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This Christmas season give a homemade gift to your co-worker, mailman, or neighbor. Start with some Chex mix, fudge and homemade fruit breads to put smiles on everyone’s face. – Pat
Chex pumpkin pie crunch
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups cinnamon Chex cereal
2 cups wheat Chex cereal
2 cups honey nut Chex cereal
8 ounces pecans
In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice; set aside. In small microwave-safe dish, microwave butter on high about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in vanilla. In large microwavable bowl, mix all cereals and pecans. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly distributed. Add sugar and spice mixture and stir until coated. Microwave uncovered on high 5 minutes or until mixture begins to brown, stirring every minute. Spread on wax paper or a cookie sheet to cool. Store in airtight container.
Pink cherry bread
1 jar (10-oz) maraschino cherries
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1-½ cups coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup flaked coconut
Drain cherries, reserving juice. Coarsely chop cherries; set cherries and juice aside. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In another bowl, beat eggs and cherry juice. Stir into dry ingredients just until combined. Fold in the walnuts, coconut and cherries. Transfer to two greased 8 x 4 x 2-in loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
Nutty white fudge
1 package (3-oz) cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon milk
2 cups confectioners sugar
2 squares (1-oz each) white baking chocolate, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and milk until smooth. Gradually add the sugar. Beat in melted chocolate. Add the vanilla and salt; mix well. Stir in the walnuts. Spread into a buttered 8-in square pan. Chill for 4-5 hours before cutting. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 1 pound.
4 ounces milk chocolate candy coating
4 ounces white candy coating
1 can (16-oz) salted peanuts (about 2-½ cups)
In a microwave, melt candy coatings, stirring often until blended. Stir in the peanuts until coated. Drop by tablespoonsful onto a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 3 dozen.
Crispy chocolate mounds
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup crisp rice cereal
½ cup raisins
½ cup salted peanuts
In a microwave or heavy saucepan, melt chocolate and peanut butter chips; stir until smooth. Stir in the cereal, raisins and peanuts. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until set. Yield: about 2 dozen.
• When using eggs and solid shortening, break the egg into the measuring cup before measuring the shortening, the shortening will come out easier.
• A dull knife works better to cut cheese. Warm the knife and the cheese will cut like butter.
I’ll see you next week in the kitchen. E-mail Pat at firstname.lastname@example.org.