Holiday Recipes With USU Extension

Dec 22, 2020

 Kailey Foster: Are you looking for some new recipes this holiday season? Joining us today USU Extension Agent Teresa Hunsaker.

First, tell us about your roasted Brussel sprouts.

Teresa Hunsaker: Oh, I just love this dish- in fact, I like all roasted vegetables. This one is fun because it really has that festive bunch of ingredients in it besides the Brussel sprouts. You can use winter squash, like a banana or butternut, or my favorite way of doing it is with a sweet potato.

You just slice the Brussel sprouts in half, cube the sweet potato, drizzle those with oil, and then you cook those at a high temperature on a cookie sheet. Add maybe a little bit of salt and pepper, but the features of this are toasted pecans and craisins. And then right at the very end, you will drizzle with some maple syrup and a little bit of bacon.

KF: A popular holiday tradition is baking cookies. Why don't you tell us about your sugar cookies?

TH: This sugar cookie I love because it's not too sweet. Some sugar cookies are this really sweet and almost crisp kind of sugar cookie. But this one is real pillowy, and soft, and fluffy. And the key ingredient in this is baking powder.

It's almost like some that you would find from the national brand cookies that are just that really soft, tender dough. You don't want to overwork it. And you want to make sure that you cut those or roll those sugar cookies a little bit fatter than you would a traditional sugar cookie.

KF: And finally, a popular holiday treat, peppermint bark.

TH: Oh, you know this is one that has become so popular because it is so, so easy.

But a couple of things with peppermint bark.  On the chocolate layer, you can use regular chocolate chips, summer coating drops, or a mixture of both. If you make a layer on some parchment or wax paper on your cookie sheet. Melt your chocolate layer, and then let that cool a little bit.

Then you would use your vanilla-chips or your vanilla summer coating and layer that on top of the chocolate layer. And then, while that's still wet, you hurry and sprinkle crushed candy canes or crushed peppermint. I like to use a little bit of peppermint oil in the melting of either layer of the chocolate to just enhance that a little bit more.

Once those layers are set and cool, you just break those apart. These are also fun added into a peppermint bark popcorn.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash

3 cups Brussels sprouts ends trimmed, yellow leaves removed, and cut in half

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt to taste

1 1/2 lb  (4-5 cups) butternut squash peeled, seeded, and cubed into 1-inch cubes, or can use cubed and peeled sweet potatoes

3 tablespoons maple syrup

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups pecan halves

1 cup dried cranberries

2-4 tablespoons maple syrup--optional

¼ cup chopped and cooked bacon

Before preparing the vegetables, toast pecans in the preheated oven at 350°F by lining a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spreading pecans out on the lined baking sheet.  Toast the pecans for about 5 minutes (maybe a bit longer) until they get darker in color, and toasty brown.  Note: pecans can easily burn, so make sure to check the nuts after 5 minutes and frequently until toasted. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Lightly grease a foil-lined large baking sheet with vegetable spray. In a medium bowl, combine halved Brussels sprouts, cubed squash (or sweet potato), olive oil, salt (to taste), and toss to combine.

Place onto a foil-lined baking sheet, cut side down, and roast in the oven at 400°F for about 20-25 minutes. During the last 5-10 minutes of roasting stir and turn over for even browning, the edges should be nicely browned, but not charred.

Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon the last few minutes.  Right before serving toss in pecans, dried cranberries, and bacon.  Lightly drizzle with additional maple syrup.

Grandma Lita’s Soft Sugar Cookies

1 cup shortening

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 cup milk

2 tsp vanilla

6 cups flour

1 tsp salt

8 tsp baking powder

Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in the eggs and cream again.  Sift flour 1 time.  Alternately add dry ingredients and milk to the creamed egg and shortening mixture. Add additional flour if too sticky…but don’t work in too much flour.  Also, do not over knead the dough when adding the flour.  Roll out on a floured board…between ¼-1/2 inch thick.  Use cookie cutters for different shapes.  Bake at 400°F just until lightly golden on the edges.  Do Not over bake. 

Cool and frost/decorate.

Peppermint Bark

1 cup candy canes (Crushed), or other peppermint hard candies crushed

¼ - ½ tsp  Peppermint flavoring oil

1 10-oz bag Semi-Sweet chocolate chips

1 10-oz bag milk chocolate chips

2 10-oz bags White Chocolate Chips

½ TBS Coconut Oil

Line a 9×13 baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper. Set aside.

Place both bags of chocolate chips in a large microwave-safe glass bowl and heat for 30 seconds. Stir chocolate and microwave in 15-second intervals until completely melted, stirring in between each interval, until completely smooth and chips are all melted.  The semi-sweet chips may take a little longer, so go slowly, so as not to burn your chocolate.

Once the chocolate has melted pour onto the parchment paper, and spread into a smooth thin layer. Place the chocolate in the refrigerator while preparing the white chocolate mixture.

Place your white chocolate chips, coconut oil, and peppermint oil in a microwave-safe glass bowl and heat for 30 seconds. NOTE:  The coconut oil is added because the white chocolate chips are a little dryer and don’t melt as smoothly on their own, so adding coconut oil or shortening will help.  Stir chocolate mixture and microwave in 15-second intervals until completely melted, stirring in between each interval.  (Can also melt either set of chips over a double boiler for less chance of burning.)

Pour the white chip mixture over the cooled chocolate mixture and immediately sprinkle the crushed candy canes over the top of the white chocolate. Press crushed candy canes into the white chocolate mixture and then refrigerate until fully set about 20 minutes.  Remove from the refrigerator and break into pieces.