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Treats are fun to make and eat

By Staff | Mar 7, 2019

Mashed potatoes are an ultimate comfort food and perfect for the holidays.


GRIT Magazine

Something old, something new is as good a recipe for holiday cooking as for June weddings, and wonderful cooks spend the holiday season in a flurry of cooking and baking. They locate new recipes to grace their decorated tables, creating a balance between tradition and innovation.

A new twist on plain mashed potatoes might be just what you’re looking for. And snack or dessert recipes are always welcome this time of year. Try one or two, or all, of these recipes and watch the treats quickly disappear.

Fancy mashed potatoes

Four quarts of red, green or yellow peppers are used to make a snack of pickled peppers.

6 potatoes, cooked and drained

3/4 cup milk

3/4 teaspoon salt or less

1/3 cup grated cheese

2 teaspoons mustard

1/4 cup chopped green onions

2 egg whites

Add milk and salt to potatoes and mash until smooth. Add cheese, mustardm and green onions; mix well. Potatoes can be served at this point.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil 1 1/2-quart baking dish.

Place potato mixture into prepared dish. Beat egg whites until very stiff and spread over potatoes. Bake 50 to 60 minutes and serve immediately.

Note: Mixture can be placed in prepared dish and then refrigerated for later use.

Potato puff

1 egg, separated

2 cups mashed potatoes

1 teaspoon butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2-quart baking dish.

Beat egg white until stiff. Beat egg yolk until light and creamy. Fold egg white and egg yolk into mashed potatoes. Heap mixture into prepared dish; dot with butter. Bake 30 minutes. Yields 4 servings.

Boiled peanuts

Select and wash young, green peanuts in the shell. Add 1 tablespoon salt to each quart of water, and boil peanuts for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

“Some like ’em hot, some like ’em cold,” so prepare enough to serve both ways.

Peanut brittle

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup plus 1 teaspoon water, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

3 tablespoons margarine or butter

1 pound shelled unroasted peanuts

Butter 2 cookie sheets, 15 1/2 by 12 inches; keep warm.

Mix together baking soda, 1 teaspoon water, and vanilla; reserve.

In 3-quart saucepan, mix together sugar and syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, to 240 degrees on candy thermometer, or until small amount of syrup dropped into very cold water forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from water.

Stir in margarine and peanuts. Cook, stirring constantly, to 300 degrees or until small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into threads that are hard and brittle (watch carefully so mixture does not burn). Immediately remove from heat; stir in baking soda mixture.

Pour half onto each cookie sheet and quickly spread mixture to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cool; break into pieces. Yields about 2 pounds.

Buttery brittle

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 cup roasted cashews

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 teaspoons butter

1 teaspoon baking soda

In 4-cup glass measure, combine sugar and syrup. Microwave on high 4 minutes. Stir in cashews and microwave on high 3 to 4 minutes. Add vanilla and butter. Microwave on high 2 minutes. Quickly stir in baking soda and mix well. (Work fast because brittle hardens immediately.)

Turn mixture out onto a greased cookie sheet. Spread to desired thickness. Yields 3/4 pound.

Note: Roasted peanuts can be substituted for cashews.

Sugar-Free pecan pie


3 ounces light cream cheese

1 stick butter

1 cup flour


1 egg

6 teaspoons brown sugar substitute

1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar-free pancake syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch salt

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped pecans (chop fine if using muffin tins)

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

For pastry, mix together cream cheese and butter. Add flour and knead well. Divide dough into 24 small balls and press into small muffin tins. (Dough can also be pressed into 8- or 9-inch pie plate.)

For filling, combine all ingredients in mixing bowl. Pour filling into pastry. Bake 18 to 20 minutes. Freezes well. Yields 24 servings.

Gingerbread people


1 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups dark molasses

2/3 cup cold water

7 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt


4 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

About 5 tablespoons half-and-half

In large bowl, stir together brown sugar, shortening, molasses, and cold water. Stir in remaining cookie ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheet; set aside. On floured surface, roll 1/4 dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with floured gingerbread cutter or other favorite shaped cutter. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until no indentation remains when touched (for softer, chewier cookies, bake 8 to 10 minutes). Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

In large bowl, stir together frosting ingredients until smooth and spreadable. Decorate cookies with frosting. Yields about 9 dozen 3-inch cookies.

Sponge candy

1 cup sugar

1 cup dark corn syrup

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

1 tablespoon baking soda, sifted

Line 9-inch square cake pan with foil, extending foil over sides. Generously butter foil.

In large, heavy, deep saucepan, combine sugar, syrup, and vinegar. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking about 18 minutes without stirring until candy thermometer registers 300 degrees (or until small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into threads that are hard and brittle), swirling pan occasionally. Remove from heat. Immediately add baking soda and stir until well combined (mixture will foam vigorously). Immediately pour into prepared pan. Cool completely.

Using foil as aid, lift candy from pan; fold down foil sides. Cut or break candy into large pieces. Any small pieces or shreds can be saved as topping for ice cream.

Store in airtight container at room temperature; exposure to moisture and air will soften the candy. The candy can be made a week ahead of when needed. Yields 6 cups.

Pickled peppers

4 quarts long red, green or yellow peppers (Hungarian, Banana or other varieties)

1 1/2 cups canning salt

4 1/2 quarts water, divided

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

2 cloves garlic

2 1/2 quarts vinegar

Cut two small slits in each pepper. Dissolve salt in 4 quarts water. Pour over peppers and let stand 12 to 18 hours in a cool place. Drain; rinse and drain thoroughly.

Combine 2 cups water and remaining ingredients in a large saucepan. Simmer 15 minutes. Discard garlic. Bring pickling liquid to a boil.

Pack peppers into hot jars, leaving 3/4-inch headspace. Ladle hot liquid over peppers, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps.

Process half-pints and pints 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Yields about 16 half-pints or 8 pints.

Note: When cutting or seeding hot peppers, wear rubber gloves to prevent hands from being burned.

Excerpted from Grit, Celebrating Rural America Since 1882. To read more articles from Grit, please visit www.grit.com, or call 866-803-7096. Copyright 2019 by Ogden Publications Inc.

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