Country Cooking – December 11

It’s a small world at times so it seems. Last week I had called Leah to give her some information, however, she was on the phone visiting with a lady from her church and in the course of the conversation, she told Leah she was from Balaton.

Well, to make a long story short they discovered they both knew this area quite well even where the five-mile corner north of Slayton was where I grew up. A few very common names came up and I’m sure they will take up the conversation again.  On a not so nice incident, the latest shooting in Pensacola, Florida occurred less than a half-mile from where Devin had lived before her recent move to the island to be nearer to the school where she teaches. Jon related they had driven by the airbase several times when they had been there. She appreciates the move as the school is within walking distance and about five minutes to the beach available year-round. The only problem, it is too far from “home” and a move nearer to Minnesota is a possibility in the future. 

Mary came over on one of her days off and assisted in putting up some holiday decorations. The tree is lit and a few candles in the window. Several years ago I requested a small tree and it has been put to use ever since. I call it the Swedish tree as all the ornaments are made of straw, wood or made in Sweden. I lucked out as a  proprietor had many on sale as he didn’t think there would be much of a demand for them in this area.  I guess you have to be in the right place at the right time. Sarah sent a Dala horse that also has a place of prominence. In the process of downsizing, especially at my age, last year everyone got a cookbook and a Santa Claus ornament. There are more than enough to do so again this year.  The collections have grown quite a bit through the years and I have to discipline myself not to add to any of them. As I sort through “things” it brings back memories and I have told the family any gifts that they had given me they can take back. Most things have little value to anyone else unless they are a collector. A long time ago I found a plate for my Little Hostess set to replace one that had been broken, only to discover it was the wrong color. This started the search for another set and over the years I accumulated a couple more sets, one that had the box it came in. Often the boxes are more valuable than what is in them. You know how kids are when they open presents and soon the boxes are thrown away. However, what good are gifts if you can’t play with them. Those dishes were on many tea tables years ago serving playmates, aunts, or make-believe friends.

Peanut Butter Fudge

3 cups sugar

3/4 cup margarine

2/3  cup evaporated milk

18-oz. jar creamy peanut butter

13 oz. jar marshmallow creme

1 cup crushed nuts

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring sugar, margarine, and milk to a boil in a saucepan; boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Place peanut butter and marshmallow creme in a large bowl; pour sugar mixture over top, mixing well. Stir in nuts and vanilla. Quickly pour mixture into an ungreased 13”x 9” pan; chill until set. Cut into squares. Makes 3 pounds.

Crisp Lemon Cookies

1-1/3 cups butter, softened

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup sugar

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup vanilla or white chips, melted

In large bowl, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon juice, peel, and vanilla. Gradually add flour and mix well.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Coat the bottom of a glass with cooking spray; dip in sugar. Flatten cookies with glass, re-dipping in sugar as needed. Bake at 325º for 11-13 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Drizzle with melted vanilla chips.  Yield: about 4 1/2 dozen.

Peppermint Meltaways

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour


2 tablespoons butter, softened

2 to 3 drops red food coloring, optional

1 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar    

2 tablespoons 2% milk

1/2 cup crushed peppermint  candies

1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract    

Preheat oven to 350º. In a small bowl, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in extract. Combine flour and cornstarch; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
Shape into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

In a small bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar, milk, extract and, if desired, food coloring; beat until smooth. Spread over cooled cookies; sprinkle with crushed candies. Store in an airtight container. Makes 3 1/2 dozen.

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