Recipes for a Yummy Christmas

On the lookout for new recipes to try on the Christmas crowd? We’ve compiled a handful of yummy ones for you, that have appeared in past pages of Cary Magazine.


Gingerbread Spice Cupcakes
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons molasses
3/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves into medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, eggs and molasses until blended.

Using a spoon, mix in flour in three additions and water in two additions. Begin and end with flour. Stir until flour is incorporated and batter is smooth. Dispense batter evenly into lined muffin tins. Bake 18 minutes. Cool completely and top with vanilla cream cheese frosting, recipe below. Makes 1 dozen cupcakes.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until smooth. Add butter, and beat until fluffy.
Reduce speed to low; gradually add sugar and vanilla and continue beating until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.

Recipes courtesy of CupCakeBite in Fuquay-Varina,

Chile-Chocolate Brownies for Grown-Ups

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped and toasted pecans, optional

For the glaze:
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon coffee-flavored liqueur
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder

Photo courtesy Sandra Gutierrez

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9x9x2-inch baking pan. Place the butter and chocolate in the top of a double boiler and heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until they have melted and are well combined. Lift the bowl carefully from the pan so no water droplets come into contact with the chocolate mixture; let cool for 5 minutes and transfer to a large bowl.

Stir in the sugar; add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; stir in the vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ancho chile powder and salt; gradually add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture, beating well until fully combined. Add the pecans.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30–35 minutes, or until the center is set and the brownies begin to pull back from the sides of the pan. Cool brownies for 1 hour in the pan.

To make the glaze: In a medium bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, butter, liqueur, vanilla, and chile powder; blend until smooth. Place the glaze in a pastry bag (or zip-top bag with a snipped corner), and drizzle back and forth over the brownies. Cut them into 20 bars.

Recipe courtesy of The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes That Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America and the American South. Copyright © 2011 by Sandra A. Gutierrez. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press.

Prize-Winning Peanut Brittle

2 cups sugar
1 cup white corn syrup
½ cup water
1 pound unroasted Spanish peanuts (about 3 cups)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon stick margarine

Grease a large cookie sheet. Combine sugar, salt, syrup and water in Dutch oven or large heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Cover and cook to soft ball stage (234 degrees F).

Add peanuts and cook to hard crack stage (290-300 degrees), stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Then add vanilla and margarine. Spread into large cookie sheet. Note: It will not fill the whole cookie sheet.

This starts to set fast, so you will need to work quickly from the time you add the baking soda to the time you spread in the pan. Be careful, as the mixture is very hot! It helps to have a helper hold the pot while you scoop it onto the cookie sheet.

This recipe won a blue ribbon at the 2012 N.C. State Fair, and is courtesy of Donna Koch of Garner.

Jalapeno Deviled Eggs

6 eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons finely chopped yellow onion
2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeños (seeded and deveined if less heat is desired)
2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro (leaves and tender stems)
1 teaspoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (leaves and tender stems)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Smoked Spanish paprika (optional, for garnish)
Curly or flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Place the eggs in a medium pan and cover with cold water. Set the pan over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. As soon as the water comes to a boil, cover the pan and turn off the heat. Let the eggs cook for 12 minutes. Plunge the eggs into iced water to stop the cooking process.

Once the eggs are chilled, peel off the shells. Halve each egg lengthwise; scoop out the yolk into a small bowl, and set the egg whites on a plate lined with paper towels. Using a fork, mash the egg yolks into a paste; add the mayonnaise, onions, jalapeños, cilantro, parsley, mustard, salt and pepper and stir together well.

If not serving immediately, cover the egg whites and the filling separately with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours. Using a spoon (or a pastry bag), fill the egg white cavities with the egg yolk mixture (about 1 tablespoon). Chill them, loosely covered, until ready to serve (but no longer than 2 hours). When ready to serve, sprinkle the eggs with smoked paprika and garnish with parsley. Serves 6.

Recipe courtesy of The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes That Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America and the American South. Copyright © 2011 by Sandra A. Gutierrez. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press.

Apple Cranberry Casserole

3 cups apples, any variety, diced
2 cups cranberries
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar

1 1/3 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened

Spray a 2-quart baking dish lightly with cooking spray. Add in apples, cranberries and sugar. Toss to mix.

Combine dry ingredients for the topping in a large bowl. Cut in softened butter until evenly distributed. Cover apple mixture evenly with topping. Bake at 325 degrees F for one hour, until filling is bubbly and topping is browned.

Family recipe courtesy Cary Magazine co-editor Emily Uhland.

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