Ten Days…. not much time left

This week wasn’t particularly busy for me…I didn’t get a lot of personal stuff done, but I attended/helped with a funeral, and a friend came by and helped me get some yard decoration up and running. Several years ago, my daughter gave me one of the “Star Shower” light displays, and we set that up and it’s looking great…great enough, in fact that I decided that two of the families on my Christmas gift list would be getting one as a gift. I managed to get to Cuero Saturday and shopped at HEB and WalMart and got quite a bit done, and then Sunday I went the other direction to a Walmart and got a little more finished. Monday, I will head to the bank and get cash for gift cards for a few more on my list. Meanwhile, I got to talk to one of my daughters and we settled what I would be doing on Christmas Day! She and her husband will be here with me. Since we no longer have Midnight Mass at our little country church, I will be able to go to early Mass and we will have the whole day together. It has been quite a while since we’ve been able to do this, and I am really looking forward to our visit.

Also, on Monday, my friend is coming by, and we’ll see about getting my tree out of a storage shed and check if it’s in a usable condition. It’s been covered up, but since it was moved around, I’m not sure if I have all the pieces! You know how that goes…at one time there were two or three different trees and since I can’t remember what I had last year, it puts me in a bit of a quandary…it will all work out, I’m not too worried about it. Tuesday, several of us Auxiliary ladies will work on our last two tray favors and then in the afternoon I will keep the gift shop open. Last week, I was not real busy in the shop, but did make a few sales. (Some weeks, I’m my own best customer!).
Here are a few more cookie and candy recipes in case you would like to try them. About the only cookies I will make this year will probably be Snickerdoodles and Oatmeal cookies, my days of making about seven or eight different recipes and several dozen of each one is long behind me!
Holiday Cookie Surprises
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (don’t substitute margarine)
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups Quaker oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
Approx. 48 bite-size candies
Colored sugar or sprinkles
Heat oven to 325ºF. Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, oats and salt; mix well. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Press candy piece into center of each ball; shape dough around candy so it is completely hidden. Roll cookies in colored sugar until evenly coated. Place 2- inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 14 to 17 minutes or until set. Cool completely on wire rack. Store tightly covered.
Baby Ruth Bars
1 1/3 cup margarine
2 cups brown sugar 1/3 cup white corn syrup
8 cups oatmeal (1/2 old fashioned and ½ quick cooking)
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ cup peanut butter
Melt margarine, then add brown sugar, syrup, peanut butter, oatmeal and vanilla. Put in a greased 9x 13 pan. Bake at 350ºF for about 15 minutes.
While this is baking, prepare following topping:
Mix together:
6-oz package chocolate chips
½ of 6-oz package butter scotch chips
2/3 cup peanut butter chips
When crust comes out of oven spread chips, cover with foil until chips are soft, then mix chips together and spread around. Put 1 cup chopped peanuts on top. Place in fridge for about an hour and then cut into bars or squares.
Chewy Caramel-Pecan Bars
2 cups Pioneer Buttermilk Biscuit and Baking Mix
1 2/3 cups packed light brown sugar (divided)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened (divided)
1 ½ cup pecan halves
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
In food processor container, combine biscuit and baking mix, 1 cup of the brown sugar and ½ cup of the butter. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press on bottom of 13x9x2-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray to form crust. Sprinkle pecans evenly over crust. In 8-cup glass measure or microwave-safe bowl, combine remaining 2/3 cup brown sugar and ½ cup butter. Microwave on High for 4 minutes or until mixture is thickened and syrupy, stirring every minute. Pour evenly over crust and pecans. Bake at 350ºF for 18 to 20 minutes or until caramel layer is bubbly. Remove from oven, sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let stand 3 minutes. Using a knife, swirl chips over caramel to create a marbled effect. Cool completely; cut into bars. Makes 36 bars
Pecan Pralines (This recipe is one that my Mother used and is over 60 years old).
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup buttermilk or clabber*
1 level teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pecans (can be broken pieces or halves)
Use a large pot and bring slowly to soft ball stage (240ºF to 245ºF), the sugar buttermilk and baking soda. This mixture turns brown as it cooks and needs to be stirred constantly. Remove from heat when it reaches the soft ball stage and stir in vanilla and pecans. Stir or beat with a spoon (wooden works best) until it looks as if it is going to turn to sugar. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper or foil to cool. *To make clabber, measure 2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar into 1-cup measure. Add milk to 1 cup line, stir, allow to stand for a bit and it is ready to use.
Peanut Brittle
Before you begin, cover a cookie sheet with foil, butter well and sprinkle with granulated sugar to coat. (Do not try to make this recipe unless it is a bright, sunny day!)
1 cup sugar
1 cup white corn syrup
2 cups shelled, raw peanuts
1 teaspoon baking soda.
Combine sugar, peanuts and syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it is light golden brown in color. This takes up to 16 to 20 minutes. When mixture is this color, remove from heat and stir in baking soda. This will cause mixture to foam up. Immediately pour into prepared cookie sheet and spread to sides of pan. Allow to cool completely, then break into pieces and serve. Store in air-tight container.
Candied Peanuts
1 cup sugar
2 cups raw peanuts, shelled
½ cup water
1 capful of red food coloring
Dash of cinnamon, if desired
Mix all ingredients in iron skillet and cook and stir until water is gone. Pour on cookie sheet; bake for 15 minutes at 300ºF., separate into small pieces and serve.
My friend commented yesterday that everyone must be making the Rolo®/pretzel treats. She and I like to use pretzels on top and bottom, instead of the pecan, and she had a hard time finding the ‘waffle’ type square pretzels, and neither one of us was able to find any in Christmas shapes. I put my left over pretzels in the freezer last year and will see how much is still usable, my problem with the Christmas shapes, last year was that so many were broken and couldn’t be used. These may go into some almond bark candy this year!
Have a great time baking. Take a little time for yourself and don’t forget to hug the kids and your husband!