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STORY AND PHOTOS BY OLIVIA SMITH | St. Petersburg High
Holiday movies always make me think the real thing is a wee bit inadequate. Granted, living in Florida makes it ridiculously unlikely there will be a blanket of snow covering a brick-mansion neighborhood. Then there’s the fact many mall Santas verge less on “magical” and more on “sleazy carny.” And of course, burglars in real life are a lot less cool than the ones in Home Alone. But the biggest letdown, thanks to such cinematic grandeur, is the desserts. Ornate yule logs, homemade gingerbread people, custard, pecan pies and of course those beautiful, nameless cakes from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. In movies, the tables are adorned lavishly with these treats. Few movies, however, depict the hassle of actually making them. So I’ve found and tested three easy recipes that could bring you some festive eating no matter what holiday you celebrate.
You will need
• brownie mix • decorating icing
Just like the Santa Claus cupcakes, this one is all in the decorating, and shape.
1. Follow instructions on brownie mix box. (I used Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies.)
2. After brownie bakes and cools, carefully transfer from pan to plate for one big dreidel (or cut smaller rectangles for individual dreidels). About 3 inches from bottom of each long side, cut triangular pieces to bottom center, forming point of dreidel. From these pieces cut another proportionally sized cone shape and attach it as the top.
3. Optional: With icing draw one of the symbols used when playing the dreidel game. I did Shin, which means give.
Kwanzaa Banana Pudding
You will need:
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 3 cups milk
• 4 egg yolks
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter
• 3 medium bananas, sliced
• 1 (12-ounce box) vanilla wafers
This is probably the hardest of the three, but it is worth it.
1. Mix together sugar and cornstarch and slowly add milk to the top of a double boiler (best option), but you can cook it over low to medium heat in a saucepan, stirring constantly until it thickens. Important, either way, do not leave it unattended as the milk could burn.
2. Slightly beat egg yolks and temper with a small amount of the hot custard; stir well.
3. Add egg mixture to custard pot and cook 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter until blended.
4. Let cool. In a 9- by 9-inch oven-proof baking dish, alternate pudding, bananas and wafers, beginning and ending with pudding. Stand wafers up for border. Add topping, if desired.
Adapted from foodnetwork.com
Santa Claus Cupcakes
You will need:
• cake mix
• canned frosting
• Mike and Ike candies
• red sprinkles
• shredded coconut
The success here is in the decorating.
1. Follow instructions on cake mix box. (Cake mix of your choice; I used Betty Crocker Moist Yellow Cake.)
2. Coat top with white frosting.
3. Coat top half with red sprinkles for Santa’s hat.
4. Cut Mike and Ike candies for nose, eyes and rosy cheeks.
5. Sprinkle shredded coconut to create beard and hair.