Habitat cookbook offers recipes worth sharing

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

I love it when I find a real bargain, and especially when it is a cookbook. I came across a couple of cookbooks that Habitat for Humanity has for sale as a fund raiser. Habitat for Humanity is a faith-based organization that offers a "hand-up" to potential homeowners who might not otherwise be able to get a conventional mortgage. Habitat builds the home and the seller pays back the loan interest free and at no profit to the Habitat organization. The organization has built 18 homes in Cape Girardeau in the 18 years it has been here. As Habitat celebrates an anniversary, plans are being made to increase the production to five homes per year.

The cookbooks are available at Grace Café. "Simple Decent Cooking" and "Home Sweet Habitat" are great buys and would be a wonderful gift. I will share a couple of recipes with you from the books.

Chocolate Mint Snaps

1 1/4 cups shortening

2 cups sugar

4 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted

2 eggs

1/3 cup corn syrup

2 1/2 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons peppermint extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons sugar

Beat shortening in mixer bowl until creamy. Add 2 cups sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy. Add chocolate, eggs, corn syrup, water and flavorings; mix well. Beat in mixture of flour, baking soda and salt just until blended. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in 6 tablespoons sugar. Arrange on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Orange Slice Cake

1 (16-ounce) package orange slice candy, finely chopped

2 cups finely chopped pecans

1/2 cup flour

1 cup margarine, softened

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 (8-ounce) package pitted dates, finely chopped

1 (3-ounce) can flaked coconut

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons, or more, milk

Toss candy and chopped pecans with 1/2 cup flour in bowl. Cream margarine and sugar in mixer bowl until light and fluffy, scraping bowl occasionally. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in buttermilk until blended. Add sifted mixture of 3 cups flour and baking soda; mix well. Fold in candy mixture, dates and coconut. Spoon into nonstick Bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until cake tests done. Invert onto wire rack. Drizzle with mixture of confectioners' sugar and milk.

Cranberry Dessert

2 cups cranberry juice cocktail

2 (3-ounce) packages cranberry or raspberry gelatin

2 cups cranberry juice cocktail, chilled

1 1/2 cups cranberry relish, recipe follows

1 (10-ounce) angel food cake, torn

1 cup nonfat, whipped topping

Heat 2 cups juice cocktail in saucepan until hot. Add gelatin, stirring until dissolved. Stir in 2 cups chilled juice. Chill until partially set. Beat gelatin mixture in mixer bowl at high speed until light and fluffy. Fold in cranberry relish and angel food cake. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch pan; press lightly. Chill for 2 hours or until set. Serve with whipped topping.

Cranberry Relish

1 (12-ounce) package cranberries

2 small unpeeled red apples, cored

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained

Process cranberries and apples in food processor until finely chopped. Combine cranberry mixture, sugar and undrained pineapple in glass bowl and mix well. Chill, covered, for 24 hours. May store in refrigerator for a long time or freeze for later use.

A reader sent in this recipe for you to try over the holiday.

Holiday Fudge

2 cups sugar

2/3 cup milk

2 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup chopped candied red cherries

Line an 8-by-8-by-2-inch pan or 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with foil. Butter foil and set aside. Butter sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Add sugar, milk, and corn syrup to the saucepan. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until the syrup mixture in the saucepan comes to a boil. Carefully clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Cook and stir the mixture over medium-low heat for about 12 minutes or until mixture reaches 234 degrees F (soft-ball stage). Remove the saucepan from heat. Add the butter and almond extract. Beat until fudge begins to thicken. Quickly stir in the walnuts and cherries. Continue beating for about 8 minutes more or until fudge no longer is glossy. Turn the fudge mixture into the prepared pan. Score the fudge into squares while warm. Cool and cut. Top with additional cherries, if you like. Makes about 1/3 pound.

Mary Ann Cruse sent in this recipe and it sounds great. I know she is a wonderful cook and I can't wait to try these muffins.

Corn Meal Cranberry Muffins

Makes: 16 muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 cup milk, at room temperature

1 (8-ounce) package fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees; sift flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Stir in corn meal and salt until blended. Cream together butter and sugar in a separate bowl at medium high speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, add dry ingredients to butter mixture alternately with milk, scraping bowl several times until well blended. Gently fold in cranberries. Spoon into greased or lined muffin cups, filling 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 22 minutes until muffins are set and starting to turn light golden brown. Cool in pan 2 minutes, turn out, cool 3 to 5 minutes on rack. Serve warm.

Note: Use a spring-loaded ice cream scoop to portion the batter evenly and neatly. Serve muffins with maple or other flavored butter. To serve as hors d'oeuvres, bake in miniature muffin pans, split each horizontally, spread with honey mustard and fill with thinly sliced country ham.

I hope you can make it to Grace Café to get your copies of the cookbooks. I am sure glad I added them to my collection. Have a great week and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at smcclanahan@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by the Southeast Missourian staff.

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