Festive holiday food ideas

Cranberry-Orange Christmas Punch

8 cups cranberry juice

4 cups orange juice

1 liter lemon and lime soda, or ginger ale

Lemon and lime slices (for garnish)

Fresh cranberries (About a handful for garnish, they are too tart to eat.)

Chill all liquid ingredients before combining them in a large punch bowl. (You may halve the recipe, depending on the size of your bowl and number of guests.)

Float lemon and/or lime slices and cranberries in punch.

Makes 24 to 30 servings.

Hot Mocha Punch

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons decaffeinated instant coffee

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup heavy cream for whipping

2-1/2 quarts scalding-hot milk

Place chocolate, sugar, water, coffee, and cinnamon in a heavy saucepan. Turn heat on low until chocolate has melted; stir occasionally.

Set aside until cool.

Whip heavy cream until stiff; fold into chocolate mixture.

Pour chocolate into a large non-glass bowl. Stir in scalding milk.

Makes about 12 servings.

Harlequin Cookies

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1-1/2 cups sugar

1 egg

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Red food coloring

1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 square (1 ounce) unsweetened chocolate, melted

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and mix well. Stir in dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Stir in vanilla.

Divide dough into three parts. To one-third of the dough, add 5 drops of red food coloring and mix thoroughly. To another third of dough, add chopped walnuts and mix in well. Blend the melted chocolate into the final third.

Line a loaf pan with wax paper or plastic wrap, leaving extra hanging over the sides of the pan. Press pink dough in bottom of pan, press walnut dough over that, and chocolate dough on top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or until dough is firm.

When ready to bake, turn dough out of pan, peeling off wax paper or plastic wrap. With a sharp knife, cut loaf in half lengthwise. Then cut each half crosswise into 1/8- to 1/4-inch slices. Place slices 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet and bake in preheated 350 F. oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until firm but not brown. Cool on wire racks and store in airtight containers. Makes 5 dozen.

Adapted from 'For the Love of Baking,' by Linda Davis

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

2 cups finely crushed gingersnaps

(from 1-pound box)

1/4 cup butter

1/3 to 1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla

3 eggs

Lightly grease a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan; set aside.

To make crust, combine gingersnap crumbs and melted butter in bowl. Press evenly in bottom of pan. Bake in a preheated 325 degree F. oven 10 minutes or until crust is firm; cool.

Meanwhile, for pumpkin batter, stir together pumpkin, flour, and pumpkin pie spice until combined; set aside.

For cream cheese batter, beat cream cheese in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla, beating until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating at low speed of electric mixer after each addition, just until combined.

Stir one-third of the cream cheese batter into the pumpkin batter until smooth.

Pour remaining cream cheese batter over crust. Place large spoonfuls of pumpkin batter over cream cheese batter. Using the tip of a table knife, gently swirl the two batters together.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until center is just set. Cool thoroughly in pan on wire rack. Cover and chill 4 to 24 hours before cutting into squares. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Makes 24 bars.

Adapted from 'Cookies for Christmas' (Meredith Books)

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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