College News

CCCC Culinary offers holiday sweets ideas

Click to enlarge,  Chef Regina Minter of the Central Carolina Community College Culinary Arts program holds one of her favorite holiday desserts - Pineapple Coconut Cake.

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Chef Regina Minter of the Central Carolina Community College Culinary Arts program holds one of her ... (more)

Click to enlarge,  Chef Diana Wilson of the Central Carolina Community College Culinary Arts program prepares Classic Sugar Cookies.

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Chef Diana Wilson of the Central Carolina Community College Culinary Arts program prepares Classic ... (more)

Click to enlarge,  Chef Kathryn Horrell Peregoy of the Central Carolina Community College Culinary Arts program says her advice for holiday home cooks is to have fun and make memories with loved ones.

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Chef Kathryn Horrell Peregoy of the Central Carolina Community College Culinary Arts program says ... (more)

Click to enlarge,  Pecan Pie is a holiday favorite for Chef Kathryn Horrell Peregoy of the Central Carolina Community College Culinary Arts program.

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Pecan Pie is a holiday favorite for Chef Kathryn Horrell Peregoy of the Central Carolina Community ... (more)

12.13.2023Curriculum Programs College & CommunityCollege General

SANFORD, N.C. - As the holiday season approaches, the dedicated Culinary Arts program staff at Central Carolina Community College is not only gearing up for festive celebrations but is also infusing their professional expertise into creating delectable sweet treats that embody the spirit of Christmas.

Beyond their role in shaping the culinary skills of students, these passionate instructors are bringing their own culinary artistry to the forefront, crafting a delightful array of confections that reflect both their commitment to the craft and the joyous anticipation of the upcoming holidays.

Chef Regina Minter - Pineapple Coconut Cake

Chef Regina Minter, Chair of the CCCC Culinary and Hospitality program, says that Pineapple Coconut Cake is a dessert that she made with her grandmother every year for Christmas. Other holiday favorites include sweet potato pie and pecan pie.

Chef Minter notes that she enjoys spending time with family and making memories.

Her advice for cooks this holiday season: "Make cooking for the holidays fun and a time to make memories with the ones you love."

Pineapple Coconut Cake

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 (12 oz.) cans of crushed pineapple
  • 1 bag of shredded coconut (12 oz.)
  • 3 containers of vanilla icing


In a mixing bowl combine cake mix, eggs, butter, and milk. Mix until well combined. Divide batter into 2 greased 9-inch round cake pans, bake for 20-25 minutes or until cake is firm and toothpick comes out clean when inserted in middle of cake.

Once cakes are done, allow to cool and turn out the first layer onto a cake plate. Apply icing to the first layer spreading well. Once icing is applied, use a fork to poke a few holes in the top of the cake, then apply the first can of pineapple with the juice. Place the second layer on top of the first and repeat the process for the second layer. Once both layers are done, use the last container of icing to ice the sides of the cake. Once all icing has been applied to the sides, press the shredded coconut around the entire cake. Enjoy!

Chef Kathryn Horrell Peregoy - Pecan Pie

Chef Kathryn Horrell Peregoy says this dessert reminds her of holidays in the kitchen with her grandmother. "I love the contrasting sweet taste of the filling with the salty taste you get from the pecans and pie crust. It is so good, it definitely deserves a place at your next family gathering," said Chef Peregoy.

Chef Peregoy's other favorite holiday desserts include baking gingerbread cookies with her nieces and nephews, as well as making fudge, pound cake, and various other cakes and pies.

"My advice to any at-home cook during the Christmas season is to have fun, make memories with loved ones," she said. "Don't be afraid to try something new. You might surprise yourself with a hidden talent, or a new dish your family loves!"

Pecan Pie

  • 1 homemade pie crust unbaked or store bought if you want to save time
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup salted butter, melted
  • 3 eggs well beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves (you can chop the pecans or leave whole)


In a large bowl mix together sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, and melted butter. Mix in already beaten eggs and vanilla.

Reserve a few pecans and stir the rest into the batter. Pour into an unbaked pie shell (homemade or store bought).

Add a few of the reserved pecans on top of the pie in any empty spots, make it look pretty!

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower the oven temp to 325 degrees and continue baking for about 45 minutes. Check the pie half way through cooking and tent a large piece of greased aluminum foil over the top of the pie. (I tent it high so it doesn't touch the pie filling).

You will know your pecan pie is done when you can shake it gently and it is not overly jiggly. If it jiggles a lot when shaking, continue cooking until the center is more set, 5-10 more minutes.

Allow the pie to cool completely for several hours before cutting and serving. Or refrigerate for 1-3 days, until ready to serve and enjoy.

Chef Diana Wilson - Classic Sugar Cookies

Chef Diana Wilson says one of her favorites is a classic sugar cookie. "I like that these sugar cookies are easy to make and have a great buttery flavor," she said. "The addition of vanilla extract adds a nice aroma to the cookies. The festive shapes and colorful icing make them visually appealing and perfect for any holiday celebration."

Chef Wilson notes that she also loves gingerbread cookies and peppermint bark - "The warm spices in gingerbread cookies and the combination of dark chocolate and peppermint in peppermint bark are quintessential flavors of the holiday season," she says.

Her advice to cookies during the season is to embrace the spirit of joy and creativity in the kitchen. "Try new recipes, experiment with flavors, and don't be afraid to add a touch of holiday magic to your dishes," said Chef Wilson.

Sugar Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • Sugar Cookie Frosting
  • Gel food coloring (optional)
  • Additional candies and sprinkles for decorating (optional)


Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl and use an electric hand mixer) and beat until creamy and well-combined.

Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until completely combined.

In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

Gradually stir dry ingredients into wet until dough is smooth and completely combined.

Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and transfer approximately half of the dough onto the wrap (dough will be quite sticky at this point, that's OK!).

Cover the dough with clear wrap or wax paper and mold into a flat disk. Wrap tightly. Repeat with remaining cookie dough in another piece of clear wrap. Transfer dough to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2-3 hours and up to 5 days.

Once the dough has finished chilling, preheat the oven to 350F (175C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (alternatively bake cookies directly on an ungreased baking sheet). Set aside.

Generously dust a clean surface with flour and place one chilled cookie dough disk onto the surface. Lightly flour the dough and roll out to \0x215B" (for thinner, crispier cookies) or \0xBC" (for thicker, softer cookies). Add additional flour as needed both on top of and beneath the dough so that it doesn't stick. Note: if the dough is cracking as you roll it, let it sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to soften before attempting again.

Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and use a spatula to transfer shapes to the prepared baking sheet, spacing at least 1" apart. If you are not intending to decorate your cookies with icing, you can decorate them with sanding sugar at this point before you bake them.

Bake on 350F (175C) for 8-10 minutes (this is for cookies that are approximately 3" [7.6cm]; note that smaller cookies will need less time and larger cookies will need more), or until edges just begin to turn lightly golden brown.

Allow cookies to cool completely on the cookie sheet before decorating.