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QVC's David Venable shows you a holiday dish that's better with bacon and more

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Today, in an exclusive email from QVC's David Venable, he shares his own tips, to be the most talked about host this holiday season for Philadelphia Food Examiner readers.This holiday season, why stick to the usual “cookie cutter” recipes when you could whip up something a bit more adventurous? David Venable, QVC’s resident foodie and best-selling cookbook author, has just the right ingredients to make any get-together anything but boring! From Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bacon Cookies to Christmas Morning French Toast Casserole, Venable’s dishes are delicious and even a bit daring!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bacon Cookies
(Makes 20 cookies)

Choc-Chip-Bacon-Cookie David's Tip:
If you want to tone down the bacon flavor, simply omit the bacon bits and use only the bacon fat. The result will be a smoky, salty flavor that foodies can’t get enough of! Always hang on to your left over bacon fat—you can use it in so many of your favorite baked goods, or in place of olive oil for things like salad dressings, sautéing green beans, or even in casseroles.

Ingredients:
1–1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3 Tbsp bacon fat, reserved when cooking the bacon
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
12 thick-cut bacon strips, chopped and cooked until fat is rendered, lightly crisped and browned

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set them aside until you're ready to bake the cookies.

Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.Beat the butter, bacon fat, and both sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, until light and creamy. Add the egg and the vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches and mix well after each addition.Add in the milk chocolate chips and chopped cooked bacon and mix until evenly distributed.

Spoon heaping tablespoons of the cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 10–12 minutes.

Let cool before eating.

Christmas Morning French Toast Casserole

David's Tip: This is an easy way to prepare French toast because you can make it the night before and bake it in the morning. The warm aroma will fill your home when you bake this delicious brunch recipe. Remember, it’s best to use day-old bread, so that the custard can be fully absorbed.

Christmas Morning French Toast Casserole

Ingredients:

French Toast:
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 loaf French bread, cut into 18-20 1'' thick slices
8 large eggs
2 cups eggnog
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch of kosher salt

Topping:
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2-3/4 cup whole red and green maraschino cherries
Maple syrup

Preparation:
To make the French toast, grease a 9'' x 13'' baking dish with the butter. Arrange the bread slices in the baking dish in two overlapping rows.

Whisk together the eggs, eggnog, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread slices, making sure the bread is well covered. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the baking dish from the refrigerator.

To make the topping, whisk together the butter, brown sugar, pecans, corn syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the bread.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the casserole from the oven and decorate with the maraschino cherries in clusters of three to look like holly berries. Serve with maple syrup.

Twice-Baked Baby Red Potato Skins
David's Tip: These potato skins are excellent appetizers or hors d'oeuvres and can also be served alongside your favorite cut of meat. Here's a tip: after parboiling the potatoes and halving them, cut the very end off the potato on the bottom half—this will prevent the potato from tipping over.

Twice Baked Baby Red Potato Skins

Ingredients:
6 slices bacon, finely chopped
15 baby red potatoes (about 2'' in diameter)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped
1/2 cup white cheddar cheese, finely shredded
Pinch each of salt and pepper
1 tsp paprika (optional garnish)
1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced (optional garnish)

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Cook the bacon in a hot sauté pan until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon from the pan to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.

Place the potatoes in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the potatoes until fork tender. Carefully remove the potatoes from the water, cool slightly, and cut each in half.

While the potatoes are still warm, remove a small amount of flesh from each half with a melon baller or teaspoon and place it in a medium-size bowl. Add the sour cream, bacon, chives, and cheese. Mix well. Place the filling in a piping bag fitted with a plain or medium-sized star tip.

Arrange the potatoes on an oven crisper sheet and pipe filling into each half to form a nice dollop. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Remove from the oven and top equally with the scallions and a sprinkle of paprika, if desired.

For a complete list of David’s recipes visit QVC.com/ITKWD. If you've tried one of David's holiday or Christmas recipes before, please comment below. I'd like to hear from you.

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