HOLIDAY DELIGHTS: Sweet and tasty recipes for your Christmas guests

Visions of healthy sugarplums dancing through your head this holiday season? Simple to make and festive to eat, these recipes are the perfect answer. Enjoy every bite.


Makes 12 servings

Pretty, easy, and delicious, this holds the place of honor at my family’s Christmas brunch. Slow baking is key to this smooth, custardy take on French toast. It rests, unbaked, overnight in the fridge and you just pop it in a cold oven in the morning. Leave yourself about 1½ hours from fridge to plate.

Nonstick cooking spray

Choose a 13-by-9-inch pan that is safe to go from refrigerator to oven. Pyrex or Corning work well.

Lightly coat pan with cooking spray.

1 cup 1% milk

3 tablespoons soft tub, non-hydrogenated margarine

Warm milk and margarine in small saucepan over medium heat just to melt margarine. Set aside to cool.

2 (29-ounce) cans sliced peaches, packed in 100 percent juice

Drain peaches, measuring ¼ cup of juice for this recipe. See Carla’s Tips for ideas for rest of the juice.

12 slices raisin bread, preferably whole wheat (28 g per slice), cut into three-quarter-inch cubes

Cubes should measure about 8 cups. If your slices are less than 28 g each, you may have to add a slice or two to reach 8 cups.

Spread bread cubes evenly in the prepared pan, completely covering bottom of pan.

4 large eggs

1 cup liquid egg substitute

¼ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt

1 (12-ounce) can low-fat evaporated milk

¼ cup pure maple syrup

¼ cup reserved peach juice

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Whisk eggs through salt together in a large bowl, whisking well to break up eggs. Add ingredients through cloves and whisk well to combine. Whisk in the cooled milk and margarine mixture.

Slowly pour mixture evenly over bread cubes. Press down gently with rubber spatula.

Arrange reserved peach slices in a single layer on top of the bread mixture. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

To Bake

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Remove pan from refrigerator.  Sprinkle peaches with the nutmeg.

Put pan in cold oven.  Set oven to 325 F.  Bake for 40 minutes then increase oven temperature to 350F.  Continue baking until a sharp knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.  Top will look wet and bubbly.

To Serve

Cool on a wire rack 10-15 minutes for bread to absorb moisture. Cut into 12 pieces, serve warm and enjoy!

Leftovers?  You and your guests will relish them the next day. Just warm gently in the microwave.

Courtesy of msphotographic
Courtesy of msphotographic

Carla’s Tips

  • Mix leftover juice with your orange juice.
  • Freeze juice in ice cube trays and use instead of sugar to sweeten iced tea.
  • Pour a little juice into low-sodium chicken broth. Add to a quick chicken breast and peppers skillet dinner for a different twist on chicken.

Nutrition information per serving: 290 calories; 7 g fat; 1.5 g saturated fat; 65 mg cholesterol; 320 mg sodium; 45 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 20 g sugar; 11 g protein Vitamin A 20%; Calcium 15%; Iron 10%; Vitamin C 6%


Makes 1 (8 ½-by-five-inch loaf)

16 (½ – inch) slices

Courtesy of Manyakotic
Courtesy of Manyakotic

I created this smells great, tastes even better bread to turn leftover baked sweet potatoes into a cozy weekend wake-up call. Use an already baked potato with nothing added to it or microwave one, instead. Tasty with coffee or tea, wrap up a loaf and put a bow around it for the perfect kitchen-made gift.

Baking spray

1 cup well-mashed sweet potato

¾ cup sugar

3 tablespoons honey

¼ cup canola oil

¼ cup fat-free Greek yogurt

¼ cup liquid egg substitute

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Lightly coat an 8-by-4-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350F.

Whisk potato through honey in a large bowl. Add oil through extract and whisk well to combine. Set aside.

Dry Ingredients

¾ cup white whole wheat flour

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal salt

Whisk dry ingredients together in medium bowl.

Add dry ingredients to sweet potato mixture. Stir just to moisten and combine.  You should still see flecks of flour.

½ cup chocolate chips, semisweet or dark

Gently stir in chocolate chips.

Spread mixture into prepared pan.  Bake until cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan; cool completely on rack before slicing.

To Microwave Sweet Potato: Using a fork, pierce sweet potato 5-6 times.  Place on microwave-safe plate and microwave on full power 6-8 minutes, or until potato is very soft. Rotate halfway through if your turntable doesn’t rotate.

Cool completely. Peel and mash well with potato masher or fork.

Nutrition information per serving: 150 calories; 6 g fat; 1.5  g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 80 mg sodium;  25 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 14 g sugar; 3 g protein

Kitchen questions? Email Carla at

Copyright 2016 Carla F. Williams. All rights reserved.