Now that Thanksgiving is over, everyone is busy decorating and getting ready for Christmas.

Please take time and look around in your neighborhood or community and find that lonely older neighbor that could use a visit during the holidays with homemade cookies or other treats. We tend to remember all the kids in our area but it seems we leave out many of our senior citizens who don’t get out much or who don’t have families to visit. Take time to spread a little cheer with them.

Home baked goodies can cheer them up and the visit will also lift your spirits to the real meaning of Christmas. My favorite thing at Christmas is sharing home baked treats with others.

To get you started in the right direction, I thought I’d share a few of my Christmas treats I enjoy making and sharing with others. I’ll be sharing lots more in the coming weeks. Most are rather simple to make. A little trick I have learned from some wise cooks: never throw away a cake that fell apart after sticking to the pan. If you pick up the pieces, add them to a bowl, add cream cheese and mix well. You can roll these into balls and dip in chocolate and you have truffles. Rather simple.

When I mention the word teacakes, most have no idea what I’m talking about. I grew up eating my grandmother’s old-fashion teacakes. A newer version of these are sugar cookies. You can cut them and decorate them but old fashion tea cakes where good without the extra icing and sugar. And my grandmother made too many to cut them. Hers were round shape in different sizes.

Old-Fashion Tea Cakes

Ingredients

3 cups self rising flour

1 cup shortening (butter)

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 tsp vanilla

Directions

Sift dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Add shortening and mix with a fork. Add unbeaten eggs and vanilla. Mix thoroughly using your fork. (No electric mixer). Use a rolling pin or glass coated in flour to roll out thin. Use a biscuit cutter and cut in circles. (if you want to make designers you could use cookie cutters). Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. Edges will start to turn brown. These cookies should be crunchy not soft.

The one thing I think I, ask to make the most at Christmas by my son and my grandsons is Oreo balls. This is another rather simple recipe. Kids can help you make these.

Oreo balls

Ingredients

1pkg Oreo cookies

1 block cream cheese, softened

1 pkg chocolate bark or Bakers milk chocolate chips (gulf wax 1/3 cup)

Directions

Place Oreos in food processor and crush so that results look like a bowl of dirt. Pour into a bowl and add softened cream cheese. Mix thoroughly. Form into balls. Place on wax paper lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer for a few minutes until firm.

Melt chocolate in microwave at 50 percent power for 4 minutes. If using chips, you will also need 1/3 cup of shredded gulf wax melted added to chips. (I prefer doing chips and wax the old fashion way of dipping with chocolate). Dip balls in chocolate and place on wax paper to dry.

Another fun recipe I enjoyed making with my grandmother and I’ve heard Mrs. Lois Wall say she has made many of these for her grandchildren. They are easy to make and kids love them.

Peanut Butter Chewies

Ingredients

1 cup sugar

1 cup white corn syrup (Karo)

1 cup peanut butter

8 cups cornflakes

Directions

Bring sugar and corn syrup to a rolling boil. Stir in peanut butter. Pour mixture over 8 cups corn flakes. Stir to coat well. Pour out on waxed paper to cool. Break into pieces when cooled. Store in airtight container.

A recipe I was given by my late husband’s aunt was always one of his favorites and now my sons. It’s also very simple to make.

In fact, if it’s complicated I’m probably not the one to ask to make it. I like simple things so I can make more to share with others.

Aunt Clarsie’s Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

1 stick margarine

2 cups sugar

3 cups old fashion oats

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla

4 tbsp cocoa

1/4 cup flour

Directions

Mix and stir over heat med heat all ingredients except oats, peanut butter and vanilla until comes to boil. Cook 2 mins. Remove from heat. Add 3 cups oats (uncooked), 1/2 cup peanut butter and 1 tsp vanilla.

Drop by spoonful on wax paper. Allow to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Coming soon will be an extended column with lots of recipes for Christmas treats. If you have a favorite one to share, please email it to me this week to have it included.

Joyce Jacks is a native of Barrow County and a graduate of Winder-Barrow High School, Athens Technical College, and the University of Georgia. She can be reached at georgiagirl2424@yahoo.com.

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