‘Tis the season to be lazy.

Okay, the word “lazy” might be too harsh.

It’s more like “busy” – as in I’m-so-busy-I-can’t-even-see straight. Though each and every day between now and December 26th is jam packed with activity, it’s a must for me to prepare a huge holiday meal. I’ve finalized my side dishes (mixed greens with fennel and oranges, potatoes Dauphinoise) and my main course (beef short ribs) but I always leave dessert until the last minute. The fact that I work for a dessert company might have something to do with it. The rest of the meal takes so much time – and we do make the best desserts in the world – so why would I prepare one from scratch?

I try to mix things up a bit each year. We bake over 60 different flavors, but sometimes you just want a piece of good ol’ Original Plain Cheesecake. For the holidays, it needs a little dressing up, so here are three easy as can be sauce/topping recipes.

They’re quick and simple to prepare, and two out of three greatly benefit from the addition of a little liqueur (if you’re serving adults) like raspberry, coffee, chocolate or any of your favorite liqueur flavors.

Which makes everything a bit merrier.

Raspberry Sauce

1 pound frozen raspberries (unsweetened), thawed
1 cup granulated sugar
Juice from 1 lemon
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp cold water

1) Combine first three ingredients; blend mixture in blender or food processor until liquid. You could also put it into an unbreakable and use brute force to beat it to a pulp with a potato masher, but since the seeds are strained out your end result might be a bit less sauce.
2) Press the mixture through a fine sieve to remove seeds.
3) Dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of cold water*; stir this into the strained raspberry sauce. Place mixture in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil (stirring constantly).
4) Remove from heat and add 2 tbsp. favorite liqueur to taste (optional)

*mixing the cornstarch with water (called a “slurry”)  before adding to the raspberry mixture helps prevent lumps!

Apple Topping

6 Medium Baking Apples (like Michigan Ida Red or Granny Smith)
½ cup Granulated sugar
1 tbsp. Ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. Butter

1) Peel and core apples then slice each into 8 wedges. Toss with sugar and cinnamon.
2) Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add apples and sautee  just until they are slightly soft to touch , about 5 minutes (be careful not to overcook the apples).
3) Delicious served warm or cold.

Chocolate Sauce

11/2 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. butter
1 pound milk chocolate*, chopped

1) Combine cream, sugar, and butter in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil.
2) Remove from heat and add chocolate, stirring constantly until all chocolate is melted throughout.
3) Add 2 tbsp. of your favorite liqueur (optional).
4) Serve warm.
*You may substitute bittersweet chocolate for the milk chocolate. Use the same amount of chocolate, but increase the sugar to 2 tbsp. or to taste.

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