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Dining In: 'Tis the season to fudge on your diet



Lillian's fudge
   4 1/2 c. sugar
   1 1/3 cubes butter
   1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
   2 (7 oz.) jars marshmallow cream
   24 oz. semi-sweet chocolate morsels
   1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
   1 c. chopped walnuts
   Melt butter and add sugar and evaporated milk. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
   Place the chocolate morsels and marshmallow cream in large bowl. Pour the butter, sugar, milk mixture over the chocoloate and cream. Stir until well blended. Add the nuts and vanilla. Mix well. Pour into buttered cake pan. Let set. Cut into squares.

$500 fudge
via Jane Sprague
   3 (4 oz.) sweetened German chocolate bars
   2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
   2 c. chopped nuts
   2 c. marshmallow cream
   4 c. granulated sugar
   1/8 tsp. salt
   2 Tbsp. butter
   1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
   Break bars into squares and place in large bowl with chips, marshmallow cream and nuts.
   Bring sugar, salt, butter, and milk to boil. Boil 6 minutes, stirring constantly.
   Pour boiling syrup over ingredients in bowl and stir until chocolate is melted. Pour into an ungreased 13x9-inch pan. Cool until firm and cut into squares. Store in tightly covered container.

Fudge layers
   First layer:
   1/2 c. butter
   1 square unsweetened chocolate
   1/4 c. sugar
   1 tsp. vanilla
   1 egg beaten
   2 c. graham cracker crumbs
   1 c. coconut, shredded
   Second layer:
   1/4 c. butter, softened
   1 Tbsp. milk
   2 c. sifted confectioners sugar
   1 tsp. vanilla
   Third layer:
   3 sq. semisweet chocolate
   Chopped pecans
   First layer: Melt butter and 1 square unsweetened chocolate. Blend sugar, vanilla, egg, crumbs and coconut into butter-chocolate mixture. Mix well. Press into an ungreased 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Refrigerate this layer for at least an hour.
   Second layer: Mix the softened butter, milk, confectioners sugar and vanilla. Spread this mixture over the first layer and chill again.
   Third layer: Melt semisweet chocolate and spread evenly over chilled filling. Top with chopped nuts. Chill again. Cut into squares before completely firm. Store in refrigerator or freeze.

Walnut crescents
(A traditional holiday cookie)
   1 c. margarine (or part butter)
   1/3 c. sugar
   2 tsp. water
   2 tsp. vanilla
   2 c. flour
   1/2 c. chopped walnuts
   Powdered sugar for coating
   Mix all ingredients except powdered sugar. Chill for 3 to 4 hours or overnight. Shape dough into balls or crescents and bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Don't let them get brown. Roll in powdered sugar when cool.

Brown sugar squares
(Great and easy addition to Christmas cookie assortment)
   1/2 c. butter
   1 1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar, divided
   1 c. flour
   2 eggs, well beaten
   2 Tbsp. flour
   1/2 tsp. baking powder
   1/4 tsp. salt
   1 tsp. vanilla
   1/2 c. flaked coconut
   1 c. chopped pecans
   Cream butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar, gradually beating until well blended. Add 1 cup flour and work in with wooden spoon until crumbly. Spread mixture in ungreased 8-inch-square cake pan, pressing down evenly. Bake at 300 degrees about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
   Combine remaining 1 cup brown sugar and eggs. Beat well and add 2 tablespoons flour and baking powder and salt. Mix well. Add rest of ingredients. Blend well. Spread over baked layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool and cut into squares. Store in well-sealed containers.

Butter cookies
(Fun to decorate and great to eat)
   2 c. (4 sticks) butter, at room temperature
   1 1/2 c. sugar
   2 eggs
   1 tsp. vanilla extract
   5 c. all-purpose flour
   2 tsp. baking powder
   1/4 tsp. salt
   Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter in large mixer bowl. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture. Mix well.
   Divide dough into four equal portions. Roll one portion of dough on lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with floured cookie cutters. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or just until cookies begin to brown around edges. Cool completely on wire racks. Decorate as desired. Yield: approximately 3 dozen.

Peppermint twists
   1 c. butter, softened
   1 c. sugar
   1/2 c. milk
   1 tsp. peppermint extract
   1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
   1 egg
   4 c. all-purpose flour
   1 tsp. baking powder
   1/2 tsp. red food coloring
   Non-stick cooking spray
   In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add milk, peppermint and vanilla extracts and egg. Beat until smooth and creamy. Stir in flour and baking powder until thoroughly blended.
   Divide dough into halves. Add food coloring to one half the dough and blend thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
   Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray baking sheet. For each twist, shape 1 teaspoon of each color dough into a 4-inch long rope by gently rolling between your palms or on a lightly floured surface. Place each rope side by side. Press together lightly and twist. Place two inches apart on baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until undersides are lightly browned. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Thumbprint cookies
   1 c. butter, softened
   1 c. peanut butter
   1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
   1/2 c. sugar
   2 eggs
   1 tsp. vanilla extract
   2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
   1 tsp. baking soda
   1 1/2 c. chopped peanuts
   3/4 c. strawberry or raspberry jam
   Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, beat butter, peanut butter, and sugars until smooth and creamy. Stir in flour and baking soda until thoroughly blended.
   Shape dough into 1-inch balls, roll in chopped peanuts and place two inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Press thumb deeply in center of each. Fill each thumbprint with 1/4 teaspoon jam. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes about 8 dozen cookies.

Magic cookie bars
(Make and bake in same pan)
   1/2 c. butter
   1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
   1 (14-oz.) can condensed milk
   1 (6-oz.) pkg. chocolate chips
   1/2 c. flaked coconut
   1 c. chopped walnuts
   Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or 325 degrees if using a glass pan). In a 13x9-inch pan, melt butter. Sprinkle crumbs over butter. Pour milk evenly over crumbs. Top evenly with remaining ingredients. Press down gently. Bake 25 or 30 minutes or until browned. Cool thoroughly before cutting. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Sugar puffs
   1 c. butter or margarine
   1 c. sugar
   1 egg yolk
   1 tsp. baking soda
   1 tsp. vanilla
   2 c. flour
   Cream shortening and sugar. Beat in egg yolk. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Roll in balls the size of walnuts and roll in a mixture of sugar and nutmeg. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.