rarely put the peanut butter in it – it makes it deliciously rich, but it’s still good without it. Butterfinger chips aren’t made anymore, but there are “bites” or something like that – or just whole Butterfinger candy bars (6-8). I don’t measure the milk, either. I put everything else in the freezer, then add the milk until it hits the fill line on the freezer. Sometimes I will substitute a little heavy cream or half and half – just depends on what I have handy!”

Share some of your favorite holiday recipes by emailing me at gwenwoodssisson@yahoo.com.


This food column was featured in the December 22, 2016 edition of The Winona Times.



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