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Christmas Dishes

Here are some Christmas recipe favorites from our friend and gourmet cook, Mary . As a hardworking mother, grandmother, cook and Realtor, she has used these for years to prepare her family's annual Christmas gathering. Some recipes have been handed down through the generations and are direct from her mother's recipe files. We hope you enjoy these with your loved ones this Holiday season.

Christmas Sugar Cookies

1 C. oil

1 C. powdered sugar

1 C butter (do not use margarine or Naughty Elves will visit you)

1 C. white sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

4 C. plus 4 T. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cream of tartar

1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees: Cream oil, powdered sugar, butter and white sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; cream this mixture very well. Sift flour, baking soda cream of tartar and salt. Add to the creamed mixture and cream well again until thoroughly mixed. CHILL COVERED OVERNIGHT. Roll into balls the size of walnuts. Roll balls in sugar, put on cookie sheet and flatten with a glass dipped in sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for about 11 minutes. Do NOT over bake. This will make about six dozen. More likely five dozen since these cookies mysteriously disappear when kids are around.

Eggnog Bread

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup dairy eggnog

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

2 tsp. rum extract

1 tsp. vanilla

2 1/4 cup flour

2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease bottom of bread pan.

Beat eggs; add sugar, eggnog, butter, rum and vanilla.

Blend well; add flour, baking powder and nutmeg.

Stir until just moistened. Pour into greased pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean

Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool bread completely before slicing.

Apple pecan Cake

3 cups of flour

3 large eggs

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

3 cups cubed & pared apples

1/2 cups butter - melted

1 1/2 cups pecan halves

1 cup golden raisins

2 cups packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 10" tube pan. Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt together. Beat oil, butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl.

Stir in dry ingredients. Batter should be very thick.

Fold in apples, pecans and raisins.

Bake 1 1/4 hours. Cool in pan.

Cherry Fluff

1 cans Cherry or Strawberry pie filling

1 cans Eagle Brand Condensed Milk

1 16 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained well

Combine. Fold in 8 or 12 oz of Cool Whip and chill.

Peanut Brittle

2 cups sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 cup water

2 cups raw Spanish Peanuts

1/2 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. butter

2 tsp. baking soda

(If you're unsure of visual cues and approximate temperatures use a candy thermometer. Grandma did all this by sight and feel!)

Combine the syrup, sugar and water in a heavy 3-quart saucepan. Heat and stir this mixture slowly until the sugar dissolves. Add salt. Cook over medium heat until this can be formed into a soft ball (approximately 234 degrees). Continue to heat and then add the peanuts. (250 degrees)

Cook to hard crack stage (290 degrees), stirring often. Remove from heat.

Quickly, stir in butter and baking soda. Beat to froth for a few seconds. Pour at once onto 2 well-buttered 15-1/2x10-1/2x1-inch pans, spreading with spatula. If desired, cool slightly and pull with forks to stretch thin. Break up when cold.

Makes about 1-1/2 pounds of brittle

Tips: Use unsalted Spanish Peanuts or briefly wash and

dry the peanuts in a strainer to remove excess salt and hulls. Use fresh baking soda. Boil several cups of water for ten minutes to remove impurities before mixing with other ingredients. Combine the butter and baking soda in advance to add to the mixture. *** Make sure you have the buttered pans ready to go, and coat your spatula with butter. Make sure you get the first piece of peanut brittle!

Christmas Soup

This recipe makes a soup that has become part of our family Christmas Holiday tradition.

It is served when everyone has arrived back home and gathered together in our family room.

1 large cans V-8 juice (46 fl. oz.)

1 can beef consomm? (11 oz)

2 bay leaves

4 cloves

Dash of Worcestershire sauce

Dash of Tabasco sauce

Simmer all ingredients for 1 hour. Serve hot in demitasse cups.

Serves 8

Chocolate Cherry Mice Cookies


* 24 Double Stuffed Oreos

* 1 C. chocolate chips

* 2 tsp. shortening

1/4 C. of sliced almonds (for the ears)

* 24 maraschino cherries (for the body and tail)

* 24 chocolate kisses (for the noses)

* White frosting (for the eyes)


Drain the cherries and make sure to keep the stems intact.

Twist Oreo cookies apart. Set aside the sides with the cream filling; save the plain halves for another use such as a pie crust - or munch for holiday stress relief.

In microwave or double boiler, melt the chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth - If you prefer, you can use almond chocolate and not include the shortening.

Holding the cherries by the stem, dip them in the melted chocolate, then join these to the bottom of a chocolate kiss.

Place the cherry and kiss onto the cream filling side of the Oreo cookie, letting the stem extend out.

While the chocolate is still soft place sliced almonds between the cherry and the kiss to make the ears.

With white frosting - dab eyes on each chocolate kiss.

Place your 'mice' in the refrigerator until the chocolate sets.

With green decorative gel (or colored frosting) make tiny holly leaves on the white cream of cookie next to each chocolate mouse, finish by squeezing tiny

Holly Berries between the leaves with the red gel or red-colored frosting.

Ham Loaf

Not only great for the Holidays, this ham loaf has become a favorite "birthday meal." Heat oven to 375 degrees.

1 lb. ground pork and 1 lb. ground ham

2 eggs

1 cup saltine cracker crumbs

1/2 cans tomatoes

Milk to moisten

Mix the pork and ham and shape into 2 individual loaves. In a saucepan, combine:

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/3 cup vinegar

1/2 cup water

Bring to a boil, pour over the meat. Bake 1 hour basting several times. Serves 6 - 8

Christmas Bread

Makes 3 loaves Preparation time: 30 minutes Rising time: 1 1/2 hours altogether

Baking time: about 40 minutes

Oven temperature: 400 ?F Note: This bread is suitable for freezing

4 cups (1 l) buttermilk

2 oz. (50 g) yeast

3/4 cup (2 dl) dark syrup

2 tablespoons grated orange peel

1/2 tablespoon roughly ground caraway seeds

1 tablespoon salt

about 3 cups (8 dl) rye flour

1 1/2 cups (4 dl) graham flour

about 4 cups (1 l) white flour

Warm up the buttermilk. Crumble in the yeast and add the syrup and spices.

Mix in the flour and knead thoroughly. Cover with a cloth and leave to rise. If the kitchen is drafty, stand the covered bowl in warm water. Divide the dough into three and shape each portion into a round loaf. Put in a warm place to rise. Prick with a fork before placing in the oven.

Traditional Baked Ham

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 45 - 55 minutes/2 lb. (1 kg)

Oven temperature: 250 - 300 ?F and 440?F (for browning)

Ready-salted ham 10 - 15 lb.

Ham Coating:

2 - 4 tablespoons mustard

2 - 4 tablespoons brown sugar

2 - 4 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs

cloves for decorating

1. Place ham on grid in the roasting pan with the skin side up. Push a roasting thermometer into the thickest part of the ham and make sure it does not touch the bone.

2. Place the ham in the oven. When the roasting thermometer reaches 170 ?F (77?C) the meat is cooked. (45 - 55 minutes)

3. Remove from the oven and let it stand. Remove the skin and most of the underlying fat.

4. Mix together the ingredients for the coating and coat the ham. Return to a hot oven at

450 ?F, for ten minutes or until it gets golden brown. Decorate the surface of the ham with cloves.

NOTE: cooking meat at a lower temperature will result in less liquid being lost and a juicier ham - add more time if you choose to bake at a lower temp.


Some chefs state the meat will be juicier if the ham is covered with a pastry crust. To do this, prepare a pastry mix using about 2 cups rye flour and just enough water to make dough. The pastry is then rolled out or patted over the surface of the ham to give a crust about 1/2 inches thick. Do not salt this pastry dough. If the ham happens to be too salty, the pastry crust will absorb the excess salt.

Hint: The dripped meat juices can be used to make gravy. It will be salty however mixing in some apple sauce flavor with ground ginger and mustard makes an excellent ham gravy.

Baked Spinach Casserole

If you like spinach, this is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone's face...

Heat oven to 325 degrees

3 Tablespoons butter

2 cups light cream

3 Tablespoons grated onion

2 packages frozen spinach, thawed and drained

1 lb chopped mushrooms

3 tablespoons grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese

3 tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Saut?e onions and mushrooms in butter for 5 minutes. Blend in flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Gradually add cream, stirring to boiling point. Taste for seasoning. In buttered casserole, spread half the spinach; cover with half of the mushroom sauce, then repeat. Sprinkle with the grated cheese. Set in pan of hot water.

Bake 40 minutes. Serves 6 - 8.

Baker's One Bowl Chocolate Brownie Cookie

6 tbsp. Butter or margarine

2 cups toasted chopped walnuts (optional)

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 tsp vanilla

3 eggs

2 tsp. Vanilla

1 cup flour

1 1/2 cups pecan halves

1/4 tsp salt

6 squares BAKER'S semi-sweet baking chocolate

4 squares BAKER'S unsweetened baking chocolate

1 tsp CALUMET baking powder

1. Microwave chocolates and butter in a large microwavable bowl on high 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring halfway through heating time. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. 2. Stir sugar into chocolate until blended. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoons, 1 1/2 inches apart, onto greased cookie sheet. 3. Bake 12 minutes or until set. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cool 5 minutes; remove from cookie sheet. Cool completely on wire racks. Store in airtight container (Makes about 3 dozen.)