Christmas Yummies

‘Tis the season for Christmas treats!  What are your favorites?  I’d love to deliver a plate of yummies to your door!  But, since I can’t get to all of your homes, I will share some of the recipes of goodies our family enjoys year after year. 

Let’s start with the cheese balls.  Ooo!  Love cheese balls!  One is savory and one is sweet …

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball – makes about 2 cups
8-oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup pecans or walnuts, finely chopped
Graham cracker sticks

Blend cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a mixing bowl until fluffy.  Gradually add sugars; beat just until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.  Place on a large piece of plastic wrap; shape into a ball.  Refrigerate for at least one additional hour.  At serving time, roll ball in chopped nuts.  Serve with graham cracker sticks for dipping. 

Savory Cheese Ball
I also like to shape this to form a Christmas tree on a platter.  It’s so pretty decorated with tiny tomatoes as ornaments and a cheese star on top (use cookie cutter or knife to form star out of sliced cheese).

2  8-oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 pkg. dried beef, chopped (or lunch meat)
1 tsp. seasoned salt

Mix cream cheese, 1/2 pkg. of beef, onion, salt, and Worcestershire sauce.  Mix well and shape into a ball.  Put in refrigerator for 15 minutes.  Roll ball in rest of beef.  Serve with crackers.

Next, the bars and cookies!

Butterscotch Cookies (from my Great Great Aunt Ida)
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup butter and lard (half of each…or just use butter)
2 eggs
2 cups flour with 1 tsp. soda and 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup nut meats

Mix altogether and put on moulding board (cutting board or counter).  Work in enough flour for cookie dough.  Mould in loaf (3″ wide and 1 1/2″ high) and put in refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Cut in thin slices and sprinkle with colored sugar.  Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes.

Caramel Bars
This recipe came from my dear friend Donna Bond.  Using this scrumptious treat I became a finalist at a baking contest in Ames, Iowa when I was in junior high.

Mix together: 1 box yellow cake mix
2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar

Add and mix: 3/4 cup cooking oil and 1 egg

Spread 1/2 of this mixture in greased 9 x 13 pan.  Pour 3/4 cup caramel ice cream topping over dough (or melted caramels).  Try to keep topping about 1/2″ from the edge of cookie dough.  Crumble remaining dough over sauce.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  Cool.  Cut into bars.

Cherry Chip Cornflake Cookies (pictured above) – 5 dozen
2 1/4 cups sifted flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup soft butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. almond extract
3/4 cup corn flakes, crumbled
1 pkg. cherry chips (6 oz.)

Measure unpacked flour and mix with salt.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Mix in egg yolk and almond extract.  Add flour and mix until smooth.  Stir in cornflakes and cherry chips.  Roll into 1″ balls, placing on ungreased cookie sheets.  Press with a fork lengthwise and crosswise, and sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar.  Bake at 375 for 12-14 minutes.  Remove from sheet while still warm.

Gumdrop Cookies (pictured above)
1 cup softened butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten lightly
2 cups oatmeal
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup cut gumdrops
1 cup coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 400. Cream butter and sugars, add eggs and blend well. Add dry ingredients and mix until smooth.  Add coconut, oatmeal, gumdrops and vanilla last. Drop on cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 for 10 minutes.

Munchkins (pictured above)
Our Filipino daughter Amira taught us how to make these – YUM!  Bake a batch of brownies.  After cooling add some milk and roll into balls.  Then roll in shredded coconut.  You can also put a piece of candy or marshmallow in the center.

Spritz Cookies (pictured above)
Christmas isn’t just Christmas without traditional Swedish spritz! 

1 cup softened butter (real)
1 egg
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. almond extract
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. vanilla
a pinch of cream of tartar

Mix butter and sugar until creamy.  Add flour (unsifted) and baking powder to butter and sugar (a bit more flour may be needed).  Mix all ingredients together with hands to make a soft, not crumbly dough.  Preheat oven to 350.  Form cookies with cookie press.  Bake approximately 10 minutes.  Watch carefully to they don’t become brown. We like to make white camels with gold or silver ball eyes, green Christmas trees with gold balls at the tops and colored balls for decorations, and white or green wreaths by using star form and making a long “snake” of dough – trimming it to 3″ pieces and making a circle – 2 red hots at the top for holly and green sugar sprinkles. You can also make poinsettias or candy canes.

Whew!  With all this sweetness going around, we need something salty to balance it out …

Ranch Oyster Crackers – 3 cups
1 cup olive oil (or oil of preference)
1 tsp. dill weed
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 pkg. Ranch salad dressing mix
2  12-oz. pkgs. oyster crackers

Mix everything but the crackers.  Pour mixture over the crackers.  Mix well and let set for at least 1 hour before serving.

And the caramel corn (that isn’t really corn – so nothing getting into your teeth)!

Old Dutch Caramel Corn
1 8-oz. bag of Old Dutch Puff Corn Curls
Caramel Sauce: 1/2 lb. butter (real) (2 sticks) … 1 cup brown sugar … 1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp. baking soda

Place corn curls in large roasting pan (can use disposable).  In 2 quart saucepan cook sauce ingredients (except soda) 2 minutes.  Add 1 tsp. soda to mix.  This will cause foaming – 2 quart pan necessary!  Pour caramel mix over corn curls and stir till mixed.  250 for 45 minutes.  Stir at least every 10-15 minutes.  Prepare counter/table with waxed paper on top of newspaper.  Pour cooked corn on waxed paper and separate piece by piece while still warm.  Beware: this is addictive!

And we can’t have Christmas without candy (well, we can, but you know what I mean)!  First of all, my Mom’s fabulous fudge …

Fantasy Fudge – 3 lbs.
3 cups sugar
2/3 cup (5 1/3-oz. can) evaporated milk
1 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup to 1 cup black walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 7-oz. jar marshmallow creme
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar, butter and milk in heavy 2-3 quart saucepan.  Bring to a full boil, stirring constantly.  Continue boiling 5 minutes over medium heat (to 234 degrees); remove from heat to prevent scorching.  Stir in chocolate chips till melted (gradual).  Add marshmallow creme, nuts and vanilla; beat till well blended.  Pour in greased 9 x 13 pan.  Cool. Cut.

Peppermint Patties – about 4 dozen
1 pkg. (8-oz.) creme cheese, softened
9 cups confectioners sugar
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. peppermint extract
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. shortening

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and extract until smooth.  Gradually add sugar, beating well.  Shape into 1″ balls. Place on waxed paper lined baking sheets.  Flatten into patties.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.  In a microwave (or in double boiler) melt chocolate and shortening; stir until smooth.  Cool slightly.  Dip patties in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper until firm.  Store in cool place.

And for a smashing finale, my friend Jane’s decadent bread …

Double Chocolate Bread – 6 mini loaves or 2 regular loaves
When my neighbor and friend Jane brought this over as a Christmas surprise, I shamelessly kept most of it for myself, only sharing the bare minimum with my dear husband and children!

1 box chocolate (or yellow) cake mix (moist devil’s food recommended)
2 boxes instant chocolate pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups water
12 oz. bag chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet or combination)
Chopped pecans (optional)

Mix together cake mix, pudding, eggs, oil, vanilla, and water until smooth.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Pour about 1/2 full into greased and floured (cocoa or carob powder) pans (big or small).  Bake 50 minutes – 1 hour at 350.  Let cool.  Remove from pans and wrap in plastic wrap or place in airtight container as this helps it remain moist. 

Happy baking and memory making!


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