Welcome To Diana's Desserts Newsletter

Edition Number 2

December 8, 2002

Here it is December already. Thanksgiving and Hanukkah have come and gone. I
hope you had a wonderful Holiday, and maybe some of you tried one or two
desserts from Diana's Desserts Website or Newsletter. If you did, please send me
an email and let me know how they turned out.

In this edition's newsletter, the focus will be on Christmas Desserts and
Treats, and also included is a very "tasty and warm" New Years Eve or New Years
Day drink. I am also including a few holiday cooking and baking tips and ideas.

As I said in my last Newsletter, I will be including in each month's edition a
Guest Submitted Recipe.

This month I have chosen a recipe for Spicy Rudolph's, a Christmas cookie recipe
submitted by Shauna Morey.

Spicy Rudolph's

Spicy Rudolph's are Reindeer cookies that are great fun to make for the
Christmas Holiday with your children and their friends.


They are so much fun to make and it is nice to see the finished product in a
beautiful Christmas dish. I make them every year at Christmas.....Shauna

MAKES: 24 Spicy Rudolph Cookies
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
FREEZE TIME (dough): At
least 2 hours
BAKE TIME: 11 minutes per batch
DECORATING SKILL: Easy to average
skill level, depending on your decorating skills.

Planning Tip: Make up to 1 week ahead. Store airtight at room temperature with
waxed paper between layers.
1 box (about 14 oz.) gingerbread mix or
gingerbread cookie mix
1 bag (10 oz.) thin pretzels (each about 2 1/2 in.
24 unsugared red gumdrops (Dots), from two 7-oz boxes
24 spearmint
gumdrop leaves
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
48 small white oval
mints (Tic Tacs)
1. Prepare gingerbread mix using cookie or
gingersnap recipe on box. Shape dough into a 12-inch long log. Wrap in plastic
wrap or waxed paper and freeze at least 2 hours or until firm enough to slice.

2. Carefully break enough pretzels to form 2 antlers for each reindeer.

3. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat baking sheet(s) with nonstick spray.
Slice dough into 1/4-inch thick rounds.

4. For each reindeer, overlap 2 rounds (head and muzzle) on prepared baking
sheet, leaving room between each reindeer for antlers. Insert antlers under
dough at top of head; press dough gently around antlers.

5. Bake 8 to 11 minutes until cookies look dry. Cool on baking sheet 1 to 2
minutes before removing with a wide spatula to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. For Nose, Smile and Holly Berries:
Slice a 1/8-inch thick round from bottom of red gumdrop. Set top aside for nose.
Cut round in half crosswise and scoop off a little from the straight edge of one
half to form Rudolph's smile; set aside. Roll scraps into berries.

Holly Leaves:
Cut spearmint leaves in half lengthwise. Turn sticky surface up, press on
berries and set aside.

7. Using a toothpick as a spreader and melted chocolate as "glue," glue nose,
smile and holly leaves on cookies. Glue on mints for eyes; dot with chocolate
for pupils. Let stand until chocolate sets.

Makes: 24 Spicy Rudolph Cookies

Thank you Shauna for this terrific recipe for a fun Christmas project to make
alone or with the kids.

Click Here For Recipe and Photo.



1) First and foremost, don't rush. The cooking and the baking will get done.
Don't make yourself a nervous wreck during this happy, but sometimes very busy
and stressful time of the year.

2) Sit yourself down with a nice warm cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa and make
a simple list of what you are going to make, and then a list of the ingredients
you will need. Decide, and write down what date you will need to buy the
ingredients by, and also write down what cooking or baking pans, utensils, etc.
that you will need for making your dishes. Make sure you are buying enough
ingredients for the amount of people you are expecting to serve. Sometimes we
think, well, there's only going to be 6-8 people, but it turns out to be 10-12
or more, so find out who's bringing along extra people or children beforehand.

3) At least 1 week ahead of time, find out if there are any people who are
coming to your holiday meal who have special dietary needs. This way, you will
not be running around at the last minute trying to put something together for
them. For instance, if one of your guests is diabetic, remember to plan a low
carbohydrate, and low fat meal and dessert for them, as they can feel very left
out if they can't enjoy a special holiday meal and dessert that they can eat.

4) Plan a special dessert, something that's fun and very tasty for the children
who will be at your holiday dinner or get-together. Kids seem to like things
like cupcakes, ice cream desserts, and holiday decorated cookies.

5) When it comes to baking or making the desserts for your holiday dinner or
party, try and make them a day or two in advance if the recipe will allow. This
way, you will have a less stressful time, and also it will give you more time to
spend with friends and family on this special day or evening.

6) Lastly, don't worry if things don't turn out perfect. No one is a perfect
cook or baker, not even Martha Stewart.



The first recipe I am recommending for a Christmas or Holiday Dessert is a bit
detailed, but so very special. I am putting a link for this wonderful dessert to
my website where the recipe and photo are.


Click Here For Recipe and Photo.



Servings: Makes 6 dozen cookies

Shape these tasty eggnog cookies with a star or snowflake cookie cutter, and
glaze with eggnog icing. Sprinkle regular or colored sugar over tops. Delicious
and so pretty.............Diana

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp.
baking soda
1 cup eggnog
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Eggnog icing, optional (see recipe below)

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add
eggnog, baking soda and nutmeg; mix well. Gradually add flour; mix well. Divide
dough in half; chill overnight in refrigerator or 2 hours in freezer.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On well-floured surface, roll out half of dough
to 1/8-inch thickness; cut with floured cookie cutters.

Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until
lightly browned. Cool. Ice and decorate if desired.

Eggnog Icing-Optional
In a small mixer bowl, beat 3 cups confectioners' sugar
and 1/4 cup softened butter or margarine until well blended. Gradually beat in
1/3 cup eggnog until icing is smooth. (Makes about 1 1/2 cups.)

Makes 6 dozen cookies.

Click Here For Recipe and Photo.


Servings: 24 tarts

"A wonderful recipe which is as delicious as it sounds. The shortcrust pastry
really melts in the mouth. Do yourself a favour - make this way in advance of
Christmas and leave yourself with more time to prepare the rest of your
feast."..........Choo Teck Poh

For Orange Shortcrust Pastry:
150g (5 oz. or 2/3 cup) cold unsalted
butter, diced
250g ( 2 1/2 cups all-pupose flour) plain flour, sifted
25g (1/8
cup) castor sugar ( granulated or superfine baker's sugar)
2 tsp. orange rind,
finely grated
2 tbsp. (approximately) cold orange juice

For Mince Filling:
4 green apples, peeled, cored and chopped
Grated rind of 1
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp. mixed spices**
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
tbsp. water
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
550g (1 cup chopped) mixed dried
fruits, chopped*
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau, or other
orange flavored liqueur
1/2 cup marmalade OR any other type jam
60g (1/4 cup))
cashew nuts or pecans, roasted and finely chopped (optional)

For Glazing Tops of Tarts:
Milk or beaten egg

Icing Sugar (confectioners' sugar)

For Orange Shortcrust Pastry:
Rub cold butter with fingertips into
sifted flour until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and
orange rind. Work lightly and add enough juice to make ingredients just cling
together. Knead lightly for 1 minute. Wrap in polythene bag (plastic wrap or
zip-loc bag) and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until needed.

For Mince Filling:
This filling can be made up to one month in advance to allow
flavours to develop.

Place apples, spices, sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, cover
and simmer for around 5 minutes until apples are softened. Stir in chopped dried
fruits, nuts (optional) and grated rinds and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and leave to cool. Add brandy, orange liqueur and marmalade or
jam (if using). Use immediately, or if needed keep in airtight container for up
to one month, stirring filling every 2-3 days.

Grease 2 (two) 12-cup patty (tartlet) tins. Roll out 2/3 of the dough on a
lightly floured surface until 2mm (1/8 inch) thick. Using fluted cutters, stamp
out 24 7cm ( 2 3/4 inch) circles and 24 5 cm (2 inch) circles. Line prepared
tins with the bigger circles and prick the pastry all over. As soon as the first
tray is completed, chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Meanwhile do the
same for the second tray. Take out the first tray to fill with the mincemeat as
you place the second tray in the fridge. Fill the tarts with mince mixture. Do
not overfill the cases (tartlet shells) as the fruits will expand on heating.
Place the smaller pastry circles over tarts and flute edges. Dampen or brush
edges of pastry with milk or beaten egg to glaze.

Bake in preheated 200 degree Celcius oven (390-400 degree Fahrenheit oven) for
15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let tarts stand 5 minutes before removing
from tins to cool on wire rack. Dust with icing sugar (confectioners') and

Tip: The tarts freeze very well (up to 2 months).

*Note: For the chopped dried fruits, you might like to make your own mix with
200g sultanas, 100g raisins, 100g dried apricots, 70g dates, 50g glace cherries,
and 30g crystallised ginger.


8oz. sultanas, 4oz. raisins, 4oz. dried apricots, 3oz. dates, 2oz. candied
cherries and 1oz. crystallised ginger.

** Note: In the United States, Pumpkin Pie Spice can be substituted for the
Mixed Spices in this recipe, or you may use a combination of ground cinnamon,
ground mace, ground caraway, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, and ground cloves.

Source: Choo Teck Poh, Malaysia

Click Here For Recipe and Photo.



Make these rich almond-flavored bars for a festive Christmas bar-cookie.
the cookies in Christmas tins, and give as gifts to friends and family.

TIP: For best flavor, make the cookies up to 3 days before serving and store
them covered in the refrigerator.

Makes: 4 dozen bar cookies
Cook Time: 1 hour plus cooling
Total Time: 1 hour 10
to 13 minutes plus cooling

4 large eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tube or can (7 to
8 ounces) almond paste
1 1/4 cups margarine or butter (2 1/2 sticks), softened
teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
20 drops red
food coloring
20 drops green food coloring
1 jar (12 ounces) apricot preserves*,
strained (see note below)
4 squares (1 ounce each) semisweet chocolate, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 15 1/2" by 10 1/2"
jelly-roll pans*. Line pans with waxed paper, allowing waxed paper to extend
over ends of pans. Grease and flour waxed paper.

2. In small bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat egg whites with 1/2 cup sugar
until stiff peaks form; set aside.

3. In large bowl, with same beaters, and with mixer at medium speed, beat almond
paste and remaining 1/2 cup sugar until well blended (there will be some small
lumps of almond paste remaining). Reduce speed to medium-low; beat in margarine
or butter until blended. Beat in egg yolks and almond extract until blended.
Reduce speed to low; beat in flour and salt just until combined.

4. With rubber spatula, fold egg-white mixture into almond mixture, one-third at
a time, until combined.

5. Remove one-third of batter (about 1 1/2 rounded cups) from large bowl to
small bowl. Remove half of remaining batter from large bowl to another small
bowl. (You should have equal amounts of batter in each bowl.) Stir red food
coloring into 1 bowl of batter until evenly blended. Repeat with green food
coloring and another bowl of batter.

6. Spread white (uncolored) batter in 1 jelly-roll pan. With metal spatula
(offset, if possible), spread batter as evenly as possible (layer will be about
1/8 inch thick). Repeat with red batter and another pan. Repeat with green
batter and remaining pan.

7. Bake layers 10 to 13 minutes, rotating pans halfway through cooking time,
until layers are just set. It is important to undercook this batter slightly to
ensure moist cookie layers. (If you don't have enough oven space for 3 pans, you
can bake 2 layers at once, then bake the last layer separately.)

8. Let layers cool slightly in pans on wire racks, about 5 minutes. Invert
layers onto racks, leaving waxed paper attached; cool completely.

9. When all 3 layers are cooled, remove waxed paper from green layer. Place
green layer on serving tray or platter; spread with half of apricot preserves.
Place white layer on top of green layer, waxed-paper side up; remove waxed
paper. Spread with remaining apricot preserves. Place red layer on top of white
layer; remove waxed paper.

10. With serrated knife, trim edges (about 1/4 inch from each side). Spread
melted chocolate on top of red layer (not on sides); refrigerate until chocolate
is firm, at least 1 hour. If you like, after chocolate has set, cover and
refrigerate stacked layers up to 3 days before cutting and serving.

11. To serve, cut stacked layers lengthwise into 4 strips. Cut each strip
crosswise into 12 small rectangles. Store cookies in tightly covered container,
with waxed paper between layers, in refrigerator.

*NOTES: If you have only 1 jelly roll pan, you can still make this recipe. Just
bake layers 1 at a time, and be sure to let pan cool completely before reusing.

* You may substitute apricot jelly for the apricot preserves. (Do not strain if
using jelly).

Click Here For Recipe and Photo.

Holiday and New Years Festive Beverage


Warm Peach Wine

(Alcohol-Free version follows regular recipe)

Makes 4 servings

Peach juice (not nectar), a touch of rosewater and a dash of nutmeg turn a
bottle of Merlot into a delicate-tasting hot drink with floral overtones that
ladies and gentleman will both love. Best of all, it's festive enough to taste
like the holidays, yet sufficiently suggestive of summer to put one in a
lightened, warm-weather mood. Even if you mix this ahead, don't add the
rosewater until shortly before serving since the fragrance and flavor will
dissipate when reheated.

Tip: If you can, try to use freshly ground nutmeg to garnish this delicately
flavored drink. Place the nutmeg grinder over each glass and dispense just a
pinch of this sweet spice. The grinder mechanism will never wear out making it
the ideal tool for adding nutmeg to holiday drinks, baked goods and any recipe
that calls for it.

Serve the non-alcoholic version (see recipe below) to children, and to guests
who prefer a nice, warm alcohol-free drink........DianasDesserts

1 cup peach juice (not nectar)
1/3 cup sugar
One 750ml bottle
Merlot wine (see non-alcoholic version below)
1 or 2 whole oranges, sliced
1/4-inch thick
1/8 teaspoon food-grade rose water, available in health food
Ground nutmeg, for garnish

To Prepare:
Stir peach juice and sugar in large nonreactive saucepan over
medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Add wine and 3 orange slices. Bring to
simmer. Remove from heat and let steep 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.

When ready to serve, rewarm wine mixture (do not boil). Remove from heat, stir
in rosewater. Taste, adding another drop or two of rosewater, if desired. The
rose flavor should be very soft and delicate. Divide the warm wine between
brandy snifters or glass mugs. Top each with tiny pinch of nutmeg and one-half
orange slice.

Non Alcoholic Version
1 cup peach juice (not nectar)
1/3 cup sugar

3 cups cranberry juice cocktail
1 or 2 whole oranges, sliced 1/4-inch thick
teaspoon food-grade rose water, available in health food stores*
Ground nutmeg,
for garnish

To Prepare:
Stir peach juice and sugar in large nonreactive saucepan over
medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Add the cranberry juice cocktail and 3
orange slices. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat and let steep 15 minutes or up
to 1 hour.

When ready to serve, rewarm juice mixture (do not boil). Remove from heat, stir
in rosewater. Taste, adding another drop or two of rosewater, if desired. The
rose flavor should be very soft and delicate. Divide the warm mixture between
brandy snifters or glass mugs. Top each with tiny pinch of nutmeg and one-half
orange slice.

* Note From Diana's Desserts: Besides health food stores, Food grade rose water
can also be purchased at gourmet food stores, and in some supermarkets in the
liquor or gourmet foods section. Also, it can be purchased online.

**Non-alcoholic version of this recipe written by Diana Baker Woodall.

Recipe adapted from: Cooking.com

Click Here For Recipe and Photo.

Next Edition Of Diana's Desserts Newsletter


I hope you have enjoyed these Christmas and Holiday recipes, and hopefully some
of you will try some of them. Please let me know how they worked out for those
of you who made one or more of these scrumptious desserts and treats. Also
please let me know how the Warm Peach Wine worked out for your New Years or
Christmas beverage.

The next Edition (Edition #3) of Diana's Desserts Newsletter will be emailed to
guests during the first week of January 2003.

Don't forget to check out my new Diana's Desserts Logo Kitchen Aprons and Logo
Kitchen Towels for sale. Just click on the "Aprons and Towels" link on the left
hand side navigation bar on my website. They are the best quality fabric from
France and can be a very good idea for a Christmas gift for someone who loves
cooking or baking.

In the meantime, I look forward to hearing from you about how your holiday meals
turned out, and what you made for your desserts.

Note: Please don't forget to submit your recipes before the end of December. I
will place another Guest Submitted Recipe in the January edition of Diana's
Desserts Newsletter, and make it the Recipe Of The Week for that first week in
January 2003. I change the Recipe Of The Week every Sunday.

I wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season. My wish is for a Happy, Healthy,
Prosperous and Peaceful New Year.

See you in 2003, and Happy Holiday Baking......... Diana

Sincerely, Diana Baker Woodall
Diana's Desserts

Diana's Desserts
A Website Dedicated to Home Bakers

Web site: http://www.dianasdesserts.com
E-mail: diana@dianasdesserts.com