Festive treats with a healthy, holiday twist

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) – The holiday season is here and it’s a time of gatherings and great food. If you’re looking for some special recipes to share with family and friends, Maranda recently got a chance to talk with Jenn Fillenworth from Milk Means More. She shares some of her tasty recipes.

>>> Take a look in the video above.

Nutritional information…

Cream Cheese Christmas Tree Brownies (Family Friendly)

  1. Dairy ingredient: cream cheese
  2. Will discuss the preparation of both brownie and cream cheese batter, cook time, and temperature
  3. Kid friendly! Can decorate them in many different ways
  4. Can make brownies ahead of time to have ready when kids are ready to decorate
  5. Great idea to have a brownie decorating station for kids at a holiday party
  6. Can display these vertically to create a forest of brownies (will display like this on air)

Fruit pizza wreath (Nutrition Friendly, only 4 ingredients!)

  1. Dairy ingredient: yogurt
  2. Easy to make, can use premade sugar cookie dough
  3. Arrange cookie dough into a circle and bake
  4. Let cool and decorate with vanilla Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and mint
  5. Dessert option that’s lighter in calories and sugar
  6. Berries are a good source of antioxidants
  7. Yogurt is full of probiotics

Forest Full of Cupcakes (“Showstopper” Dessert)

  1. Dairy ingredient: buttermilk, cream cheese
  2. Discuss preparation of the cupcakes (bake time and temperature)
  3. Discuss preparation of the frosting (simple cream cheese frosting that’s versatile for cakes, cupcakes, and cookies)
  4. Kid friendly! Can decorate the mini-trees that top the cupcakes
  5. Can demo how to use a plastic bag for a piping bag
  6. Arrange cupcakes at different height levels to create a forest look


Christmas Tree Cheesecake Brownies

(adapted from the Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies on milkmeansmore.org)

Makes 16 trees

Ingredients for the Cheesecake Batter:

  • 8 ounces low-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

For the Brownie Batter:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For decorating:

  • Green and/or white frosting
  • Assorted sprinkles
  • Star shaped sprinkles
  • Candy canes


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with non-stick baking spray and set aside.
  3. Make the cheesecake batter. Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and beat well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and beat the mixture until blended.
  4. Make the brownie batter, add flour, cocoa and salt to a medium bowl and whisk until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, milk, eggs and vanilla until well combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until blended.
  5. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan evenly.
  6. Carefully pour the cheesecake batter over the top, spreading it evenly. Carefully swirl the layers together using the tip of a knife.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, until the brownies are set.
  8. Cool the brownies completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into triangle pieces.
  9. Decorate trees by placing green melted chocolate into a piping bag. Top with assorted sprinkles. Place a 3-inch piece of candy cane in the bottom of the brownie for the stump.

Fruit Pizza Wreath

Makes 1 wreath


  • 1 package of sugar cookie dough
  • 2 cups of vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups of assorted berries
  • Fresh mint for garnish


  1. Arrange the sugar cookie dough into a circle with the center open (like a wreath shape)
  2. Bake dough according to package directions
  3. Cool cookie dough and spread vanilla Greek yogurt on top
  4. Arrange assorted berries on top of yogurt then garnish with fresh mint leaves.
  5. Serve immediately

Winter Wonderland Buttermilk Cupcakes

Serves 16

Ingredients for the cupcakes:

  • 1⅔ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup green candy melts
  • 1 cup pretzel sticks
  • Optional: shredded coconut to top cupcakes

For the frosting:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Preparation for cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Prepare muffin tins with 16 paper liners. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter and sugar (the mixture will look gritty). Whisk in eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract, mixing well. In three additions, stir in the dry ingredients until combined.
  5. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about half to two-thirds full.
  6. Bake until the cupcakes look just set and the top of a cupcake springs back when pressed gently with a fingertip, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Preparation for frosting:

  1. Beat softened butter and cream cheese until well blended.
  2. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until well incorporated.

Preparation for tree cupcake toppers:

  1. Melt the candy melts according to package directions.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag.
  3. Place the pretzel sticks on a wax paper-lined baking sheet, spacing them 2 to 3 inches apart.
  4. Pipe the candy melts over the pretzel sticks in the shape of a tree.
  5. Transfer the baking sheet to the fridge for 10 minutes until the trees have fully hardened.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s