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New twists on holiday flavors

By Staff | Dec 10, 2010

Lori Dale, who runs Lori's Kringla in Rockwell City with her husband, Brian Dale, bakes everything from cakes to kringla to cheesecakes.

ROCKWELL CITY – From cinnamon to ginger, the spices and aromas of holiday baking are a feast for the senses, especially in Lori Dale’s kitchen.

“My mother told me not to play with my food,” Dale said, “but I’ve never stopped playing with food and perfecting my recipes. Dale, who lives in Somers, runs Lori’s Kringla and More in Rockwell City with her husband, Brian Dale.

From kringla to cakes to pies and pastries, Dale makes an array of desserts and spends hours each day in the kitchen, especially during the hectic rush of the holiday season.

Dale’s business grew out of a desire to honor her Norwegian culinary heritage and the need to generate additional income for her family following her husband’s battle with cancer.

“If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans,” said Dale, who acknowledges that her baking business reflects a leap of faith. “Some days all you have is faith to run on and you never know what might come next; but this has been a fun ride.”

This white chocolate pumpkin cheesecake is simple to make and features a flavorful crust made from gingersnap cookies.

Dale has carved out a niche with her hand-rolled kringla, which she makes the old-fashioned way and seals by hand. She and Brian Dale have also developed a thriving mail-order kringla business and have shipped orders from coast to coast.

“Making traditional kringla is a dying art,” said Dale, who grew up on a farm near Mingo and launched her business a few years ago by selling baked goods at local farmers markets, including the one in Rockwell City.

In April 2010, the Dales began remodeling a former caf north of the downtown area in Rockwell City and opened a bakery and coffee shop in June 2010.

In addition to keeping their prices affordable while providing high-quality baked goods, the Dales enjoy giving back to the community. They’ve donated baked goods to local school fundraisers and sometimes drop off treats for local law enforcement officers.

“There are so many good people around here who work hard every day to help others and we appreciate the opportunity to say ‘thank you,'” Dale said. “There’s no fun in this business if you can’t support the community that supports you.”

These chocolate star cookies take a new twist on a classic, since they don't include peanut butter.

White chocolate pumpkin cheesecake

(This luscious cheesecake features spiced pumpkin filling over a delectable gingersnap crust, Lori Dale said. The final touch is a crunchy almond topping.)

1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies (about 32 cookies)

1/4 cup butter, melted

3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 ounces white baking chocolate, melted and cooled

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Almond topping

1/2 cup chopped almonds

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon sugar

In a small bowl, combine gingersnap crumbs and butter. Press onto the bottom of a greased 9-inch spring form pan; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in melted white chocolate.

Combine pumpkin and spices; gently fold into cream cheese mixture. Pour over crust. Place pan on a baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes or until center is just set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the topping ingredients; spread in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring twice. Cool.

Carefully run a knife around edge of springform pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Transfer topping to an airtight container; store in the refrigerator. Just before serving, sprinkle topping over cheesecake. Refrigerate leftovers.

Chocolate star cookies

1 cup Crisco

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

48 Brach’s chocolate stars

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat together Crisco, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, water and vanilla until well mixed.

Add the flour, baking soda and salt to the mixing bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Place in oven and bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until light brown. As soon as you remove the cookies from the oven, place a chocolate star on the top of each cookie.

Banana walnut bread

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 1/8 cups sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 ripe medium-large bananas, mashed

1/2 cup to 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan and dust with flour. Blend together the flour, baking soda and salt, and set aside.

Mix together the egg, sugar and vegetable oil until combined. Add the flour mixture and combine. Add the buttermilk, vanilla and mashed bananas. Mix until combined. Fold in walnuts.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing banana bread from pan.

Pumpkin angel food cake with ginger-cream filling

1 package white angel food cake mix

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 / 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 cup cold water

Filling

2 cups whipping (heavy) cream

1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons finely-chopped crystallized ginger

Move oven rack to the lowest position. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In an extra-large glass or metal bowl, beat all cake ingredients with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute

Pour batter into an ungreased, 10-inch angel food pan (tube pan).

Bake for 37 to 47 minutes, or until crust is dark golden brown and cracks are dry. Immediately turn pan upside down onto heat-proof funnel or glass bottle. Let hang about two hours, or until cake is completely cool.

Loosen cake from side of pan with knife or long metal spatula. Turn cake upside down onto serving plate.

In chilled large bowl, beat whipping cream and powdered sugar with electric mixer on high speed until cream is stiff. Fold in ginger.

Cut cake horizontally in half to make two even layers. Spread half of the filling on the bottom layer; replace top of cake. Spread remaining filling on top of cake. Sprinkle with additional pumpkin pie spice, if desired.

Contact Darcy Dougherty Maulsby by e-mail at yettergirl@yahoo.com.

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