Janet's Notebook
Spread Holiday Cheer With Festive Christmas Eve Treats


Hot Chocolate Fit For Wintry Fun!


This jolly ol' soul simply loves this time of year! Not only is it "food season," filled with loads of cooking and holiday treats, but it's also FAMILY season! Kin from all corners are making their way back home to gather together, and you all have been sharing your recipes for the perfect holiday party fare!

Christmas Eve has been a particularly popular topic of discussion among the Just A Pinch home cooks lately. So many of us focus on the big Christmas dinner that the more intimate hours of Christmas Eve can sometimes get overlooked. Filling Christmas Eve with special treats can really set the stage for a festive celebration. And don't forget about Santa! You've been so good all year, so why not be a little naughty and leave the Big Man an indulgent treat? And I don't mean carrot sticks. I let my son in on a secret at a very early age: Santa likes his sweets.

A beautiful - and delicious! - change from the traditional Santa treat of milk and cookies is Freda Gable's White Christmas Fudge. This creamy white fudge is laced with festive green and red candied cherries. "There is nothing like a plate full of homemade goodies," says the Vancouver, WA resident. "Here's a fudge that is sure to please. Not only does this have eye appeal, but [is] tasty as well." And the easy white chocolate fudge comes with a promise: It's guaranteed to not last very long! Make plenty to ensure that Santa gets his fair share.

Dot Shirley of Apopka, FL is also making merry with a creative use for cherries. Her Miniature Fruitcake Cupcakes are a pint-size take on a holiday staple... perfect for hungry elves. "I make them every Christmas for my son," explains Dot, who even let her son name the recipe. "He says, 'It just isn't Christmas without your special recipes.'" Now what mom doesn't want to hear that?! Dot's recipe cleverly uses crushed pineapple along with red and green maraschino cherries in place of the standard candied fruit found in most fruitcakes. It makes for a lighter - and I venture to say, prettier - Christmas cake.

Now if Santa prefers a bit more oomph in his snacks by the time he reaches your house, leave him a few of Opal Newcomb's super tasty Bourbon Balls! The Test Kitchen and I were so pleasantly surprised by their rich, chocolaty flavor! "This easy recipe is a Southern favorite made with bourbon, vanilla wafer crumbs, and cocoa," says the Birmingham, AL home cook. Add in a fair amount of pecans and confectioners' sugar and you've got a tasty adult treat for the young at heart.

No matter your Christmas Eve snack preference, Staci Ojeda's To Die For Hot Chocolate is a soul-warming must. Delicious served on its own or paired with one of the other cheerful sweets, this cocoa is a cravable delight. "I make this for my family (and friends) every year," says Staci, who hails from Melissa, TX. "[I make] a huge batch and have to use a Tupperware cake top as my bowl and the bottom as my top! It's sooo rich and creamy!" Staci often shares the love by portioning the dry cocoa mix into decorative tins to give as gifts. (You know we LOVE the idea of homemade food gifts here at Just A Pinch!) How much does Staci enjoy this cocoa? "I've been wishing for winter since June," she laughs.

Each of these recipes warm my heart and will be featured prominently at our holiday get-togethers. Recipes shared with friends are a gift that keeps on giving... and your generosity is simply divine.



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7 Comments
colleenlucky7
Colleen Sowa - Dec 31, 2011
Congratulations ladies! Great recipes! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! xo
angiemath
Angela Gray - Dec 25, 2011
Janette, Check out the blue ?HELP button at the bottom of every page. It will answer all the questions you may have, including this one. (Much better than I could) Merry Christmas Janette ! ~Angela
jansub6887
Janette Suber - Dec 25, 2011
I was just wondering if we can make request for Janet and the kitchen staff to try dishes and or recipes the we have posted, but they are not getting the review or use that they would get if at least given a mark of approval by the kitchen staff??? Again, just curious?
angiemath
Angela Gray - Dec 24, 2011
LOL Linda ! whoo hoo
Linda454
Linda Mendez - Dec 24, 2011
Oh yes, Christmas past....I was a work,oh 30 yrs. ago & a customer brought in bourbon balls for us to have. It was 10:00am & I dug in to them like they were.....well, bourbon balls. A few minutes later I was quite tipsy! My head was spinning & I found myself extra nice to my customers that Christmas Eve! Thanks for bringing that to light after so long.
NADINE
NADINE REID - Dec 21, 2011
Bourbon Balls! That takes me back to christmas past...My mom would make a kid friendly batch using flavored syrups, like mint or cherry, instead of liquor. Still a burst of flavor and oh-so-good!
angiemath
Angela Gray - Dec 20, 2011
Freda, Opal, Dot and Staci, Congratulations on your nice write up about winter treats and a big congrats on your Blue Ribbons ! I hope each of you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ! ~Angela