Homemade for The Holidays

In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, take the time to make your celebration unique and extra special. By adding your own personal touch to holiday gifts, cards, decorations and treats, you can make this holiday season different from years past and show your loved ones you truly care.

Personalized Presents

Why fight the crowded malls to buy gifts you’re not sure the recipient will even like? Create a coupon book with five to fifteen coupons offering various services or activities. This might include a free night of babysitting, yard work or home repairs by you and your family. The list is endless and the recipient will appreciate the personalization to his or her needs.

Creative Cards

Forget the mass produced holiday cards this year. Commission your children to create your family’s card by drawing a picture and getting colored photocopies. It’s a great way to make your cards stand out from the rest and allows everyone to see your child’s artistic capabilities evolve throughout the years.

Delicious Décor

Homemade garland is extremely easy and fun to make -- especially for little ones. Anything that has a hole in it makes great garland like pretzels, cereals and assorted candies. Simply tie a knot in one end of a string and loop the goodies through. The garland can be as long as you wish and looks great displayed on railings, trees and mantles.

Festive Foods

One of the traditions of the holidays is the abundance of sweet treats. But how many candy canes, cookies and fruitcakes can one eat? This year, surprise your friends and family with decadent desserts that have a festive touch. A Gingerbread Man Torte or The Bunny’s Baklava is delectable after a holiday meal or any other time throughout the season. For more recipes, visit www.bluebunny.com.

Gingerbread Man Torte

1 roll (18 ounces) refrigerated sugar cookie dough

13 (approximately 3-inches tall) baked gingerbread man cookies

64 ounces Blue Bunny Premium Butter Pecan Ice Cream

1 cup prepared caramel apple dip

1 can (21 ounces) apple pie filling

Grease the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. With floured fingers, press 1/2 roll of sugar cookie dough onto bottom of springform pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately press gingerbread cookies around edges of cookie crust. Cool on wire rack. Remaining cookie dough may be baked for cookies as directed on package.

Remove ice cream from freezer for 10 minutes to soften.

Spread ice cream on top of cooled crust. Freeze at least one hour or until solid. Spread caramel dip over ice cream. Return to freezer for at least one hour.

Just before serving, spread apple pie filling over caramel. Remove sides of pan and cut into wedges to serve. Best eaten the day it’s prepared.

Makes 13 servings. Per serving --

Calories: 415
Fat: 18 Grams
Cholesterol: 44 mg
Sodium: 237 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 58g

The Bunny's Baklava dessert

1 (16 ounce) box frozen phyllo dough

1 1/2 cups walnut pieces

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2/3 cups butter, melted

Syrup:

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup caramel sundae syrup

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

64 ounces Blue Bunny Premium Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, softened

Walnut halves and cinnamon stick for garnish, optional

Thaw one 8-ounce phyllo roll according to package directions. Keep remaining roll frozen for other use.

In a food processor, combine walnuts and cinnamon; process until finely chopped.

Brush butter on two large cookie sheets. Open phyllo dough package and lay flat, cover with a sheet of waxed paper. Place one sheet of phyllo on one prepared baking sheet. Top with a second sheet of phyllo; brush with butter and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of walnut mixture. Repeat layering and sprinkling with nut mixture, brushing every two sheets of phyllo with butter until 10 sheets have been used. Don’t worry if several of the sheets tear. Keep unused phyllo covered with wax paper. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18 to 25 minutes or until golden. Cool on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining phyllo and nut mixture. Cool.

While phyllo is cooling, prepare syrup. In a medium saucepan, combine honey, caramel sundae syrup and orange juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, for 16 to17 minutes or until mixture is honey colored and like a thin syrup. Immediately pour half of the syrup over one stack of phyllo, spreading syrup to the edges. Repeat with remaining syrup and phyllo. Cool.

Using a large spatula, transfer one stack of phyllo to a large freezer-safe serving platter. Gently spread with softened ice cream (don’t worry if phyllo makes a cracking sound). Top with second layer of phyllo, syrup side up. Freeze uncovered for several hours. Cut into 15 squares with a long, sharp knife. Garnish with walnut halves and cinnamon sticks, if desired. Store remaining baklava in freezer uncovered or covered with nonstick foil.

Makes 15 servings. Per serving --

Calories: 421
Fat: 26 g
Cholesterol: 65 mg
Sodium: 247 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 45 g

Photo Credit: Posterize  | Freedigitalphotos.net

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