The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

December 30, 2011

Sweet treats for the New Year

Karen Freeman

TARBORO — I know that we just finished the Christmas holidays and we all probably ate too much. However, New Year’s Eve is just around the corner. Also, there will be other needs for sweet stuff during the cold winter months and there is always Valentine’s Day in a few weeks. So, here are some great sweet treats. These are some of my favorites.

The first is cream cheese Danish swirls. They are made with crescent rolls so they are very easy to make. If you have the crescent rolls, you probably have the other ingredients as well.

The second recipe is a banana split cake. This will be a big hit at a family New Year’s Eve gathering. This can also be made in muffin cups for individual serving sizes.

The next recipe is a traditional Southern treat -- and very sweet. It’s buttermilk pie. I am a fan of buttermilk as a cooking ingredient. I use it a lot. I don’t drink it because I don’t like the taste that way. But, even if you are not a fan, you will love this pie.

The last recipe is a coffee cake with actual coffee in it. It starts with a cake mix and it’s very easy to make. You will make this one over and over. This is for the after the party breakfast or brunch on New Year’s Day.

Have a blessed New Year!

Cream Cheese Danish Swirls

6 Ounces Cream Cheese, Softened

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1/2 Cup Confectioners' Sugar

1/2 Cup Nuts, Chopped Fine

2 (8-Ounce) Cans Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls

1 Egg White

1 Teaspoon Water



1/2 Cup Confectioners' Sugar

4 Teaspoons Milk

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract


In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, vanilla extract, and sugar until fluffy. Fold half of the chopped almonds into the cream cheese mixture. Separate 1 can of dough and assemble into 4 rectangles. Firmly press the perforations to seal. Press or roll each piece of dough to form a 7 by 4-inch rectangle, and spread each with about 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese filling to within 1/4-inch of the edges. Starting at the short end, roll each rectangle tightly into a cylinder. Repeat with the other can of dough and remaining filling.

Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F while the rolls are chilling.

Remove from the refrigerator and cut each roll into 4 slices. Place 1/2-inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. In a small bowl, combine the egg white with 1-teaspoon water. Brush over the swirls. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped almonds. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until light brown.

While the swirls are baking, combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Cool the swirls for 3 minutes on wire racks placed over a sheet of waxed paper. Drizzle the icing over the warm swirls.

Banana Split Cake

1-1/2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs

1 cup sugar, divided

1/3 cup butter, melted

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened

1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained

6 medium bananas, divided

2 cups cold milk

2 pkg. (4-serving size each) Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling

2 cups thawed Whipped Topping, divided

1 cup Chopped Pecans

Mix crumbs, 1/4 cup of the sugar and the butter; press firmly onto bottom of 13x9-inch pan. Freeze 10 min.

Beat cream cheese and remaining 3/4 cup sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Spread carefully over crust; top with pineapple. Slice 4 of the bananas; arrange over pineapple.

Pour milk into medium bowl. Add dry pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 2 min. Or until well blended. Gently stir in 1 cup of the whipped topping; spread over banana layer in pan. Top with remaining 1 cup whipped topping; sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate 5 hours. Slice remaining 2 bananas just before serving; arrange over dessert. Store leftover dessert in refrigerator.

Buttermilk Pie

3 eggs (or 4 eggs for less sweet version)

1-cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour, plus a little for dusting

1/2 cup melted butter

1-cup buttermilk (or 1 1/2 cups buttermilk for less sweet version)

1-teaspoon vanilla extract

1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat eggs slightly and add sugar and flour. Then add melted butter and mix well. Add buttermilk and vanilla and mix.

Dust the unbaked pie shell with a little bit of flour. Pour batter into shell, and then sprinkle a little more flour on top.

Bake at 325 degrees until the custard is set, approximately 1 hour.

Cinnamon-Crusted Coffee Cake

1 pkg. (2-layer size) yellow cake mix

3 eggs

1/3 cup oil

1-1/3 cups brewed coffee, cooled

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 cup coconut

1/2 cup walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat cake mix with eggs, oil and coffee in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Pour evenly into 2 greased (9-inch) round cake pans.

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl. Stir in coconut and walnuts; sprinkle evenly over cake batter.

Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool completely on wire racks before removing cake layers from pans.

Did You Know?

Baking Tips

Baking pans: Don't crowd the oven. The pans should never touch each other or the sides of the oven, or be placed over or under each other on the racks.

Grease pans using a piece of paper towel, rub a small amount of shortening, butter or margarine evenly over the bottom and on sides of pans, if directed. A small amount of pan spray may be used and spread over the pan, also using the paper towel technique.  

Prevent sharp edges on muffins, bar cookies or quick breads by greasing the muffin cups or pans only on the bottom and halfway up the sides so the batter is higher than the grease line. This is one time you might not want to use a pan spray.  

Butter: Do not use spreads to replace butter, margarine or shortening one for one in a recipe. Spreads contain less fat and more water, so they will not perform like butter or margarine.  

Brown Sugar: In a pinch, you can make your own brown sugar.  Cream with a spoon or mix with a fork 1 cup granulated sugar and 1-2 Tablespoons molasses until the sugar can be packed in a cup and measured like brown sugar.

Corn Syrup: Corn syrup has wonderful properties for cooking and baking.  It is best to use recipes specifically developed for corn syrup, rather than simply exchanging corn syrup with sugar, honey, molasses or sorghum in a baking recipe. 


Light, dark and Lite corn syrups for home bakers have the following functions:  controls sugar crystallization in candy, caramel rolls, pie fillings prevents the formation of ice crystals in frozen desserts enhances fresh fruit flavor in jams and preserves brushed onto baked ham, barbecued meats, baked vegetables or fresh fruit, it is an ideal glaze.

In baked goods corn syrup holds moisture and maintains freshnesslonger Imparts a chewiness to bars and cookies

Karo light and dark corn syrups perform similarly in recipes and can usually be used interchangeably. Recipes usually specify which type to use but the choice may be guided by personal preference.

Karen’s Kitchen is a weekly column by Karen Freeman of Tarboro. Contact Karen at: to exchange ideas, ask questions, submit recipes, tips or suggestions.