Happy holidays from all of us at the Centre Daily Times. Here are some of our favorite holiday recipes.
Holiday Snowball (Lady Finger) Cookies
This is a family favorite from my great grandma Virginia Witerski that all the ladies in our family — sisters, cousins, grandmas, aunts — make a week or two before Christmas Christmas each year. However the original batches never make it to the family Christmas party because we can’t keep our hands out of the cookie jar. They were called Lady Fingers until a few years ago when we decided to roll them into balls to look like snowballs.Britney Milazzo, reporter
1/2 cup butter
4 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cream cheese, butter and vanilla, add sugar, salt, flour then stir in nuts. Roll into 2-inch snowballs or logs (lady fingers). Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes. While cookies are still hot, roll in powdered sugar.
My mama got this recipe from her mama — on Dec. 7, 1973, when I had just turned 3. Most of my childhood memories about this tangy treat involve arguments: My sister and I were not enamored of cranberries, no matter how much Jell-O and sugar they were drowning in, and no matter how much Mom insisted this dish was delicious. Turns out, Mom knew best. As an adult, this dish is a palate pleaser. And I’m Type A enough to love that I can make it a day ahead.Debra Leithauser, publisher
1 12-ounce bag of cranberries
1 20-ounce can of crushed pineapple
1 orange, peeled
2 cups chopped pecans
10.5 ounces (3/4 of a 14-ounce bag) sweetened coconut
1 6-ounce box of cherry gelatin
3/4 cup sugar
Dissolve the gelatin into 2 cups of boiling water. Set aside.
In another bowl, grate cranberries and orange. Add pineapple, including juice from the can. Add coconut, sugar and pecans.
Mix everything into the gelatin. Chill until congealed.
Apricot Tea Cookies
My grandmother used to always give me apricots and apricot preserves around the holidays, and 20 years ago or so ago I started using the preserves in this recipe. I make these cookies every year and love them. They’re buttery and delicate and they remind me of my grandmother.Alison Boston, assignment editor
1 cup unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup apricot preserves*
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
Finely grated zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped almonds
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat the butter until light and smooth. Add salt, sugar and 1/4 cup of the apricot preserves. Blend and then beat in the egg yolk, baking powder, extract and lemon and orange zest. Gradually add flour until incorporated. Form dough into 1-inch balls, then roll each ball in the chopped almonds. Place on greased baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Make an indentation in the center of each cookie, then bake in on the center rack for about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and fill the indentations with 1/2 teaspoon of apricot preserves and return to the oven to bake six to eight minutes longer or until the edges just begin to brown. Remove from the oven and let stand on the baking sheets for two to three minutes before moving to a cooling rack.
* They’re great when filled with raspberry jam, too!
My mom, Beth Boes, watched her mom make the stuffing every year. My grandmother used to have my mom cube the bread and then she would let her stir it all together — and be the taster. I have the same memories of making it with my mom as a kid and now have started passing it down to my children.Janet Santostefano, advertising director
2-3 loaves day-old, cubed white bread
6-7 stalks of chopped celery
3-4 large chopped yellow onions
1-2 pounds fresh chopped mushrooms (optional)
2-3 sticks margarine or butter
1-2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1-2 teaspoons garlic powder
Melt margarine in large skillet, add chopped vegetables and saute until soft and translucent. Set aside to cool. Mix cubed bread with seasonings, then stir in cooled vegetable mixture. Season as needed. If mixture remains dry, add chicken or turkey broth (don’t over moisten if cooking stuffing inside of turkey). Stuffing that does not fit inside of turkey should be wrapped in foil and baked at 350 for about an hour.
My mom, Mary Jones, made this recipe for all our family gatherings for years. Although she rarely bakes anymore, she is still asked when she arrives at any event if she has made her Lemon Delight.Laurie Jones, audience engagement editor
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick softened butter
1/2 cup ground walnuts
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
2 (3 3/4 ounce) boxes of lemon instant pudding
3 cups milk
1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a 9x13 inch baking dish, combine flour, butter and walnuts. Spread mixture evenly and bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely.
In medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1 cup whipped topping. Whip with electric mixer until fluffy. Spread over cooled crust. Chill 30 minutes in refrigerator.
In medium bowl, mix together lemon instant pudding with milk, using electric mixer on low until thickened (about 2-3 minutes).
Pour lemon pudding over chilled dessert. Spread the rest of the whipped topping over lemon filling. Refrigerate until serving.
Jewish Apple Cake
When I was younger, my grandparents had an apple tree in their backyard, and after school I’d be so excited to see if there were any I could pick. From there, my grandmother, who I affectionately call “Gramom,” would make this Jewish Apple Cake. Now each year when I make it home for a few days around the holidays I see the excitement on her face as we spend the time together chopping up the apples and baking a family favorite treat.Abby Drey, photographer
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup vegetable oil
1⁄2 cup orange juice
2 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar
5 peeled and diced apples
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl mix oil, eggs, orange juice and vanilla then pour over dry ingredients and mix with an electric mixer. In another bowl, mix the cinnamon and sugar then toss in the apples to coat.
Pour half of the batter into a greased Bundt pan, then pour half the apples on top. Pour the rest of the batter into the pan and top with the remainder of the apples.
Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes at 350 degrees.