Holiday cookies and a new twist on fudge

Wednesday, December 5, 2001

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Christmas parties, shopping and other holiday festivities are sure signs that that "the most wonderful time of the year" is in full swing. I have made a concentrated effort to be better organized this year and get things finished early.

Our children have worn the pages out in some of the catalogs we have received through the mail. Just this year they have begun to figure out that they can actually make wish lists with suggestions for gifts. But, it is so cute that each of them are worried about what the other one will get instead of their own interests. It is always exciting with children around this time of year.


Some time ago there was a request for a recipe from Mary Vaughan of Sikeston, Mo., for Chicken Romano. I looked in a few books unsuccessfully but ran across one this week.

Chicken Romano

6 boneless chicken breasts, about 4 ounces

1 1/2 pounds fresh mushrooms, sliced

6 ounces baked ham, thinly sliced

12 ounces Provolone cheese, sliced

6 ounces Romano cheese

6 tablespoons parsley, chopped

2 1/4 cups olive oil

3 cups white wine

3/4 cup sweet vermouth

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon pepper

3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic

Flour for dredging

Combine white wine, vermouth, salt, pepper and garlic. Set aside. Dredge chicken in flour and saute in olive oil until golden brown on both sides. Add mushrooms and saute until cooked. Pour wine mixture into a pan and cook for 1 minute. Add Romano cheese. Top each piece of chicken with 1 piece of ham and then 1 piece of Provolone. Cover and simmer to thicken. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon parsley.


Debbie Johns from Fruitland, Mo., shares with us a recipe for a new twist on fudge. She has already made it and said it was "to die for." That must be some pretty good fudge.

Orange Marbled Fudge

1 1/2 teaspoons plus 3/4 cup butter (no substitute), divided

3 cups sugar

3/4 cup whipping cream

1 (10 to 12 ounce) package vanilla or white chocolate chips

1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow crème

1 tablespoon orange extract

12 drops yellow food coloring

5 drops red food coloring

Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with the 1/2 teaspoons butter. In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, cream, and remaining butter. Cook and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in chips and marshmallow crème until smooth. Remove 1 cup and set aside. Add orange extract and food colorings to remaining mixture; stir to blend. Pour into prepared pan. Drop the reserved marshmallow mixture by tablespoons over top; cut through mixture with a knife to swirl. Cover and refrigerate until set. Cut into squares. Yields about 2 1/2 pounds of fudge.


Our local "soup queen" shares a chowder recipe with us today that makes a large batch to have on hand for a quick grab-a-bowl warm-up in between shopping trips.

Hawkeye Chowder

1/2 cup unsalted butter

2 medium potatoes, unpeeled and diced

1 medium zucchini, diced

2/3 cup onion, chopped

2/3 cup frozen whole kernel corn

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/2 cup parsley, snipped

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon thyme

6 cups vegetable broth

2 bay leaves

1 (10 ounce) package frozen creamed corn, thawed

1 1/2 cups half-and-half

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven. Add potatoes, onion, whole corn, celery, and zucchini. When tender, stir in parsley, flour and thyme. Add broth and bay leaves. Cook until thickened. Stir in cream style corn and half-and-half. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir in vinegar and red pepper.


Barb Kinsey of Cape Girardeau, which many of you will know is my sister, is submitting two recipes for you to try this holiday season. Best Ever Sugar Cookies and Mexican Wedding Cakes are two of her specialties. She tells us "I enjoy making cutout sugar cookies all year, but especially around Christmas. Often my nieces and nephews come over and help cut out the cookies and always help decorate them. We have a great time and end up with a beautiful tray of their decorated creations. A great memory maker!"

Best Ever Sugar Cookies

1 cup shortening

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 tablespoons cream

4 cups flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together shortening and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add cream, then flour sifted with baking powder and salt. Mix well. Then add vanilla. Chill mixture about 30 minutes. Roll dough out, small amounts at a time, and cut into desired shapes. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 5-7 minutes, depending on size of cookie. Take out before they brown.

This is another one of Barb's favorite recipes. She always makes these powdered sugar covered confections for the big Christmas Eve Food Emporium at our parent's house.

Mexican Wedding Cakes

1 pound butter, no substitutes

1/2 cup sugar

4 cups flour; makes stiff, like pie dough

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla or almond flavor

1/2 cup pecans, chopped very fine

Powdered sugar to roll cookies in

Beat butter, sugar, salt and vanilla. Add flour and nuts and mix together. Roll in small balls and bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees until light brown. Cool 20 minutes and roll in powdered sugar. You may wish to sprinkle or sift more powdered sugar over cookies after you tray them up to serve.

Thanks to Barb and Debbie for sharing a couple of your favorite holiday favorites. I hope many of you will be able to do the same.

Have a great week and 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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