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Holiday favorites withstand test of time

Each year, two weeks before Christmas, employees in our office select a day to bring in treats to share. Everybody tries to outdo each other with their signature goodies or trademark selections, and others kick it up a notch by trying something totally new.

The following are a few of the favorite recipes shared by office staff. Some are yearly holiday favorites they conjure up in their own kitchens for family and friends, while others made it to our office this year for all to enjoy.

If you're still in need of holiday baking give a few of these a try. If you've already completed that task for this year, clip and save these for your recipe file for holiday's to come. Once you've tried them, you'll be glad you did.

Until next time, from my kitchen to yours, happy cooking!

Gramma Cwikla's Strawberry Cookies

3 6-oz. pkgs. strawberry jello (save half pkg. for dipping)

1 cup Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 pkg. Angel flake coconut

Mix ingredients together and let stand 1 hour in refrigerator. Form into shape of strawberries and roll in dry jello. Make leaves of green frosting using a cake decorating kit or buy frosting in tubes. Makes a very colorful addition to Holiday buffets. I like to arrange strawberries on a paper doily on a fancy platter.

Sue Cwikla

Gramma Clausen's Candy Cookies

2 cups sugar

½ cup milk

½ cup butter

Boil for 3 minutes (scant)


3 cups oatmeal

½ cup cocoa powder

1/3 cup coconut

Stir together to mix thoroughly. Drop by spoonful on cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. Cool. My mother has made these for years, and her grandchildren love them.

Sue Cwikla

Chocolate Covered

Raspberry Truffles

¼ c heavy cream

7 oz. fine quality bittersweet chocolate (not extra-bitter or unsweetened **no more than 60% cocoa)

1 ½ T framboise or brandy

6 oz raspberries (1 cup)

¾ c unsweetened cocoa powder

Line a tray with waxed paper.

Bring cream just to a simmer in a 1-2 qt. heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Remove from heat, then add chocolate and stir with a spatula until smooth. Stir in brandy.

Pat raspberries dry (if needed). Add 6-8 raspberries to mixture and gently fold in to coat. Remove each chocolate covered raspberry with two forks. Shift from one fork to another to allow excess to drip off, then transfer to tray. Coat remaining raspberries in the same manner, working in batches of 6-8. Chill truffles on tray until firm, at least 1 hour, and then loosen from waxed paper. Put cocoa in sealable bag and add all of the truffles. Seal bag, leaving some air in and shake until coated. Empty bag into a shallow bowl. Transfer coated truffles to a platter. Shake off any access cocoa. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Makes 50

Paula Jensen

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

2 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

¾ cups (1 ½ sticks) butter, melted

¾ cups granulated sugar, divided

1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) Nestle Toll House Swirled milk chocolate and peanut butter morsels, divided

2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened

¼ cup all purpose flour

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine crumbs, butter and ¼ cup sugar in medium bowl. Remove one cup mixture and reserve for topping. Press remaining mixture onto bottom of ungreased 9x13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle ¾ cup morsels over crust.

Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar, flour, and vanilla extract in large mixer bolw until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Pour over crust and morsels in pan. Sprinkle with reserved crumb topping and remaining morsels.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until set. Cool separately in pan on wire rack. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars.

Jamie Grant

Yummy, Easy Caramel Rolls

Two loaves of frozen bread dough

2 Tbsp. cinnamon

4 Tbsp. milk

1 large box of vanilla pudding (not instant)

1 cup brown sugar

Thaw two loaves of frozen bread dough in a greased baking pan and let rise (approx. 4 hours). Take one loaf, tear apart and put in the bottom of a 9x13 greased cake pan. Melt rest of ingredients over medium heat and pour over pieces in cake pan. Tear apart second loaf and throw over top of melted mixture. Cover loosely with dish towel and leave set till the bread doubles in size. Cook at 350 degrees for 1/2 hour. (Check with toothpick in middle).

Virginia Westman


14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbsp. butter or margarine

2 oz. bottle small chocolate decorator candy

In a 2 quart saucepan combine milk, cocoa and butter. Cook and stir over medium heat with a wooden spoon until mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 5 minutes. Turn mixture out onto a buttered plate to cool. With buttered hands, shape mixture into small balls. About 2 teaspoons each. Roll in chocolate sprinkles. Keep chilled.

Carrie Snyder

Salted Nut Rolls

1 16 oz. jar dry roasted peanuts

1 12-oz package peanut butter chips

1 stick butter

1 can sweetened condensed milk

3 cups miniature marshmallows

Pour half the jar of peanuts into a greased 9x13 pan. Melt chips, butter and sweetened condensed milk in microwave, stirring after one minute and then each 30 seconds thereafter until blended together. Stir in marshmallows and pour over layer of peanuts. Pour remaining peanuts evenly over top and press down firmly. Refrigerate until firm then cut into bars. Store in refrigerator or these freeze very well.

Karen Huber

Olive Cheese Ball

1 - 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

1 - 8 oz. container or tube of spreadable Cheddar cheese

¼ cup of butter, softened

½ cup of salad olives

Cream cheeses and butter with mixer until well blended. Add olives and put in bowl to serve. Chill for at least four hours before serving. Serve with Wheat Thins or other crackers of your choice.

Paula Bonzer