To most, spending time in the kitchen baking or cooking holiday meals are just as important as trimming your Christmas tree or opening presents. As a token of gratitude for another wonderful year, we wanted to share our favorite seasonal recipes with you.
We hope you enjoy them as much as our staff who've graciously shared them.
1. Reindeer Bark from our Good Morning Tri-State anchor Kathrine Nero:
"Our family makes copycat Trader Joe’s Cowboy bark and give it out to our neighbors and friends. We made 36 jars of it this weekend! But since we make it at Christmas, we call it Reindeer Bark."
- 14 ounces melting/dipping chocolate
- 10 Oreo's, crushed
- 1 ½ cups mini pretzels, chopped
- ½ cup Heath toffee bits
- ½ cup peanuts, chopped
- Sea or Kosher salt to taste
- Woodford Reserve Bourbon Vanilla Sugar (optional)
- Trader Joe’s Sugar, Chocolate and Coffee Bean Grinder (optional)
- Melt chocolate according to package instructions and pour onto wax paper, smoothing into a big rectangle – you decide the thickness.
- While chocolate is still melted, sprinkle crushed pretzels, Oreos and peanuts evenly. (I usually go from largest toppings to smallest.)
- Add toffee bits, followed by salt - and if desired, sugar and grinder mix.
- Allow to dry, then break apart into chunks. We package them in glass jars. Keep all the toppings that fall off and toss them in as well.
2. Buckeye Balls from our Good Morning Tri-State anchor Chris Riva
- 1 (12 oz) jar crunchy peanut butter, about 1 1/2 cups
- 1 (16 oz) box powdered sugar
- 1/2 lb butter, (2 sticks)
- 1 (12 oz) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Mix together peanut butter, sugar and butter and form into small balls; chill.
- In the top of a double boiler over medium heat, melt the chocolate chips, stirring until smooth.
- Using a toothpick, dip each ball into the chocolate and cover about 3/4 of the ball, leaving a round peanut butter "eye" showing.
- Place on wax paper to cool.
3. Arlene Barber's Award Winning Peppermint Pie from our morning Meteorologist Jennifer Ketchmark
"It's crazy good.. I can't stop eating it!"
- 1/2 cup crushed peppermint stick candy
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 envelope unflavored Knox gelatin
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 slightly beaten egg yolks
- 3 egg whites
- 4-5 drops of red food coloring
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup whipping cream (whipped)
- 1 baked 9 inch pie crust
- Mix candy, the first 1/4 cup of sugar, gelatin, milk, egg yolks and salt. Cook and stir over low heat till gelatin dissolves and candy melts.
- Tint with red food coloring.
- Chill till partially set.
- In small mixing bowl, beat egg whites till soft white peaks form.
- Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar beating until stiff white peaks form.
- Fold in the gelatin mixture, then fold in the whipped cream.
- Chill until mixture mounds slightly when spooned; pile into crust. Chill till firm. Top with additional whipping cream and crushed peppermint stick candy.
4. Oreo Cupcakes from our Morning Traffic Reporter Ally Kraemer:
"Keep this recipe handy, people will be asking for it!"
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 packages of Oreos
1 bag mini Oreos
*Making the chocolate cupcakes from scratch can be time consuming, so you can use your favorite box cake mix instead!
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine chopped bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder, and 3/4 cup hot water. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and all of the chocolate has melted.
- Place this mixture in the refrigerator to chill for about 20 minutes.
- In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda.
- When the chocolate mixture has cooled, whisk in 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 large eggs, 2 teaspoons vinegar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet and whisk until all of the ingredients are incorporated together.
- Line cupcake pans with liners. Place an Oreo in each cupcake liner.
- Pour batter over each cookie and fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 of the way full.
- Bake for 17-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Ingredients for the Oreo Frosting:
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup crushed Oreos (I used my food processor to crush about 12 Oreos. Make sure they are finely crushed because any cookie chunks will get stuck in your piping bag.)
- In a small sauce pan combine 5 tablespoons flour with 1 cup cold milk.
- Stir and whisk the mixture constantly over medium low heat until it becomes really thick.
- Place this mixture in the refrigerator or freezer for about 10 minutes so that it cools completely.
- When the flour/milk mixture has cooled completely, cream together butter and sugar with your mixer.
- When the sugar is well incorporated into the butter, add in vanilla and mix for 30 seconds.
- Add in the thickened milk/flour mixture and mix on low for about 30 seconds.
- Then turn the mixer to high and mix for about 3 minutes, or until the frosting is light and fluffy, much like whipped cream.
- If the consistency isn’t like whipped cream, keep mixing on high!
- Add in 1 cup crushed Oreos and mix for about 30 seconds until well combined.
- I like to pipe the frosting on the cupcakes and top with a mini Oreo.
5. Christmas Morning Egg Casserole from The Now Cincinnati's host, Julie Dolan
"This is an annual tradition at my house- we even eat it on special plates we hand painted at a church advent party one year! It's delicious, easy and kid friendly!"
6 pieces of white bread
2 cups of milk
1 lb of sausage (browned and drained)
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
9 x 13 glass dish
Pam cooking spray
- Spray your glass dish with Pam.
- Break apart your bread into 1 inch pieces and spread on bottom of your casserole dish.
- Brown and drain your sausage then pour sausage evenly over bread.
- Cover with 1.5 cups of cheese.
- In a separate bowl whisk together your eggs and milk.
- Pour over the contents in your casserole dish then cover with remaining cheese.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake it in the oven for one hour at 350.
- Pull foil and let bake for another 5 minutes to crisp the top.
- Prepare this the night before and let sit in the fridge overnight.
6. Grandma's Kisses from Chief Meteorologist Steve Raleigh
"This is my favorite holiday recipe -- what my family calls "Grandma's kisses". Most folks know them as peanut butter blossom cookies. But, we've renamed it because my 82 year-old mother always make them for Christmas Eve every year.
It first started when I was a kid and mom would make them as the cookies to leave for Santa. Then, the tradition was passed down to my children. While the kids are all grown now, those delicious cookies and milk are a staple at my mom's house."
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup lb of butter or margarine, softened
- 1 1/2 cups of flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
- Additional granulated sugar
- 36 Hersey's Kisses, unwrapped
- 1 egg
- Heat over to 375 degrees
- In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, peanut butter, butter and egg with an electiris mixer on medium speed or mix with a spoon until the mixture is well-blended.
- Stir in the flour, baking soda and baking powder until the dough forms.
- Shape the dough into 1-inch balls; roll them in additional sugar
- On an un-greased cookie sheet, place them about 2 inches apart.
- Bake 8-10 minutes
- Immediately press 1 Hershey Kiss in the center of each cookie