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Reader's Recipes

Almond Toffee
• 1 cup (heaping) shelled, sliced almonds
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 pound Land O’ Lakes butter (don’t substitute)
• 1 12 oz. pkg. of chocolate chips
• 1 cup chopped pecans

Cream sugar, almonds, and butter together. Cook to 290 degrees, stirring to keep from burning, especially as the temperature nears 290 degrees.

(A candy thermometer is a necessity as the consistency of the toffee depends on it reaching the right degree of heat.)

Turn out mixture at once on a large, flat baking sheet with sides. Melt the chocolate chips and spread over the candy. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. After the candy is cold, repeat on the other side.

Irene C. Stephens, Belleair Bluffs
November 2004 Holiday Gift Guide
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Apple Cranberry Relish
• 1 bag fresh cranberries
• 3 pounds McIntosh apples (peeled)

Grind cranberries and apples together, then sweeten to taste. Chill at least three hours; also can be frozen.

Mrs. Jean Arnold, Largo
(My mom’s must-have for 75 years at Thanksgiving.)
November 2004 Holiday Gift Guide
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• 3 sticks partially melted butter or margarine
• 18 ounces peanut butter
• 2 pounds powdered confectioner’s sugar
• 3 to 4 ounces paraffin wax
• 2 12-ounce bags of semisweet chocolate chips

Cover two or three cookie sheets with waxed paper; set aside.

Blend together butter and peanut butter until creamy. Gradually add confectioners sugar. Roll into 1-inch balls and place onto cookie sheets. Refrigerate while getting chocolate dip prepared.

In a double boiler, put about 3/4 cup of water in bottom pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer just enough to keep the top pot hot. Make sure water does not get into chocolate mixture or the recipe will be ruined.

In top pot, completely melt paraffin wax, then add the two bags of chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Take peanut butter balls out of the refrigerator and place nearby. Using two spoons, dip spoons into chocolate mixture, so they don’t stick to the balls, then dip the balls into chocolate mixture and coat them well, then place back onto wax-covered cookie sheet to cool. This part is messy.

If there is extra chocolate mixture left, turn the heat up to thin out the mixture and drizzle the chocolate over the tops of the peanut butter balls for a fancy presentation.

Put cookie sheets back into the refrigerator until ready to serve or freeze. Yields about 200 balls.

Laurie Reuter, Redington Shores
November 2004 Holiday Gift Guide
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Candy Creams
• 1 box confectionery sugar
• 1 stick butter
• 1 tablespoon vanilla
• Unsweetened chocolate

Mix first three ingredients, roll into balls the size of a dime. Dip in melted unsweetened chocolate. Let cool on wax paper. Makes 24 to 50.

Linda Muhn, Largo
November 2004 Holiday Gift Guide
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Cheese Ball
• 1 small can (drained) crushed pineapple
• 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese (room temperature)
• 1 cup chopped pecans
• 2 tablesoons chopped bell pepper
• 1 tablespoon chopped onions
• 1 teaspoon salt

Refrigerate one hour to harden; form into ball. Roll in pecans and paprika. Serve with crackers.

Shirley Galatas, Clearwater
November 2004 Holiday Gift Guide
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Graham Cracker Brittle
• 2 sticks butter
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• crushed walnuts

Place one layer of crackers on cookie sheet. Melt two sticks of butter and add sugar and vanilla. Boil all until clear and remove from stove. Pour over crackers and sprinkle crushed walnuts over all. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until crispy.

Antoinette Smith, Largo
November 2004 Holiday Gift Guide
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Holiday Pumpkin
• 1 7-1/2 pound pumpkin
• 8 slices bread - lightly toasted and cubed
• 1 cup raisins
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1 cup melted margarine
• 1 cup evaporated milk
• 1 cup chopped nuts
• 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained
• 1 cup chopped apple
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground cloves

Cut top of pumpkin. Remove seeds. Combine all other ingredients and place in pumpkin. Replace top. Place on baking sheet with sides. Bake at 350 degrees for two and a half hours. Serve with ice cream if desired.

Suzanne Fuller, Harbor Bluffs
November 2004 Holiday Gift Guide
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Pat’s Ornament Salad
• 1 can black olives, drained
• 1 jar green olives, drained
• 1 box grape tomatoes
• 1 carton crumbled feta and garlic cheese
• Olive oil (just enough to moisten)
• Peppercinis to garnish

(Note: green olives and red grape tomatoes make for a festive holiday color salad.)

Lightly toss all ingredients together and chill. Green olives and red grape tomatoes make for festive holiday colors.

Linda Oppenheimer, Largo
November 2004 Holiday Gift Guide
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Peanut Butter Blossoms
• 1⁄2 cup butter
• 1⁄2 cup peanut butter
• 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
• 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 3⁄4 cup flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 1 bag Hershey’s Kisses
• Sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and peanut butter. Gradually add sugar, and cream well. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix well. Blend in flour, soda, and salt.

Refrigerate several hours.

Shape dough into balls and roll in sugar. Place balls on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Remove and place a chocolate kiss in center of each cookie, pressing down until cookie cracks. Bake for an additional 2-5 minutes. Yields about 3 dozen balls.

Jennifer Hritz, Clearwater
November 2004 Holiday Gift Guide
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Pumpkin Pie Cake
• 3 large eggs
• 1-1/4 cup sugar
• 1 can evaporated milk
• 1 pound-13 ounce can pumpkin
• 3-1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
• 1 package yellow cake mix
• 1-1/2 sticks margarine
• 1 cup chopped walnuts
• frozen topping

Blend first five ingredients together. Pour into 9- by 13-inch cake pan; sprinkle cake mix over top of mixture; dribble melted margarine over to cover cake mix. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees, then sprinkle chopped nuts over top. Bake another 20 to 30 minutes. Serve with frozen whipped topping.

Holly Shanahan, Seminole
November 2004 Holiday Gift Guide
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Red Hot Punch
• 3 tablespoons cinnamon hot candies
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup water

Cook and stir about 10 minutes (until candy dissolves).

• 1 cup pineapple juice
• 1 quart ginger ale
• Add ice cubes

Makes 16 cups. Multiply ingredients for larger quantity.

Joan True, Clearwater
November 2004 Holiday Gift Guide
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Ring-a-Ling Cookies
• 1 cup flour
• 1/2 cup butter
• 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
• 1 cup finely chopped pecans
• 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix; chill and roll into 1/4-inch size balls. Press thumbprint and fill with favorite jelly. Bake at 300 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

Pat Senn, Largo
November 2004 Holiday Gift Guide
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Scalloped Pineapple
• 6 slices of heavy texture bread, or 8 slices of light texture bread
• 3 eggs
• 1-1/2 cups sugar
• 1 stick margarine
• 20-ounce can crushed pineapple with juice

Cube bread. Beat eggs and add sugar, margarine and pineapple with juice. Add cubed bread and mix well. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350 degrees in pan sprayed with Pam.

Jean Chaffin,Seminole
November 2004 Holiday Gift Guide
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Spiced Nuts Glacι
• 3 cups unsalted mixed whole nuts (about 1 pound)
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/2 cup light corn syrup
• 1/2 cup water
• 2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Spread nuts in a shallow pan; heat in moderate oven, 350 degrees, for 10 minutes or until hot. While nuts heat, combine next eight ingredients in a medium size saucepan.

Heat, stirring constantly over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Then cook, without stirring until mixture reaches 300 degrees on a candy thermometer. A teaspoon of syrup will separate into brittle threads when dropped in cold water.

Stir in nuts and butter until nuts are evenly coated. Spoon into well-buttered 15- by 10- by 1-inch pan. Spread in an even layer. Cool completely; break into bitesized pieces. Store in a tightly covered container. Makes 2 pounds

Nancy Owen, North Redington Beach
November 2004 Holiday Gift Guide
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Taste of Georgia’s Sweet Potato Casserole
• 3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/3 cup milk
• 1/2 cup melted butter
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix well. Pour into baking dish.

In bowl, mix:
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 2-1/2 teaspoon butter
• 1 cup chopped pecans
Pour over potato mixture.
Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Reneι Burrell, Belleair Beach
November 2004 Holiday Gift Guide
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Tempting Trifle Cheesecake
• 1 1/2 cup soft coconut macaroon cookie crumbs
• 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 4 eggs
• 1/2 cup sour cream
• 2 tablespoons sweet sherry
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1/2 cup whipping cream

Press crumbs into bottom of greased 9-inch springform pan. Bake crust in 325-degree oven for 15 minutes. Combine cream cheese and sugar, mixing at mid-speed on electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in sour cream, whipping cream sherry and vanilla; pour over crust. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour, 10 minutes. Loosen cake from rim of pan; cool before removing. Chill.

• 1 10-oz jar red raspberry seedless preserves
• 1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped
• toasted slivered almonds.

Heat preserves in saucepan over low heat until melted. Spoon over cheesecake. Dollop with whipped cream, topped with almonds just before serving. Serves 10 to 12. Freezes well.

Luci Edgar, Clearwater
November 2004 Holiday Gift Guide
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The Next-Best-Thing to Robert Redford
Bottom Layer
• 1 cup unsifted flour
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
• 1 cup finely chopped pecans

Middle Layer
• 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 9-ounce carton frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed, divided

Top Layer
• 1 6-3/4-ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix
• 1 6-3/4-ounce package instant chocolate pudding mix
• 3 cups cold milk

Make bottom layer by mixing together ingredients until crumb-like. Press mixture into a greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven 15 to 20 minutes until lightly golden. Cool.

Make middle layer by beating cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Fold in half of whipped topping. Spread mixture over cooled crust.

Make top layer by beating milk into mixes until smooth and thickened. Spread over middle layer. Spread remaining whipped topping over top. A grated chocolate candy bar also can be sprinkled on top, if desired. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serves 16.

Lynn Edwards, Largo
November 2004 Holiday Gift Guide
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Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
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