Island Cooking: It’s Time for Christmas Baking

I can’t believe we are in December; already the time sure seems to be flying.

Of course, I’m one of those people who put Christmas shopping off. I have found shopping a lot easier since online shopping started up (and which I swore I would ever never do because going out shopping for a gift for someone meant a lot more.) Well, I must admit I’ve changed my tune since then. I realized I was spending a lot more money than I needed to because when you’re shopping in the mall or outlet stores you always see a ton of other things that you absolutely have to have and end up spending more money on useless gifts that usually end up in the back of a closet or re-gifted.

Recently I was up at Wal-Mart picking up a few things and came out with a new comforter for my son and a whole new face for me – hopefully I will look 10 years younger in 14 days as the package said.

Anyway, I saw the Christmas tins and decided to bake everyone in the office some cookies, which I know is a pretty common practice for most people but for me with my baking issue and not having a lot of patience when it comes to baking I’d decided, by the time I got eight bags from the car into the house and unpacked, I had decided baking was too much. I know some people love it, but let’s just say everyone in the office is getting my Chex Mix this year. The recipe is right on the box, but it does have to bake an hour, so I think that counts!

And speaking of baking, Edie Dubois of Bar Harbor is a really great baker and I’ve been lucky to taste some samples at a holiday or two. She sent in the next two recipes that will be a great an addition to anyone’s holiday baking list and I hope you will enjoy them.

First though, as usual, we’ll need a nice little hot toddy to get us in the right frame of mind to do a little baking and in my case open up those cereal boxes and start on that Chex Mix!

Hot Buttered Rum

Combine in a large coffee mug:

  • 1 1/2 oz. dark rum
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. butter

Fill with hot water or milk. Stir well and top with nutmeg and enjoy while baking cookies.

Peppermint Puffs

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces white chocolate melted with 1 tsp. butter or shortening
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped candy canes

1. Stir together flour and salt in medium-size bowl.

2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until smooth and creamy. Beat in egg. Beat in peppermint and vanilla extracts.

3. On low speed, beat in flour mixture. Shape dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour.

4. Heat oven to 375, coat baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

5. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, place on baking sheets.

6. Bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely. When cooled, brush with melted white chocolate, dip in chopped candy canes, and let harden on wax paper. Makes about 36 cookies.


Raisin Bars

  • 2 cups raisins
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cups oatmeal
  • 1/2 to 1 cup butter (I try to add closer to 1/2 cup, but it may be crumbly.)
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

1. Place raisins in saucepan and cover with water. Simmer for 20 minutes, drain and cool.

2. Mix brown sugar, baking soda, oatmeal, butter and flour together.

3. Put half the mixture in bottom of 8 x 11 pan. Bake 7 minutes at 350.

4. In a heavy saucepan, combine and cook until thick, the: eggs, sour cream, sugar and cornstarch. Add raisins and vanilla to this mixture.

5. Pour over baked crust, add last half of crumbs on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, cool before eating.

Send your recipes to me at [email protected].

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