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From our 2015 Holiday Preview:

Santa Claus Cookies

Prep:  40 min. + Standing     Cook:  5 min.
Makes 32 cookies

12 oz. white baking chocolate, chopped
1 pkg. (1 lb.) Nutter Butter sandwich cookies
Red colored sugar
32 vanilla or white chips
64 miniature semisweet chocolate chips
32 Red Hots

In a microwave, melt the white chocolate at 70% power for 1 minute; stir.  Microwave at additional 10 to 20 second intervals, stirring until it is smooth.
Dip one end of each cookie into melted chocolate, allowing excess to drip off.  Place on wire racks.  For Santa’s hat, sprinkle red sugar on top part of chocolate.  Press one vanilla chip off-center on hat for pompom; let stand until set.
Dip other end of each cookie into melted chocolate for beard, leaving center of cookie uncovered.  Place on wire racks.  With a dab of melted chocolate, attach semisweet chips for eyes and a Red Hot for nose.  Place on waxed paper until set.

Christmas Bark

Makes approx. 40 pieces

1 sleeve Saltine crackers
1 cup butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
12 oz. semisweet chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place crackers in one layer on parchment-lined baking sheet (with sides).
Melt butter and brown sugar in medium saucepan.  Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Pour butter-sugar mixture over the crackers.  Spread evenly.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate morsels.  When they start to melt, spread evenly over entire layer of crackers.
Sprinkle chopped pecans on top.
Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Remove from refrigerator and crack into pieces.

Chocolate Mint Candy

Prep:  20 min + Chilling
Makes about 2 lbs.

2 cups (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk, divided
2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 oz. white candy coating, coarsely chopped
2 to 3 tsp. peppermint extract
3 drops green food coloring

In a heavy saucepan, melt the chocolate chips with 1 cup milk.  Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla.  Spread half into a waxed paper-lined 8 inch square pan; chill for 10 minutes or until firm.
Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan over low heat, cook and stir candy coating with remaining milk until coating is melted and mixture is smooth.  Stir in peppermint extract and food coloring. Spread over bottom layer; chill for 10 minutes or until firm.
Warm remaining chocolate mixture if necessary; spread over mint layer.  Chill for 2 hours or until firm.  Remove from the pan; cut into 1 inch squares.

Bugle Cones

Start to finish: 20 min.
Makes 2-1/2 dozen

2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1-1/3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. sweetened condensed milk
1 pkg. (6 oz.) Bugles
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted, optional
Assorted sprinkles and/or ground nuts

In a small bowl, beat butter and confectioner’s sugar until crumbly.  Beat in salt and vanilla. Add milk and mix well (mixture will be stiff).
Shape into 1/2 inch balls.  Place one ball on top of each Bugle.  Dip tops of some or all in melted chocolate if desired. Decorate with sprinkles and/or nuts.

Hot Cranberry Citrus Drink

1 pkg. (12 oz.) fresh or frozen cranberries
2-1/2 quarts water
2 cups orange juice
1 cup sugar
1 cup pineapple juice
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)

In a large saucepan, bring cranberries and water to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the berries pop.  Stir in the remaining ingredients; return to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes.  Strain through cheesecloth; discard pulp and cinnamon sticks.  Serve warm.  Yield:  3 quarts.

Chocolaty Melting Snowmen

Prep:  50 minutes    Bake 9 minutes at 350 degrees   Makes about 20 cookies

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 egg
3 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
16 oz. vanilla-flavor candy coating, coarsely chopped
20 bite-size chocolate-covered peanut butter cups
Miniature chocolate pieces
Orange sprinkles (jimmies)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl beat shortening and peanut butter with a mixer on medium for 30 seconds.  Add next six ingredients (through baking soda).  Beat until combined, scraping bowl as needed.  Beat in egg, milk and vanilla.  Beat in flour.
Shape dough into 20 balls; place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 9 to 11 minutes or just until edges are firm.  Cool on cookie sheet 2 minutes.  Remove; cool on a wire rack.
In a medium bowl microwave candy coating on 50% power for 2-1/2 to 3 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds.
For snowmen, spoon melted coating onto cookies to resemble melting snow.  While coating is still tacky, add peanut butter cups for top hats, miniature chocolate pieces for eyes, and orange sprinkles for noses.

our 2014 Holiday Preview

Holiday Pecans

Makes 3 cups                    Prep. time:  10 min.

1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg white and 1 T. water
3 cups pecan halves *
4 T. unsalted butter, melted

Heat oven to 300 degrees F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil.

In small bowl, stir together sugar, salt and cinnamon; set aside.

In medium bowl, whisk egg white and 1 T. water until foamy.  Add pecans to bowl and stir until coated.  Pour in sugar mixture and melted butter.  Stir well to combine.  Spread pecan mixture in even layers on prepared baking sheet.

Bake at 300 degrees F for 25 minutes stirring occasionally.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Store in airtight containers.

* Walnuts or almonds can also be used.

Ultimate Candy Bar Cookies

Makes 4 1/2 dozen         Prep. time:  30 min.    Bake time:  10 min./batch

7 Butterfinger candy bars (2.1 oz. each), coarsely chopped
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
27 Reese’s mini peanut butter cups
27 miniature Snickers candy bars

Preheat over to 375 degrees F.  Place Butterfinger candy bars in a food processor; process until ground.  In a large bowl, cream butter and 2 cups ground candy bars until blended.  Beat in eggs.  In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture.

Shape into 1 inch balls; roll in remaining ground candy bars.  Place 2 inches apart on                    parchment paper-lined baking sheets.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until tops are cracked.

Immediately press a Reese’s mini peanut butter cup or miniature Snickers candy bar into the center of each cookie.  Cool on pans for 2 minutes.  Remove to wire racks to  cool.

Freeze option:
Freeze cookies, layered between sheets of waxed paper, in freezer containers.  To use, thaw before serving.

Holiday Wreaths

Makes 16 servings      Prep time:  40 min.     Total time:  1 hour 10 min.

1/3 cup margarine or butter
1 package (10 oz. or about 40) regular marshmallows or
    4 cups miniature marshmallows
1 tsp. green food coloring
6 cups Kellogg’s Corn Flakes or Frosted Flakes cereal
Red cinnamon candies
Prepared vanilla frosting

Melt margarine in large saucepan over low heat.  Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted.  Remove from heat.  Stir in food coloring.

Add cereal. Stir until well coated.

Portion warm cereal mixture evenly by using a 1/4 cup dry measure coated with cooking spray.  Using sprayed fingers, quickly shape into individual wreaths. Dot with cinnamon candies, using prepared frosting to hold candies in place.  Store in single layer in airtight container.

Use fresh marshmallows for best results.
Children should be supervised.
Green paste food coloring makes the best color for wreaths.

To make one large wreath:
Press warm cereal mixture in 5 1/2 cup ring mold coated with cooking spray or shape in ring on serving plate.  Remove from mold and dot with red candies.  Slice to serve.

Christmas Bark

Makes approximately 40 pieces

1 sleeve saltine crackers
1 cup butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
12 oz. semisweet chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place crackers in one layer on parchment-lined baking sheet (with sides).

Melt butter and brown sugar in medium saucepan.  Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Pour butter-sugar mixture over the crackers.  Spread evenly.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate morsels.  When they start to melt, spread evenly over entire layer of crackers.  Sprinkle chopped pecans on top.

Refrigerate 1 hour.  Remove from refrigerator and crack into pieces.

Pecan Tassies

Makes 2 dozen                    Prep. time:  25 min + chilling     Bake time:  20 min.

1/2 cup butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour

1 egg
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 T. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Dash of salt
2/3 cup finely chopped pecans, divided

In a bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth; gradually beat in flour.  Refrigerate, covered, for 1 hour or until firm enough to roll.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls; press evenly onto bottom and up the sides of ungreased mini-muffin cups.

For filling, in a small bowl, mix egg, brown sugar, butter, vanilla and salt until blended.  Stir in 1/3 cup pecans; spoon into pastries.  Sprinkle with remaining pecans.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until edges are golden and filling is puffed.  Cool in pans for 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.

our 2013 Holiday Preview

Cherry Kiss Cookies

Prep:   20 minutes        Bake:  10 minutes/batch + cooling    Makes: 4 1/2 dozen

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. maraschino cherry juice
1/2 tsp. almond extract
6 drops red food coloring, optional
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries
54 milk chocolate kisses, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt until blended. Beat in cherry juice, extract and, if desired, food coloring.  Gradually beat in flour.  Stir in cherries.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls.  Place 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until bottoms are light brown.  Immediately press a chocolate kiss into center of each cookie (cookie will crack around edges).  Cool on pans 2 minutes.  Remove to wire racks to cool.

Lemony Coconut Macaroons

Prep:  15 minutes    Bake:  15 minutes/batch + cooling    Makes:  2 1/2 dozen

1 egg white
Dash of salt
Dash of cream of tartar
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 14 oz. pkg. flaked coconut
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 F.  In a small bowl, beat egg white, salt and cream of tartar on high speed until stiff peaks form.  In a large bowl, mix milk and extract until blended.  Stir in coconut and baking powder.  Fold in beaten egg white.

Drop coconut mixture by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets.  Bake 11-13 minutes or just until golden brown.  Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

Christmas Mice Cookies

Prep:  30 minutes + chilling        Makes:  1 1/2 dozen

2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs, divided
1/3 cup sour cream
36 red nonpareils
1/4 cup sliced almonds
18 pieces black shoestring licorice (2 in. each)

In a microwave, melt chocolate chips; stir until smooth.  Stir in 1 cup wafer crumbs and sour cream.  Refrigerate, covered, 1 hour or until firm enough to shape.
Place remaining wafer crumbs in a shallow bowl.  For each mouse, roll about 1 Tbsp. crumb mixture into a ball; taper one end to resemble a mouse.  Roll in wafer crumbs to coat.

Attach nonpareils for eyes, sliced almonds for ears and licorice pieces for tails.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Poinsettia Punch from our Holiday Preview 2012

1    Bottle Champagne
2c  Cranberry Juice
1c  Triple Sec

Mix together and serve.