Taft Today

Holiday Sweet Tooth

An example of holiday cookies made to get in the Christmas spirit.

An example of holiday cookies made to get in the Christmas spirit.

Wiktoria Kosinska, Reporter

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As the holidays are approaching, so are all the delicious treats. During this holiday season, students and staff are sharing their favorite holiday treats along with the recipes.

Chemistry teacher Ewa Dudek says, “Each year I look forward to cheesecake after Christmas dinner. I just recently learned how to make it myself, but I hope as time passes I will be able to make it just as well as my mom and grandma.”

To begin making the cheesecake, in a large bowl or food processor, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and baking powder. Cut in cold butter. In a separate bowl, mix together 2 egg yolks and sour cream and add these to the flour-butter mixture, make sure that these ingredients are well combined. If the dough is too dry, add an extra whole egg. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Lightly grease a 13×9-inch pan with butter. Roll pastry dough large enough to line the pan and come up the sides. Then place the dough into the pan and make a crimped or rolled edge by pressing either your clean finger or a fork lightly into the edge of the dough. Heat the oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, mix together 5 ounces room-temperature butter with 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 4 egg yolks and vanilla until everything ind smooth. Thoroughly mix in the cheese. In a separate bowl, beat the 4 egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold them into the cheese mixture. Pour the filling into pastry crust-lined pan and bake for  50 to 60 minutes. Don’t let the top get brown and let the finished product cool completely before serving.*

“We only make gingerbread cookies during the holidays. It is my favorite because I love Christmas and the smell of the cookies bring the holiday spirit.” Explains senior Adriana Klemensiewicz, Div. 916.

To start making gingerbread cookies, first sift together flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon and then set aside. Then, in a bowl, mix together the shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, until they are completely absorbed and the batter is smooth. Divide dough into 3 pieces, pat down to 1 1/2 inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes. Place cookies 1 inch apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on wire racks. When the cookies cool, they can be frosted with the icing and colors of your choice. **

Senior Nicholas Cappelluti (DIV. 927) explains his favorite holiday treat, “Ever since I was young, I really enjoyed making peppermint bark with my family. It just became a tradition, we make it every year.”

Start by lining an 8×8 baking pan with wax paper, set aside. Place chopped dark chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir well. Return to microwave and heat on 15-second increments (stirring well between each) until chocolate is completely melted. Spread melted dark chocolate evenly into the bottom of your prepared baking pan. Set aside (do not refrigerate) and prepare your white chocolate layer. Place your chopped white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir well. Return to  microwave and heat on 15-second increments (stirring well between each) until white chocolate is completely melted. Once white chocolate is melted, place teaspoon of shortening in a small microwave-safe dish and heat until melted (this will only take  several seconds). Add peppermint extract and stir well. Add peppermint/shortening mixture to white chocolate and stir well. Add 1/4 cup of crushed candy canes to the white chocolate and gently fold in until evenly distributed. Spread white chocolate evenly over dark chocolate layer. Immediately sprinkle white chocolate layer with remaining candy cane pieces. Allow the peppermint bark to harden completely at room temperature or refrigerated before cutting/breaking into pieces and enjoying.

Sources:

*https://www.thespruceeats.com/traditional-polish-cheesecake-sernik-recipe-1136928

**https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/15272/gingerbread-cookies-ii/

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