AN AMISH COUNTRY CHRISTMAS Recipes

Williamsburg Gingerbread Cut-Outs

I found this recipe in a historical cookbook more than twenty years ago and I’ve never bothered trying another one: the cookies are spicy and soft and they keep well. The dough is sticky, however, so you need to roll it out on a day when you’re feeling patient!

1/2 C. softened butter (no substitutes)
1 C. sugar
2 T. cinnamon
2 tsp. ground cloves
2 T. ground ginger
1 T. lemon flavoring
3/4 C. evaporated milk
1 C. molasses
5 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the flavorings and evaporated milk and blend well. Add the molasses, and then the dry ingredients until the dough is thoroughly mixed. Wrap in wax paper and chill overnight (or it’ll keep in the fridge for a few days).

Preheat the oven to 350º. Working with about a fourth of the dough at a time, roll out to ¼” thickness on a well-floured surface, rubbing flour on the rolling pin as needed (patience, remember!) and cut out with cookie cutters. Bake 7-8 minutes on pans lined with parchment paper—don’t let them brown!—and allow to cool for a minute on the pan before removing them to a wire rack. Frost/decorate with the buttercream recipe included here for Sugar Cookies, and allow the frosting to dry/set up. Store between sheets of wax paper. Freezes well. 7-8 dozen.

Sugar Cookies

I used this recipe in WINTER OF WISHES, but it bears repeating here: this is the cookie that turns an ordinary cookie tray into a fabulous display of Christmas cookies! I usually make five to six batches of this dough, adding paste coloring and flavored gelatin (see note below). I make and chill the dough one day, bake the cookies another day and store them in a covered container, and then decorate them the next day because it takes that long to finish about 13 dozen of these!

1/2 C. butter, softened (no substitutes)
1 C. sugar
1 egg
1 T. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Cream the butter and sugar, then beat in the egg, lemon juice, and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients and gradually add them to the dough until it’s well blended. Tint with paste food coloring, if desired. Wrap dough in wax paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours (it will keep for several days, until you have time to bake).

Preheat oven to 350º. Work with half a batch at a time: roll to about 1/4” thickness on a floured surface, then cut with cookie cutters. Place 1” apart on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, and bake 7-8 minutes for softer, chewier cookies and 9-10 minutes or until lightly browned for crisp cookies. Cool on the pan for a minute and then remove with a spatula to a cooling rack. Makes 2-3 dozen.

Kitchen Hint: For flavored sugar cookies, add a 3 oz. package of sugar free gelatin to the dough! I make green dough with lime, yellow dough with peach or orange, and dark pink dough with cherry gelatin. If you use regular sugar gelatin, reduce the sugar in your recipe by a couple of tablespoons.

Buttercream Frosting

This is the recipe I learned long ago in a cake decorating class. I love it because it doesn’t taste like shortening, and it dries firmly when you decorate cookies or cake. It also freezes well in a covered container if you have any left over.

1/2 C. milk
1/2 C. softened butter (no substitutes)
1/2 C. shortening
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon flavoring
6-8 C. (about a pound) confectioners sugar

In a mixing bowl, blend the milk, butter, shortening, and flavorings. Blend in the sugar a cup or two at a time, scraping the bowl, until the frosting is thick and forms peaks.
For colored frosting, use paste coloring to maintain a thickness that will hold its shape during decorating. Makes enough to decorate/frost 6 batches of sugar cookies, or a cake.

Kitchen Hint: I divide my frosting into 4 or 5 plastic containers and color one batch with deep pink, one batch with yellow, one with green, one with sky blue and I leave some white. Then I get out my pastry bag and decorating tips, the sanding sugars, jimmies, and miniature M&Ms, and I play! Let the decorated cookies dry/set up before you store or freeze them.

Mini-Chip Cut-Outs

Here’s the perfect Christmas combination: a chocolate chip cookie you roll and cut into shapes! This came from a Nestle’s ad, years ago, and is still one of my favorites.

1 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 C. flour
2 C./one bag mini chocolate chips, divided

Cream butter, the sugars, and the vanilla. Beat in the egg yolk and gradually add the flour. Stir in 1 1/2 C. of the mini chips. Wrap dough in wax paper and chill at least a couple of hours (overnight or longer is fine, too).

Preheat oven to 350º. Allow the dough to warm for a few minutes. On a floured surface, working with one chunk of dough at a time, carefully roll to 1/4″ thickness and cut into shapes, pressing the dough together again if it separates around the chips. Use a metal spatula to transfer cookies to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake about 9 minutes, until just beginning to brown. Cool on pan for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Frost/decorate with chocolate buttercream: melt the remaining 1/2 C. chips in a microwave safe bowl and stir in 1 C. of already-made buttercream (or store-bought) frosting. Pipe it on with a pastry bag.

Kitchen Hint: I have dumped the entire bag of mini chips into the dough, but discovered that more is not better! You can have too many chips in this dough!

Mocha Brownies

Wow, but these are the most fabulous, dense brownies! And who can refuse that extra little jolt of java? No frosting required, but if you want to dust them with powdered sugar while they’re still warm, it’ll add a snowy effect.

1 1/3 C. butter (no substitutes)
2/3 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T. instant coffee crystals or espresso powder
2 C. sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. flour
1 C. semisweet or dark chocolate chips
2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350º and spray a 9 x 13” pan. Melt/microwave butter and stir in cocoa powder and coffee. Stir in the sugar, then stir in the eggs one at a time and add vanilla—stir this mixture until well blended. Stir in the flour and then the chocolate chips and cinnamon. Spread the batter in the pan and bake for about 25 minutes or just until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan. Cut into bars or triangles. 4 dozen.

Kitchen Hint: Use a mixer on low speed if you don’t want to do all this hand stirring.

Orange Date Bars

Light, fruity, and very easy to make!

2 orange cake mixes
1 box (3.4 oz.) of orange or lemon instant pudding
1 c. oil
4 eggs
1 8 oz. box of chopped dates
1 1/2 C. chopped pecans or sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350º. Mix the above ingredients, except for the nuts, and spread the dough in two 9 x 13” pans or in a 10 x 17” pan that have been sprayed. Sprinkle nuts over the batter and lightly press them in. Bake for about 20 minutes, just until the center is firm. Cool in the pans.

Drizzle: Mix 1 C. powdered sugar with enough milk to make it pourable, and add a shake of salt, and vanilla, lemon extract or almond extract to taste. Drizzle over top of the cooled cookies and cut into bars.

Turtle Brownies

Who can resist the classic combination of moist chocolate, gooey caramel, and pecans?

1 brownie mix (9 x 13” size)
1 pkg. of caramel bits (Kraft makes them)
1/3 C. whipping cream
2 C. coarsely chopped pecans, divided

Preheat the oven to 350º. Line the pan with foil so it extends up the sides and over the ends, then spray the foil. Mix the brownies according to package directions, then spread half of it in the prepared pan and bake it for 20 minutes or until just firm to the touch.

Meanwhile, microwave the caramel bits and whipping cream in a microwavable bowl on high for 2 minutes, stirring after the first minute. When bits are mostly melted, keep stirring until the mixture is smooth. Stir in 1 C. of the pecans. Spread this mixture evenly over the partly baked brownie crust, then crumble the remaining brownie dough evenly over this (caramel mixture will show through) and sprinkle on the remaining pecans. Press lightly. Return to the oven for an additional 25 minutes or until the top is firm. Cool completely in the pan. Lift the brownies by the foil “handles” and then peel away the foil before cutting to serve. 2 dozen large or 4 dozen smaller brownies.

Jumbles

These drop cookies are best described as a lot of “stuff” held together with a little dough. I bake them year-round, but for Christmas I use red and green M&M’s.

1 stick butter or margarine
1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 C. M&M’s (mini baking chips OR regular-size candies)
1 C. raisins
1 C. chopped peanuts

Preheat the oven to 350º. Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper. Cream the butter and sugars until fluffy, then mix in the egg. Add the dry ingredients and then stir in the candies, raisins, and peanuts. Drop by rounded tablespoons, about 2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until firm. Cool for a couple minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack. Makes about 30.

Hidden Treasure Cookies

This has become one of my favorite recipes over the years because I never tire of biting into one of these frosted cookies to discover that hidden chocolate mintiness inside. I triple the ingredients to make about 8 dozen, so I don’t run short. If you tint the frosting bright pink, yellow, or green before pressing them into jimmies or sanding sugar, they’ll really stand out on a cookie tray.

1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. packed brown sugar
1/4 C. shortening (Crisco, for instance)
1/4 C. butter or margarine, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 2/3 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
About 2 1/2 doz. Andes mints, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 350º. Mix the sugars, shortening, butter, vanilla and egg in large bowl. Add the flour and soda. Shape a tablespoon of dough around each mint, covering the corners and pressing together any cracks in the dough (be patient! It’s worth it!) Place the cookies about 2” apart on baking sheets covered with parchment paper. Bake 8-9 minutes or until barely golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Frosting: 1 C. powdered sugar, 1 T. plus 1 or 2 tsp. milk, 1/4 tsp. vanilla or almond extract, plus food color, if you want. (You can also use the buttercream recipe included in this section.) Frost the centers of the cookies and press into jimmies, sanding sugar, etc. to decorate them. 1 batch makes about 2 dozen.

Gingersnaps

I love to bite into a cookie and have it bite me back, spice-wise! These soft, chewy molasses cookies are easy to mix ahead and then chill until you have time to bake.

3/4 C. butter
1 C. sugar
1 egg
1/4 C. molasses
2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 T. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ginger
extra sugar

Cream the butter and sugar, then add the egg and molasses. Mix in the dry ingredients and spices until well blended, wrap the dough in wax paper, and chill until you’re ready to bake. Preheat the oven to 375º. Roll the dough into 1¼ -inch balls and then roll in sugar. Place 2” apart on the cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes for a soft cookie, slightly longer for a crisp cookie. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.

Kitchen Hint: for a sophisticated presentation, I like to roll one edge of a cooled cookie in melted white chocolate and then quickly roll it in raw sugar or holly-berry jimmies. Let dry on wax paper.

Cream Cheese Macaroons

My mother loved coconut, and these were her favorite cookies. If cream cheese and coconut isn’t enough yumminess for you, add a cup of M&M mini baking chips for variety.

1/3 C. butter
1 3-oz. pkg. cream cheese (full fat), softened
3/4 C. sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. Triple Sec, other liqueur, or rum flavoring
1 1/4 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
14-oz. pkg. of coconut, divided

Cream the butter, cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk, and flavorings. Mix in the flour and baking powder, and then 3 C. of the coconut. Chill dough at least an hour (or, it will keep for a few days in the fridge).

Preheat oven to 325º. Shape dough into 1” balls and roll them in remaining coconut, pressing it in. Bake on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper for 15 minutes, or until barely starting to brown. Cool on the sheet for a minute, and carefully remove to a wire rack.

Kitchen Hint: use good quality, moist coconut for this, and use full-fat cream cheese or the cookies won’t hold together right. If you don’t find bags of the mini M&M baking chips in the baking aisle, look for tubes of them at the check-out counter.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

I made the mistake of not baking these one Christmas, and when my niece searched her cookie bucket and found none, Aunt Charlotte heard about it! A soft, yummy cookie beloved by those who can’t have chocolate.

1 C. butter-flavored Crisco
1 C. peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1 C. sugar
1 C. brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 C. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
extra sugar
18 oz. jar of jelly/jam (see hint)

Preheat the oven to 350º. Cream the Crisco, peanut butter and the sugars, then mix in the eggs and vanilla until well blended. Add the flour and baking soda. Roll dough into 1” balls and then roll in the extra sugar to coat them. Place balls on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, and bake about 7-8 minutes (don’t overbake!). Cool. Match pairs of cookies so they fit, then spread the flat side of one with jelly and press the flat side of the other cookie to form a sandwich. Allow jelly to dry before stacking in a storage container. Freezes well.

Kitchen Hint: I’ve used a lot of red jams/jellies and they each add their own special tartness or sweetness. Red plum is my favorite, but cherry is tasty and so is raspberry. Be aware that with strawberry jam, the chunks make the sandwiches harder to press together.

Brown Sugar Date Drops

Mom used to stir these up, and the aroma of the brown sugar and cooked dates made the house smell divine. A really moist, chewy cookie.

1 C. margarine or butter, softened
2 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon

Filling:
2 C. chopped dates
3/4 C. sugar
3/4 C. water

Preheat the oven to 375º. For the dough, cream the margarine/butter with the sugar, then add the buttermilk and the dry ingredients. Set aside and make the filling: place the dates, sugar and water in a medium pan on the stove and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. To form each cookie, drop 1 T. dough, spread slightly with the back of the spoon, then drop on a tsp. of the filling and top with another tsp. of dough. Bake 10 minutes, or until firm. Cool a minute or so on the pan before transferring to a rack to cool completely. About 4 dozen.

Kitchen Hint: Don’t have buttermilk? Measure 1 T. vinegar or lemon juice into a measuring cup and then pour the milk to the 1/2 C. mark. Stir and let it sit until it thickens.

Shortbread Jelly Bites

Here’s a versatile shortbread cookie you can fill with any flavor of jelly or jam you prefer. I like this recipe because by baking the jelly filling (rather than adding it after you bake), you make the cookie much easier to freeze, ship, etc. I’ve nicknamed these “jelly eyes” because they’re so perfect and round with shiny centers!

1 C. softened butter (no substitutions)
2/3 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 C. flour
1/3 to 1/2 C. jelly or seedless jam

Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the extract and gradually add the flour until the dough forms a ball. Wrap the dough in wax paper and chill at least an hour, or up to 3 or 4 days, if that’s more convenient.

Preheat oven to 350º. Roll dough into 1” balls. Place balls on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and carefully make an indentation in the centers with the end of a wooden spoon. Fill with jelly, and bake 12-14 minutes or until firm (I don’t let mine get even slightly brown). Cool on a rack.

For a decorative variation, make a glaze of 1 C. powdered sugar, 2-3 tsp. milk, and ½ tsp. almond extract. Tint with paste coloring, if you like. Carefully spoon the glaze into a pastry bag with a small round tip and then zig-zag the glaze over the tops of the cooled cookies.

Kitchen Hint: When I’m making the indentations in the dough balls, I “wiggle” the wooden spoon a bit so the top of the indention is wider—but don’t let the dough crack. Then I spoon the jelly into a pastry bag with a large round tip and squeeze it into the holes before baking, to keep the jelly nice and neat.

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Here’s another great bar that starts with a cake mix—which means the flavor variations on this recipe are endless! The cream cheese filling keeps them moist and chewy.

1 lemon cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 C. oil
8 oz. bar of cream cheese, softened
1/3 C. sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice or ReaLemon
Colored sugars, jimmies, etc. if desired

Preheat the oven to 350º. Mix the dry cake mix, ONE of the eggs and the oil until the mixture’s crumbly. Reserve a cup for topping, and firmly pat the rest of the dough into a sprayed 9 x 13” pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile beat the cream cheese, sugar, the remaining egg and the lemon juice until smooth. Spread over the baked layer, and then sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture. Sprinkle with colored sugar or jimmies, if desired, and bake 15 minutes longer. Cool in the pan before cutting.

Kitchen Hint: I have also used a chocolate cake mix and sprinkled on nuts; strawberry cake mix and sprinkled with mini M&Ms; coconut cake mix and sprinkled it with chopped macadamia nuts. The possibilities are only limited by your taste and imagination!

Chocolate Mint Drop Sugar Cookies

Here’s a minty surprise in a firm, sweet cookie. I’m disappointed some years when I can’t find mint chocolate chips, but butterscotch chips (or Hershey Special Dark chips) make a tasty replacement.

1 C. sugar
3/4 C. oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 10-oz. bag of mint chocolate chips
Extra sugar

Preheat the oven to 350º. In the mixer bowl, blend the sugar with the oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add in the flour and baking powder, then stir in the chips. Shape rounded spoonfuls into balls and roll in the extra sugar. Place balls on cookie sheets that have been covered with parchment paper and bake 8-10 minutes. Cool for a minute on the pan before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. About 5 dozen.

Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies

This recipe comes from Lovina Eicher’s “The Amish Cook” column (now featured on a Facebook page called “The Amish Cook from Oasis Newsfeatures”) and it’s indescribably soft and chocolate and wonderful with a marshmallow surprise beneath the rich cocoa frosting.

1 C. shortening (Crisco, for instance)
2 C. sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
4 C. flour
1 tsp. each baking soda and salt
2/3 C. cocoa powder
1 C. thick sour milk or buttermilk
36 big marshmallows, cut in half

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside. Beat together the shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour mixture alternately with the sour milk. Drop batter by spoonful onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes. Top each cookie with a marshmallow half and return to oven for 2 minutes to soften. Cool completely.

Frosting
6 T. butter or margarine, melted
1/4 C. cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 C. powdered sugar
5-6 T. milk
Combine all ingredients and beat together until smooth. Spread over tops of cooled cookies, covering marshmallows.

Kitchen Hint: to make sour milk, place 1 T. lemon juice or vinegar in measuring cup. Fill with milk to make one cup. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes until thick and lumpy.

Lemon Apricot Sandwiches

Soft, chewy, creamy, fruity . . . this cookie has it all! And because it begins with a cake mix, you can create lots of different flavor combinations.

1 lemon cake mix
1/2 C. oil
2 eggs
Sugar
Jar of apricot fruit spread or jelly
Buttercream frosting (recipe included earlier)

Preheat the oven to 350º and cover cookie sheets with parchment paper. Mix the cake mix with the oil and eggs until well blended. Roll the dough into 1” balls and then roll the balls in sugar. Place about an inch apart and flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass. Bake about 8 minutes, until just firm, and then cool for a minute on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack.

To make the sandwiches, match up cookies by size and spread the flat side of one with the apricot spread, the flat side of the other with buttercream. Press together. Let set for a while before storing. Freezes well.

Cherry Coconut Drops

Sometimes the simplest cookies can be the best! Here’s a moist, chewy macaroon made with colorful candied cherries and only five ingredients. No mixer needed.

2 7-oz. bags of flaked coconut
4 T. cornstarch
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 C. chopped candied cherries (mix red and green for the prettiest cookie!)

Preheat the oven to 325º and line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, stir the coconut and cornstarch together, then stir in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, and stir in the cherries last. Drop dough onto the prepared baking sheets by rounded spoonfuls, about an inch apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until just starting to brown on the bottom and edges. Cool on the baking sheets for at least a minute before transferring to wire racks. Store/freeze in layers separated by waxed paper. 4 dozen.

Peanut Clusters

A Christmas classic at our house. This is my mom’s recipe.

1 package almond bark
1 12-oz bag of semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate (a square, chopped, or a pre-melted pkg.)
24 oz. (or larger!) container of dry roasted peanuts

Coarsely chop the almond bark into chunks and melt in a microwave or crockery pot with the chocolate chips and the unsweetened chocolate, stirring until smooth. Stir in the peanuts. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax-paper lined cookie sheets, allowing space for the clusters to spread. Cool completely. Devour.

Kitchen Hint: For a variation, use mixed nuts. This is one recipe you don’t want to make “healthier” by using unsalted nuts. The salt cuts the sweetness and makes them irresistible.

Peppermint Bark

This is the easiest candy on the face of the earth, and a refreshing, crunchy addition to a goody tray.

1 package almond bark
1 ½ pounds of unwrapped peppermint starlight mints OR
3/4 lb. each of peppermint and spearmint starlights

Melt the chunked-up almond bark in a microwave or crockery cooker, stirring now and again until smooth. Meanwhile, place the unwrapped candies in a large resealable plastic bag, lay on top of a towel, and pound carefully with a hammer until all the mints are broken into coarse chunks. (Yes, the bag will get little holes in it. Helps to turn the bag over now and again.). Stir the crushed candies into the melted bark. Line a 10 x 17” pan with wax paper, then pour the hot candy into it and quickly spread it into a fairly even layer. Cool completely. Break into serving pieces. Store covered, in a plastic or wax-paper lined container, etc. in a cool, dry place. No need to refrigerate, but you can.

Pistachio Cranberry Bark

This is a close cousin to the peppermint bark, but in a salty-sweet-crunchy league by itself.

1 package almond bark
1 bag dried cranberries
1 C. semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
2 C. shelled, salted pistachios

Chop the bark into chunks and melt in the microwave or a crockery cooker, stirring until smooth. Line a 10 x 17” baking pan with waxed paper. Stir the cranberries and pistachios into the bark and pour the hot mixture onto the wax paper. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips and swirl the chocolate as you spread the candy into an even layer (use a cake spatula). Cool completely, then break into chunks. Store in a plastic- or wax paper lined container in a cool, dry place.

Kitchen Hint: Depending on how much crunch you prefer, you can add more berries and nuts.

Chocolate Coconut Cake

When the Coblentz twins request this cake for their birthday, they’re girls after my own heart! This looks like an ordinary cake until you cut in and discover a layer of moist, chewy coconut filling.

1 chocolate cake mix (pudding in the mix)
1 C. sugar
1 C. milk
24 large marshmallows
1 14-oz. bag of coconut

Preheat oven to 350º. Spray two 9 x 13” pans and cut wax paper to line the bottom and both ends of one pan. Mix the cake according to package directions and divide batter into both pans. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until firm. Cool in the pans.

Filling: Bring the milk and sugar to a boil in a medium pan. Reduce heat and stir in the marshmallows to melt them. Stir in the coconut and cool. Spread this filling on the cake without the waxed paper. Run a knife along the edges of the papered cake, invert onto the coconut filling, and peel off the wax paper. Press down lightly.

Frosting: Place 1 1/2 c. sugar, 1 C. evaporated milk, and one stick of butter or margarine in a medium pan on the stove and bring to a boil. Add an 11-oz. bag of chocolate chips, stirring to melt them, and stir in 1 C. chopped nuts. Pour this over the cake and spread evenly. Cool. Chill for several hours and store in the fridge.

Kitchen Hint: You can use any flavor of cake mix with this coconut filling, and simply frost it with a tub of coordinating frosting. Strawberry and lemon are especially good!

Butterscotch Twist Rolls

Leave it to Nazareth and Jerusalem Hooley to tempt us with a breakfast treat that makes the house smell like butterscotch and looks especially pretty in its unique round shape (before you break away one twist after another, that is!) You can substitute maple flavoring for the butterscotch, too.

1 T./ 1 pkg. yeast
1/4 C. water
3/4 C. milk
1/4 C. butter
1 egg
1 tsp. butterscotch flavoring
1/2 tsp. salt
3 T. sugar
3 C. flour

Filling:
1/4 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/3 C. chopped nuts
1 tsp. cinnamon

Glaze:
1 C. powdered sugar
1 T. melted butter
1 to 2 T. milk (or enough to make drizzly)
1/2 tsp. butterscotch flavoring

Dissolve yeast in water. Heat milk and butter until scalded (steaming but not boiling). Cool and add yeast. Beat egg, butterscotch flavoring, salt, and sugar. Add flour and mix well with the liquid. Cover and let rise for 1 hour. Divide into 2 equal parts. Roll out 1 part and put on a greased round pizza pan. Put filling ingredients on top. Roll out second part of dough and lay over filling. Use a greased pizza cutter and slice toward the middle, leaving 2” in the middle not cut. Continue cutting, making 12-14 slices. Twist each slice 2 times. Let rise and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Drizzle with glaze. Devour.

Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding

A reader asked me for this recipe, so I’ve included it here—you can make this basic bread pudding to suit any occasion with just a change of add-ins! It’s also a great way to use up leftover bread, heels, or slices that have gone dry. I’ve even crumbled in a few stale biscuits, and it still comes out great!

2 C. milk
4 C. bread cubes
1/4 C. butter or margarine
1/2 C. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 C. raisins
1 T. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350º. Spray or grease a 2-qt. baking dish.

Scald the milk (on the stove, or in the microwave for about 3 minutes, until it’s steaming), stir in the butter/margarine until it melts, and then pour it over the bread cubes in a large bowl. Cool slightly, then mix the sugar, eggs, raisins and cinnamon. Stir into the bread mixture. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake about 40 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serves 6.

Add-ins: Along with, or instead of, the raisins, you can stir in 1 C. chocolate chips, or 1 C. butterscotch chips, and/or some chopped nuts, or 1 C. chopped apple. You can substitute dried cranberries or other dried fruits, as well. Adding flavorings like buttered rum, almond, or lemon extract makes a nice variation, too. You can also drizzle ice cream toppings or maple syrup over it before serving.

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