For festive sweets, turn to fudge

fudgePublished the week of December 5, 2016

‘Tis the season for hiding the scale and indulging in holiday treats. Whether you are making them for the family, for a party, or for gifts, fudge is a sweet treat that fits all the bills.

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Easy Chocolate Fudge

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup butter
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

In a large microwave-safe bowl, place chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and butter. Cook in microwave oven on medium until chips are melted. Cook 1 minute. Stir, then cook 30 additional seconds at a time, stirring, until chips are melted. Total cooking time is about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in nuts, if desired. Pour into well-greased 8×8-inch glass baking dish. Refrigerate until set. Makes 16 servings.

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Pumpkin Fudge

3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 5-ounce can evaporated milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 10-ounce pack

ages cinnamon-flavored chips (such as Hershey’s)
1 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar, butter, evaporated milk, and pumpkin. Cook until mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan; reduce heat to medium-low; continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring frequently, until thermometer registers 234 degrees F, soft-ball stage, about 20 to 25 minutes. Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil.
Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer from saucepan. Stir in cinnamon-flavored pieces until melted. Stir in marshmallow creme and walnuts. Immediately spread fudge evenly in a greased 13×9-inch pan. Score into squares while warm. Let fudge cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Cut into squares. Cover tightly and chill for up to 1 week. Makes about 96 pieces.

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Peanut Butter Fudge

1/2 cup butter
2-1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, place butter. Add brown sugar and milk, stirring. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Mix in peanut butter and vanilla.

Place confectioners’ sugar into a large mixing bowl. Pour hot peanut butter mixture over confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth. Pour fudge into a greased 8-by-8 inch pan. Chill until firm, about 1 hour. Cut into 1-inch squares. Makes about 64 pieces.

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Pantry Pointers

For easier handling of fudge, line your pan with foil first and then coat the foil with butter. Use the foil to lift the fudge out of the pan before cutting.

Bring red, white, and blue to dessert

Published the week of June 27, 2016

Fourth of July celebrations rarely occur without food. While grilling and picnics might not have much room for festive colors, dessert definitely does. Just combine some naturally red, white, and blue foods in to something sweet and special.

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Red, White, and Blue Cookies

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups butter-flavored shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 12-ounce package white chocolate chips
1 12-ounce package dried blueberries
2 6-ounce packages dried cranberries

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the shortening, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in one egg until completely incorporated. Beat in the other egg. Mix in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Fold in the white chocolate chips, blueberries, and cranberries, mixing just enough to evenly combine. Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and place 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Flatten each ball to about 1/2-inch thick. Bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack. Makes 72 cookies.

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Red, White, and Blue Trifle

3 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 quart heavy cream
1 3.3-ounce package instant white chocolate pudding mix, unprepared
1 6-ounce container lemon yogurt
2 16-ounce prepared pound cakes, cubed
2 pints fresh blueberries, or as needed

Chill a large metal mixing bowl and beaters from an electric mixer. In a bowl, sprinkle the strawberries with sugar; stir to distribute the sugar, and set aside. Pour the cream into the chilled mixing bowl and add the white chocolate pudding mix, and lemon yogurt; beat until fluffy with an electric mixer set on medium speed.

Spread a layer of pound cake cubes into the bottom of a glass 10×15-inch baking dish. Cover the pound cake with a layer of strawberries; sprinkle blueberries over the strawberries. Spread a thick layer of whipped cream over the berries. Repeat the layers several times, ending with a layer of strawberries sprinkled with blueberries and reserving about 1 cup of whipped cream; top the trifle with dollops of whipped cream to serve. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 15 servings.

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Pantry Pointers

Plan ahead and make red and blue ice cubes using food coloring and your drinks will be festive too.