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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Has Come .....And Gone!

We are so blessed!  We had wonderful meals on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with our families.
We have leftover dressing, dumplings, sweet potato casserole, smoked ham, red velvet cake, fudge, divinity, and a 14 layer chocolate cake.  However, today Phillip is firing up the grill and we are grilling steaks!  

All of our Christmas decorations have been taken down and put away for another year.  It's been a productive day. 

As Tiny Tim would say, "God Bless Us Everyone."

Friday, December 21, 2012

Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake
We have always had a Red Velvet Cake at Christmas.  My Mother-in-law would make her Red Velvet Cake with a butter recipe cake mix to which she added cocoa powder and red food coloring.  She would then make a traditional cream cheese frosting to go on the cake.  She had given her recipe to my sister, Debra, and this is the cake that my sister brought to our parent's house for a number of years.  My friend, Vickie, surprised me one Sunday at church with a Red Velvet Cake for my family.  The cake was wonderful and she was so kind to give me her recipe for Red Velvet Cake.  This was the beginning of me making a Red Velvet Cake for my family.  I tripled her recipe for the frosting to make sure that I have plenty of frosting to go between each layer as well as plenty for the top and sides of the cake.  There will be extra frosting, so make a batch of cupcakes.  Red Velvet Cake and Cupcakes, isn't that delightful!
Red Velvet Cake
1 cup Wesson Oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 oz. Red Food Coloring
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. Hershey's Cocoa
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/4 cups self-rising flour
1 tsp. white vinegar
Cream oil, sugar, and eggs.  Make a paste with coloring, cocoa, and vinegar.  Add to mixture.  Sift flour and add to mixture.  Add buttermilk and vanilla.  Do not beat hard.  Bake in four 9 inch cake pans at 350 degrees for 22 min.  Allow to cool in pans.  Place in freezer for 7 min.  Remove from cake pans and frost.
3 - 8 oz. pkgs. Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temperature
3 sticks Land O Lakes Real Butter, room temperature
3 tsp. vanilla extract
3 boxes powdered sugar
3 cups chopped pecans
Combine softened cream cheese and butter.  Add sifted sugar and vanilla and mix well.
Place one cake layer on cake plate.  Cover with frosting and then sprinkle on a layer of chopped pecans.  Repeat with all of the cake layers.  When all layers are stacked, spread frosting on the sides of the cake.
*I like having the extra frosting, so that I can spread a generous amount between each cake layer and on top and sides of the cake.  It is easier to spread the frosting without adding the chopped pecans to the frosting.  You can add a layer of chopped pecans on top of each cake layer that has been frosted.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

M & M Cookies / Pecan Cookies

M & M Cookies / Pecan Cookies
My sister, Debra, began the tradition of bringing M & M Cookies to our parent's house every Christmas.  We love M & M Cookies but our daddy didn't like cookies with candy in them, so I began making Pecan Cookies for him.  My husband and son also took a real liking to the Pecan Cookies.  When I mix up the batter for the cookies I divide the batter before adding the M & M's or Pecans.  In one half of the batter, I add M & M's and in the other half, I add Pecans.  We had both M & M and Pecan Cookies for our dessert this past Sunday.  There were no complaints, only compliments!
M & M Cookies / Pecan Cookies 
1 cup Crisco Shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 cup of M & M's or 1 cup chopped pecans
Blend shortening and sugar.  Beat in vanilla and eggs.  Sift flour and then add to sugar and egg mixture.  Mix well.  Stir in one cup M & M's.  Reserve remaining M & M's for decorations. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 12 min. 
Add pecans instead of M & M's for Pecan Cookies.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


As soon as I typed the word -Fudge- I immediately thought of Ralphie on The Christmas Story!
I have not made Fudge for Christmas in a couple of years but for some reason I thought I had to make it for us this year.  I packaged Fudge along with Sand Tarts in red tins for my friends and they all said YUM! 
Your family and friends will enjoy this chocolate fix.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 - 5 oz. can evaporated milk
1 - 7 oz. jar marshmallow creme
3 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups chopped pecans
Lightly grease a foil-lined 10 X 13 in. pan.  Set aside. 
Heat sugar, butter, milk, and marshamallow creme in a heavy 3 qt. saucepan over medium heat until mixture boils, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir for 5 min.  Add chocolate chips and vanilla extract, stirring until chips are melted.  Stir in pecans.  Immediately spread into prepared pan.  Refrigerate overnight.  Cut into 1-inch squares.  Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.  For creamier fudge, let stand at room temperature for one hr. before serving.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sand Tarts

Sand Tarts
I was thinking about baking some Sand Tarts last week.  I always make them for friends and give them for gifts during the Christmas holidays.  The ones that I baked this weekend were not for gifts but were just for us!  Yum! 
I package the Sand Tarts in tins and wrap the tin with a wired bow.  The Sand Tarts are so delicate that I place them in tissue paper in the tins.  Last Christmas, I was asked by Wiregrass Living Magazine if I would be giving food gifts that were packaged for the holidays.  I told them that I would be and they asked me to bring some to their office to be photographed for this year's (2012) November/December edition.  I have pictures and recipes for Sand Tarts, Divinity, and M & M Cookies/Pecan Cookies in this edition. 
Sand Tarts are always welcome as a gift.  They're nice to have at your home for enjoyment, too.
Sand Tarts
1 cup Land O Lakes Real Butter
1/4 cup confectionate sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cold water
2 cups sifted plain flour
1 cup chopped pecans
Cream butter and sugar.  Add vanilla and cold water.  Add flour and mix well.  Stir in chopped pecans.  Shape into small balls and flatten slightly.  You can shape them round or crescent shaped. 
Bake at 325 degrees for 18 min.
Allow to cool for 5 min. and then roll gently in confectionate sugar.  Place on a plate for serving or in an airtight container.
These are very delicate and have to be handled with care or they will crumble.  If I am giving them for a gift, I always put them in a tin nestled in tissue paper.