Creatures of habit we are and the last few days have proven that to be true, once again. We had no more devoured the last of Thanksgiving’s pumpkin pie before thinking about the next best thing — Christmas confections of cookies, cakes and, of course, lots of chocolate and nuts.
A favorite holiday season for many of us has now officially arrived and the baking and cooking has begun. What a relief to have discovered several years ago that most candies and cookies can be made in advance and frozen for later gift-giving. It sure takes some of the pressure off our busy schedules and we all can use a break this time every year. So here we go with our annual Christmas baking and cooking columns. Hope we are able to help make your season just a little brighter in the coming weeks.
White Chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge
22 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
3 cups of white chocolate chips
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
Directions: Line a 9×9-inch casserole/baking dish with foil. Lightly spray it with cooking spray.
Arrange about 16 peanut butter cups on bottom of foil-covered dish. In large sauce pan, add white chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk; heat over medium low heat until chocolate has melted. Once everything is combined immediately pour chocolate/milk mixture over peanut butter cups.
Chop remaining peanut butter cups into smaller pieces and spread evenly over top of mixture and press down slightly.
Let cool on counter for a while; cover with plastic and put in the fridge to cool completely.
Once cooled in the fridge for a couple of hours, cut into bite sized pieces.
(I have not tried this, but a faithful reader shared the recipe and said it was “out-of-this world” and very rich.)
1 box powdered sugar
1 stick melted margarine
6 Tbsp. water
8 drops peppermint extract
12 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 block of paraffin wax
OR instead of chips and paraffin, melt packaged chocolate coating as directed on package.
Mix together first four ingredients; roll out on waxed paper that has been dusted with a little powdered sugar. Use a small, round object to cut into small patties (sterilized top of salad dressing bottle works well); dip patties into melted chocolate coating or chocolate/paraffin with toothpick or fork. Place on waxed paper until chocolate is set.
1½ cups chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
1¼ cups sugar (divided)
3 cups all-purpose flour
4½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ cup butter or margarine
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
1 cup chopped pecans
In a bowl, toss cranberries with ¼ cup sugar; set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and remaining sugar. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine the eggs and milk; stir into the flour mixture just until moistened. Fold in pecans and cranberries. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Makes about 18 muffins.
White Christmas Cookies
1 cup butter or margarine
1 ½ cup sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
3 ½ cups plain flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
12 oz. macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
1 lb. white chocolate, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In large bowl, cream butter, add sugars and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat for one minute. Add flour, baking soda and salt until well blended. Add white chocolate and nuts, mixing on low until evenly distributed. Drop by rounded teaspoonful onto ungreased baking sheets. Flatten each cookie slightly with back of spoon. Bake for about 10 minutes.
½ cup shortening
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup dark molasses
1 egg white
½ tsp. vanilla
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
Beat shortening, brown sugar, molasses, egg white and vanilla in large bowl at high speed until smooth. Combine dry ingredients in small bowl. Add to shortening mixture; mix well. Cover, refrigerate until firm, about 8 hours.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350. Grease cookie sheets. Roll dough on lightly floured surface to 1/3-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place on prepared cookie sheets. Bake 6-8 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove to rack for cooling. Decorate as desired.
Chewy Butter Cookies
¾ cup butter or margarine
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
Combine butter, sugars, egg yolk in medium bowl. Add flour, baking powder and salt, mixing well. Cover, refrigerate until firm. Preheat oven to 350. Roll dough on lightly floured surface to ¼-inch thickness; cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until light brown, being careful not to overbake to retain “chewy” texture. Cool and decorate as desired.
1 pkg. refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
1 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
Candy corn, gumdrops, chocolate chips, licorice, and other assorted small candies
Preheat oven to 375. Cut dough into 12 equal sections. Divide each section into 3 balls; large, medium and small for each snowman.
For each snowman, place 3 balls in a row, ¼ inch apart, on ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are very lightly browned. Decorate with candies as desired