Sweet Treats for the Holidays

From Our Homes to Yours...Enjoy!


Photography by Lindsay Gifford

It is a tradition to have “Appetizer Day” at our Publisher, Elizabeth Millen’s home each year prior to the November magazine coming out. This year, we decided to shake things up a bit and have a “Dessert Day” instead. For Dessert Day, the entire Pink Magazine staff chose their favorite dessert recipe, prepared it, and brought it to share, along with the recipe, of course! To add to the fun, we gathered an impressive, eclectic assortment of serving trays from our wonderful advertisers in order to beautifully present our creations. This also allows us to show you that if we can do it, so can you.

Before we shared in the feast, each dessert was given star treatment, as it is groomed, garnished and styled for its very own photo shoot. The house was filled with delightful aromas and bustling with people coming in with their delicious desserts. It got us all excited for the upcoming holiday season.

We hope you enjoy these recipes. We have tried them all; rest assured that they all are delicious. You, your family and your guests are in for some decadent treats. Plus, having a beautiful serving tray makes it so easy to turn a simple recipe into a dynamite, showy offering.


Cut-Out Butter Cookies (shown above)
Darlene Enright, close friend, Pink Magazine
Serving dish provided by The Blue Parrot, Village at Wexford, HHI

Prep: 60 minutes | Chill: 60 minutes | Bake: 8 minutes per batch | Cool: 30 minutes | Makes 2 dozen

1½ cups Butter
1½ cups Sugar
2 large Eggs
1 Tbsp Vanilla extract (I use almond extract)
4½ cups All-purpose flour
½ tsp Salt
Royal icing (recipe below)
Cookie Cutter in a fun shape

Royal Icing: Make 1¼ cups

4 cups Powdered sugar
3 Tbsps Meringue powder
1 tbsp Clear vanilla extract (I use almond extract)
4 Tbsps Water

Combine all ingredients and water in a mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until firm enough to pipe but still spreadable (cover with a damp cloth to prevent a crust from forming while icing).

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Separately combine flour and salt in a large bowl and then gradually beat into butter mixture. Divide dough into 4 pieces, and flatten into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap, chill 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll each portion of dough to ¼-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out with your choice of 3- or 4- inch cookie cutters. Place on prepared baking sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned around edges. Let cool 3 minutes on baking sheets; transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Pipe cookies with Royal Icing, garnish, if desired.

Beautiful and delicious, these cookies make great gifts! -Darlene



Vermont Apple Crisp
Meredith M. Deal, Regional Director, Paisley Magazine (Pink’s Sister Magazine) Serving dish provided by Gifted Hilton Head, Village at Wexford, HHI

4+ cups Apples, sliced and peeled (Choose from one or more of the following varieties: Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, Gala, Jonathan, Braeburn, Fuji, Rome)
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Salt
¼ cup Water
¾ cup Flour, sifted
1 cup Sugar
⅓ cup Butter

Place apples in a buttered 10 x 6 x 2” Pyrex baking dish. Sprinkle apples with cinnamon, salt and water. Melt butter, then stir together with flour and sugar. Drop mixture over apples and bake 40 minutes at 350°. Serve warm. Can be topped with ice cream, yum.

“Linda Russell, longtime friend who hails from Vermont, gave me this recipe last year. Tip: use a mix of 2 or 3 different apples. This dessert always receives rave reviews.” -Meredith



Striped Delight
Beth Bouknight, Graphic Designer, Pink Magazine Serving Tray provided by What's in Store, St. Helena Island

1½ cups of Graham cracker crumbs
1 large container Cool Whip
½ cup of Sugar
2 pkgs. Instant chocolate pudding
⅓ cup of Butter, melted
3½ cups plus
2 Tbsps Milk
1 (8 oz.) Cream cheese

Combine graham cracker crumbs with ¼ cup of sugar and melted butter into a bowl and mix well. Cover bottom of 9” x 13” baking dish with mixture and press firmly. Beat cream cheese with ¼ cup of sugar and 2 Tbsp of milk until smooth. Fold in half tub of Cool Whip and spread on top of crust. Mix instant chocolate pudding and 3½ cups of milk together. Once combined, pour over cream cheese mixture. Chill overnight. Top with remaining Cool Whip.

“I’ve adopted this recipe from my Granny.  It’s a Bouknight family tradition! Enjoy!” -Beth


Chocolate Eclair Dessert
Jessica Caruso, Account Executive, Pink Magazine
Serving dish provided by Pretty Papers, Village at Wexford, HHI

1pkg (3.4 oz) Jell-O vanilla flavor instant pudding
2 cups Cold milk, divided
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool whip topping, thawed
22 Graham crackers
1 pkg (4 oz.) Baker’s unsweetened chocolate
¼ cup Butter
1.5 cups Powdered sugar

Beat pudding mix and 1¾ cups milk in large bowl with whisk for 2 minutes. Stir in cool whip. Layer about ⅓ of the grahams and half the cool whip mixture in 13 x 9-inch pan, breaking grahams as necessary to fit; repeat layers. Top with remaining grahams. Microwave chocolate and butter in medium microwaveable bowl on high 1½ minutes, stirring after 1 minute. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add sugar and remaining milk; stir until blended. Immediately spread/pour over graham crackers. Refrigerate 4 hours.

"This was my mom's guilty pleasure during her pregnancies.
Now it's just my guilty pleasure anytime." -Jessica


Jacie’s Brownie Bites
Jacie Millen, Princess, Pink Magazine
Serving Tray provided by Lettrs, Main Street, HHI

6 oz Unsweetened chocolate    
1 Tbsp Vanilla      
1 Tbsp Instant coffee powder
1½ sticks Unsalted butter    
4 Eggs          
2⅓ cups Granulated sugar
2 Tbsp Hershey’s chocolate syrup    
¼ tsp Salt      
¼ tsp Ground cinnamon
1¼ cups All-purpose flour, sifted after measuring  
Preheat oven to 375°. Spray mini-muffin tins with Baker’s Joy. (Can be prepared in a 9” x13”—also needs spraying) Melt Chocolate and butter together in a double boiler. Stir to blend, then set aside to cool. Stir in coffee, cinnamon and vanilla. Place eggs and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until slightly thickened. Add the sugar slowly in 5 or 6 portions. Continue beating the eggs for 10 minutes until consistency is perfectly smooth (Feel the mixture with your fingers; there should be no undissolved granules of sugar.)

Stir in the chocolate until just blended, then fold in the flour only until fully incorporated. Spoon batter into mini-muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes. If using a 9” x13” pan, bake for 15 minutes, then cover loosely with tin foil and continue baking for 20 more minutes.

“I made these with my babysitter when I was 8 years old. We discovered they are the best brownies ever and we didn’t even follow the recipe because we didn’t have instant coffee.” - Jacie


Mother's Pound Cake
Lindsay Gifford, Art Director, Pink Magazine
Cake Stand provided by Bellavista, St. Helena Island

Cake Ingredients:
1 stick Butter
1 stick Margarine
½ cup of Crisco
3 cups of Sugar
5 Large eggs
3 cups of All-Purpose Flour
1 cup of Milk
Vanilla flavoring

Icing Ingredients:
1 (8 oz.) Cream cheese, softened
1 box 10x Powdered sugar
½ cup Crisco
Almond flavoring (optional)

Preheat oven to 350˚. Slice butter and margarine into pieces, add to mixer and cream together. Add Crisco and mix thoroughly. Pour sugar in gradually. Once combined, add eggs one at a time, mixing well in between. Add flour and milk alternating each, mixing well in between. Scrape sides and be sure all flour is incorporated. Add 2 “caps” of vanilla and combine. Spray large bundt pan with Baker’s Joy or flour. Pour batter into pan evenly and place in preheated oven. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until knife comes out clean when stuck in the middle of the cake. If not cooked, place back in the oven checking every 5 minutes.

Icing: Allow cream cheese to soften and then place in mixing bowl. Whip cream cheese until smooth. Add Crisco and mix on medium for several minutes. Add ½ of powdered sugar and incorporate. Repeat. Once icing is smooth, add one cap of almond flavoring (if desired.) Whip icing for 5 minutes on high until fluffy.

“My grandmother was known all over for her ‘Mother’s Pound Cake’ and now I’m beginning to gain my own reputation for my ‘Great-Grandmother’s Pound Cake’. It’s a great way to keep her memory alive and this moist cake will have everyone asking for more!” - Lindsay


Aunt Rose’s Cookies
Donne Paine, columnist of “Reel Corner,” Pink Magazine
Serving Dish provided by The Bleu Companies, HHI

1 cup Sugar          
1 cup Milk        
¼ tsp Salt
½ stick Butter          
1 tsp Vanilla        
2½ tsp Baking powder
4 Eggs              
6 cups Flour

Preheat oven to 350°. Cream sugar, butter, eggs, milk and vanilla together. Then add flour, salt and baking powder. Mix well. Knead on floured table. Roll a spoonful of dough and twist. Bake for 15 minutes and then cool.

¼ stick Butter          
1 tsp Vanilla        
3 cups Powdered sugar
Food coloring          
3 Tbsp Milk        

Icing: Cream together ingredients. Once combined well, add food
coloring of your choice. Ice cookie and top with sprinkles.

“My Mom’s sister made these cookies for every wedding, shower and holiday. Even as an elderly woman she had the smoothest and most flexible hands, I’m sure it was from years of making these cookies.” -Donne


Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies
Hilary Kraus, writer and copy editor, Pink Magazine
Serving dish provided by Octopuses, St. Helena Island

Makes 45+ cookies.
4 sticks Unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
5 cups Unbleached All-purpose flour
Large pinch of Salt
Chocolate Glaze:
9 oz. Good quality bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
6 Tbsp Unsalted butter
45+ Whole blanched almonds

Preheat oven to 250°. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 10.5” x 15.5” jelly roll pan. Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy and pale in color. Gradually add flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together in a ball. Press the dough firmly into the pan. Bake for approximately 1½ - 2 hours, until just starting to turn a light golden brown. Remove from oven. With a very sharp knife, immediately cut into 1” x 3” rectangles and let cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Brush off crumbs on each cookie and transfer to a rack to continue cooling. Glaze: Melt chocolate and butter together and let cook slightly. Holding the shortbread cookie lengthwise, carefully dip ⅓ into the glaze. Hold up for a few seconds and allow chocolate to drip off. Place an almond in the center of each glazed edge, then place on wax paper. Place in the refrigerator until the chocolate is set. When set, remove each shortbread cookie, and place on clean wax paper. Store in an airtight container. This recipe freezes beautifully.

“In memory of my mother Sharon Kraus, whose recipes never grow old. Like all her desserts, these decadant shortbread cookies continue to be crowd pleasers.” -Hilary


Oreo Truffles
Dana Millen, Vice-President, Pink Magazine
Serving Tray provided by Joli Home Accents, Bay Street, Beaufort

1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream cheese, softened     
4 oz. White chocolate bark coating
36 (1 pkg.) Oreo cookies, finely crushed     
½ pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Finely crush Oreos (easiest in a food processor). Blend cream cheese and cookie crumbs until well mixed. Shape into 48 (1-inch) balls and place on cookie sheet covered with waxed or parchment paper. Freeze 10 min. In a double boiler, melt white chocolate. Dip balls in melted chocolate; place in single layer in shallow waxed paper-lined pan. Place semi-sweet chocolate chips in a zip top plastic bag. Melt in the microwave in 10-second intervals checking each time. Once melted, snip a small piece from the corner of the baggie and garnish each truffle to your design preference. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

Note: To easily coat truffles with the melted chocolate, add truffles in batches to bowl of melted chocolate. Use 2 forks to roll truffles in chocolate until evenly coated. Remove truffles with forks, letting excess chocolate drop back into bowl.

"One of the best reasons ever to crush your Oreo Cookies. So rich and creamy." -Dana


Dad’s Favorite Coconut Cake
Elizabeth, Owner & Publisher, Pink Magazine
MacKenzie-Childs Cake Stand provided by Forsythe Jewelers,
Shops at Sea Pines Center, HHI

Note: Prepare 2 days ahead

1 box Yellow cake mix        
2½ cups Sugar
2 cups (16oz.) Sour cream    
2½  pkgs Fresh frozen coconut

Bake cake mix as directed on package, making 2 layers. Cool. Cut each layer in 2 with a knife or thread (makes 4 layers). Hand mix sour cream, sugar and coconut together. Spread mixture between layers, on top and around the sides. It will be runny. Wrap tightly in Saran wrap and store in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. When ready to serve, remove plastic wrap. Fix any spots on the cake that may need covering and serve.

"A family favorite for years, this was my dad’s favorite. I made it for him for what came to be his last birthday. I’m so happy the nurses said he could have it because it brought a smile to his face!" -Elizabeth


Cream Cheese Squares
Rachel Rucker, Advertising Coordinator, Pink Magazine
Serving Dish provided by Red Piano Too, St. Helena Island

2 cans Pillsbury crescent rolls, original
2 (8 oz.) Philadelphia cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2 Tbsp Butter, melted + more for greasing

Grease 9” x13” pan with butter. Place 1 can of crescent rolls into pan, covering the bottom. Cream sugar, cream cheese and vanilla together. Spread mixture on top of crescent rolls. Place second can of crescent rolls on top, spreading to cover mixture.  Brush lightly with melted butter. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over top. Bake at 350˚ for 12 minutes.

“This is so easy…even I can do it!” - Rachel


West Hagley Trifle
Judith & Bill Lawrenson, writer and photographer, Pink Magazine
Trifle Dish provided by Le Cookery, Village at Wexford, HHI

1 lb. Pound cake (store bought or homemade—make sure the cake has good body and isn’t too light)
1.5 lbs. Blackberries (you may substitute other semi-sweet fruit)
Whipped cream (fat free cool whip is a healthy alternative)
Cherries, for garnish
Walnuts, for garnish
3 cups Milk
Bird’s Custard Powder (or other BRITISH custard)
2 Tbsp Sugar
⅔ cup Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry
Trifle Bowl

Cut pound cake into ⅔ inch thick slices and cut in half. Layer in trifle bowl in even dense layers filling ⅔ of the bowl. Pour sherry evenly over pound cake and allow to seep in. Bring fruit to a boil until soft and juicy (about ⅔ cup of juice is ideal). Pour fruit into the bowl and ensure juice flows down into the cake. Allow to stand while making custard. Make 1/5 pint of custard per the Bird’s Custard Powder directions. This a slow process, be sure not to use more heat than is called for and watch carefully. Pour the custard over the fruit and cake and ensure it flows evenly throughout the trifle. Use a pointed knife to provide channels for air to reach the cake. Cover with a damp paper towel. When ready to serve: add a layer of whipped cream and garnish with walnuts and cherries.

“This is a family recipe that Mom taught me—it was her party favorite, as well as her Mom’s. Now, I’m known all over the island for it!” - Bill


Strawberry Silk Pie
Jane Kendall, profile writer, Pink Magazine
Serving Dish provided by Grace & Glory, Uptown Beaufort

No Bake - Dairy Free - Gluten Free | Prep time:  5 minutes | Servings:  8

1 cup Almond meal
½ cup Dried,
unsweetened, shredded coconut
Blend the
together. Then
press into a
9-inch pie dish.

2 cups Fresh strawberries    ½ cup Pure maple syrup
1 cup Raw cashews    1 cup Coconut oil
2 Tbsps Vanilla extract    Pinch salt
Place all filling ingredients into the blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Carefully pour on top of the crust. Refrigerate for 3 hours (or in freezer for 30 minutes). Garnish with fresh berries. The texture is a lot like fudge, firm and silky, and melts in your mouth as soon as you take a bite.

“The first time I tasted this I thought I was in heaven! I modified the recipe from a dessert made by my friend Cheryl McCarthy. I love that this is filled with healthy ingredients…and it’s Pink!” -Jane


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