A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Savory: Sausage Balls Pecan Party Mix Cheese Coins with Cream Cheese & Pepper Jelly Baked Shrimp Cocktail Dip Warm Feta and Red Pepper Dip Smoky Cheese Wafers Buffalo Chicken Dip

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Savory: Sausage Balls Pecan Party Mix Cheese Coins with Cream Cheese & Pepper Jelly Baked Shrimp Cocktail Dip Warm Feta and Red Pepper Dip Smoky Cheese Wafers Buffalo Chicken Dip

16 Festive Recipes for Your Holiday Party



photograph by Bill Lusk Studio

Classic Carolina Sausage Balls

Recipe by Todd Dulaney

1 pound breakfast sausage
1 (10-ounce) package mild or sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
2 to 3 cups biscuit mix
1 teaspoon paprika

Bring sausage and cheese to room temperature and combine in a bowl, mixing well.

Add paprika and biscuit mix, adding up to 3 cups of biscuit mix for desired texture. Roll into small balls.

Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes.

 


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Pecan Party Mix Recipe

photograph by Matt Hulsman

Pecan Party Mix

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 12 cups.

3 cups Crispix cereal
2 cups Cheerios cereal
3 cups Cheez-It crackers
2 cups pecan halves
2 cups mini pretzels or pretzel sticks
8 tablespoons salted butter
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1½ teaspoons seasoned salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons dill

Preheat oven to 300°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place cereal, crackers, pecans, and pretzels in large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a saucepan, add butter, Worcestershire, seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and dill. Heat on low, stirring occasionally, until butter melts. Pour seasoned butter over dry mix, and toss until all dry ingredients are coated.

Pour party mix onto baking sheets and bake for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to reach room temperature. Place in airtight container.

 


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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Cheese Coins with Cream Cheese & Pepper Jelly

Recipe by Sheri Castle

Yield: 5 dozen.

8 ounces extra-sharp yellow Cheddar cheese
4 ounces extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon paprika
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
6 tablespoons ice-cold water
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese at room temperature (for serving)
1 (8-ounce) jar pepper jelly (for serving)

Shred the cheese on the large holes of a box grater or with the shredding dish of a food processor. Place the cheese, flour, cornstarch, salt, cayenne, and paprika in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Scatter the cubes of butter over the cheese mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand. Sprinkle the water over the flour mixture and pulse until clumps begin to form.

Pour onto a surface lined with parchment paper or waxed paper, and gather into a ball. Flatten to a disc, cover with a second sheet of parchment, and roll to a ¼-inch thickness. Stamp out rounds with a 1½-inch cutter. Gather and roll the scraps and stamp out rounds until all of the dough is used.

Arrange the rounds on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, spacing them at least 1 inch apart. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Position oven racks in the upper and lower third of the oven and preheat oven to 350°. Bake the coins until they are just set and light golden brown around the edges, 22 to 25 minutes. Do not overbake. Set the pans on wire racks and let stand until coins are cool. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

To serve, unwrap the cream cheese and place on a serving tray. Spoon pepper jelly over the top of the cream cheese or into a bowl. Serve alongside the cheese coins.

 


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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Baked Shrimp Cocktail Dip

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon pickling spice
1 pound medium shrimp, thawed, peeled, and deveined
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish sauce
¾ cup shredded Gouda or Swiss cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Texas Pete to taste (optional)
½ cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
Crackers, celery sticks, or pita chips (for serving)

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large pot, add 3 cups of water, bay leaf, and pickling spice; bring to a boil. Add shrimp and cook just until shrimp turn pink and begin to curl (about 2 minutes). Do not overcook. Remove and discard bay leaf. Strain shrimp in colander in sink. Cover shrimp with ice cubes and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, ketchup, horseradish sauce, cheeses, garlic powder, Old Bay, and lemon juice. Taste mixture; add salt, black pepper, and/or hot sauce if desired. Add half of the chopped parsley and stir.

When shrimp is cool to the touch, coarsely chop and add to cheese mixture. Stir until all ingredients are combined. Transfer shrimp mixture to baking dish and bake for 45 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Remove from oven and garnish with remaining parsley. Serve hot with crackers, celery sticks, or pita chips.

 


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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Warm Feta and Red Pepper Dip

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 12 servings.

1 (12-ounce) jar Mt. Olive roasted whole red peppers, drained
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 (8-ounce) blocks feta, crumbled
2 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
Juice from ½ lemon
Crackers, bread, or sliced vegetables (for serving)

Preheat oven to 400°. Place roasted peppers on a paper towel to remove excess liquid. Roughly chop peppers and place in a mixing bowl. Add cream cheese, garlic, basil, oregano, and black pepper. Stir until well combined. Fold feta into cream cheese mixture.

Spoon cheese mixture into an oven-safe baking dish. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbling around the edges. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Drizzle olive oil and fresh lemon juice on top just before serving. Serve with crackers, crusty bread, and/or vegetable crudités.

 


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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Smoky Cheese Wafers

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 48 wafers.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon Texas Pete
1 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, hand-shredded

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cayenne pepper, and paprika. Set aside.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter and hot sauce until smooth and creamy. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture, scraping down the sides. Add cheese and continue mixing until all ingredients are well incorporated. Remove dough from mixing bowl, form into a ball, and place on clean countertop.

Cut dough into quarters. Lightly flour countertop and roll each section of dough into log shapes, approximately 2 inches thick. Gently press dough as you roll to eliminate air pockets. Once all dough has been rolled, wrap each cheese log in plastic wrap and tie the ends to ensure all the dough is sealed. Store dough in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°. Remove dough from refrigerator as needed. Unwrap dough and cut into ½-inch slices. Place slices on parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced 1 inch apart. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are slightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes to set. Once wafers are completely cooled, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

 


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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 12 servings.

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
¾ cup buffalo sauce (Texas Pete)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
⅔ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
2 green onions, sliced
1½ cups cornflakes cereal

Preheat oven to 350˚. In a medium bowl, toss shredded chicken and buffalo sauce until chicken is coated. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, and garlic powder with a wooden spoon until well blended. Add buffalo chicken mixture, ½ cup of the Cheddar cheese, ½ cup of the Monterey Jack cheese, and green onions. Stir to combine.

Spread mixture into a 9 x 9-inch pan and top with remaining cheese and cornflakes. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve with celery and/or pita chips and your favorite blue cheese dressing.

 


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photograph by Elena Brent Rosemond-Hoerr

Bacon-Jalapeño Pimento Cheese Dip

Recipe by Elena Brent Rosemond-Hoerr

1 pound Neese’s Hickory Smoked bacon
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
8 ounces cream cheese
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup hot sauce
Pinch of salt
2 (4 ounce) jars pimentos, drained
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
Chips or crackers (for serving)

Cut bacon into slivers and cook over medium-low heat. Set aside.

Heat oven to 350º.

In a mixer, cream together shredded cheese, mayonnaise, cream cheese, mustard, hot sauce, and salt. Add pimentos, jalapeños, and bacon. Mix well to combine.

Transfer mixture to an 8-inch casserole dish or ramekin. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbling and browned. Serve hot with chips or crackers.

 


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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Red Velvet Cake

Recipe by Sheri Castle

Yield: 12 servings.

For the cake:
Shortening and flour for the pans
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup whole buttermilk
1(1-ounce) bottle (2 tablespoons) red food coloring
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

For the frosting:
1 cup whole milk
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Grease three 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and grease the paper. Dust the pans with flour, tap out the excess, and set aside.

Sift together the flour and salt into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, beat the butter until soft and creamy with a mixer set to high speed, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk, beating on medium speed only until the batter is smooth after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl between additions.

In a small bowl, stir together the food coloring and cocoa to form a paste. Add to the batter and beat on low speed until incorporated. Quickly beat in the vanilla. In another small bowl, stir together the baking soda and vinegar. It will foam vigorously. Quickly stir, by hand, into the batter.

Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Bake only until firm on top and pulling away from the sides of the pan, 16 to 18 minutes. A tester inserted into the center will come out clean. Let cool in the pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Turn the layers out on the rack and turn right side up to cool to room temperature.

For the frosting: In a small saucepan, whisk together the milk and flour until smooth. Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until it reaches the consistency of pudding. Remove from heat, add the sugar and salt, and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Scrape into a small bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and let stand until it cools to room temperature. (If your kitchen is warm, place the bowl in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.)

In a large metal bowl, beat the butter with a mixer set to medium speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, add the flour mixture in heaping spoonfuls. Beat in the vanilla. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula. Switch to the whisk attachment if your mixer has one. Beat the frosting on medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy with the consistency of stiffly whipped cream. Use immediately.

To assemble: Place one layer on a cake plate or platter. Spread about ½ cup of frosting over the top. Add a second cake layer bottom side up and spread about ½ cup of frosting over the top. Add the third layer, right side up. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.

 


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photograph by Matt Hulsman

White Chocolate & Peppermint Cookies

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 2 dozen cookies.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons peppermint extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
½ cup crushed candy cane pieces (5 candy canes)
4 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt.

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add brown sugar and granulated sugar, and mix on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Add egg, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

On low speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet until combined. The cookie dough will be very thick. Add white chocolate chips and crushed candy canes, then mix for about 5 seconds until combined. Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Roll dough into individual balls, about 1½ tablespoons each. Dough may be crumbly.

Bake for 12 minutes, until light golden brown around the edges. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Microwave chopped white chocolate in 20-second increments, stirring after each until completely melted. Use tines of a fork to drizzle over cooled cookies. Store in an airtight container.

 


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Photo Credit Enabled photograph by Matt Hulsman

Molasses Ginger Crinkles

Recipe by Community Cookbook Series

Yields: 24 cookies.

12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup unpacked light brown sugar
1 large egg
½ cup molasses
1 teaspoon coffee extract or pure vanilla extract
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger

Cream the butter, ½ cup of the granulated sugar, and the brown sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a wooden spoon and beat until light and fluffy. Slowly add the egg, molasses, and coffee extract, beating well to combine.

Combine the flour, ground ginger, fresh ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a separate bowl and stir to mix. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat just until combined. Cover the dough with plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight, until firm.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375˚. Combine the remaining ½ cup granulated sugar and the crystallized ginger in a small shallow bowl and stir to mix. Pinch off small pieces of the dough and roll them into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in the sugar-ginger mixture to coat evenly and arrange on ungreased baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the edges are set and the center is still soft. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes. Serve warm or transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container until ready to serve, or for up to 3 days. 

 


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photograph by Matt Hulsman

White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies

Recipe by Wendy Perry

Yield: 4 dozen cookies.

8 ounces (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 egg
1 cup vegetable oil
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup crushed cornflakes
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1 tablespoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325º. In a mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugars, and vanilla and orange extracts. Add egg and mix. Add oil and stir.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, cornflakes, oatmeal, baking soda, and salt. Add to batter. Stir in white chocolate chips, almonds, and cranberries.

Form dough into 1-inch balls. Place on cookie sheet, and flatten with a fork dipped in water. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove cookie sheet from oven, and let sit for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

 


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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Coconut Layer Cake

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 12 servings.

2½ cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1⅓ cups granulated sugar
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
½ cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons coconut extract
1 cup canned coconut milk, at room temperature
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Coconut frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons canned coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut or coconut flakes

For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray, line with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper.

Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up from the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in egg whites until combined. Add sour cream and vanilla and coconut extracts. Beat until well combined.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually add dry ingredients and coconut milk. Beat on low speed until combined, then add shredded coconut. The batter should be slightly thick.

Pour batter evenly into cake pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans on a wire rack.

For the frosting: Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Switch the mixer to low speed, add powdered sugar, coconut milk, extracts, and salt. Increase speed to high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin; add more coconut milk if frosting is too thick.

To assemble, use a large serrated knife to slice a thin layer off the tops of the cake layers to create a flat surface. Place one layer on a cake plate and evenly spread about 1½ cups of icing on top. Top with the other cake layer. Using an offset spatula, spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of cake. Cover the cake with coconut, sprinkling on top and pressing into sides. Refrigerate for 2 hours before slicing.

 


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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Horne Family Fruitcake

Recipe provided by Lynn Wells

Yield: 12 to 16 servings.

4 cups all-purpose flour
2¼ cups granulated sugar
1 stick salted butter
1 cup sweet wine, such as cream sherry, or apple juice
1½ teaspoons lemon extract
4 large eggs
3 cups walnuts, chopped
1 (8-ounce) jar cherries, drained
1½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
4 ounces citron
8 ounces dried pineapple, chopped
1 pound golden raisins
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 (12-ounce) jar pineapple preserves or orange marmalade

Preheat oven to 275°. Grease a 9-inch Bundt pan or two 6-inch Bundt pans with cooking spray.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until well incorporated. Press cake mixture evenly into the pan. Place Bundt pan into a broiler pan filled with 4 cups of water. Bake for 3 hours.

Note: Recipe yields 1 large 8-pound cake or 2 small 4-pound cakes.

 


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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Dark Chocolate Mousse with Chambord Raspberry Cream

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

5 ounces bittersweet dark chocolate, 70% cocoa
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 large eggs, cold
1 cup heavy cream, cold
3 tablespoons castor sugar
Pinch of salt
Whipped cream topping
Chocolate shavings (for garnish)
Fresh raspberries (for garnish)
6 to 8 tablespoons Chambord (raspberry liqueur)

Place chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt in microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until smooth. Set aside to cool.

Separate egg whites and yolks while eggs are cold. Place whites in a large bowl and yolks in a small bowl. Break up yolks with a fork.

In a separate medium bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the cold cream until stiff peaks form. Add sugar and salt.

Clean the beaters, and beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Fold egg yolks into cream using a rubber spatula. Do not overmix.

Fold chocolate into cream mixture while chocolate is still slightly warm; do not overmix.

Add ¼ of beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture. Fold until well incorporated.

Pour chocolate mixture into remaining egg whites. Fold until incorporated and no more white lumps remain, a maximum of 12 folds.

Divide mixture between 6 or 8 dessert cups or short glasses. Cover each serving with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours.

Serve with whipped cream topping and garnish with chocolate shavings, fresh raspberries, and a tablespoon of Chambord over each serving.

 


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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Red Velvet Peppermint Pound Cake

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 12 servings.

Pound cake:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
3 cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup whole buttermilk
1 (1-ounce) bottle red food coloring

Peppermint cream cheese filling:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
¼ cup crushed peppermint candies (optional, for garnish)

For the cake: Preheat oven to 325°. Prepare a Bundt pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating each egg until well incorporated. Add vanilla and peppermint extracts and vinegar; beat until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda.

Add flour mixture and buttermilk in alternating batches to butter mixture, beating consistently and ending with flour. Stir in food coloring. Pour half of the batter into Bundt pan.

For the filling: Using a mixer on medium speed, whisk all ingredients until smooth.

Spoon filling into the middle of the batter, avoiding edges of the pan. Spoon remaining batter into the pan.

Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes in pan, then remove cake and place on a wire cooling rack.

For the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients until smooth. Once the cake has cooled completely, drizzle glaze over cake. Sprinkle top of cake with crushed peppermint candies.

 


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This story was published on Dec 01, 2022

Our State Staff

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