Christmas is one of the busiest celebrations of the Christian population of the world. But because Christmas has become so commercialized, Christmas is celebrated by many countries around the world, and not just by the Christians in those countries.
Along with caroling and praying, FEASTING has become one American tradition that many of us should probably slow down on but it is just commonplace to have everyone bring and share all the goodies (usually sweet and sugary) they make during the holidays, therefore causing a bit of “over-eating” this time of year. Then comes January and New Year’s resolutions. It is almost a safe bet that many will make at least one resolution to lose weight over the New Year. Of course many soon forget that they even made this resolution!
To help you forget your “diet” resolution I’m sharing some of my long time tried and true recipes that I’ve received from friends throughout my many years. Some are old, some are newer. If the friend is local, you will see their name with the recipe. The first one I’m sharing with all of you is a recipe my pastor shared with some of her congregation! And I’m trying it before this recipe even gets published! Obviously I don’t make every one of these recipes every year, but it was fun looking through my recipe books taking me down memory lane!

Peanut Butter Fudge
From Pastor Alberta Ervin.
Makes 54 small pieces. Easy to make!
4 cups sugar
1-1/3 cups milk
3 cups peanut butter
1 pint (16 ounces)
marshmallow cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
Cook sugar and milk to 234 degrees or soft ball stage (syrup forms a soft ball in cold water). Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients, stirring until well mixed. Pour into a 9 x 13 inch buttered pan and let cool. Cut into small pieces.

Melting Moments
From a friend I worked with in Des Moines.
1 cup soft butter or margarine
1 cup sifted flour
5-1/2 tablespoons powdered
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts,
Drop by teaspoons on cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 14 to 17 minutes. Frost while still warm with following frosting.
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar
Mix and drizzle over warm cookies on cooling racks over waxed paper. You may reuse frosting that drips onto the waxed paper by just adding it back into the warm frosting. These are dainty and delicious too!

Chocolate Orange Drops
From a friend I worked with in Des Moines.
1/2 cup shortening (part
3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix shortening, cheese, sugar, egg, orange peel and vanilla thoroughly. Add flour and salt. Add chips. Bake 15 minutes or until done. Ovens vary so watch carefully.

Frozen Cherry Dessert
From a lady at work in Des Moines, Christmas potluck 1974.
1 can Eagle Brand milk
21 ounce can cherry pie filling
15-1/2 ounce can drained
crushed pineapple
1 large carton Cool Whip
few drops of red food coloring
Mix together and freeze. Slice into small squares before serving. Delicious!

Gramma’s Raisin Cookie
From my sister-in-law, Barb.
Beat and soak overnight:
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup raisins
1 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup nuts
2 cups oatmeal
Bake in 325 to 350 degree oven 8 to 10 minutes. Very moist cookie. Freezes well.

Best Ever Caramels
From our dear friend, Dorothy Stamper, who directed choir at Gilmore City Methodist for over 50 years. I think Steve and Kathy Stamper still make these also!
2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 cup butter
1-1/4 teaspoons vanilla
Combine sugars, corn syrup, cream, milk and butter. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally to firm ball stage (248 degrees). Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour into greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Cool. When firm, turn out onto board and cut into squares. Wrap in wax paper. These store well. DO NOT substitute butter or cream.

Never Fail Fudge
From Donna Hodgell, FUMC. If you have ever attended anything at FUMC in Gilmore City you have probably eaten some of her delicious fudge. She always brings a pan with nuts and one without nuts!
13 ounce can evaporated milk
1/4 pound butter or margarine
3 cups sugar
12 ounce package chocolate
1 pint marshmallow cream
1 teaspoon burnt sugar
flavoring (I used vanilla in
Place milk, butter or margarine and sugar in a saucepan and cook until it forms a soft ball when tested in cold water (230 degrees). Stir often to keep from burning. Remove from heat and fold in chocolate chips and marshmallow crème. When blended well, add flavoring. Pour in greased pan, cool and place in refrigerator.

Velveeta Cheese Fudge
This is delicious and doesn’t seem as rich. I make this recipe. It is very easy to make!
1 cup butter
2 pounds powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 pound (8 ounces) Velveeta
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Melt butter and cheese together. Sift cocoa and powdered sugar together. Combine these two mixtures together. Mix in vanilla and add pecans is using. Stir well. Dump into a foil-lined, 9 x 12 inch pan. Cut when cool. This has a nice dark chocolatey color.

Peanut Clusters
2 cup peanut butter
4 cups chocolate chips (I like
dark chocolate, many like
milk chocolate)
1 pound jar of salted peanuts
Combine peanut butter and chocolate chips. Stir until melted and blend well. Add peanuts and stir until well coated. Drop by teaspoonful onto waxed or parchment paper. Chill until set. Makes a lot. These freeze well for later use.

Toffee Snowballs
1 cup butter, room temperature
5 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
2 cups finely chopped pecans
3 ounces toffee pieces
3 ounces mini chocolate chips
powdered sugar (for rolling
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar, vanilla and water. Mix well. Stir flour and salt into mixture. Add pecans, toffee bits and mini chocolate chips and mix thoroughly. Roll into tablespoon size balls. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Roll in powdered sugar while still warm. Once cooled, roll in powdered sugar

Gingerbread Cookies
1/2 cup Crisco
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
colored frosting and desired
Combine shortening, sugar, molasses and egg. Beat well. Add dry ingredients. Chill dough for 1 hour. Roll out on floured surface and cut with favorite cookie cutter shapes. Bake on lightly greased cookie sheet for 5 to 6 minutes. Frost and decorate when cool.

Christmas Crack(er) Candy
Very addictive! I finally put my batch in the cold garage so I couldn’t keep sampling it!
35 saltine crackers (about one
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups (10 to 12 ounces)
chopped dark chocolate
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line crackers in a 10 x 15 inch jelly roll pan. I line the pan, but the recipe says you don’t have to. Place brown sugar, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until the butter melts. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture comes to a boil and starts to darken. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
(Note: You’re not actually making caramel here, so you don’t need to be as precise or worry about the temperature of the caramel. Just make sure it comes to a boil and wait for it to darken slightly, then continue.) Pour hot sugar mixture over crackers, spreading to evenly coat the crackers. Put pan in oven and bake for 5 minutes. The caramel will be hot and bubbly. Remove from oven, let cool and break into pieces. This is where I stop. But if you prefer the crackers to have chocolate on top, continue on from here.
Chocolate Topping:
Melt the chocolate by placing the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook it in the microwave in 30-second intervals at full power, stirring between each cook time, until the chocolate has melted. Pour chocolate over the carameled crackers after they have cooled for one minute or until the caramel is no longer bubbling. Use a spatula to spread the chocolate evenly over the top.
If you can wait, Let the crackers cool to room temperature then move to the refrigerator and cool overnight. The crackers will form a single sheet once cool. Remove from pan (it should just pop out) and cut into about 35 pieces. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about a week. They don’t last that long in my house!

Cashew Cookies
From Linda Lynch.
One of the goodies served at church coffee hour and they were delicious!
1/2 cup oleo
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups cashew pieces
Mix all together. Form into balls. Put on cookie sheets leaving space between cookies. Bake in 375 degree oven 8 to 10 minutes. Frost with browned butter frosting.
Brown Butter Frosting:
1/2 cup butter (browned in
small sauce pan)
3 tablespoons light cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
Beat until thick and smooth. Frost cookies. Can decorate with half of cashew.

From my mother.
Some people call these Wedding Cookies.
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2-1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
powdered sugar
Heat oven to 400 degrees. In large mixing bowl, combine butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, vanilla and almond extract. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add flour and salt. Beat at low speed until soft dough forms. Stir in pecans. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until set. Immediately roll cookies in powdered sugar. Cool completely. Reroll cookies in powdered sugar before storing.

Bing Bars
From Lavonne Hoover at FUMC.
A goody she has shared many times at church.
12 ounce package chocolate
3/4 cup peanut butter
10 ounce package crushed
salted peanuts
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
12 large marshmallows
1/2 cup margarine
6 ounce package cherry chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
Melt chocolate chips, peanut butter and nuts in microwave and spread half in greased 9x13 inch pan. Boil sugar, evaporated milk, marshmallows and margarine for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cherry chips and vanilla. Stir until chips are melted. Pour over chocolate layer. Chill and spread last half of chocolate mixture on top. Chill and cut into small squares.

Candy Cane Hot
Chocolate Mix
On these cold, cold days, nothing is better than a refreshing warm cup of cocoa made with this mix!
2-1/2 cups sugar
2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups powdered non-dairy
1-1/2 cups powdered cocoa
crushed candy cane pieces
Combine all ingredients together and store in a sealed container. To use, add 1/4 cup of mix into a cup of hot water (or hot milk for a creamier taste). (For a more festive look, add a dollop of whipped cream, additional candy cane sprinkles and a candy cane stir stick.)

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
Mix well. Drop by spoonful onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes about 2 dozen cookies. Recipe can be doubled.

Best Ever Sugar Cookies
From several of my aunts.
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup oleo
1 cup Crisco oil
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
4-1/4 cups flour (might need
4-1/2 cups total)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix all ingredients together and roll into small balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and press down with the bottom of a drinking glass or slotted spoon dipped in sugar. Bake at 375 degrees until lightly tanned around the edges.
NOTE: This works best if the dough is chilled before making into balls.

Spritz Cookies
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Cream very well. Add:
2-1/4 cups flour
Chill dough. Use a Spritz cookie press. Bake in a 350 degree oven. Watch carefully for time as these are small cookies and don’t take very long for baking.

Thumbprint Cookies
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, separated
finely chopped nuts (of your
choice) I prefer pecans
jam, jelly or powdered sugar
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add water, vanilla and egg yolk. Add flour and baking powder and mix well. Chill dough. Form dough into balls about the size of a walnut. Roll in beaten egg white, then in nuts. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and press your thumb in each ball. Return to oven and bake 8 to 10 minutes longer. When cool, fill centers with jam, jelly or colored powdered sugar frosting.

Chocolate Waffle Cookies
From Nicci Nystrom way back when I was in high school in Havelock and she was one of four siblings I baby-sat for. She is married and has two daughters and the whole Nystrom family is still one of my favorite families I ever baby-sat for. The parents were my MYF leaders and the four children were loved by all of the MYF kids. To this day I still get Christmas cards from all of them.
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
4 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
pinch of salt
Mix ingredients until well blended. Drop by teaspoon onto heated waffle iron, about 375 degrees. They bake quickly. Frost with powdered sugar frosting.

Cut Out Sugar Cookies
These are good at Christmas or Valentine’s Day or even Easter.
1/2 cup shortening (I prefer
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs, cream and vanilla and mix well. Add dry ingredients. Chill dough and roll out 1/4 inch think and cut with cookie cutters. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Frost and decorate.

The COOK OF THE WEEK 3rd Edition Cookbook is available. Cost per copy is $10.70, plus $4.80 shipping/handling. Order a copy today by sending a check or money order, along with name and shipping address, to: Humboldt Independent, 512 Sumner Ave., Humboldt, IA 50548.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet