‘Tis the season for baking and cooking up feasts for family and friends. Here are just a few favorite holiday recipes and memories shared by our staff.
“These are two easy but standard recipes my family loves around holiday time.” - Christie Patrick, executive director
2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
2 packages of thinly sliced meat, pastrami or beef works best
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoons Accent Salt (or regular salt – Accent has MSG in it, so if you don’t want to use that, regular salt is OK, just use less regular salt)
3-4 green onions, chopped finely
Mix all ingredients together and form into ball. You can roll in chopped nuts, if you want. Serve with crackers.
36 Oreo cookies, finely crushed, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
4 pkg. (4 oz. each) Baker's semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces, melted
Reserve 1/4 cup cookie crumbs. Mix cream cheese and remaining cookie crumbs until blended; shape into 48 (1-inch) balls. Freeze 10 min.
Cover rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper. Dip cream cheese balls in melted chocolate; place on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.
“I have such great memories of making these cinnamon candies at Christmas time!” - Mallory Lauber, office manager
Holiday Cinnamon Hard Candies
1 cup water
3-3/4 cups sugar
1-1/4 cups light corn syrup
1 teaspoon red liquid food coloring
1 teaspoon cinnamon oil
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
Line a 15x10x1-in. pan with foil; butter the foil and set aside. In a large heavy saucepan, combine water, sugar, corn syrup and food coloring. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cover and cook for 3 minutes to dissolve sugar crystals.
Uncover; cook on medium-high heat, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 300° (hard-crack stage), about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in cinnamon oil (keep face away from mixture as oil is very strong). Immediately pour onto prepared pan. Cool completely, about 45 minutes.
Break the candy into pieces using the edge of a metal mallet. Sprinkle both sides of candy with confectioners' sugar. Store in airtight container.
“I always loved Christmas time because my Grandma would make these cookies. I always had fun with all the different shapes she would make.” - Angela Fonseca, marketing director
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (8 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
food coloring (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place a nonstick baking sheet in the freezer for at least 10 minutes before baking.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add egg yolks and extracts and beat on medium-high speed for another 2 to 3 minutes until creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add flour, cornstarch, and salt and mix on low speed until dry ingredients are just incorporated. If coloring, divide dough in half and add food coloring and knead until color is evenly distributed.
Place desired design disk on end of cookie press. Fill tube with dough, then screw on lever top.
Remove cookie sheet from freezer. Place cookie press flat on cookie sheet surface, press lever, pause for one second to allow the dough to freeze to the sheet, then gently lift press. Repeat with remaining cookies, leaving 1 inch of space between cookies. They won’t spread very much so you should be able to fit an entire tube of dough onto one cookie sheet. If desired, sprinkle cookies with sanding sugar.
Bake for 6 to 7 minutes or until tops are set and edges are just starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Let cookie sheet cool, then freeze for 10 minutes before pressing out the next sheet of cookies.
Spritz cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.