Midwest Living Holiday Cookbook 2006
Buzz Cafe Butter Cookie Cutouts
"We use this recipe year-round for all of the holidays," says Laura Maychruk, co-owner of Buzz Cafe in Oak Park, Illinois (10 miles west of Chicago's Loop). "For Christmas, we make snowflakes and Christmas trees. The cookies are delicious even without the icing." If you want to store these at room temperature, use a butter icing.
Chocolate-Pecan Coffee Cake
We put together our favorite coffee cake ingredients for this recipe: chocolate, butter, sour cream, pecans and coconut. It's worth the indulgence!
Egg 'n' Bacon Breakfast Casserole
South Dakota chef Doug Hanson shared this make-ahead recipe from his grandmother. "It's easy to make on Christmas Eve and pop in the oven Christmas morning while watching the kids play with toys," he says. "You can't go wrong with eggs, cheese and bacon."
Three creamy cheesecakes
Cranberry-Chocolate Cheesecake (top) uses cranberries both in the filling and in the sauce. White Chocolate Candy Cane Cheesecake (middle) is a variation on the mascarpone cheesecake made at Parkview Gourmet specialty foods in Libertyville, Illinois. Very Berry Cheesecake (bottom) uses both fresh berries and berry-flavored brandy, vodka or orange juice for its flavor.
Midnight Star Chicken
This chicken stir-fry recipe adds distinctive Asian flair to the menu at Jake's restaurant atop the Midnight Star Casino in Deadwood, South Dakota.
Little Traveler's Chopped Salad
Bacon and French-fried onions punch up the flavor in this crunchy, fresh-tasting, main-dish salad from Little Traveler, a gift shop/cafe in Geneva, Illinois.
Roasted Pork with Jamaican Snapdragons
No flowers appear in this Caribbean-inspired dish from the Deadwood Social Club in Deadwood, South Dakota. The name simply sounded fun. Rum, raisins and sweet pork tenderloin provide the centerpiece of a delicious holiday meal.
Chocolate Milk Shake Cocktail
Peppermint and chocolate give this splashy, nonalcoholic drink a festive, flavorful edge.
We decorated the martini glasses by rubbing the rims with a lime, then dipping them in red and white sugar.
Sour Cream-Cranberry Muffins
Brown sugar, pecans and pumpkin pie spice create both the filling and topping for these muffins. Dried cranberries add a hint of tang and texture.
Smoked Corn Cakes with Tomato and Sour Cream Sauce
This recipe is a favorite at Deadwood Thymes Cafe and Bistro in Deadwood, South Dakota, where the chef smokes the corn before adding it. You can use roasted corn, too; we like it both ways.
Peanut Brittle and Holiday Peach Sauce over Ice Cream
Holiday peanut brittle adds a sweet, caramel crunch to ice cream -- and tastes even better with peach sauce. It's a favorite use of this seasonal sweet from Long Grove Confectionary Company in Long Grove, Illinois.
Toffee Blondies in a Jar
These Toffee Blondies are a popular variation on brownies. While they have a handful of semisweet chocolate pieces, most of the flavor comes from brown sugar, butter, chopped nuts and toffee pieces or butterscotch pieces. They make a nice gift from the kitchen, too; layer the ingredients in a glass or clear plastic container.
Luke's Lemon Meringue Pie
This lemon meringue pie recipe, which includes candied lemon peel, is a favorite at Southmoreland on the Plaza, in Kansas City, Missouri. The recipe comes from Luke Reichle, brother of Southmoreland co-owner Mark.
Harvest Pie, Sweet Potato Pie and Sweetie Pie
The holiday Pie Fest at Southmoreland on the Plaza features several dozen pies including Harvest Pie (front of picture), Sweet Potato Pie (left) and Sweetie Pie (top).
Harvest Pie blends the tastes and aromas of apples, cranberries and baked spices. Sweet Potato Pie has a soft filling with just a touch of sweetness. Pie lovers with a serious sweet tooth need to try the Sweetie Pie, full of melted chocolate, butterscotch, pecans and coconut.
Cherry pie is the specialty of Betty Reichle, mother of Southmoreland on the Plaza co-owner Mark Reichle. Her filling has a hint of cinnamon and almond. And she weaves a handsome lattice crust on the top. "I make points with Mark when I make this pie," she says.
Finnish Blueberry Pie
This berry pie proves that there's beauty in simplicity. The piecrust is wrapped around a three-ingredient filling that includes fine dry breadcrumbs. You don't even need a pie plate to make this juicy treat.
Roasted Nut Snack
Choose your seasoning—cocoa, curry, barbecue or five-spice powder—to spice up this recipe combining assorted nuts. Make it up to a week before your party.
Tart cranberries add zest to buttery shortbread.
Little Traveler's Lemon Curd Bars
Little Traveler in Geneva, Illinois (40 miles west of Chicago) uses creamy, tangy lemon curd to make these bars for its "girlfriend tea" events. Box them in striped paper and a simple wooden box (available at crafts stores) and add a festive red ribbon for a girlfriend-worthy holiday gift.
Holiday Cranberry Syrup
Cranberries give this syrup its rich color and characteristic tang. Use the sugar mixture as a base for drinks or as a topper for ice cream, cake or pancakes. Give in decorative bottles for food gifts, along with the recipe.