New WordPress widget plugin ‘LTW Extended Recent Posts’ has more features than your default recent posts widget. This WordPress widget offers you more options than just having control over number of recent posts to show in sidebar.
First of all install and activate LTW Extended Recent Posts plugin, then add its widget to sidebar or any other widget area. All setting options are there in widget itself, see the following screenshot:
Using this widget plugin you can show post excerpts with titles, you can define number of words to show in excerpts, you can change the number of recent posts in sidebar, you can select custom show more character and also you can show-hide post date.