Last month, we asked for our readers to submit their most beloved holiday recipe dishes with 10 ingredients or less. We were amazed with all the wonderful submissions we received!
After a lot of debate at the front desk, the staff voted for their top 3 picks. After counting the ballots, it was decided that Praline Crescents, Sweet Potato Cheesecake, and Mini Goat Cheese Balls would be made and served up for Round 2. The next step? Learning to make these delicious new recipes for our hungry staff!
Praline Crescents and Mini Goat Cheese Balls (Jessica Wright)
Christmas in September? It certainly was for me as I had the privilege to whip up two of our top three recipes for our Holiday Recipe Contest. Not only did I get to make – and taste – yummy treats, but I also found new recipes to introduce to my family when the holidays come around.
I started with the Praline Crescents, which immediately filled my kitchen with scents that reminded me of pecan pie. And they were fun to make! The crescent dough formed cute basket-like cups that wrapped around the filling, creating a bite-sized dessert. Bet you can’t eat just one!
The Mini Goat Cheese Balls, packed with flavor thanks to garlic and onion powder and lemon zest were up next. Bringing the cream cheese to room temperature was a must, and made mixing all of the ingredients much easier. I greased my hands with olive oil – also a must-do – and got to rolling. My favorite toppings, I think, were toasted walnuts. But for me, goat cheese is good with just about anything!
Sweet Potato Cheesecake (Liz Long)
Following Jessica's post is hard to do if only because her dishes were super delicious. I'm no chef, but my friends know if I'm in the kitchen, chances are I'm baking. This new-to-me holiday dish, however, wasn't exactly the norm.
I've never made a cheesecake before (I've only helped to eat several of them), but now that I have, I'm a big fan of avoiding hot ovens and hours of measuring cups of flour and butter. Plus, sweet potatoes are one of my very favorite things, so I'll use any excuse to eat them up!
Only after realizing my pie pan was too large and a quick, panicked trip the store later did my crust finally get made. With some melted butter and crushed graham cracker crumbs, the crust was super easy! After setting that aside, I peeled the sweet potato skin off, cut it up into chunks, and boiled them until soft enough to mash. After that, you throw everything in a blender until it's well-mixed, put it in your homemade pie crust, and toss it in the fridge to chill-yep, that's it! Sweet potato cheesecake is officially my new holiday dish for family gatherings.
It was a tough call, but in the end, the Blue Ridge Country staff decided that first place should be awarded to the Mini Goat Cheese Balls (submitted by Sherri Williams). Second place went to the Sweet Potato Cheesecake (submitted by Hidemi Walsh), while Praline Crescents (submitted by Glenda Hall) rounded out with third place. We want to thank everyone again for their fantastic submissions and certainly hope to receive more of your kitchen genius
To check out these recipes (and try them out for yourself, of course--call it research!), you can check out this blog post.