The Hospitality Gene

They say my father-in-law (known as “RBK”)…they say RBK’s hobby was hospitality. When you stopped by, he would dig into the fridge, find a piece of cheese, slice it up and put it on crackers and serve you a drink. He made you believe he was waiting for you to visit. He had the hospitality gene.

Be like RBK this season. Keep some cheese and crackers on hand. I like a wheel of Brie, dried cranberries or apricots and water crackers. Cut a few slices to get it started and pour on the hospitality!

I hope you enjoy the season. Give more than you get and you will!

Advertisements

Today is National Cookie Day

Now this is a day I can sink my teeth into! December 4th is National Cookie Day. I have no idea who declares these special days but I’ll go along with this one.

Hospitality Tool: A cookie can break the ice, say welcome or thank you, and a warm batch out of the oven makes your family happy.

Top Cookie Pin
Of all my recipes over the years, my Coconut Balls rack up a lot of Pintrest pins all year round. So here they are again, just in time for Christmas baking.

Enjoy the season and thanks for checking in.
Love to all,
Kelley Hospitality

No-Bake Coconut-Date-Nut Balls
My mom always made these cookies at Christmas. I have no idea where the recipe came from, I only know it as hers. They are easy to make and require no baking. The result is a rich coconut-date-nut ball that everyone loves. 

1-1/2 cup chopped dates
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup butter or margarine

Cook the above ingredients in a large saucepan on medium heat until thick…about 10 minutes after the butter melts and all is bubbly. Stir to prevent sticking and burning.

Add:
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1 cup nuts

Form into balls and roll in coconut. Chill. Freezes well.

 

 

 

 

 

Today is National Peanut Butter Fudge Day!

That’s right folks, November 20th is National Peanut Butter Fudge Day. I wonder who declared it such, but I’m going with it. So, in honor of the day that honors one of my favorite treats, I will reprise my mom’s recipe.

I still have the handwritten recipe card she gave me. Mom passed away in Y2K but my last memory of this fudge was when she was very ill, toward the end of her life, yet she made me the fudge at my request. I only realize now how she must have struggled to stir the peanut butter into the stiff batter.

A mother’s love knows no bounds — sweet memories of mom, food and hospitality. Here’s to you mom!

Make some fudge for someone you love. They’ll be glad you did.

Mom’s Peanut Butter Fudge
From the kitchen of Lois Garneau

  • 1 box confectioner’s sugar (1 pound or 4 cups)
  • 3/4 stick margarine (no butter, seriously, use Parkay margarine)
  • 1/2 cup milk (any kind will do, I used skim)
  • 1 twelve-ounce jar of peanut butter (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 nine-ounce jar of marshmallow cream (closest I could find is 7.5 ounces)

DIRECTIONS

In saucepan, mix confectioner’s sugar, margarine and milk. Cook and stir for about 6-1/2 minutes until it boils. It should be at the candy soft ball stage.

Add peanut butter and marshmallow cream. Beat by hand, Pour into square pan. Cool and cut.

 

 

The Sights, Smells and Memories of 2014

As we enter into 2015, here’s a look at 2014 and some of our favorite recipes and stories. Click on the links to enjoy them. (Above: Winter 2014, If You Build it They Will Come)

Thanks for being part of the Kelley Hospitality blogging family. I wish you all the best for a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

 

 

[Almond] Joy to the World!

My memories of Christmas are mostly about the cookies mom made every year. There was frenetic baking starting after Thanksgiving and frenetic nibbling by me.

I’ve been making her cookies for years, but I’ve decided to add some new ones to mom’s repertoire. Our son loves Almond Joy candy bars, so I know this is one he’ll never forget. I hope he has memories of home-made Christmas cookies like I do.

This recipe is from Chef in Training. Check it out – Nikki has a long list of fun and yummy cookies. This one is a keeper.

Almond Joy Pudding Cookies

This chewy cookie has all the ingredients of the famous candy bar.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE COOKIES

  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 small box of instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • I cup almonds, sliced
  • 4 ounces melted chocolate for drizzle (can use candy melts or chocolate chips)

INGREDIENTS FOR THE COCONT ICING

  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 12 large marshmallows
  • 5 ounces coconut (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour and baking soda and set aside.

In large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add pudding package and beat until well blended. Add eggs, vanilla and almond extract and beat until well incorporated. Add flour mixture slowly until well incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Roll into one-inch balls and place on greased baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes. Cool cookies before icing.

Icing:

In a medium saucepan, add evaporated milk and sugar and bring to a boil being careful not to burn. Once it reaches a boil, remove from heat and stir in marshmallows until melted. You can keep the heat on low until the marshmallows are melted. Once marshmallows are melted add coconut and stir. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

Frost cooled cookies with icing.

Sprinkle almonds on top.

Drizzle melted chocolate over the tops.

 

Lucy…Don’t Try This at Home!

Today, December 13, is St. Lucy’s Day or Santa Lucia Day. The day is celebrated in Norway and Sweden when girls dress in white dresses with red sashes and wear wreaths of candles on their heads. (That’s the part not to try at home.) In the Julian calendar, December 13 marked the winter solstice and the candles gave light to the longest day of the year. Saint Lucy Day is also celebrated in Italy.

Santa Lucia Buns, made with a rich, saffron dough, are the traditional treat for the day. They’re fun to make, so gather the kids to help roll the dough and make the whimsical twists. You might have a new Christmas tradition….and lots of memories.

Santa Lucia Buns

From the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook

  • 1 cup light cream (I used half and half)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water (105-115 degrees)
  • 5-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • I egg white, slightly beaten with 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup dark raisins

Heat the cream just until hot but not boiling in a saucepan. Remove from heat. Add the sugar, butter, saffron, and salt and stir until the butter is melted. Let cool to room temperature.

Stir the yeast into the warm water in a large mixing bowl. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes.

Stir the cream mixture into the dissolved yeast. Using a wooden spoon, stir in 2-1/2 cups of the flour; beat until smooth. Beat in 2 eggs, the golden raisins, and ground almonds. Gradually incorporate the remaining flour, first stirring with the spoon and then mixing with your hands. The dough will be fairly soft.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes.

Place the dough in a large buttered bowl and turn to coat with butter. Let rise, covered with a damp towel, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1-1/2 hours.

Punch the dough down and place on a lightly-floured surface. Cut into 20 pieces. Roll the dough into ropes on a work surface and shape on greased cookie sheets in any of the ways that follow below.

Cover the buns with a damp towel and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Just before baking, brush the buns with the egg-white wash.

Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature with plenty of butter.

SHAPES FOR SANTA LUCIA BUNS

Wagon Wheels: Roll two pieces of dough into 10-inch ropes, one-half inch wide. Place the two strips side by side on the cookie sheet. Pinch all but the ends together and coil each of the four ends as in the photo (right). Press a dark raisin in the center of each coil.

Santa Twists: Roll one slightly smaller piece of dough into an eight-inch rope, one-half inch wide. Coil the ends in the opposite direction, making an S that resembles the photo (left).

Santa Lucia Buns: Roll two pieces of dough into 10-inch ropes, one-half inch wide. Make an X with the ropes. Coil each end counterclockwise to resemble the diagram. Press a dark raisin in the center of each coil (center photo).

 

In Your Handwriting

We blog, text, and email our recipes to family and friends. But, there’s nothing like a hand-written recipe. Mom didn’t have a computer way back when. She used pretty little recipe cards with her unique and familiar cursive.

The Internet has made finding recipes easy and quick. But, take the time to write some of your family favorites down on paper for your kids…in your own handwriting. It’s all part of the memory.

I just made mom’s fudge from her well-worn recipe card.  She made it every year at Christmas. Her directions are vague and the jar sizes don’t exist anymore. But I get it as close as I can every Christmas season.

A Family Christmas Gift to Cherish: Scan a cherished, hand-written family recipe and print it on iron-on transfer paper for fabric. (Available from Michaels, Walmart and craft stores.) Follow the directions on the package to iron on your family recipe on an apron. Plain colored aprons can be purchased at Bed, Bath and Beyond and similar stores.

Mom’s Peanut Butter Fudge
From the kitchen of Lois Garneau

  • 1 box confectioner’s sugar (1 pound or 4 cups)
  • 3/4 stick margarine (no butter, seriously, use Parkay margarine)
  • 1/2 cup milk (any kind will do, I used skim)
  • 1 twelve-ounce jar of peanut butter (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 nine-ounce jar of marshmallow cream (closest I could find is 7.5 ounces)

DIRECTIONS

In saucepan, mix confectioner’s sugar, margarine and milk. Cook and stir for about 6-1/2 minutes until it boils. It should be at the candy soft ball stage.

Add peanut butter and marshmallow cream. Beat by hand, Pour into square pan. Cool and cut.