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What's Cookin': Add to Yuletide merriment with delivery of sweet treats

Amaretto truffles will add yum to Yuletide. (Linda Smith / For the Enterprise)

One of the special things about the Christmas holiday season is the plethora of soul-soothing Christmas concerts, the children's school programs and an uptick in festive social gatherings. There are also those special people in our lives we like to remember with a little token of love or thanks. Christmas candies fit the bill perfectly. Our local merchants have a beautiful selection of pretty Christmas papers and foils into which we can nestle our little treats to make them look even more appealing.

Chocolate Almond Brittle

3 (2 1/2-oz.) pkgs. slivered almonds, chopped (about 1 3/4 c.)

1 (12-oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) butter

1 3/4 c. sugar

3 T. light corn syrup

3 T. water

Toast almonds in a 350-degree oven, stirring occasionally, until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup; set aside remaining almonds. Reserve 1/2 c. chocolate chips. Spread remaining chips evenly over bottom of lightly buttered 9-x13-inch baking pan. Melt butter in medium saucepan; stir in sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, to hard crack stage (300 degrees). Remove from heat; immediately stir in 1 1/2 c. almonds. Working quickly, pour mixture over chips in pan, being careful that chips remain flat. Immediately sprinkle with reserved 1/4 c. almonds; press in reserved 1/2 c. chocolate chips. Cut into 1-inch squares. Cool; let stand, covered, several hours or overnight. Remove from pan; break into pieces. Store in tightly covered container. Makes 9 1/2 dozen 1-inch squares.


2 c. sugar

1 t. baking soda

1 c. buttermilk

3/4 c. butter

2 c. pecan halves

1 t. vanilla

Combine sugar, soda, buttermilk and butter in heavy saucepan. Bring mixture to boiling over medium heat; cook to soft ball stage (236 to 240 degrees), stirring frequently. Remove from heat; beat 5 minutes with wooden spoon. Stir in nuts and vanilla; continue beating until mixture drops easily by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper. When cool, remove from waxed paper; wrap pieces individually in plastic wrap. Makes 3 1/2 dozen pralines. Note: If candy sticks to waxed paper, refrigerate a short time, and then peel from paper.

Oreo Cookie Truffles

1 pkg. (1-lb. 2-oz. size) Oreo cookies

8 oz. cream cheese

Dipping chocolate, Ghirardelli brand preferred

Crush cookies (inside and all) and mix with cream cheese. Form into about 50 balls and chill at least one hour. Dip into melted chocolate and place on foil or waxed paper until firm.

Cracker Candies

1 sleeve saltine crackers

1 c. sugar

1 c. (2 sticks) butter

2 c. (12-oz. pkg.) milk chocolate chips

1 (10-oz.) pkg. peanut butter chips

3/4 c. toffee chips

3/4 c. chopped pecans

3/4 c. shredded coconut (optional)

Line a rimmed baking sheet with baking parchment. Arrange the crackers in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet to completely cover the baking sheet. Combine the sugar and butter in a saucepan and cook until melted and smooth, stirring frequently. Pour evenly over the crackers. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, toffee chips, pecans and coconut evenly on top. Cover with a sheet of waxed paper and lightly press the toppings into the hot butter mixture. Chill in the refrigerator until firm. Remove the waxed paper and break the candy into pieces.

Amaretto Truffles

3 c. (18 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips

1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

3 T. amaretto

1/2 t. almond extract

Finely chopped almonds

Place the chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on High at 30-second intervals until melted and smooth, stirring after each interval. Stir in the liqueur and almond extract. Chill, covered, for 2 hours. Roll the chocolate mixture into 1-inch balls and then roll in almonds, coating completely.

Grandma's Old-Fashioned

Potato Candy

1 medium potato, peeled, boiled and mashed

1 (1-lb.) box confectioner's sugar

1 (7-oz.) pkg. flaked coconut

3 heaping tablespoons smooth or chunky peanut butter

3 (1-oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted

In a bowl, combine the potato with the confectioners' sugar, coconut and peanut butter, blending thoroughly. Press into a buttered 10-x6-inch baking pan, cover with chocolate and refrigerate until firm. Cut into squares and serve. Makes about 18.

Eggnog Fudge

1/4 lb. (1 stick) unsalted butter

3/4 c. eggnog

2 c. granulated sugar

10 oz. white chocolate, broken into pieces

1/2 t. ground nutmeg

1 (7-oz.) jar marshmallow crème

1 c. chopped pecans

1 t. rum or rum extract

In a heavy 2 1/2- to 3-qt. saucepan set over high heat, combine the butter, eggnog and sugar; bring to a rolling boil while stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking and stirring for 8 to 10 minutes or until a candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and nutmeg. Add the marshmallow crème, pecans and rum and beat until well blended. Pour into a buttered 8- or 9-inch square pan and cool until room temperature; cut into squares. Makes 2 dozen.


1 c. (2 sticks) butter

2 1/4 c. brown sugar

1 c. light corn syrup

1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1 t. vanilla

Melt butter in heavy saucepan. Add brown sugar and corn syrup. Stir well and gradually add milk. Stirring constantly, heat to 245 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into buttered 9-inch square pan. Cool. Cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. Wrap individual pieces in waxed paper. Makes 36 pieces.