Friday, November 19, 2010

Take Time to Share Your Christmas Traditions: Recipes


This weeks post is 'Share Your Favorite Recipe(s)'! Yum, I'm looking forward to this one! Link up and be sure to visit some (or all) of those participating. Check back throughout the week for others who are linking up later. 
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Have you ever made homemade caramels? You are totally missing out if you haven't! I got this recipe off of Land O'Lakes a few years back and make it around Christmas. I know a lot of people shy away from candy recipes because they seem complicated or the time involved is just not worth the effort. Trust me, this recipe is worth the effort! If you love Werthers caramels you will love these because they taste just like them. This recipe makes a lot and it's perfect to divide up into several small bags and give them to friends and neighbors for cheap gifts. The recipe calls to store this in the fridge, which I do. It will make your whole fridge smell like caramels :-) The recipe has turned out perfect all the time except for the one year a neighbor came over while I was in the middle of cooking these on the stove and I let the temp get too high. They still turned out tasty, but they were too hard to eat! So, wait until the kids go to bed so you can devote your complete attention. 



2 cups sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla


Directions

Butter a 13x9-inch pan; set aside. Combine all ingredients except vanilla in heavy 4-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted and mixture comes to a boil (15 to 20 minutes).


Continue cooking, until candy thermometer reaches 244°F. or small amount of mixture dropped into ice water forms a firm ball (about 25 to 30 minutes).


Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Cool completely. Cut into 1 1/2x1-inch pieces; wrap candies in plastic food wrap. Store refrigerated.

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What's Christmas without sugar cookies to decorate! This is the perfect recipe because  it is not a sweet sugar cookie, but more of a shortbread taste which makes it perfect to decorate with frosting.Very simple recipe and bakes well every time. I picked this recipe off of a message board and pass it on to anyone who says they are going to make sugar cookies. I get great feedback from this recipe all the time.
Rich Roll Cookies
2.5 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt (or substitute with a teaspoon of: lemon rind, cinnamon or 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds)
1 cup unsalted butter (soften at room temp)
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract

Directions
Cream together softened butter and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Gradually add the flour and salt and blend well. Chill dough 3 to 4 hours before rolling. Preheat oven to 350. Roll out the dough and cut out into shapes. Bake 10 -15 minutes or until slightly brown.

My tips: If you are in a hurry, pat out your dough into a flattened circle and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes to speed up the chilling process. Then take out to roll, cut out and bake.

I prefer these cookies slightly underdone to where they barely turn brown on the edges. It keeps them soft and moist. Depending on the thickness of the cookies your cooking time could be a few minutes less than the estimate above so keep an eye on these to judge about how long your batches are taking to bake.
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This is a really good casserole and perfect if you are looking for something different than the 'traditional' casseroles served during the holidays. I got this recipe from my Grandmother and it is often my dish I take to our family gatherings.  I like this casserole best really hot.

Squash Casserole
2 lbs yellow squash
1 small white onion
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 can water chestnuts (diced)
1/2 stick of butter
2 cups grated mild cheddar cheese
seasoned croutons

Directions
Slice squash and dice onion. Cook until tender and drain. In a large bowl mix in soup, sour cream, chestnuts, and squash & onion mixture. Melt butter and mix all ingredients well. Salt to taste.

Line a 9x13 baking dish with croutons and cover with mixture. Add grated cheese to the top and add more croutons to the top if you wish. Bake at 350 until bubbly in the middle.

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Need a good, simple and easy dip recipe? I guess this should be called more of a spread though :-) Even though it sounds gross, it is so good and it's not hot at all because the cream cheese balances it out. Trust me! This is a great recipe to take to those pitch-in holiday get togethers.

Creamy Jalapeno Spread
1 block of cream cheese
1 small jar of hot jalapeno pepper jelly
Assortment of crackers

Place the block of cream cheese in the middle of a large platter and dump the whole jar of jelly on top. Fill in the rest of the platter with an assortment of crackers and serve.


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3 comments:

whocg23 said...

I love this meme. I can't wait to see what other people write, and I love the recipes you shared. :)
I will probably end up with more links in the list as the week goes on, if I remember. I just posted one recipe for today though.

N.D. said...

I'll have to come back to this& add some cookies. the caramels look so good!

Sarah J. said...

Mine is still in my draft folder. I started it early hoping I would be able to finish it by Friday or at least this weekend, but no luck! :o( I am trying to get everything lined out at work and home since I only have 2 weeks left- YIKES!! Hopefully, I will have some time between now and next Friday I will have time to get the next several ready!

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