Tuesday, February 20, 2018

McClellan: Party foods for holiday entertaining

Dec. 6, 2017 at 4 a.m.

Well, here we are, and no one can explain to me how in the world we are already almost at the end of the year.

I love this time of year for many reasons — the sights, sounds and particularly the smells of Christmas.

I just didn't expect it to get here so soon. I really intended to have several party foods prepared and frozen or stored by now. It did not happen. But, I am going to jump on that project tomorrow (unless another demand for my time pops up wanting immediate attention.)

I am sharing recipes for party foods, and I believe these are all new to me and maybe to you. The first combines two of my favorite flavors, white chocolate and dried cranberries.

White Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup oats

  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) butter, softened

  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 11 ounces white chocolate chips

  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and oats together. Beat the brown sugar and butter together until creamy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture gradually, stirring after each addition. Stir in white chocolate chips and dried cranberries. (May add chopped pecans or walnuts, 1 cup, if desired.)

Chill for 30 minutes.

Drop by heaping teaspoons, 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheets. Makes 5-6 dozen cookies.

Bacon Tomato Cups

  • 8 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped

  • 1/2 small onion, chopped

  • 3 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1 (10-count) can flaky biscuits

Combine bacon, tomato, onion, Swiss cheese, mayonnaise and basil in a bowl. Mix well. Separate each biscuit into 3 layers. Press 1 layer into each miniature muffin cup. Spoon the filling into each cup. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are brown. Makes about 30 miniature muffins.

Though the following are called "cookies," they are salty and sweet. This is a good use for the pepper jelly you made last summer.

Peppered Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

  • 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, at room temperature

  • 2 sticks butter, softened

  • 2 eggs, separated

  • Dash of Tabasco sauce

  • 2 cups flour

  • 1 1/2 cup pistachio nuts or walnuts, chopped

  • 1/2 cup pepper jelly

Process the cheese and butter in a food processor or mixer until well blended. Add egg yolks and Tabasco sauce and mix well. Add the flour and blend well. Whisk the egg whites until foamy. Shape 1 tablespoon of the dough into a small ball. Roll in egg whites, then in the nuts. Repeat with remaining dough.

Place 1 inch apart on baking sheets sprayed with nonstick spray. Make an indention in the center of each ball with thumb.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the edges are lightly brown. Cool on a wire rack. Fill each with a dab of pepper jelly. Makes about 72 cookies.

— Barbara Richardson McClellan is a longtime food columnist and has written three self-published cookbooks. Her column appears in the News-Journal's Taste section each Wednesday. Write her at bayrm12@gmail.com or in care of the Longview News-Journal, P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.



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