Christmas is celebrated around the world and each of us has our own Christmas traditions developed with family and friends over the years. Many of these traditions involve the kinds of food we eat.
Christmas foods played a large role in the traditions of my family - whether it was the Christmas eve cabbage rolls and pierogi dinner with my Austrian parents or the Italian sweet treats served Christmas day by the other side of the family. And we can't forget the delicious turkey dinners, served with all the trimmings.
Often times we don't think that much of these traditions while we are young, and take them for granted. But as we grow older we appreciate the richness these holiday traditions have added to our lives. And as adults we have the opportunity to create our own traditions, those special times together that will become cherished memories for our own children to remember.
Here are two holiday recipes that may become family favorites at your house and may form part of your family's memorable Christmas traditions.
Festive Rum or Orange Balls
2 squares (ounces) semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
2 cups vanilla wafers, finely crushed
1 cup chopped pecans
For the outer coating:
Toasted pecans, finely chopped
chocolate, finely grated
Melt chocolate squares in a pot over hot water and stir until melted. Add corn syrup, wafer crumbs and nuts. Mix well. Chill this mixture until it is firm enough to handle.
Shape into 1 inch balls. Roll in one of the coatings.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for at least one week to meld flavors.
(Use an equal amount of dark rum for rum balls).
Makes about 30 balls
Surprise Inside Hint:
Place one well drained maraschino cherry into the center of each rum ball as you are rolling them. Roll rum mixture around the cherry evenly.
1/2 cup shortening or unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
Preheat oven to 325ºF.
Lightly grease baking sheets.
Place shortening and sugar in bowl and beat until mixture is creamy. Beat in egg and molasses. In another bowl, use a fork to stir flour with baking soda, salt and spices. Gradually stir into shortening mixture until just smooth. Do not over mix.
Take dough by the tablespoonful and roll into a 1" ball. Roll in sugar and place 2" apart on baking sheet. Do not press down.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until lightly browned and tops are cracked. Cool then store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze.
Makes 48 cookies
Whatever your holiday traditions you can be sure you are joining millions in celebrating Christmas around the world. Creating memorable family Christmas traditions can increase the joy of the season immensely.