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A Special Supplement to


Look inside for holiday shopping specials, holiday baking tips and recipes to make this your best holiday ever!

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Holiday Gift Guide

November 24, 2019 Chisago County Press/SEARCH

Tips for baking better

Christmas Cookies Cookies are a classic holiday treat, and some families even build entire traditions around baking Christmas cookies. Cookies and other baked treats are everywhere come the holiday season. It’s not uncommon to give cookies as gifts or arrive at holiday gatherings with cakes and other decadent desserts. Novice bakers making cookies for the first time may be a little overwhelmed when perusing recipes. Baking is a science, and sometimes it takes practice to get the results just right. However, there are some tips that can help yield better, buttery bounties. Handle butter with care Butter can make or break a cookie recipe, as butter is often the glue that holds the cookie together. Therefore, it is key to follow the directions carefully regarding how to handle butter. says to leave butter at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes to properly soften it. This takes patience, but fiddling with butter too much can damage its delectable integrity. While purists may say butter is best, margarine may be acceptable if it has a high fat content; otherwise, cookies may spread out and flatten. When it comes time to cream the butter with sugar, be sure to do so thoroughly to incorporate air into the butter and remove the grainy texture

of the sugar. Measure flour properly Measuring flour the right way can ensure cookies come out right. The Cooking Channel says to spoon the flour lightly into a dry measuring cup, then level it off with a knife. Do not dip the measuring cup into the flour or tap the knife against the cup. This will pack too much flour into the measuring cup and result in dry, tough cookies. Slow down the eggs Add eggs one at a time to make sure each will emulsify properly with the fat in the butter. Adding eggs en masse may cause the emulsification to fail. Chill out Follow recipes that call for chilling cookie dough carefully. This process is important for making sliced and shaped cookies. By chilling, the dough becomes more malleable for rolling and even slicing. Use a bottom rack Too much heat may compromise cookie integrity. The food experts at Delish say to try moving cookies onto

a lower rack in the oven if they aren’t retaining their shape when baked. Put an empty cookie sheet on the top rack. That will block the cookies from the most intense heat that rises to the top of the oven.

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Holiday Gift Guide

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3 DIY decor projects

for the holiday season (BPT) - Are you looking for fun ways to spend time with loved ones this holiday season? Crafting DIY decorations is a perfect way to do so, providing an opportunity for you to get creative and make cheerful and festive pieces you'll cherish all season long. Another perk of making delightful holiday creations is making memories - which is what the season is really about. So, fill your mugs with cider or hot cocoa and get ready for some holiday happiness with these three easy DIY decor projects the whole family will enjoy!

Marshmallow Trees Instructions: 1. Stack PEEPS Marshmallow Trees around the inside of the vase to fill up the sides. 2. Cut the foam insert so it fits nicely at the bottom of the vase. 3. Add your greenery into the foam and arrange to your taste. 4. Add pine cones and berries as accent pieces to complete your centerpiece. Creative Globe Ornaments These colorful baubles can be customized exactly as you desire. Have fun being creative with your family and hanging them on the tree or on garland. These also make a great gift! Items needed: * Clear plastic ornaments with a metal top found at any craft store * Paint, confetti, candy and other interesting extras for inside * Ribbon Instructions: 1. Spread out newspaper or other covering to protect work surface 2. Add in creative mixtures in the top hole. For example, add paint and swirl around, add your favorite mixture of confetti or even sand and small shells from a recent trip. 3. Replace metal top with a dab of glue to adhere and add a bow with ribbon. 4. Use ribbon to hang ornament and enjoy!

PEEPS Marshmallow Trees Centerpiece Pro DIY tip: PEEPS Marshmallow candies aren't only a tasty treat, but they're also an adorable addition to crafts and recipes! With seasonal marshmallow shapes such as Snowmen, Trees, Reindeer and Gingerbread Men, the opportunities to craft are endless. This fun and festive centerpiece will adorn your table and be enjoyed by all of your guests this holiday season. Items needed: * 6x6" glass square vase * Foam insert * Faux or fresh greenery of your choice (evergreens, eucalyptus, etc.) * Pine cones and berries * Three 9 ct. packages of PEEPS

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No-Sew Sock Snowman This simple yet adorable doorstopper only requires a few items to bring holiday cheer to your home! This craft is a great way to bond with your kids over a festive, yet functional item that can live in the kids' bedrooms or in a common space for everyone to enjoy. This doorstopper will help bring your beloved outdoor snowman, indoors! Items needed: * 1 white sock * 1 colored sock for the hat * Rice

Instructions: * Start by filling your white sock with rice. You will need a hefty amount. * Once you are happy with the amount (and size) of your sock snowman tie the top with the rubber band. * Take another rubber band and place in the middle - more to the upper side - of the rice filled sock to form the head shape. * Now glue the buttons to the bottom side by using a glue gun. * Add a ribbon for the scarf. * Cut the colored sock (the foot without the heel) and fold it to appear as a snow hat for the head of your snowman. You can leave it as it is or you can secure it with some glue. * Use markers or paint with colors of your choice to draw eyes and a mouth on the face of the snowman. * Glue a singular orange pom pom to the face of the snowman to represent a carrot nose. The holidays are a time to deck the halls and spend quality time with friends and family. With these three projects, you can to do both at the same time! For more craft ideas for the whole family, visit or follow the PEEPS brand on Pinterest.




* Rubber bands (or thread) * Colorful buttons * Ribbons * Hot glue gun - please use extreme caution when operating a hot glue gun * Markers or paint * Orange pom poms

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4 Holiday Gift Guide

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7 budget-friendly tips for smart

holiday gift giving

A happy holiday doesn't have to mean stressing about finances or going into debt. You can enjoy the holidays and save money with some smart strategies for gift giving on a budget.

(BPT) - The holiday season is full of celebration, social activities and spreading good cheer by exchanging gifts. The problem is gift giving can get expensive if you're not making a plan and monitoring your spending. Create a gift list: Are you feeling pressure to get gifts for everyone? Thoughtfully consider who's on your list this year. While a gift may be appropriate for some people, others might simply prefer to spend some time together rather than exchanging gifts. Perhaps invite someone over for lunch or plan a cookie exchange with friends. Make a budget early: Deciding on budget limits for your holiday gifts will help guide your spending. You might have an overall holiday budget and then a specific budget to target for each person on your list. Then, with your gift list in hand and budget in mind, you can shop for appropriate and affordable gifts. What's more, by starting early, you can take advantage of sales and other promotions that can help you save even more. Stop worrying about perfect presents: Worried about finding the ideal gift? A recent holiday survey found

about one-third of people don't recall what gift they received last year, so stop feeling pressure to get the perfect present. Ultimately, it's the thought that counts. Whether it's a card or small, reasonably priced gift, the recipient will be glad you took the time to show you care. Use change to stretch your budget: You probably don't think much about coins, but the holiday survey found that people believe they have about $71 in spare change in and around their home! Collect and cash in that spare change to boost your holiday budget. This can also be a fun activity for kids who can gather coins or dip into the family coin jar for spending money and then buy gifts for family members. Create a group gift exchange: If you have a large, extended family or a group of friends that you typically buy for, consider a gift exchange. It's fun and budget-friendly because you're not buying a separate gift for each person. Smart tip: Set a price limit per gift to keep everyone in the same ballpark for presents and prevent any competition of one person outdoing

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another. Opt for services as gifts: Rather than giving a physical present, is there something you could do that the recipient would appreciate? Consider an act of kindness like cleaning a family member's home or watching their children. If you have a particular talent, consider how that can be incorporated into your gift. Know how to play the piano? Offer to give children lessons. Do you have a snowblower? Offer to help clear a neighbor's driveway after a snowstorm.

Consider charitable donations: Giving to charity on behalf of someone else can be a nice holiday gesture. Whether it's animal welfare, disaster relief, a children's charity or something else, think about what the person is passionate about and select an appropriate charity. No matter what you choose, gift giving can be meaningful and affordable. Let these ideas inspire you to stay on budget and shop wisely this holiday season.


Holiday Gift Guide


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How to create a durable

Gift Certificate s Available

Gingerbread house

Gingerbread cookies and houses are one of the many symbols of the holiday season, alongside Christmas trees and twinkling lights. In fact, few confections symbolize the holidays more so than gingerbread.

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gerbread houses ever get eaten, so focus on finding a dough that will bake up rock hard as opposed to one that tastes good.


• Get the right icing texture. Pastry artist Catherine Beddall says royal icing is the preferred “glueâ€? to adhere gingerbread pieces. Beddall says icing should be thick like peanut butter and not runny.

Many a child (or a child at heart) has spent hours carefully trying to create decorative gingerbread houses. Although gingerbread recipes span various cultures, gingerbread houses originated in 16th century Germany. The fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel� helped solidify the popularity of gingerbread, which became part of Christmas traditions.

• Mind the dough. Do not roll out the gingerbread dough too thin or it may become brittle after being cooked. Always cut out shapes before the gingerbread is baked. Let the baked pieces sit overnight to cool completely before using them to build.

Even though gingerbread houses can be fun to make, there’s no denying it can be exacting work — especially for those who strive for perfection. Prepackaged kits attempt to take some of the guesswork out of the equation, but those who are crafting from scratch can employ these tips as they build their gingerbread houses.

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â&#x20AC;˘ Patience is key. Allow the icing to dry for at least a couple of hours after adhering each piece and before moving and handling the house, says Beddall. Work in stages so that individual items can be decorated and allowed to dry. Then the walls can be put together, followed by the roof pieces.

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Continued on page 6

















Holiday Gift Guide

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How to create a durable Gingerbread House continued …from page 5 • Kids likely will need help. Children may not have the patience or steadiness to handle complete gingerbread construction. They can decorate the separate pieces of the house while the components are laying flat, which is easier for kids. Adults can do the main assembly later on. • Utilize a template. Free-handing may not be easy. Cut out templates using cardboard or posterboard for various gingerbread pieces. One of the most important tips is to have fun. Don’t take gingerbread house making too seriously as a novice. Rather, enjoy the experience and the centuries-old tradition.


Holiday Gift Guide

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Celebrate the Season with enjoyable desserts

(Family Features) Whether youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re huddled around the fireplace, gathered at the table or strolling through a winter wonderland, the holidays are all about enjoying pure and memorable moments with family and friends. With all of the seasonal gatherings, you can certainly expect that almost any host or guest will attempt to provide a classic holiday treat for everyone to enjoy. This year, you can give your traditional holiday bake a refreshing twist sure to spread all kinds of holiday cheer with this Enjoymint Peppermint Pie topped with Homemade Whipped Cream, which can be easily whipped up with less than 10 ingredients total. From pumpkin pies to gingerbread cookies and everything in-between, an option like DairyPure Heavy Whipping Cream can be a must-have kitchen staple this season, one you can feel good about knowing itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sourced from trusted dairies.

For more recipes for the holidays and every day, visit, and find DairyPure on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Enjoymint Peppermint Pie Prep time: 15 minutes. Cook time: 20 minutes 1 envelope unflavored gelatin 1/4 cup cold water 2 1/2 cups DairyPure Heavy Whipping Cream, divided 8 ounces soft peppermint candy 1 chocolate cookie crust crushed peppermint candies, for garnish Soften gelatin in water; set aside. In small saucepan over low heat, cook 1/2 cup Continued on page 8.









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Enjoymint Peppermint Pie continued: whipping cream with candy until candy melts. Add gelatin; mix well. Whip remaining whipping cream. Let gelatin mixture cool and fold in whipped cream, reserving 1/2 cup for garnish. Pour into crust. Chill. Before serving, top with reserved whipped cream and crushed peppermint candies.


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Homemade Whipped Cream 2 tablespoons granulated or confectioners’ sugar 2 cups DairyPure Heavy Whipping Cream 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or liqueur In chilled glass bowl, add sugar to whipping cream. Using whisk or hand mixer, incorporate sugar into heavy whipping cream until it begins to thicken, leaving visible trails. Continue to whip until soft peaks start to form. Fold in vanilla extract or liqueur. Serve immediately or refrigerate and remix 12 minutes before serving.

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Discover award-winning Minnesota grown wine Ice wine and other unique local varieties make great holiday gifts St. Paul, MN: Searching for a unique gift for the holiday season? Look no further than locally grown wines from cold hardy grapes developed in Minnesota. Our northern climate produces award-winning red, white, rose and other wines from 37 Minnesota Grown wineries across the state â&#x20AC;&#x201C; including ice wine, uniquely harvested and typically made in December, said Ray Winter, owner and grower at Indian Island Winery in Janesville.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;You have to leave the grapes till theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re frozen solid in the vineyard. During that time, you have to keep the birds and deer away. It takes two nights down to zero degrees in row,â&#x20AC;? said Winter, whose family-run business celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The flavor is worth the extra work and so unique â&#x20AC;&#x201C; very concentrated. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not going to get that in California!â&#x20AC;? Continued on page 11.

When it's cold outside, start up the fireplace, get your favorite slippers on, wrap up in a warm blanket and snuggle on the couch with this delicious White Hot Chocolate. Find more recipes at

White Hot Chocolate 3 cups Half & Half 2/3 cup white chocolate baking pieces 1 3 inch cinnamon stick 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg 1 tsp vanilla 1/4 tsp almond extract Ground Cinnamon (optional) Whipped Cream (optional)

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In a medium saucepan combine 1/4 of the half & half, white chocolate baking pieces, cinnamon stick and nutmeg. Stir over low to medium heat until white chocolate is melted. Add remaining half & half. Stir and cook until heated through. Remove from heat. Discard cinnamon stick. Add in vanilla and almond extract. Stir until mixed through. Pour into your favorite mug(s). Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with ground cinnamon.

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Holiday Gift Guide

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Continued from page 10 The University of Minnesota has been a leader in developing cold hardy wine grape varieties for over 50 years. Cold hardy varieties thrive in our unique Minnesota climate.

University of Minnesota Extension Educator. â&#x20AC;&#x153;These cold hardy grapes make beautiful and unique wines ranging from dry to sweet, fruity to complex.â&#x20AC;? Wine enthusiasts can purchase ice wine and other varieties direct from the farm or ask for Minnesota Grown wines at the local liquor store.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have the privilege, living in Minnesota, to be able to drink wine from totally unique grapes that were developed right here in our state,â&#x20AC;? said Annie Klodd,

Learn more about Minnesota wine grape varieties and explore Minnesotaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wine trails in this wine guide:




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Holiday Gift Guide

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Decorate with a nose toward

inviting holiday aromas

Holiday decor is as much about the sights and sounds as it is about the scents of the season. Few things evoke the holiday spirit as much as the aroma of fresh evergreen or spicy cinnamon and cloves. Incorporating inviting aromas into holiday decor can make homes feel even more special. Holiday decor is as much about the sights and sounds as it is about the scents of the season. Few things evoke the holiday spirit as much as the aroma of fresh evergreen or spicy cinnamon and cloves. Incorporating inviting aromas into holiday decor can make homes feel even more special. Filling a home with fragrant decor takes a little ingenuity and planning.

Here are some ideas to incorporate the scents of the holiday season into your decor. • Use a real Christmas tree. An easy way to create a pine-like scent indoors is to select a real Christmas tree. Ask the tree farm which varieties are the most fragrant. If a fresh tree is not possible, fill a decorative basket with pine cones and evergreen boughs for that woodsy appeal. • Create a seasonal scented simmer. Take to the stove to make a homemade air infusion from ingredients in and around the house. Simmer pine branches, citrus peels, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and whatever else can be placed in a pot or slow cooker with water. The scents will permeate the house for hours if enough water is added to the mixture. • Make holiday sachets. Some of the same ingredients for the holiday simmer can be dried and sewn into sachets. Add ribbon and hang on real or artificial trees. Or tuck the pouches into various areas around the house. • Experiment with scented candles. Scented candles can be found at various stores during the holiday season. Select among popular holiday aromas like pine, cinnamon, apples, and Christmas cookie varieties. • Utilize essential oils. Natural food stores and other retailers may sell essential oils, which can be diluted and sprayed on surfaces or into the air. Exercise caution around upholstery, or test for staining before use. • Spend more time in the kitchen. Add delicious scents to the home by way of freshly baked goods or holiday meals. Nothing beats the smell of cookies right out of the oven, and the scents can linger for hours.


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• Make beeswax ornaments. Add scented oils to melted beeswax and pour into molds. Hang these creations as ornaments on trees or in other areas of the home. • Craft some “gingerbread” ornaments. A mixture of cinnamon, applesauce and glue can be used to make ornaments or gift tags that resemble gingerbread cookies, and these ornaments have more staying power than actual cookies. • Design a pretty pomander. Stud an orange with cloves. Cut off the top of the orange and hollow out a place for a small tea light. The warmth of the flame will produce more scent. Rich and inviting aromas can fill a home with the holiday spirit.


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Share some local flavor this season! Award Winning Wines and Exclusive Gift Items

Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm! Join us for our Holiday â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Sip and Shopâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; at the winery! December 7th and 8th from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Enjoy live music, great food and over a dozen local clothing, jewlery and craft vendors - Free Admission! Winehavn Winery and Vineyard 10020 Deer Garden Lane W Chisago City, MN 55013


Holiday Gift Guide

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A Full Menu for fun-filled

Holiday Festivities

(Family Features) When holiday gatherings turn into all-day events, having meals ready from morning to night becomes an important part of seasonal hosting. Starting with breakfast through the main course followed by a savory dessert, a full day of celebration calls for a variety of dishes. To help keep your crowd fueled for a wide range of activities, consider these recipes for Hot Cocoa Pancakes to get your morning started, Browned Butter Smashed Potatoes with Butternut Squash to pair with a holiday ham and Black Forest Cake to end the festivities on a high note. Find more holiday recipe inspiration at Begin the Holiday with a Family Breakfast With so many activities scheduled and places to be during the holidays, starting the morning with a filling breakfast can help set your family on the path to enjoyable moments with loved ones. These Hot Cocoa Pancakes require little time in the kitchen, leaving you more time to spend with the family before hitting the road or working on decorations for seasonal gatherings. Made with Aunt Jemima pancake mix, containing no artificial coloring or flavors, this recipe makes it simple to put breakfast on the table quickly while still achieving a meal full of flavor. Visit for more familyfriendly recipes.

Hot Cocoa Pancakes Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 2 minutes per pancake Yield: 12 pancakes (3 per serving)

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar 1 cup 2% or non-fat milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups Aunt Jemima Original Complete or Buttermilk Complete Pancake & Waffle Mix 1/4 cup water marshmallow spread (optional) chocolate syrup (optional) Aunt Jemima syrup (optional) Heat skillet over medium-low heat or electric griddle to 375 F. In microwave-safe bowl, mix cocoa powder, sugar, milk and vanilla until well

combined. Heat in microwave 30 seconds, or until warm. Stir again to ensure mixture is combined. Combine cocoa mixture, pancake mix and water. Stir until large lumps disappear (do not beat or overmix). If batter is too thick, add additional 1-2 tablespoons water. Pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter onto lightly greased skillet or griddle. Cook 90 seconds, or until bubbles appear on surface. Turn and cook additional 30 seconds. Repeat with remaining batter. Top pancakes with marshmallow spread and drizzle chocolate syrup, or top with syrup. Party-Perfect Potatoes Almost every holiday meal calls for side dishes to complement the main course, and as one of the most versatile base ingredients available, potatoes often provide home chefs with a multitude of options. Served mashed, fried, scalloped, sliced, diced, boiled, roasted or just about any style in-between, potatoes are ideal for matching with the centerpiece of your family meal. These Browned Butter Smashed Potatoes with Butternut Squash call for Wisconsin yellow-flesh potatoes to achieve a dense, creamy texture with their just-buttered appearance. Find more dishes for your holiday gatherings at eatwisconsinpotatoes. com.

taste, divided 3 tablespoons butter, divided 8-10 fresh (2-3-inch) sage leaves, stacked and cut into 1/4-inch strips 1/2 cup 1% milk freshly ground black pepper, to taste In 3-quart saucepan, cover potatoes and squash with water; add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover and cook until tender, 12-15 minutes. In small saucepan over medium heat, mix 2 tablespoons butter and sage. Tilting pan and watching closely, cook about 3 minutes, until butter foams and begins to brown; keep warm. Thoroughly drain potatoes and squash, return to pan and shake 1-2 minutes over low heat. Using hand masher, roughly mash to create chunky mixture. Over low heat, gently mix in remaining butter and milk. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon into serving bowl and drizzle with brown butter and sage.

Browned Butter Smashed Potatoes with Butternut Squash Prep time: 25 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes

1 pound (3 medium) Wisconsin yellow-flesh potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch chunks 1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks water 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to

Serve Up a Savory Sweet No holiday gathering is complete without dessert, and you can take your sweets to the next level with this rich, creamy Black Forest Cake recipe. Tart cherries and whipped cream are combined with Domino Golden Sugar â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a less processed option which is made from pure cane sugar and works cup-



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A Full Menu for fun-filled

holiday festivities continued…

for-cup just like white sugar, but with a golden color and distinct hint of molasses flavor – for a contrasting profile to put a spin on a seasonal classic. Find more holiday dessert ideas at

Black Forest Cake Servings: 8

Cherry Filling: 1/2 cup Domino Golden Sugar 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1/2 cup water or unsweetened cherry juice 2 cups fresh or frozen pitted tart (Montmorency) cherries 2 tablespoons cherry brandy (optional) Cake: 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour 2/3 cup cocoa powder 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup butter, softened 1 1/2 cups Domino Golden Sugar 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 1/2 cups buttermilk Stabilized Whipped Cream: 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin 2 tablespoons cold water 2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream 2 tablespoons Domino Golden Sugar chocolate curls or shavings, for garnish (optional) To make cherry filling: In medium saucepot, whisk sugar and cornstarch

with water or juice then bring to boil over medium heat. Stir in cherries and cherry brandy, if desired, and boil 2-3 minutes, stirring, until sauce is thick and translucent. Drain cherries from sauce and set both aside. To make cake layers: Heat oven to 350 F. Line bottoms of three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Grease and flour bottoms and sides. In medium bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar 2 minutes on medium speed. Add eggs and vanilla; beat 1 minute. Stir in flour mixture and buttermilk. Pour batter evenly among cake pans and bake 20-22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool and remove layers from pans. To make stabilized whipped cream: In small pan or microwaveable bowl, combine gelatin and cold water; allow gelatin to bloom. Heat until gelatin melts and dissolves; set aside. In chilled bowl, whip cream with chilled beaters until soft peaks form. Add sugar and gelatin; beat until stiff. Prick tops of two bottom layers with fork and brush cherry filling over layers. Sandwich bottom layers with a 1/4-inchthick spread of stabilized whipped cream. Sandwich second and top layer with same whipped cream. Spread remaining whipped cream over top layer and sides. Garnish with shaved chocolate, if desired, and decorate with any remaining whipped cream.

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Holiday Gift Guide

November 24, 2019 Chisago County Press/SEARCH

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Chisago Lakes Area Christmas Gift Guide  

Look inside for holiday shopping specials, holiday baking tips and recipes to make this your best holiday ever in the Chisago Lakes Area!

Chisago Lakes Area Christmas Gift Guide  

Look inside for holiday shopping specials, holiday baking tips and recipes to make this your best holiday ever in the Chisago Lakes Area!

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