It’s the holiday season and time for festive celebrations at home and with friends. Fill your dessert table with unique sweets, themed treats, and a whole host of taste tempting cakes, pies, and cookies. One of my favorite seasonal treats is very simple oatmeal cranberry cookie that has the “just the right amount” of white chocolate and brown sugar to sweeten it. Over the holidays, enjoy the small dinner parties as well as the large family buffets--those occasions where everyone brings a favorite dish--but be sure to save room for dessert.


Cranberry white chocolate cookies

2/3 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs

¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups old fashioned rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2/3 cup white chocolate chips (use a good quality chocolate)

6 ounces dried sweetened cranberries

Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Stir in the vanilla extract. 

Combine the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; add to the butter mixture in three separate additions. Stir in the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries. 

Use a small scoop and drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. 

Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Makes about 2 ½ dozen cookies.


Mocha brownie trifle dessert

1 package family size fudge brownie mix, prepared according to package directions

1 (16 ounces) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

¾ cup water

2 tablespoons instant coffee granules

¾ cup sugar

2 (8 ounces) packages cream cheese, softened

1 (3.3 ounces) package vanilla instant pudding mix

1 (4.25 ounces) Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate bar, chopped into small pieces

2 teaspoon cherry brandy (or 1 teaspoon rum extract instead)

Combine the ¾ cup water, instant coffee granules, and sugar in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat on high for one minute or until sugar is dissolved. Stir in the cherry brandy. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use. 

Cut the prepared brownies into cubes. Layer one-third of the brownie cubes into the bottom of a trifle bowl. 

In a mixing bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth; add in the coffee mixture and whisk until smooth. Stir in the pudding mix and whisk until thickened. Fold in 10 ounces of the whipped topping (reserving the remaining whipped topping) and half of the chopped chocolate bar. 

Layer one-third of the filling over the brownie cubes in the trifle bowl. Repeat layers two more times. 

Smooth the remaining whipped topping over the top and sprinkle the other half of chopped chocolate over the top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Snickerdoodle cake with cinnamon cream cheese icing

2 ½ cups cake flour

2 cups sugar

¾ cup vegetable oil

2 ¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together until just mixed the cake flour, sugar, vegetable oil, baking powder, salt, and vanilla extract. Turn the speed up to low-medium and mix for about one minute, until smooth. 

Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides after each addition. Continue to mix on low-medium speed for an additional minute. 

On low speed, add the cinnamon and buttermilk, in two additions, and mix for one minute on low. (Make sure the sugar is dissolved.) Pour batter into two greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. 

Bake in the center of the preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until cake pulls away from sides. 

Remove from the oven and place on wire racks to cool for one hour. 

Frost between the layers and on the top and sides. Refrigerate cake in a covered container.


1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, softened

1 (8 ounces) package cream cheese, softened

¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

¼ cup heavy cream

5 ¼ cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese and mix until combined. 

Add the dark brown sugar and beat on medium-high for about 1 minute. Add the cinnamon, heavy cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt.

 Once incorporated, turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat until combined and creamy. 

Add more powdered sugar if too thin, or heavy cream if the frosting seems too thick. 

Cake should be stored in the refrigerator and will keep about 4-5 days.

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