Saturday, December 22, 2012

Chocolate Candies

Terri G.
Terri introduced me these candies back in the early days of working at Susquehanna Family Health Center.  I went “gung ho” the first time I tried my hand at it, dipping and coating everything I could think of.  They are yummy, and always make great gifts at Christmas when placed in tins or candy boxes.  Beware - it is a tedious, mindless process, so be sure to turn on the Christmas music or plan to spend a chunk of time with a friend or family member to make the project more enjoyable!

1½ lbs. coating chocolate
1 c. peanut butter
For dipping:  small pretzels, animal crackers, mini Ritz cracker sandwiches
For mixing:  peanuts (dry-roasted, unsalted), Rice Krispie cereal 

Melt chocolate and peanut butter in double boiler.  Using a fork, dip pretzels, etc. one at a time into mixture, shaking off excess chocolate.  Cool on waxed paper.  When amount of coating mixture dwindles, stir in peanuts or Rice Krispies, then drop onto waxed paper or into small paper candy cups. 

Note:  The sky is the limit on what you can dip, etc.  Use your imagination, and be creative in your packaging!


Strawberry Cream Cookies

My friend Rhonda made these cookies for a gathering of college friends shortly after we graduated, and they since have become one of my favorite Christmas cookies to make each year.  They’re so pretty with the red jam in the center.
1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 3-oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 T. vanilla
1 egg yolk
2½ c. flour
Strawberry jelly
Cream together butter, sugar and cream cheese.  Add vanilla and egg yolk.  Blend in flour.
Chill dough 1 hour; shape into 1” balls.  Dent center of cookie; fill with ¼ t. jam.  Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Black Bottom Cupcakes

United Telephone Company co-worker
Beat well:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 beaten egg
1/3 c. sugar
pinch of salt
Stir in 6 oz. miniature chocolate chips into cream cheese mixture.
Mix together:
1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
Add and beat well:
1 c. water
1/3 c. oil
1/2 T. vinegar
1 t. vanilla
Fill cupcake holders less than half full with batter.  Put a heaping teaspoon of cream cheese mixture on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Yields 20 cupcakes.
Mini cupcakes:  Fill half full with batter, then drop 1/2 t. of cream cheese mixture on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Yields 5 dozen.

Peanut Blossoms

1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. butter
1 c. peanut butter
2 eggs
1/4 c. milk
2 t. vanilla
3-1/2 c. sifted flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
Hershey kisses (1 lb. +)
Cream sugars, butter and peanut butter together.  Beat in eggs, milk, and vanilla.  Sift flour, soda, and salt together and stir into cookie batter.  Chill thoroughly for best results.  Shape into balls the size of walnuts and roll in additional granulated sugar.  Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Press chocolate kiss in center of each cookie while still hot.

Molasses Sugar Cookies

¾ c. shortening*
1 c. sugar
¼ c. Brer Rabbit molasses (mild is OK)
1 egg
2 t. baking soda
2 c. sifted flour
½ t. cloves
½ t. ginger
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. salt
Melt shortening in a 3 or 4-qt. saucepan over low heat.  Remove from heat; let cool.  Add sugar, molasses and egg; beat well.  Sift together flour, soda, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and salt.  Form into 1” balls; roll in granulated sugar and place on greased cookie sheet 2” apart.  Bake at 375 degrees, 8-10 minutes.

*Note - Feel free to substitute high quality leaf lard for the shortening (much healthier!!).  I get my leaf lard from Rooster St. Provisions in Elizabethtown.

Crunchy Fudge Sandwiches

1 6-oz. pkg (1 c.) butterscotch morsels
½ c. peanut butter
4 c. Rice Krispies cereal
1 T. water
1 6-oz. pkg (1 c.) chocolate chips
½ c. sifted confectioners sugar
2 T. soft butter
Melt butterscotch chips with peanut butter in heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly until well blended.  Remove from heat. 
Add Rice Krispie cereal, stirring until well coated with butterscotch mixture.  Press half of cereal mixture into buttered 8x8x2” pan.  Chill in refrigerator while preparing fudge mixture.  Set remaining cereal mixture aside. 
Combine chocolate morsels, sugar, butter & water; stir over hot water until chocolate melts & mixture is well blended.  Spread over chilled cereal mixture.  Spread remaining cereal mixture evenly over top.  Press in gently.  Chill.  Remove from refrigerator for about 10 min. before cutting into squares.

Pecan Tassies

Cheese Pastry:
1-3 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1/2 c. butter
1 c. flour
Nut filling:
1 egg
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 T. soft butter
1 t. vanilla
dash of salt
2/3 c. coarsely chopped pecans
Cheese Pastry:
Allow cream cheese and butter to soften at room temperature.  Blend.  Stir in flour.  Chill slightly, about 1 hour.  Shape into 2 dozen 1" balls, place in miniature muffin cups.  Press dough on bottom and sides of cups.*
Nut filling:
Beat together egg, sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt just until smooth.  Divide half the pecans among the pastry-lined cups.  Add egg mixture and top with remaining pecans.  Bake in slow oven (325 degrees) for 25 minutes or until filling is set.
Cool and remove from pans.
*Note: I usually double the recipe and use an 8 oz. pkg of cream cheese, but skip the butter in the filling.