Pretzel Sparklers

Ingredients

  • 2 dozen pretzel rods
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • red white and blue sprinkles

Directions

Place 4 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted; remove from heat. Using a pastry brush, coat the upper third of each pretzel rod in chocolate. Cover with sprinkles; stand pretzels upright in a glass. Place in the refrigerator until firm, about 5 minutes.

Red White and Blue Star Cookies

Ingredients

  • 5 cups cake flour (not self-rising), plus more for dusting surfaces
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more for brushing
  • 3/4 cup raspberry jam
  • 3/4 cup blueberry jam
  • 2 tablespoons sanding sugar (red, white and blue if you can find it)

Directions

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Cream butter and granulated sugar, with a mixer on medium speed, until pale and fluffy. Beat in yolks and vanilla until well combined. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with cream and beating well after each addition. Shape dough into 4 disks, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or up to 3 days).

On floured parchment, roll 1 disk of dough into a 1/8-inch-thick rectangle. Repeat with remaining disks. Stack sheets of dough and parchment, and refrigerate for 1 hour or freeze for 30 minutes.

Spread raspberry jam on 1 sheet of dough, blueberry jam on another. Top each with a plain sheet of dough. Refrigerate for 1 hour or freeze for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut out cookies using a 2 1/2-inch star-shaped cutter, and space 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush with cream, and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or freeze for 15 minutes.

Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden, 16 to 20 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks, and let cool completely. If desired, bake dough scraps.

Arlene’s Cranberry Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cans whole cranberries
  • 1 large can pineapple chunks, drained
  • 2 cups purple grapes cut in half and seeded
  • 2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 oranges
  • 3 packages raspberry gelatin

Directions

Blend 1 can cranberries in blender until smooth and heats to boiling and mix in gelatin.  When completely dissolved cool.  Cut up pineapple chuncks in small pieces and use 2 cups.  Mix together with graphes and nuts.  Cut up 2 large oranges, seed, put in blender and blend until orange rind is very small.  Mix all ingredients together with rest of cranberries.  Put in individual or ring mold.  Refrigerate for 24 hours.  Serves 12 individual or 1 large mold.

Coleman’s Favorite Chocolate Pie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 ounce semi or bitter sweet chocolate
  • 2 cups half and half, divided
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions

Whisk together sugar, cocoa and warm water.  Stirring constantly, bring to a boil at medium low/low.  Stir in chocolate and 1 3/4 cups half and half.  Mix together cornstarch and 1/4 cup half and half, then stir in.  Cook over medium/low  heat, stirring constantly until thickened.  Reduce to low and stir 1 minute more.  Take off heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour into prebaked pie crust and cover with saran wrap immediately.

Turkey Gravy From Scratch

Ingredients

Stock

  • 4 tablespoons butter, more if necessary for gravy, and for seasoning (optional)
  • 6 turkey legs or other dark meat turkey parts (thighs, wings, etc.), to make about 6 pounds
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and stuck with 3 cloves
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 3 stalks celery with leaves, trimmed and cut into large chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 1 cup white wine, Madeira, vermouth, dry sherry or water

Gravy

  • 12 tablespoons ( 3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • Salt and black pepper

Directions

For the stock: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Melt 4 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle turkey parts with salt and pepper, place in roasting pan and brush with melted butter. Roast 2 hours, basting with butter every 20 minutes or so.

Transfer roasted turkey to a stockpot and set roasting pan aside. Add onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves and peppercorns to stockpot. Add cold water just to cover, bring to a simmer and cook, slightly uncovered, about 6 hours

Meanwhile, place roasting pan on top of stove and bring juices to a simmer over low heat. Pour in wine (or water), stirring and scraping to bring up browned bits. (If using wine, simmer at least 5 minutes.) Pour all liquid into a bowl and refrigerate. When deglazing liquid is cool, lift off top layer of fat; reserve fat. Add deglazing liquid to stockpot.

When stock is golden and flavorful, strain into a large container and refrigerate. When cool, lift off fat and mix it with reserved fat from deglazing liquid. Reserve 3 quarts stock for gravy and refrigerate or freeze the rest for another use.

For the gravy: In a deep skillet or large heavy pot, melt 12 tablespoons ( 3/4 cup) reserved turkey fat over medium heat. If you do not have enough turkey fat, use additional butter to make 3/4 cup. Gradually whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking, until golden brown and toasty-smelling, 3 to 5 minutes or longer for darker gravy.

Whisk in a small amount of stock (this prevents lumps), then add remainder more quickly and whisk until smooth. Simmer, continually whisking, until thickened. If too thick, thin with more stock or a little wine and simmer briefly. Season with salt and pepper. If desired, whisk in a few tablespoons cold butter to smooth and enrich gravy.

To make ahead: Gravy can be made up to a month ahead. It freezes well in plastic containers or bags. Thaw in refrigerator or over low heat. Whisk in a little water if it appears curdled or too thick.

Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz.) Libby’s Pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 425.

Make pate brisee.  Place pie dough in pie pan.

Mix sugar, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a small bowl.  Beat eggs in a large bowl (i.e. mixing bowl).  Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture.  Gradually stir in evaporated milk.  Pour into pie crust.   

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.  Reduce temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean.  Cool 2 hours, then serve immediately or cover with saran wrap and refrigerate.

Pecan Pie

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dark Karo syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups (6 ounces) pecans

Directions

Preheat oven to 350.

Make pate brisee.  Place pie dough in pie pan.

Beat eggs slightly with a fork in a medium bowl.  Add sugar, Karo syrup, butter and vanilla; stir until blended.  Stir in pecans.  Pour into pie crust.

Bake 55-60 minutes or until knife inserted into the middle of the pie comes out clean.  Cool before serving. 

 TIP: Pie is done when center is 200 degrees and center springs back slightly when tapped.

Gravy

Ingredients

  • Giblets
  • 1 14.5 ounce can chicken broth
  • 1-2+ cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoons pepper

Directions

When turkey is cooking, combine giblets and broth in a medium pot and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer at least 45 minutes.  Strain through colander into a fat sparator.  Discard solids.  Let sit 10 minutes to separate.  Pour broth (ex-fat) into broiler pan. 

When the turkey is done, strain pan drippings through colander into a fat sparator.  Discard solids.  Let sit 10 minutes to separate.  Pour drippings (ex-fat) into broiler pan. 

Place on a stove over medium heat.  Combine flour and butter in a small bowl, stir until mixed.  Add flour mixture to the broiler pan and stir until smooth.  Add cream to the broiler pan.  Bring to a boil, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Reduce to medium low and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Continue to add butter-flour mixture and cream as necessary, repeating above until the desired consistency and flavor is reached.  Stir in rosemary, salt and pepper.

Thanksgiving Turkey

Ingredients

  • 1 12 lb turkey
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 6 thyme sprigs, coarsely chopped
  • 6 sage sprigs, coarsely chopped
  • 6 marjoram sprigs, coarsely chopped
  • 6 parsley sprigs, coarsely chopped
  • 4 rosemary sprigs, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (divided)
  • 2-3 cups wine

Directions

Preheat oven to 325.

Remove giblets from turkey and set aside.  Rinse and dry the turkey.

Combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, thyme, sage, marjoram, parsley and rosemary in a small bowl.  Stuff body cavity with onions, carrots and celery.  Rub spice mixture under skin.  Tie legs together with string.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper.  Place turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack in a roasting pan.  Pour wine into pan.  Cover breast with foil and bake at 325, basting with pan juices and melted butter until internal temperature is 165.  Let stand 30 minutes before carving. 

Serve with gravy. 

Mexican Wedding Cakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups pecans
  • 2 cups cake flour (can reduce by 4 tablespoons), sifted before measuring
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until soft.  Add sugar and blend until smooth. 

Measure pecans and then grind in a food processor.  Add pecans and sifted flour into the butter mixture and mix well. 

Roll into 1 inch balls and put on greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes.  When done, allow to firm on cookie sheet before removing to cooloing rack to cool completely.  Place 1 cup powdered sugar in a ziploc and toss cookies to coat.  Makes 5 dozen.