Easy-to-make cookies and quick liqueurs for last-minute gifts

Christmas countdown

December 19, 1990|By Sherrie Clinton | Sherrie Clinton,Evening Sun Staff

Avoid the last minute Christmas-shopping panic and whip up some of these easy gifts.

Here's the ultimate fast and easy gift. Buy good quality shortbread or other plain cookies, an eight-ounce package of chocolate morsels and about two cups finely chopped nuts.

Melt chocolate, a little at a time, in the microwave or in a double boiler. Dip one edge of the cookies in the chocolate and then in the chopped nuts. Let sit on wax paper until hardened. Store at room temperature until hardened.

These quick and easy liqueurs are deliciously simple. Don't forget to buy containers to hold the liqueurs.

The liqueur recipes are from "Homemade Cream Liqueurs" by Dona and Mel Meilach, $7.95, Contemporary Books Inc. 1986. The liqueurs are ready for drinking immediately and they will last about a month. Store in the refrigerator.

Mocha Coconut Rum Liqueur

1 cup very strong coffee, cooled

1 1/4 cups rum

1/4 cup vodka

1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

1/4 cup cream of coconut

Blend coffee, rum and vodka in blender. Add milk and cream of coconut and blend until smooth.

Makes about 3 1/2 cups.

Banana Cream Liqueur

2 ripe bananas, mashed, about 1 cup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups whiskey

1/2 cup vodka

1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup 2-percent or non-fat milk

Blend bananas with vanilla, whiskey and vodka in blender. Add milks and pulse stir at low speed for one minutes, use the lowest speed on blender and turn on-off eight times or until smooth. Makes about four cups.

Chocolate Mint Cream Liqueur

1 cup mint liqueur such as creme de menthe

1 1/2 cups blended whiskey

2 teaspoons chocolate extract

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 cup evaporated milk

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend one to two $H minutes. Makes about four cups.

Berry Cream Liqueur

1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed and drained

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup blackberry-flavored brandy

1/2 cup vodka

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup half and half

Puree berries in blender; then blend with vanilla, brandy and vodka. Add remaining ingredients and blend at low speed for one minute. Makes about four cups.

Old Fashioned Hot Fudge Sauce

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Pinch of salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 tablespoons butter

In top of a double boiler, combine the chocolate, milk, sugar and salt and cook over simmering, not boiling water, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove the sauce from the heat and beat in the vanilla and butter. Serve hot or cold.

Makes about two cups; will last about one week in the refrigerator.

-- "The Complete book of Sauces" by Sallie Y. Williams; MacMillian Publishing Co. - 1990, $19.95

Microwave Peanut Butter Fudge

1 pound real milk chocolate

1 cup peanut butter

Place chocolate in glass bowl. Microwave on full power one minute, stir and cook an additional 30 seconds. Stir until completely melted. Add peanut butter; blend well. Pour into foil-lined seven-inch square pan. When cool, cut into squares.

Makes about 36 pieces. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

-- "Candy and Candy Molding Cookbook" by Mildred Brand, Ideals Publishing Corp.

Raisin Clusters

1 1/2 cups finely chopped milk chocolate pieces

1 cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate pieces

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup marshmallow creme

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup nuts

Melt chocolates together in double boiler over hot water or in microwave. Add condensed milk, marshmallow creme and vanilla; beat until smooth. Stir in raisins and nuts. Drop by spoonfuls in clusters on waxed paper. Let harden at room temperature. When set, store in covered container. Makes about 20 pieces.

-- "Candy and Candy Molding Cookbook"

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