We all love to eat during the holidays and I want to share some recipes with you from one of my favorite cookbooks. Country Woman Christmas 1998.
BLACK FOREST WAFFLES
With their dark chocolate flavor and cherry and cream topping, these waffles add a fancy touch to brunch with very little effort.
1-3/4 cups cake flour
6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
2 squares (1 ounce each), unsweetened baking chocolate
3 tablespoons shortening
1 cup whipping cream, whipped
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling
Fresh mint, optional
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine egg yolks and milk; stir into dry ingredients. In a double boiler or microwave, melt the chocolate and shortening. Add to batter, mix well. In another mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into the batter. Bake in a preheated waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions until browned. Combine whipped cream and confectioners’ sugar. Serve waffles topped with whipped cream and pie filling. Garnish with mint if desired.
Handy packaged crescent rolls and prepared sausages make this finger food quick and easy for breakfast or brunch.
1 tube (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls
8 brown-and-serve sausage links, cooked
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 tablespoon water
Dried parsley flakes
Unroll crescent roll dough and separate into four rectangles; seal perforations. Place two sausage links end to end along the long side of each rectangle. Sprinkle with garlic powder and sage. Roll up jelly-roll-style and seal the seam with water. Place seam side down on an ungreased baking sheet. In a bowl, beat egg and water; brush over rolls. Sprinkle with parsley and paprika. Cut into 2-in. pieces. Bake at 375° for 11-13 minutes or until golden brown and heated through.
Yield: about 1 dozen.
HAM N’ CHEESE QUICHES
When I need a festive finger food, the quiche recipe’s the one I reach for. With cheese in both the crust and the filling, eating one naturally leads to another.
½ cup cold butter or margarine
1 jar (5 ounces) process sharp cheese spread
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons water
½ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup finely chopped ham
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
In a bowl, cut butter and cheese spread into flour until well blended. Add water and toss with a fork until a ball forms. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Press tablespoonfuls onto the bottom and up the sides of greased miniature muffin cups. In a bowl, beat egg, milk, and salt. Stir in ham and cheese. Spoon a rounded teaspoonful into each shell. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Yield: 2 dozen
These cute cutout reindeer really fly off the plate when my brother’s around. They’re his favorite! The subtle chocolate color and taste make them a nice alternative to plain vanilla sugar cookies.
1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
1 cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2- ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
44 red-hot candies
1- ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa and baking soda; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. On a lightly floured surface, roll cookie cutter. Place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-9 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. If desired, combine confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Cut a small hole in the corner of a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag; fill with icing. Pipe around edges of cookies and add a dot for eye.
Yield: about 3- 1/2 dozen.
COFFEE STIRRER STICKS
As a holiday novelty, it’s hard to lick this lollipop for grown-ups! It doubles as a coffee stirrer, and it makes a special party favor or stocking stuffer.
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup brewed coffee
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon baking cocoa
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
12 wooden lollipop or craft sticks
Red and Green narrow ribbon
In a saucepan, combine sugar, coffee, corn syrup, cocoa, and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly. Cook over medium heat, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 290° (soft-crack stage), about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat. Immediately stir in vanilla, then pour into a greased 2-cup heat-proof glass measuring cup. Working quickly, pour tablespoons into circles on a greased baking sheet and lay a stick in each circle. Allow to cool until hardened. When cooled, wrap with plastic wrap and tie with ribbon. Store in an airtight container.
Yield: about 1 dozen
RED BEANS AND RICE MIX
Since there’s food galore during the holidays themselves. I like giving this zippy mix as an after-Christmas present instead. I just slip the containers of seasoning, beans and rice into a decorative paper bag. A recipe card completes the package.
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon dried sweet pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
2 tablespoons seasoned salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon dried minced garlic
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups dry kidney beans
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
4- ½ cups water, divided
1 ½ to 2 pounds smoked ham hocks
1-pound smoked sausage, sliced
½ teaspoon salt
Minced fresh parsley, optional
Combine the first 10 ingredients; place in an airtight container. Place beans and rice in separate containers.
Yield: 1 Batch
TO PREPARE BEANS AND RICE: Place beans in a Dutch oven or soup kettle; add water to cover by 2 in. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain. Return beans to a pan; add seasoning mix, 2- 1/2 cups water and ham hocks. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours. Remove ham hocks; cut meat into bite-size pieces and return to pan. Add the sausage. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until beans are tender and sausage is heated through. Remove bay leaf. Meanwhile, combine rice, salt and remaining water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Spoon into bowls; top with bean mixture. Garnish with parsley if desired.
Yield: 4-6 servings
On my family’s list of favorite nibbles, this appetizer is tops. I’ve served the satisfying canapes at showers and brunches.
1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1/3 cup chopped salted peanuts
4 green onions, thinly sliced
24 small French bread slices or 12 slices white bread
Additional sliced green onions, optional
In a bowl, combine the first seven ingredients; mix well. Stir in cheese, bacon, peanuts and onions; mix well. Spread over bread. Sprinkle with additional onions, if desired. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. If using white bread, cut into quarters.
Yield: 4 dozen
NOTE: Rounds may be frozen before baking. Bake at 400° for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned (they do not need to be thawed first).