Try a Czech delight, and nutty fruit balls

Tastes for the holidays

  • By
  • | 9:00 a.m. December 8, 2016
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
  • Opinion
  • Share

Christmas fruit drops

The perfect holiday sweets for an old-fashioned swap with friends.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs

2 cups toasted rice cereal

1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

1/2 cups red candied cherries, coarsely chopped

1/2 cups green candied cherries, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

  1. Heat oven to 350 F. Grease large cookie sheet.

  2. On waxed paper, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat butter and sugars until creamy, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Beat in vanilla, then eggs, one at a time. At low speed, gradually add flour mixture; beat just until blended, occasionally scraping bowl. With spoon, stir in cereal, walnuts, cherries and 1 cup chocolate chips.

  3. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons, 1 inch apart, onto cookie sheet. Bake cookies 10 to 11 minutes or until golden. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.

  4. Place remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips in small microwave-safe-bowl; heat in microwave on medium (50 percent power) about 2 minutes or until chocolate melts, stirring once. Stir until smooth. Place cookies on waxed paper; drizzle with melted chocolate. When chocolate is set, store cookies, with waxed paper between layers, in tightly covered container at room temperature up to one week, or in freezer up to three months. Makes six dozen cookies.

Each serving: 100 calories, 6g total fat (2g saturated), 17mg cholesterol, 80mg sodium, 12g carb., 1g protein.

Czechoslovakian cookies

These rich buttery bars are a Christmas tradition.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (do not use margarine)

1 cup sugar

2 large egg yolks

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 pinch salt

1 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup strawberry preserves

  1. Heat oven to 350 F. Grease 9-by-9-inch metal baking pan.

  2. In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat butter and sugar until mixed, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Increase speed to high; beat until light and fluffy.

  3. With mixer at low speed, beat in egg yolks until well-combined, constantly scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Add flour and salt, and beat until blended, occasionally scraping bowl. With spoon, stir in walnuts.

  4. With lightly floured hands, pat half of dough evenly into bottom of pan. Spread strawberry preserves over dough. With lightly floured hands, pinch off 3/4-inch pieces from remaining dough and drop over preserves; do not pat down.

  5. Bake 45 to 50 minutes until golden. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. When cool, cut into three strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 10 pieces. Makes 30 bars.

Each bar: About 200 calories, 9g total fat (4g saturated), 2g protein, 11g carbohydrate, 9g total fat (4g saturated), 31mg cholesterol, 70mg sodium.

Ham and cheese breakfast bake

Pop this easy make-ahead dish in the oven for the perfect holiday brunch!

2 1/2 cups low-fat milk

8 large eggs

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoons chopped thyme

1 large baguette, sliced

8 ounces cheddar cheese

8 ounces thinly sliced deli ham

1 tablespoons snipped chives

  1. Spray square 2-quart baking dish with nonstick spray.

  2. In bowl, whisk milk, eggs, mustard, thyme and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper to blend.

  3. Arrange half of bread, overlapping, in baking dish. Pour half of milk mixture over bread; sprinkle with half of cheddar. Top with ham, then repeat layering of bread, milk and cheddar. Cover dish; chill 1 hour or up to overnight.

  4. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until golden and custard is set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with chives. Serves six.

For thousands of triple-tested recipes, visit our website at

(c) 2016 Hearst Communications, Inc.

All rights reserved