1000 x 90

Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Counting Down to Christmas

By Sherrie Norris

Finding myself in the midst of what has been described as an “epic” snowstorm this week has given me some much-needed time to think, plan and begin to implement my Christmas decorating, baking, wrapping, etc.

We were able to enjoy the Boone Christmas parade on Saturday, and later that afternoon, a time fellowship and good food with close friends before the snow arrived. But not before I took a big chunk out of my finger while using my newest kitchen gadget. Yes, the hoopla at Sam’s Club was correct. The mandoline slices everything well.

Even so, I was looking forward to a cookie-baking, candy-making event on Monday with participants in the Watauga Relatives as Parents Program that I facilitate, but we just couldn’t make it to our destination in nearly two feet of snow. And then, on Tuesday, we had to cancel our Avery County group’s Christmas party since some of us are still snowed in. So yes, I’ve had a little extra time that I have enjoyed immensely.

However, I’ve seen about all the Hallmark Christmas movies that I can handle, since within the first 10 minutes, I can already tell you how each one is going to end, but as in life, it’s the “getting there” that makes it interesting.

And, interesting it has been here in the High Country — especially since we were the destination for Jim Cantore and The Weather Channel crew. We saw them from a distance, and we’ve enjoyed seeing dozens of Facebook selfies from friends who got up close and personal. Too bad we weren’t able to see much of the actual coverage from Boone. Not sure what that was all about, Spectrum, but the familiar faces and places we did get to see was fun.

Forgive my little detour to the reason we come here each week.

With less than two weeks now until Christmas, we’ve got lots of cooking to do. So here we go!


Snowmen Cookies

(Just in case you haven’t seen enough!)

1 (18 oz.) roll refrigerated cookie dough (chocolate chip, sugar or peanut butter)

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

¼ tsp. vanilla

1 to 2 Tbs. milk


Miniature semisweet chocolate pieces

Cut cookie dough into 18 equal pieces. Divide each dough piece into three balls: one large (about 1¼ inches in diameter), one medium (about 1 inch in diameter), and one small (about ¾ inch in diameter). Assemble each set of balls ¼ inch apart in a snowman shape on an ungreased cookie sheet, placing the largest balls 2 inches apart so the snowmen don’t bake together.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges are very lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 3 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool.

For glaze, in a small mixing bowl, stir together powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 Tbs. of milk. Stir in additional milk, 1 tsp. at a time, to make glaze of drizzling consistency. Spoon glaze over snowmen. Decorate as desired with gumdrops and/or chocolate pieces. Makes 18 snowmen.


Simple Christmas Pie

2 cups crushed Oreo cookies

¼ cup butter, melted

¼ cup green creme de menthe

1 (7 oz.) jar of marshmallow cream

2 cups whipped cream

Maraschino cherries

Mix together cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press crumbs to bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Chill for several hours.

Mix together marshmallow cream and creme de menthe until well blended. Fold in whipped cream. Pour over cookie crust. Top with maraschino cherries. Return to refrigerator until time to serve.


Easy Creamy Peanut Butter Fudge

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup butter

1 pound powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Line a 9-inch square pan with wax paper.

Melt butter in a saucepan on low heat; add peanut butter and stir well, making sure to fully blend. Remove from heat and mix in powdered sugar and vanilla thoroughly until smooth.

Pour mixture into pan. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight.


Sugar Free Chocolate Fudge

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened

2 (1 oz. each) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

24 packets sugar substitute (equivalent to ½ cup sugar)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ cup chopped pecans

In small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, chocolate, sweetener and vanilla until smooth. Stir in pecans.

Pour into and 8-inch square pan, lined with foil.

Cover and refrigerate overnight. Cut into 16 squares. Serve chilled.

Diabetic exchanges: One serving equals 3 fat, 147 calories


Date Nut Bars

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 stick butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 (8 oz.) pkg. chopped dates

1 cup pecans, chopped

Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Blend flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside. Blend butter and sugar in another bowl. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour mixture. Fold in dates and pecans. Spread into greased and floured 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Bake 25-30 minutes (until firm and golden brown). Cut while warm. When cooled completely, sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.