Every year, we make mountains of Christmas cookies, ensuring that everyone has their favorite to gorge on! Some of them are made only over the holidays...I don't know why this is, as they are so delicious. It used to be that way with fudge. My mom would make it at Christmas and no other time of the year. However, once I started making it for my boys and they took it to school, it became famous! It even made an appearance at two of their after proms in high school. So I am going to share my mom's fudge recipe, which is a little tricky but worth the effort and also her Orange cookie recipe which is one of my favorites. I've even invented a variation of it with lemon and lavender, but you have to wait until Springtime to get that one!
· 4 cups granulated sugar
· 1 can evaporated milk
· 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
· 12oz package of chocolate bits (I prefer the Ghiradelli's bitter sweet bits for a deeper chocolate taste)
· 24 regular sized marshmallows
· 1 teaspoon vanilla
· 1 cup of walnut pieces if desired (I don't usually include these though it it delicious with them)
1. Butter the sides of a heavy 3 quart sauce pan and also butter the sides of a 9x13 pan.
2. Add the sugar, evaporated milk and butter to the sauce pan and cook, stirring constantly to soft ball stage (240 degrees). I recommend using a candy thermometer.
3. Once it hits soft ball, remove from heat and add the chocolate, marshmallows, vanilla and nuts (if using).
4. Beat/stir aggressively until chocolate and marshmallows melt.
5. Pour into prepared 9x13 pan and score pieces while warm.
6. Cut when cool and firm. If you didn't get it quite to soft ball stage, put it in the frig to help firm it up.
Note: soft ball stage is usually 20-25 minutes after it boils, with the heat on medium-low, but this is very dependent on your stove (electric or gas etc)
Kate's Orange Drop Cookies (with Lee's addition of cranberries)
· 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
· 1 cup of granulated sugar
· 1 egg
· 1/2 sour milk (or buttermilk)
· 1/4 cup orange juice
· grated rind of 1 orange
· 2 cups flour
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1/2 cup chopped cran-raisins (dried cranberries)
· 1.5 cups powdered sugar
· orange juice for icing
1. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder & soda, salt AND orange rind) in a small bowl with a whisk.
2. Cream the butter in a mixer, adding in the sugar, blending well
3. Add the egg, milk and orange juice to the butter/sugar mix, beating till smooth.
4. Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet, beating on a low speed till well mixed and then add cranberries.
5. Drop rounded teaspoon onto baking sheet and cook at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
6. Let them cool on cookie sheet for about 10 minutes, then move to cooling rack to add frosting.
7. While the cookies are baking, mix the powdered sugar with enough orange juice to get to icing consistency (start slowly with the OJ).
8. While the cookies are still warm, frost them with the icing.