Desserts On A Dime

christmas cookies

This is the time of year when you find yourself having to entertain on a moment’s notice. Your first impulse may be to dash to a bakery and pick up some expensive confection. But before you put on your running shoes, why not try one of these desserts? They’re simple to put together and don’t cost very much to make. Best of all, when you serve them, your guests will think you logged some serious kitchen time.

The No-Bake Layered Éclair

Contributed by Nikki Marksberry

2 boxes of instant vanilla pudding
1 small container of whipped topping
1 box of Graham crackers
1 can of chocolate frosting.

Make the pudding as directed and add whipped topping, mixing thoroughly. Put a single layer of Graham crackers on the bottom of a 9’ x 13’ pan, and pour half the pudding mixture onto the crackers. Spread mixture so that it is evenly distributed across the crackers. Add another layer of crackers on top of the first mixture layer, and then pour the remaining mixture, spreading evenly. Frost enough crackers to cover the second mixture layer, and place on top. Refrigerate 2 hours before serving.

Apple Pudding Cake

½ cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2¼ cup flour
2 tsps. Baking soda
2 tsps. Cinnamon
½ tsps. Nutmeg
1 tsp.  Salt
4 cups grated apples

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup cream
1 tsp. Vanilla
Dash of Nutmeg

Mix all of the cake ingredients together. Bake the cake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Heat all of the sauce ingredients together — do not boil. Ladle over individual servings of cake. Cake is best when eaten hot.

Caramelized Bananas with Toasted Almonds

1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons honey
4 bananas, skins removed and split in half lengthwise
¼ cup whole almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
Your favorite ice cream

Heat a large non-stick pan on medium heat. Add butter and honey and stir constantly. Allow turning into a light golden color. This will take about 60 seconds.

Place banana halves into the butter and honey mixture cut-side down. Cook for about 3-4 minutes or until dark caramel in color. Do not turn bananas.

Remove the bananas and place directly on the serving dish. Add 2 tablespoons water to deglaze the pan. Stir for 30 seconds and pour sauce over bananas. Top with your favorite ice cream and then toasted almonds. Makes 4 servings.

Luscious Grapefruit Meringue

Contributed by Chef Janette Barber

3 egg whites
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
¼ teaspoon Cream of Tartar
¼ teaspoon Salt
¼ cup Confectionary Sugar
2 large pink grapefruits, halved, sections pre-cut for easier

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites, vanilla extract, cream of tartar, and salt until foamy. Gradually add the confectionery sugar and continue beating until the mixture is shiny and forms stiff peaks. Cut the grapefruits in half, and cover the surface of each half completely with generous gobs of meringue. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve immediately. Makes 4 Servings.

Surprise guests aren’t a problem when you can whip up one of these yummy treats in a flash. Then all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the compliments.

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