October 02, 2006
I've been really looking forward to the holiday recipe exchange that begins today at Overwhelmed With Joy's place, Holiday Cooking Blogger Style. If you'd like to try some new recipes, or share some of your favorites, run over and visit the links she's hosting.
I'm sharing three of my family's favorites with you today. It was a little difficult to choose just three because like most of you, I have a lot of tried and true recipes that go back several generations. Starting right about this time each year, there's a whole lot of baking going on around my house. All throughout the holidays, starting with popcorn balls for Halloween, my kids know there will be trays of goodies and big bowl of snacks on every flat surface until after New Years Day. Here's a sample.
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon each vanilla and coconut extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup red and/or green candied cherries, coursely chopped
Preheat over to 350*. Have baking sheets ready
Beat butter, sugar, egg, milk, extracts and salt in a large bowl with mixer on medium speed until blended. (Mixture may look curdled.) On low speed, beat in flour until combined. Stir in one cup coconut and the cherries.
Put remaining coconut into a bowl. Drop rounded measuring teaspoons of the dough into coconut; turn gently to coat.
Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 15 minutes or until coconut is toasted and cookies are set.
Cool slightly on baking sheet on a wire rack before removing to rack to cool completely.
Makes about 60 cookies.
Storage tip: Store in an air tight container with wax paper between layers at cool room temperature for up to 1 week, in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
chopped pecans (optional)
In a heavy, 2-quart saucepan stir together the sugar, corn syrup, water and salt. Clip a candy thermometer to inside of pan. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
Continue cooking without stirring to 260* (hard-ball stage). While mixture is cooking, beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Remove candy thermometer from pan.
Gradually pour syrup over egg whites while beating at high speed of electric mixer.
Add vanilla and continue beating for 4 or 5 minutes or till candy holds its shape. Quickly fold in pecans.
Working very quickly, drop candy from a teaspoon onto waxed paper.
Makes about 40 pieces of candy.
Store candy in an air tight container with wax paper between layers at room temperature.
Hint: Divinity will not work on a rainy or very humid day.
HOMEMADE CRACKER JACKS
10 cups popped corn
1 1/2 cups cocktail peanuts
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 dark corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix together the popped corn and the peanuts in a large roasting pan. Keep warm in a 250* oven.
Melt butter in a heavy 2-quart saucepan (do not use a smaller saucepan - syrup is going to bubble up pretty high). Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla.
Quickly pour over warm popcorn and peanut mixture, tossing until all pieces are well coated.
Bake at 250* for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on aluminum foil to cool.
Makes 2 quarts
Store at room temperature in a tightly covered container.
For my family, the holiday season officially starts with Halloween. My girls and I are carrying on a tradition started by their grandmother, my mother-in-law. We get together and make a huge batch of popcorn balls to give out to trick-or-treaters (I always attach an address label to each one so parents know they're safe for their children to eat). Halloween night there's a big pot of chili simmering on the stove.
For Thanksgiving we always have turkey and all the trimmings. And for Christmas I always serve the very best honey baked spiral cut ham I can find.
The three recipes I've shared today are some of the treats you'd find in my home during the holidays.
Posted by Barb at 7:08 AM