Santa brownie bites

Santa brownie bites

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Christmas Cheese Ball

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Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

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Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Now matter what holiday you celebrate during the season, good food boosts the festive spirit. Here are a few recipes Daily Post staffers like to make for friends and family -- and yes, we adore our sweets.

Christmas Cheese Ball

From Phyllis Mann

1/4 cup celery, diced very fine

1/4 cup onion, diced very fine

1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, squeeze dry

1 tablespoon Season-all season salt

Two 8 oz. packages of cream cheese at room temperature

Chopped nuts

Mix the first six ingredients together. Shape into one large or two smaller balls. Roll in chopped nuts. Serve with your favorite brand of crackers.

Santa brownie bites

From Adriana Riedel

Brownie bites

Cool Whip

Vanilla frosting

Strawberries with tops cut off

Mix half the frosting with Cool Whip to make it stiffer to hold strawberry. Put a teaspoonful of Cool Whip on brownie bite. Put strawberry on top of Cool Whip. Put a dot of Cool Whip on top of strawberry to make it look like a Santa hat.

Tip: Using a frosting bag (or a Ziploc bag with corner cut off) was easiest to put Cool Whip on brownie and strawberry.

Cookies and cream cupcakes

From Corinne Nicholson

1 package white cake mix

3 large egg whites

1 1/3 cups water

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups of chopped double-stuffed Oreos

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake tins. Combine cake mix, egg whites, water and oil in large mixing bowl. Beat at low speed with electric mixer until moistened. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in Oreos. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full. Bake 18 to 24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Frosting

1 stick of butter

8 oz. cream cheese softened

3 cups of powdered sugar

1 to 2 cups of chopped double-stuffed Oreos

Mix butter and cream cheese with hand mixer in bowl add powdered sugar one cup at a time until desired consistency. Fold in Oreos.

Tip: Put frosting in a gallon Ziploc bag and snip a little less than half an inch off one of the corners of the bag and pipe frosting onto cupcakes.

Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

From Gayle Sykes

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Combine the peanut butter, sugar and egg in a bowl — the batter will be stiff. Stir in chocolate chips. Scoop level tablespoons and roll batter into even balls. Place balls on an ungreased baking sheet, then flatten the dough with a fork. Bake the 350 degrees F for 15 to 18 minutes or until browned.

Fig and orange glazed ham

From Meghan Kotowski

1 spiral-sliced half ham

1 cup fig jam

2 tablespoons dijon mustard

Grated zest of 1 orange

1/3 cup fresh orange juice

Preheat the oven as directed on the ham package and follow the instructions for baking the ham. Remove the ham from the oven about 30 minutes before the end of the warming time. Combine the jam, mustard and orange zest and juice in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, just until the jam melts, but do not boil mixture. Spoon half of the glaze over the ham and bake for the remaining 30 minutes. Remove the ham from the oven and spoon the remaining glaze on top. Transfer to a cutting board and carve.

Creamed spinach

From Brian Giandelone

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups whole milk at room temperature

Kosher salt and black pepper

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 pounds spinach, tough stems removed

1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Stir until the mixture lightens. Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk, 2 teaspoons salt and the nutmeg. Return to medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking. Remove from the heat again.

Heat a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach and 1 teaspoon salt, then cover and cook about 3 minutes. Toss with tongs, then continue to wilt, uncovered, about 2 more minutes. Drain and cool slightly, then squeeze the spinach until dry. Coarsely chop.

Gently reheat the sauce, then whisk in the whole egg and yolks. Stir until the sauce thickens. Stir in the spinach until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.

Pumpkin cupcakes

From Gayle Rawls

2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

4 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups pumpkin puree or cooked mashed pumpkin

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake tins. Combine sugar, vegetable oil and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Sift dry ingredients into a separate bowl. MIx the dry ingredients into the the oil mixture. Once mixed, add the pumpkin puree. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full. Bake 18 to 24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Frosting

1/4 cup butter

8 oz. cream cheese softened

1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Beat until smooth, then top the cupcakes with frosting and sprinkle with the chopped pecans.

— Compiled by Staff Writer Meghan Kotowski