Every year the joy of Christmas returns; let's all take time to enjoy it.
Don't let yourself become so involved with a commercial Christmas that you don't have time to enjoy the deeper meaning of the holiday with family and friends. Think back to your childhood memories. The ones I remember the most are decorating the tree, helping make Christmas cookies, Christmas caroling and the homemade gift of treats Mom shared with relatives and friends.
This year I want to share some of the things memories are made of. Giving is the real meaning of Christmas to most of us. The gifts with the greatest meaning are those personally made by the giver.
Homemade gifts from the kitchen rate high on the list of welcome favorites. From cookies and candies to jellies and jams to popcorn balls, they will certainly be welcomed by the receiver.
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 medium egg, unbeaten
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups flour
Cream butter. Add sugar. Cream well. Add egg and extract. Add flour to make a stiff dough. Chill dough three hours or overnight. Allow to soften slightly before forming into tins. Take a small amount of dough and with the thumb press it to the bottom and sides of the tin evenly. The tart must be thin, about 1/16 of an inch. Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
Almond Bark Cookies
1 1/2 pounds white almond bark
2 heaping tablespoons peanut butter
5 cups Rice Krispies
1 pound Spanish peanuts
Melt almond bark and peanut butter in microwave or in a double boiler. Add Rice Krispies and Spanish peanuts. Mix well and drop on wax paper by teaspoonful and let set until dry.
Best Creamy Caramels
in the World
2 cups brown sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1 cup Karo syrup
1/2 pound butter (not margarine)
1 dash salt
4 teaspoons vanilla
Cook on low heat, stirring constantly until hard ball stage about 35-40 minutes. Add nuts if desired and four teaspoons vanilla. Pour into buttered 9x13-inch pan. When cool, turn out on a cutting board, cut and wrap each piece in waxed paper.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.
GARY'S TIP: To clean oven racks, place racks in the bathtub with 1/2 cup dishwasher detergent and several inches of warm water. Allow to soak for 45 minutes. Just rinse. No scrubbing needed.
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