Simply Delicious by Cindy Dather

It can’t be the holiday season already?! Just last week I was putting the beach towels, life jackets, and pool toys away. I especially love the scents, sounds, and tastes of winter; especially the food! These simple and quick recipes will be showstoppers on your holiday table. Even Santa might sneak extras to share with Mrs. Claus when he returns from his rounds.

The “Edible Wreath Eats” requires a little staging, but the food preparation part is very manageable for kids and adults. Individual creativity lends to awesome appetizers.

Shortbread Caramel Delights brings two of my favorites together; shortbread and caramel. I could eat the entire pan as they are addictive. These bars should be on your list of goodies to make this year.

Cocktail or mocktail time will be extra special with the clear ornament as a vessel for your beverage. To make it even easier, just use cranberry juice and a splash of some clear pop to add some razzle-dazzle.

The Cranberry Cream Tart merges the tartness of the cranberries with the creaminess of the filling. A plus is that you don’t have to roll out pie crust. The oatmeal crust of the tart is a snap to complete and is something new for the season.

My family loved the taste of Nutella and this hazelnut treat wraps lady finger cookies together for a melt in your mouth sensation. The finished cookie looks professionally made,  and you can proudly say you made them yourself.

Holiday baking doesn’t need to be stressful. These recipes will keep entertaining simple and enjoyable. Wishing you holiday happiness and great eating.


No Bake Hazelnut Treat

Cookie Base:

16 Lady Finger Cookies

10 oz Nutella

8 oz Mascarpone Cheese

Dipping Sauce:

2 oz Nutella

5 oz Milk

8 oz Hazelnuts

  1. Whip Nutella and Mascarpone cheese until ingredients are combined.  Spread mixture (about 1T) on only 8 cookies. Gently press a cookie on top of each frosted cookie.
  2. Turn each cookie on its side. Gently spread filling on the two sides and the end of each cookie. Keep unused spread as it will be used later in the recipe.
  3. Grind Hazelnuts into very small pieces using a food processor or nut grinder. Put aside.
  4. To make dipping sauce, bring milk to a simmering stage. Add Nutella and stir till mixture is smooth. Cool till thickens to a spreadable stage.
  5. Dip or spread dipping sauce on the sides and ends of the cookie. Do not spread on the bottom or top of the cookie.
  6. Roll cookie in the hazelnuts till covered. You may have to press the nuts on the cookies in some areas.
  7. Using a large Zip Lock bag or cake decorating bag with a Wilton Open Star #18 top, decorate the top of the cookie using a zig zag type of pattern.
  8. Place cookie in a large white cupcake liner. This cookie is quick, easy, and looks like a treat you would find in a French Patisseries (bakery). Best served on the day they are made. Friends and Family will be impressed with this European cookie.

Edible Wreath Eats

Joint activity for kids and adults.

  • Wooden Skewers/All sizes, if too long cut to desired size with scissors.
    When working with young children, I suggest cutting or sanding the sharp end of the skewer.
  • Various olives, cheeses, meats, fruits, candies,  vegetables, pancakes, waffles etc.
    I suggest taking the kids/adults to the store to help you select what they would like on their skewers.
  • Artificial wreath/greens or real boughs
  • Styrofoam pieces

Decide if you are going to use artificial or real greens. Shape into the size of wreath preferable for your project. Use a tray, plate, or cutting board so your edible wreath is portable.

Put styrofoam under the wreath making sure that the foam is not visible.

Gather foods that the children/adults will using. I suggest placing small amounts of food in bowls making them accessible for everyone. For teens and adults larger amounts of food are appropriate.

Gently slide food items onto the skewers. Push skewers into wreath, making sure the skewer connects with the foam. Store wreath in refrigerator till serving time.

Start a new tradition by creating an edible wreath this Christmas


Holiday Merry Berry

Serves Approximately (5-6) 8 oz servings

6 Martini glasses

6 Clear, plastic round ornaments

6 Red Straws

2 C Pomegranate juice

1 C Cranberry juice

1 C Orange juice

1/2 C Freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 3/4 C Vodka

6 Rosemary sprigs

24 Cranberries, frozen or fresh

  1. Mix all juices and vodka together in a serving pitcher.
  2. Use large sized, clear, plastic ornaments as a vessel to put the drink in. Fill 3/4 full.
  3. Place each ornament in a martini glass at an angle the makes the ornament stable.
  4. Garnish with a rosemary sprig that has been dipped in simple sugar and dusted with granulated sugar.
  5. Add a straw and you’re ready to toast MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Shortbread Caramel Delights


1/2 C Butter, Melted

2 T Butter, Melted

1 Egg Yolk, whisked

1/2 C Sugar

1/2 t Salt

1 2/3 C Flour


18 oz Weathers "Soft" Caramels

3-4 T Sweetened Condensed Milk

Sea Salt Flakes

  1. Combine melted butter, whisked egg yolk, sugar and salt. Stir in flour with a fork. Dough will be clumpy.
  2. Line a 9” x 9” pan with parchment paper making sure the paper hangs over the edges, Spray pan release on top of the parchment.
  3. Press dough evenly into the prepared pan using your fingers or a smooth cup/glass bottom cup.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the crust is light brown on the top. Cool.
  5. In a medium microwave safe bowl, place 18oz  of unwrapped caramels. Cook in 45 second intervals, stirring each time till melted. Add 2-4 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk to the hot caramel and stir. Spread caramels evenly over crust.
  6. Freeze for 15 minutes. Then cut into small sized pieces approximately 2”x 2”. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Cranberries N Cream Tart


2 C Quick Cooking Oatmeal

2/3 C Flour

2/3 C Light Brown Sugar

1/4 t Nutmeg

1/2 t Salt

2/3 C Butter, Chilled

Layer 1:

2 C Fresh Cranberries

1/2 C Sugar

4-7 T Cornstarch

1 C Water

Layer 2:

8 oz Mascarpone Cheese

16 oz Cream Cheese

4 oz Whipped Topping


16 oz White Chocolate Chips

4 C Powdered Sugar

6-7 T Cream

  1. Crust Preparation
    Pour oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, nutmeg and salt into a medium sized bowl.
  2. Cut butter into small pieces. Use a pastry blender to incorporate butter and flour together. Do not over-mix.
  3. Use a 10-inch tart pan that has been sprayed with cooking release. Put cookie mixture on the bottom and up the sides of the pan patting as you go.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly and push the dough that has fallen back up the sides as it usually shrinks during baking. Then cool completely.

Layer 1 Preparation

  1. Place cranberries, sugar and water into a small saucepan. Cook on medium heat till berries are soft.
  2. Add cornstarch one tablespoon at a time and whisk. Continue to add cornstarch till fruit mixture thickens. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Spread cranberries on the of the crust. Chill for 30 minutes.

Layer 2 Preparation

  1. Beat cheeses till fluffy. Fold in thawed whipped topping.
  2. Spread on top of the cranberry filling.

*Ganache Frosting

  1. Place white chocolate chips in large glass measuring bowl with pour spout and microwave for 1-2 minutes. Stir every 30 seconds until smooth and melted.
  2. Add powdered sugar and vanilla to the melted white chocolate. With hand beaters, or in a mixer, beat until fully combined.
  3. Add 6-7 tablespoons of cream, mixing well after each addition, until the frosting reaches the correct consistency. To test the frosting, take a spoonful and drizzle it off the end of the spoon back into the bowl. It should take a full 2-3 seconds before it melts back into itself. If the frosting seems lumpy at this point, beat for an additional 1-2 minutes until smooth.

* Note: Ganache recipe is from Pinterest, Borrow Time. All other aspects of the recipe were developed by Cyndee Dather.