Still time for holiday recipes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Every year in the fall I begin making plans for the holidays as early as possible. Most likely this is goaded along by all the holiday cooking magazines and books I see in the stores. By the time the newest Christmas books from Southern Living and Gooseberry Patch arrive, I have already picked up a magazine or two at the grocery store and begun marking pages. With great ideas for new things to try for Christmas dinner and teacher gifts, I eagerly anticipate the holidays.

Then the same thing happens every year &045; the basketball schedule, Christmas programs, kids exams at school and just trying to get the house decorated for the holidays brings in a dose of reality. So I ended up this year (just like most years) cooking exactly the same thing we have for every Christmas, because it brings a certain amount of comfort, to myself and my family, to have the continuity of tradition. And while I did manage to get food gifts made for teachers and friends, I only tried one new recipe. So here I am with a stack of holiday magazines and books carefully marked but untried.

But this year one thing is different. I am not going to put the books up untried. After all, if the recipe was going to be good in the chill of late December, it is only going to be better in the cold of January and February. Then when December rolls around, it won’t be a new recipe any longer &045; my family will already like it and I will already be at ease preparing it.

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So here is one of the recipes I had marked that we have since tried at my house. I hope it becomes a new old favorite at your house by the time the next holiday rolls around.

Christmas Cappuccino Mix

21/2 cups instant chocolate drink mix

8 cups powdered milk

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup instant coffee granules

8 ounce jar of French vanilla-flavored non-dairy creamer

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and then store in an airtight container. If you can bring yourself to share this with others, give them these directions. Add 1/3 cup of mix to 6 to 8 ounces of very hot water. Stir to blend and enjoy.

White Chocolate Fudge

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup margarine

12 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped ( I used chips)

7 ounce jar marshmallow cream

3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped

Combine the sugar, sour cream and margarine in a heavy saucepan and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 7 minutes over medium heat or until a candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees. You must stir constantly to avoid scorching. Remove from the heat and stir in chocolate until melted. Then add the remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased 9-inch square pan. This makes about 21/2 pounds of fudge. I have substituted pecans and dried cranberries with good results. But be sure you use white chocolate not almond bark &045; the results are disastrous.

Christina Hall

writes a weekly column for The Democrat.