Teresa Hatchell 2005

On Valentine’s Day 2017 and each day throughout the coming year, I hope you will express your love to others in words and deeds. Remember, too, that you don’t have to spend tons of money to express your love. Just speak a kind word, offer encouragement, give a gentle hug and/or get in the kitchen and bake someone’s favorite cookies or other sweet treats.

I’ve always felt that a homemade gift shows a person you truly care. You may want to try one of these recipes and tastefully package the food as a token of your love.

Mom's favorite no-bake treats

3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats

2/3 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter

1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

2 cups sugar

1 stick butter or margarine

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup Hershey’s cocoa

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper or foil. Measure the oats, peanut butter and peanuts (I omit these); set aside. Combine the sugar, butter, milk and cocoa in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a rolling boil. Remove the pan from the heat. Add oats, peanut butter, peanuts and vanilla; stir quickly, mixing well. Immediately drop the mixture by heaping teaspoons onto wax paper or foil. Cool. Store in a dry place. This recipe makes about four dozen treats.

Crunchy good nut clusters

(These are similar to Haystacks, but contain pecans.)

6-ounces butterscotch chips

1/3 cup peanut butter

1 cup chopped pecans, slightly roasted

3-ounces chow mein noodles

Place the butterscotch chips in a 2-quart microwave-safe container. Microwave them on high for one minute. Stir them. Microwave them one minute longer. Stir them until smooth the consistency is creamy. Add the peanut butter and stir the ingredients well. Add the pecans and can of chow mein noodles and stir them until they are well coated. Using a teaspoon to scoop the combined ingredients, create clusters on waxed paper. They will harden as they cool.

Tasty butterfinger candy delights

2 blocks white chocolate, melted

Cheez-its crackers (you may use the new large size)

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Creamy peanut butter

Put a long sheet of waxed paper on your counter. Spread peanut butter on one side of 20 or so Cheez-its crackers. Top each with another cracker. Dip these cracker/peanut butter sandwiches in melted white chocolate and allow these cracker delights to cool on the waxed paper. (You may use dark chocolate or milk chocolate if you prefer.)

Cherry winks

1 cup butter or margarine

3-ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon almond extract

2-1/2 cups self-rising flour

1-1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Candied cherries, halved

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter or margarine and cream cheese. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add the egg and almond extract. Beat well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, soda and salt. Add to the creamed mixture. Beat well. Chill this mixture about an hour. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in the chopped pecans. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press a cherry half into the center of each ball. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. This recipe makes several dozen “winks.”

Contact writer at tgmhatchell@yahoo.com.

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