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Celebrating Veterans Day With Fun-Filled Holiday Festivities

Celebrating Veterans Day With Fun-Filled Holiday Festivities

When Veterans Day holiday gatherings turn into all-day events, having meals ready from morning to night becomes an important part of celebration hosting. Starting with breakfast through the main course followed by a savory dessert, a full day of celebration calls for a variety of dishes.

To help keep your crowd fueled for a wide range of activities, consider these recipes for Hot Cocoa Pancakes to get your morning started, Browned Butter Smashed Potatoes with Butternut Squash to pair with a ham and Black Forest Cake to end the day's festivities on a high note.

Let's Begin The Day With a Family Breakfast
With so many activities scheduled and places to be during this day, starting the morning with a filling breakfast can help set your family on the path to enjoyable moments with loved ones. These Hot Cocoa Pancakes require little time in the kitchen, leaving you more time to spend with the family before hitting the road or spending time with loved ones.

Hot Cocoa Pancakes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 2 minutes per pancake
Yield: 12 pancakes (3 per serving)

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup 2% or non-fat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups Aunt Jemima Original Complete or Buttermilk Complete Pancake & Waffle Mix
1/4 cup water
marshmallow spread (optional)
chocolate syrup (optional)
Aunt Jemima Syrup (optional)

Heat skillet over medium-low heat or electric griddle to 375 F.

In microwave-safe bowl, mix cocoa powder, sugar, milk and vanilla until well combined. Heat in microwave 30 seconds, or until warm. Stir again to ensure mixture is combined.

Combine cocoa mixture, pancake mix and water. Stir until large lumps disappear (do not beat or overmix). If batter is too thick, add additional 1-2 tablespoons water.

Pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter onto lightly greased skillet or griddle. Cook 90 seconds, or until bubbles appear on surface. Turn and cook additional 30 seconds. Repeat with remaining batter.

Top pancakes with marshmallow spread and drizzle chocolate syrup, or top with syrup.

Next, Yummy Perfect Potatoes to Pair With a Ham
Almost every meal calls for side dishes to complement the main course, and as one of the most versatile base ingredients available, potatoes often provide home chefs with a multitude of options.  Served mashed, fried, scalloped, sliced, diced, boiled, roasted or just about any style in-between, potatoes are ideal for matching with the centerpiece of your family meal. These Browned Butter Smashed Potatoes with Butternut Squash call for Wisconsin yellow-flesh potatoes to achieve a dense, creamy texture with their just-buttered appearance.

Browned Butter Smashed Potatoes with Butternut Squash
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

1 pound (3 medium) Wisconsin yellow-flesh potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste, divided
3 tablespoons butter, divided
8-10 fresh (2-3-inch) sage leaves, stacked and cut into 1/4-inch strips
1/2 cup 1% milk
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In 3-quart saucepan, cover potatoes and squash with water; add 1 teaspoon salt.

Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover and cook until tender, 12-15 minutes.

In small saucepan over medium heat, mix 2 tablespoons butter and sage. Tilting pan and watching closely, cook about 3 minutes, until butter foams and begins to brown; keep warm.

Thoroughly drain potatoes and squash, return to pan and shake 1-2 minutes over low heat. Using hand masher, roughly mash to create chunky mixture.

Over low heat, gently mix in remaining butter and milk.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Spoon into serving bowl and drizzle with brown butter and sage.

Last, Serve Up a Savory Sweet Dessert
No Veterans holiday gathering is complete without dessert, and you can take your sweets to the next level with this rich, creamy Black Forest Cake recipe.  Tart cherries and whipped cream are combined with Domino Golden Sugar - a less processed option which is made from pure cane sugar and works cup-for-cup just like white sugar, but with a golden color and distinct hint of molasses flavor - for a contrasting profile to put a spin on a seasonal classic.

Black Forest Cake
Servings: 8

Cherry Filling:
1/2 cup Domino Golden Sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water or unsweetened cherry juice
2 cups fresh or frozen pitted tart (Montmorency) cherries
2 tablespoons cherry brandy (optional)

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups Domino Golden Sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Stabilized Whipped Cream:
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons Domino Golden Sugar

chocolate curls or shavings, for garnish (optional)

To make cherry filling: In medium saucepan, whisk sugar and cornstarch with water or juice then bring to boil over medium heat. Stir in cherries and cherry brandy, if desired, and boil 2-3 minutes, stirring, until sauce is thick and translucent. Drain cherries from sauce and set both aside.

To make cake layers: Heat oven to 350 F.

Line bottoms of three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Grease and flour bottoms and sides.

In medium bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar 2 minutes on medium speed. Add eggs and vanilla; beat 1 minute. Stir in flour mixture and buttermilk.

Pour batter evenly among cake pans and bake 20-22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool and remove layers from pans.

To make stabilized whipped cream: In small pan or microwaveable bowl, combine gelatin and cold water; allow gelatin to bloom. Heat until gelatin melts and dissolves; set aside.

In chilled bowl, whip cream with chilled beaters until soft peaks form. Add sugar and gelatin; beat until stiff.

Prick tops of two bottom layers with fork and brush cherry filling over layers. Sandwich bottom layers with a 1/4-inch-thick spread of stabilized whipped cream. Sandwich second and top layer with same whipped cream. Spread remaining whipped cream over top layer and sides.

Garnish with shaved chocolate, if desired, and decorate with any remaining whipped cream.


Enjoy! Wishing you a Happy Veterans Day.

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