Christmas is a time most people have an opportunity to get together with friends and family. For some, this is a wonderful time of fellowship, reminiscing and lots of good food. For others, we’ve found some amazing treats to sweeten those otherwise sour moments. Chocolate Mint Cookies Ingredients: • 1 cup sugar • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed • 3/4 cup butter, 1 1/2 sticks, room temperature • 2 eggs • 1 teaspoon vanilla • 2 tablespoons water • 3 cups all-purpose flour • 1 teaspoon baking soda • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 6 ounces Andes Chocolate Mint Candies • pecan halves Preparation: In a large bowl, cream sugars and butter. Add eggs, vanilla, and water; beat well. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; add flour mixture gradually to egg mixture; stirring to mix well. Chill dough for at least 4 hours or overnight. Wrap each mint completely in cookie dough. Place chocolate mint cookies 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets and press a pecan half onto the top of each cookie. Bake at 375° for 7 to 9 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown. Fruitcake Balls Ingredients: • 1/2 cup butter • 1/2 cup honey • 1 cup finely chopped mixed candied fruits • 1 cup chopped dates • 1/2 cup raisins, chopped • 1/2 cup candied pineapple, chopped • 1/2 cup chopped candied cherries • 1 cup chopped pecans • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg • dash ground cloves • 3 1/2 cups fine graham cracker crumbs Preparation: In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until light; beat in honey until fluffy. Add fruits and nuts, orange peel, vanilla, salt, and spices. Mix to blend thoroughly. Let stand for several hours to let flavors blend. Add crumbs and mix in until well blended. Shape into small balls. If desired, drizzle with a confectioners' sugar icing or roll in finely chopped nuts or confectioners' sugar. Storee in tightly covered container in refrigerator, separating layers with waxed paper. Makes about 4 to 5 dozen 1 1/4 to 1 1/2-inch balls. Buckeyes Ingredients: • 1 cup creamy peanut butter • 4 ounces plus 3 tablespoons softened butter • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 3 1/2 to 4 cups confectioners sugar, about 1 pound • 1/2 cup very fine graham cracker crumbs • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips Preparation: With a wooden spoon or large mixer with paddle attachment, beat peanut butter, butter and vanilla until smooth. Slowly stir or beat in confectioners' sugar and graham cracker crumbs. Mixture will be dry, but will hold together when shaped into balls. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls; place on wax paper lined cookie sheet and chill in freezer or until firm. Melt chocolate chips over hot water. Spear a peanut butter ball with toothpick or dipping fork and dip ball into the chocolate to cover most of it. Place chocolate side down on cookie sheet. If desired, leave the top uncovered to resemble the Ohio buckeye nuts. If desired, drizzle more butter over the balls to fill in gaps made by toothpick or dipping fork. Refrigerate buckeyes for about 2 hours or longer, or until the chocolate is set. Store buckeyes tightly covered in refrigerator or freezer. Makes about 5 dozen buckeye candies Easy Truffles Ingredients: • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk • pinch salt • 1 cup chopped pecans • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Preparation: In a double boiler over hot water, melt chocolate. Stir in sweetened condensed milk, salt, chopped nuts, and vanilla. Cool the mixture until easy to shape into small balls. Dip each ball into flaked coconut or finely chopped nuts. Sand Tart Cookies Ingredients: • 1/2 cup butter, softened • 1 cup granulated sugar • 1 egg, beaten • 1 3/4 cups sifted flour • 2 teaspoons baking powder • 1 egg white, lightly beaten • 1 tablespoon sugar, mixed with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon Preparation: Cream butter and sugar and stir in well beaten egg. Sift flour and baking powder together, blend with creamed mixture to make a soft dough. Set in refrigerator to chill. When cold, place on well floured board (or use powdered sugar), then roll out about 1/8-inch thick. Knead in more flour if needed. Cut into decorative shapes with cookie cutters. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake on a lightly greased baking sheet at 275° about 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

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