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Holiday Treats

Cranberry Praline Mascarpone Spread

Ingredients:

1/3 cup finely chopped almonds or hazelnuts

1/4 cup sugar

1 T. butter

1/4 tsp. vanilla

8 oz. mascarpone

1/2 tsp finely shredded orange peel

1 T. Grand Marnier (can substitute orange juice if preferred)

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 T. milk (if needed)

Instructions:  Line a baking sheet with foil and butter it.  To make the praline mixture, mix together the nuts, sugar, butter, and vanilla in a skillet.  Cook over medium heat without stirring until the sugar starts melting.  Shake the skillet every so often.  Turn the heat to low and keep cooking until the sugar has turned a golden colour.  Stir often, using a wooden spoon.  Spread coated nuts onto the prepared baking sheet – break up and chop finely.  Beat together the mascarpone, orange peel, and Grand Marnier.  Stir in the cranberries.  Just prior to serving, stir in the praline mixture (and the milk if you feel the need to thin down the spread a bit).  This is delicious served with cookies and/or fresh fruit.

Overnight Eggnog Bread Pudding with Cherry Bourbon Sauce

Ingredients:

1 lb. loaf of French bread, cut into 1 inch cubes

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

4 eggs

1 qt. eggnog

2 T. sugar

1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling

2 T. Bourbon (can substitute orange juice)

Instructions:  Spray 9 by 13 inch baking dish (glass) with cooking spray.  Fill with cubes of bread.  In a bowl, combine the 1/4 cup sugar and nutmeg.  Add the eggs, whisking well.  Stir in the eggnog.  Pour this mixture over the bread and toss gently to coat.  Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours (and up to 12 hours).  Remove from fridge and sprinkle with the 2 T. sugar.  Put the glass dish into a larger baking pan – place into a 350 degree F oven.  Pour 1/2 inch of water into the larger pan to create a water bath.  Bake for 40-50 minutes until lightly browned and when an inserted knife comes clean.  In a pan, mix together the pie filling and butter and cook over medium high heat for about 10 minutes, until the butter is melted.  Remove from heat and mix in the bourbon.  Serve slices of bread pudding warm with the cherry sauce.

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