Easy holiday dessert recipes from Chapman’s own

A Gingerbread Man Latte

Photo courtesy of Darren McArdel
A Gingerbread Man Latte
Cece's Pumpkin Dump Cake

Photo by Amanda Young
Cece’s Pumpkin Dump Cake
Kathy Z's apple cobbler

Photo by Amanda Young
Kathy Z’s apple cobbler
Buckeye Candy

Photo by Amanda Young
Buckeye Candy

This holiday season, give your relatives an excuse to pass on grandma’s fruitcake. Below are holiday dessert recipes from Chapman students, faculty and staff. They are listed starting with the easiest and cheapest recipes. All recipes include certain bake ware and tools such as a nine-inch-by-13-inch baking pan, a cookie sheet and an espresso machine. For the best results, you should purchase these tools or borrow them from your neighbor. Each recipe should be no more than $10 to $15. Maybe these holiday recipes can join your family holiday tradition this year.

Buckeye Candies

In honor of her and her family’s alma mater, Michigan State University, Mary Platt, Chapman’s director of communications and media relations, makes these candies during the holiday season. The Buckeyes are the mascot of Michigan State’s rival school, Ohio State University. The Michigan State’s Spartans love eating Buckeyes, according to Platt, The finished candy should be shiny to resemble the buckeye nut.

Ingredients for candy:

1 stick softened butter

1 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (1.18 ounce jar)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pound confectioner’s sugar

Toothpicks (to dip candy)

Ingredients for chocolate coating:

One package semi-sweet chocolate chips.

1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (Crisco)

To make the candy, mix butter, peanut butter and vanilla together, adding confectioner’s sugar in fourths at a time. Mix until it reaches a creamy consistency. Do not over mix. Roll one-inch balls from the peanut butter mixture, and place on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet. To make the chocolate coating, melt chocolate chips and vegetable shortening together in the top of a double boiler – two saucepans, one on the bottom filled with water over medium to low heat, and the other on top to melt the chocolate. Once the chocolate is mixed and melted, use the toothpicks to dip the peanut butter balls in the chocolate. Only dip three-fourths of the ball. Place the dipped candies back onto the cookie sheet to cool. The recipe makes eight dozen.

Kathi Z’s Apple Cobbler

This holiday recipe is for a dessert from her mom, Kathi, said senior Sara Zotovich. She makes this dessert every Thanksgiving and Christmas, said Zotovich. According to Zotovich, the best part of this recipe, besides the cobbler crust, is that it is easy and quick to make. All you need is a nine-inch-by-13-inch baking pan. Use Fuji, Granny Smith and Gala apples to give the taste buds some variety. The recipe does not call for peeled or unpeeled apples, said Zotovich. Having some unpeeled apples give this cobbler great texture.

Ingredients for cobbler filling:

Six to eight large apples (enough to fill pan)

Dash of ground cinnamon

Dash of ground nutmeg

Dash of white sugar

Dash of brown sugar

Ingredients for cobbler crust:

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

1 1/2 cup flour

1 1/2 stick softened butter (cut into cubes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To make the cobbler filling, slice peeled or unpeeled apples into eighths. Lightly coat apples with nutmeg, ground cinnamon, white sugar and brown sugar. Make sure every apple gets a nice coating. Layer apples in the pan. To make the cobbler crust, mix white sugar, brown sugar and flour in a bowl. Add cube by cube into the mixture until it becomes a crumbly texture. Then pat down the mixture onto the apples, but not too much. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until golden brown. For a less juicy cobbler, sprinkle graham cracker crumbs with apples before adding mixture.

Cece’s Pumpkin Dump Cake

This pumpkin dump cake was discovered when the father of Chapman English professor Lynda Hall, Ken Hall Sr., looked up his high school sweetheart Cece on www.classmates.com. Who knew that online dating could be a great resource for desserts? It was last year’s Thanksgiving when Cece introduced the cake to Hall’s family. It was also the only year her father-in-law enjoyed the cake.

“[My husband and his sister] believe that Cece is the main factor that kept him alive for the years after his wife passed, so we consider Cece part of our family too,” said Hall.

Maybe you will consider Cece’s cake a part of your family too.


One can pumpkin puree (29 ounces)

Three eggs

1/2 cup packed brown cane sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

One can evaporated milk (12 ounces)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

One package spice or yellow cake mix (18.25 ounces)

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional)

Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a nine-inch-by-13-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, mix pumpkin puree, eggs, brown sugar, white sugar and evaporated milk. Next, stir in cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Pour mixture into the pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over the pumpkin filling. Sprinkle pecans over the cake mix. Drizzle melted butter over everything. Bake cake for 50 to 60 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let it cool. Serve with whipped cream.

Gingerbread Man Lattés

After being a barista for over a year, senior Darren McArdel began creating his own lattés. If you or your parents have an espresso machine, try having this ginger, manly delight. McArdel highly recommends Monin brand syrups, which can be up to $8, but Da Vinci or Torani syrups will do. Warning: diving into a latté will create a white mustache.


1/2 ounces gingerbread syrup (varies on taste)

Two shots espresso (optional for those who don’t drink caffeine)

Whipped cream

1/2 cup steamed milk

Espresso grounds (optional)

Pour gingerbread syrup into a mug. Next, pour espresso, then mix. Add a mound of whipped cream in the middle of the mug. Make sure it is tall with a wide base so it stays stable when you pour the milk. Next, pour the steamed milk around the outside of the whipped cream until it is partly submerged. Add leftover espresso grounds to garnish. Serve immediately with a spoon.

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