Two Christmas Desserts

Add some holiday spirit to your Christmas gatherings with these two must-try Christmas desserts.

By Elizabeth Czajkowski | Food Columnist
December 20, 2021
This creamy, salty, sweet gelatin dessert (or "salad" if you're from Iowa) is always a hit. Photo from iStock.

As school winds down and finals approach, the Christmas season is ushered in. The twinkling lights, familiar carols on the radio, wreaths, and Christmas trees are all reminders of this fast-approaching holiday. Gingerbread, peppermint, and hot cocoa have taken center stage on the menus at our favorite coffee shops, the Hallmark channel is already streaming a fresh round of sappy Christmas romances, and fireplaces in homes around town begin to alight with warm flickering flames. 

 

At the heart of this Christmas season is the gatherings of family and friends. It’s that time of year where families flock together, drawn from all over the country to their designated meeting place of celebration. It’s a time of warmth, love, laughter, stress from Christmas shopping and crazy relatives, and, of course, food and fellowship. Sharing food with our loved ones has that special power to unite us together around the table. What better way to celebrate this joyous Christmas season than to bake up some yummy Christmas treats to share with your friends and family? Whether you are planning a holiday party to celebrate or just looking for a way to make it through finals, below are two must-make Christmas desserts that are staple dishes at my family’s Christmas gatherings. 

 

First up is a yummy Pretzel Jell-O dessert. This treat, with its festive, bright red color, is the perfect Christmas dessert to put you in the holiday spirit! This family favorite has three layers of delicious, perfectly complemented flavors. The top layer consists of strawberry flavored Jell-O with chunks of sweet strawberries. Next comes the light, creamy Cool Whip and cream cheese center. And finally, underlying all of this is a salty crushed-pretzel crust held together with a yummy butter and sugar mixture. After making this dish, be sure to keep it in the refrigerator in order to preserve the ingredients. This Pretzel Jell-O dessert is cool, refreshing, and light. A great balance to all those heavy, doughy Christmas cookies.

Pretzel Jell-O Recipe

Ingredients:

2 ⅓ cup crushed pretzels (use pretzel sticks)

¾ cup melted butter

4 tbsp. sugar

8 oz. cream cheese (softened)

8 oz. Cool Whip (thawed)

1 cup sugar

1 (3 oz.) pkg. and 1 (6 oz.) pkg. strawberry Jell-O

2 ½ cup boiling water

2 (10 oz.) pkgs. frozen strawberries

Directions:
  1.  Combine crushed pretzels, melted butter, and 4 tbsp. sugar and press into 9 x 13 in. pan.
  2.  Bake at 350˚F for 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
  3.  In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and 1 cup sugar. Fold in Cool Whip. Spread mixture onto cooled    crust.
  4.  Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Stir in still-frozen strawberries and allow to set briefly. 
  5.  When mixture is thickened, pour and spread over the cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until set.
  6.  Cut into squares.

 7.   Serve and enjoy!

Holiday Russian Tea Cake cookies ready to eat. Photo: iStock.
Potato Chip Cookies. Photo from iStock.

Next up are Potato Chip Cookies. This recipe combines all your favorite comfort foods into one delicious recipe. You can savor the joys of potato chips and cookies all at the same time! These cookies are super addicting. They are the perfect, crunchy, buttery mix of sweet and salty and a great addition for the dessert table at your holiday party. Plus, the dusting of powdered sugar atop these cookies makes them look like they are sprinkled with a light covering of snow. If you sprinkle the powdered sugar on these cookies when they are still slightly warm, out of the oven, the powdered sugar melts a little and then hardens, achieving a nice, thick, frosted glaze over the cookies. This makes them extra yummy. When you bite into these potato chip cookies, the soft layer of powdered sugar frosting swirls together with the salty, crunchy cookie, making for a delightful snacking experience.

Potato Chip Cookies Recipe

Ingredients:

1 pound of butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

3 ¾ cups flour

1 cup crushed Jay’s Potato Chips

Powdered sugar

Directions:
  1.   Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2.   In a large bowl, mix the butter, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
  3.   Add the flour and mix.
  4.   Mix in the crushed potato chips.  (Note: To crush the potato chips, I just put them in a plastic sandwich bag and crush them by hand.)
  5.   Form the dough into medium/small balls and place on cookie sheet.
  6.   Bake at 350˚F for 12 – 15 minutes.
  7.   Roll in powdered sugar.

 8.     Serve and enjoy!

I hope these yummy recipes add a little joy and festivity to your Christmas gatherings this year.

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