30 Days of Giving & Receiving: Melissa Rycroft's Healthy Christmas Recipe (EXCLUSIVE)

Learn how to make the 'Dancing With the Stars' winner's low-calorie peppermint ice cream cake.

Melissa Rycroft's Shares Her Healthy Holiday Recipe
Melissa Rycroft
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For Dancing With the Stars: All Stars winner Melissa Rycroft, the holidays are the best time of the year.

"I love the music, the lights, the food, the family time -- everything," she tells Celebuzz. "I feel like everyone just walks around in a better mood when it's holiday time. It is such a great time to reflect on all that has happened throughout the year, and to get excited about a new chapter and a new year to begin."

To set 2013 out on the right foot, the star is sharing some of her tips and tricks for staying slim during all those holiday parties as part of our 30 Days of Giving & Receiving.

Looking for a low-cal dessert? Rycroft has peppermint ice cream cake that will let you satisfy your sweet tooth without ruining your diet.

"It is so hard to stay healthy during the holidays," Rycroft says. "With all the parties, good food, sugary drinks and desserts, it's almost impossible! But there are tricks that I've learned to stay a bit healthier during the holidays, and not regret the food binges quite so much."

"Split a plate of dessert with a friend or family member," she suggests. "[My husband] Tye and I do this every year. My mom's pumpkin cheesecake is to die for -- but is so not healthy so we cut a small slice and share it. Gives a cure to the craving without going overboard."

See her favorite holiday recipe below.

Melissa Rycroft's Peppermint Ice Cream Cake

·  3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa ·  3/4 cup boiling water ·  6 tablespoons butter, melted ·  1 cup packed dark brown sugar ·  1/2 cup granulated sugar ·  3/4 cup egg substitute ·  1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces) ·  1/2 teaspoon baking powder ·  1/2 teaspoon baking soda ·  1/2 teaspoon salt ·  2 teaspoons vanilla extract ·  3 cups low-fat peppermint ice cream, softened ·  3 cups frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed ·  1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract ·  8 peppermint candies, crushed

Directions:

Coat 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. Line bottom of each pan with wax paper.
 Combine cocoa, water, and butter, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cool.
 Combine sugars in a large bowl, stirring well until blended. Add egg substitute; beat 2 minutes or until light and creamy. Add cocoa mixture, and beat for 1 minute.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to bowl; beat for 1 minute or until blended. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 28 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pans. Wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze for 2 hours or until slightly frozen.
 Spread ice cream in an 8-inch round cake pan lined with plastic wrap. Cover and freeze 4 hours or until firm.
To assemble cake, place one cake layer, bottom side up, on a cake pedestal. Remove ice cream layer from freezer; remove plastic wrap. Place ice cream layer, bottom side up, on top of cake layer. Top with remaining cake layer.
Combine whipped topping and peppermint extract, and stir until blended. Spread frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with crushed peppermints. Freeze until ready to serve. Let cake stand at room temperature 10 minutes before slicing.

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