Decking the halls with lots of sugar

Published 10:06 pm Friday, December 13, 2019

Try these recipes when entertaining this holiday season


Editor’s note: It has become a holiday tradition for Tribune employees to share their festive recipes with readers.

Candy Cane Marshmallows. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Candy Cane Marshmallows

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If you’re looking for something quick and easy to make, this could be a good option. It’s even friendly for children and is perfect in a cup of hot chocolate. — Sarah Stultz


24 small candy canes

12 marshmallows

1 cup chocolate dipping


Cover a cutting board or cookie sheet in wax paper.

Unwrap candy canes. Place 12 candy canes in a food processor and crush.

Insert 1 candy cane into each marshmallow to act as a stick and place on prepared sheet. Place in freezer for 15 minutes.

Melt chocolate by microwaving for 45 seconds and stir. If not complete, alternate heating for 15 seconds and stir until smooth.

Dip each marshmallow halfway in chocolate and immediately sprinkle with crushed peppermint. Place on prepared sheet. Refrigerate to set.

— Recipe from


Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies

This is a new recipe for me this year. I decided to try it because it involved a few of my favorite things: the combination of chocolate and peppermint and, of course, cheesecake. — Colleen Harrison


For brownie layer:

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cocoa

1/2 cup peppermint crunch baking chips or crushed candy canes

For peppermint cheesecake layer:

16 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/4 cup sour cream

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 1/2 cups peppermint crunch baking chips or crushed candy canes, divided


Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish with parchment paper or nonstick spray.

For brownie layer, beat together eggs sugar, butter and vanilla. Stir until completely combined.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and carefully stir until fully combined. Stir in the peppermint chips.

Pour the brownie mixture into the baking dish. Smooth out the top and spread the mixture to the edges.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes. This won’t fully cook the brownies, but a film will begin to bake on top.

While brownies are baking prepare cheesecake layer.

In a stand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in sour cream, sugar, lemon juice and peppermint extract. Beat until fully combined.

While the mixer is on, add the eggs one at a time. Beat fully in between each egg. Add in 1/2 cup peppermint crunch baking chips and stir until just combined.

Pour mixture on top of pre-baked brownie bottom, smoothing to completely cover the brownie layer. Top with remaining 1 cup peppermint crunch baking chips, making a solid layer of the chips if possible.

Place baking dish back in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until center no longer wobbles and the edges are slightly browned.

Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Once cool, place in the refrigerator until serving, at least 2 hours.


Christmas Wafers. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Christmas Wafers

This recipe is from JoAnn Wangen-Fink, the first-place winner of a Tribune recipe contest many years ago. She believed it to be of Scandinavian origin. — Crystal Miller


For wafers:

1 cup soft butter

1/3 cup cream (evaporated milk works, too)

2 cups flour

Sugar for coating

For filling:

1/4 cup soft butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Food coloring, if you’re feeling festive


Mix butter and flour well with pastry blender until it’s fine crumbles. Add cream and mix to form a ball of dough. Chill overnight.

Divide dough into six parts. Roll each part out on a lightly floured surface until very thin, about 1/8 inch. Cut into small rounds, about 1 1/2 inches, with a cutter.

Transfer rounds to a bowl of sugar to coat. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Prick each wafer 4 times with a fork to resemble cracker marks.

Bake in a 350° F oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not brown much. Cool on wire rack.

Mix all ingredients to prepare filling. Put two wafers together with filling between them. Store in airtight container. Makes about 50 to 60 double wafers.


Frosted Oreo Ornaments. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Frosted Oreo Ornaments

My mom makes oreos dipped in almond bark every holiday season and I wanted to give my own take on the recipe. — Tyler Julson


1 package Oreos

24 ounces white almond bark

1 package mini Reese’s cups

1 package M&Ms


Double boil the almond bark until completely smooth. Toss in one or two Oreos at a time with the bark still above the boil. Coat each Oreo with almond bark and remove from the bowl and place on parchment paper. While the bark on the Oreos is still relatively soft, decorate with M&Ms or any other type of sprinkles you wish. Place the Reese’s cup with the top side down on the side of an Oreo to resemble a tree ornament. Let cool for about 2 hours and enjoy!


Elephant Mounds. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Elephant Mounds

This recipe was provided by Tribune bookkeeping assistant Terri Green.


1 24-ounce package white almond bark

2 cups mini marshmallows

2 cups Rice Krispies

2 cups dry roasted peanuts, lightly salted

1 cup peanut butter


In a large bowl, microwave almond bark until melted, 1 minute at a time, stirring after each minute (will take about 5 minutes total).

Stir in peanut butter until well blended. 

Stir in marshmallows, Rice Krispies and peanuts. 

Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Store in sealed container when cool. Can be frozen for later use. Yields about 32 to 36 mounds.



Sour Cream Drop Cookies

This recipe was submitted by Eunice Hatleli (given to her by Albert Lean Florence Lien many years ago).


For cookies:

1/4 cup butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon soda

1/2 cup thick sour cream


Pecan halves

For frosting:

1/4 cup butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons hot water


Preheat oven to 400° F. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together and set aside.

In a separate bowl, blend together butter, vanilla, sugar and egg.

Add dry ingredients to the other mixture alternately with the sour cream.

Stuff dates with pecan halves and wrap dough around the dates and drop on cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes.

For the frosting, heat butter over low heat until golden brown. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and hot water.

While cookies are still a little warm, frost with buttercream frosting.