Readers share holiday recipes

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 7D

Maybe you have a favorite holiday recipe that's been passed down for generations. Or maybe you have a new healthier option for the holidays.

You probably have a story, too, about what makes the recipe special to you or your family. We invite you to sample and share recipes and stories at www.sacbee. com/readerrecipes, and help build a "cookbook" of Sacramento Bee favorites. Here are a few that made our mouths water and our hearts sing:


Grandma Zehme's date nut bread

Serves 8

Submitted by Paula Clement, Gold River.

Why this recipe is special:

My husband's mother, Dorothy, was an Air Force wife during the '50s and '60s. Every time (they) got orders they moved: Texas, New York, California, France, Germany and England. Dorothy's mother, Grandma Zehme, always sent, as a Christmas gift, this date nut bread to whatever far-flung location her daughter lived. And Dorothy always enjoyed this taste of home.

Grandma Zehme has been gone many years, as has Dorothy's husband, Edwin. But my husband, David, and I have baked this for Dorothy for the past 30 years. She knows to look for it Christmas morning and she's delighted to open its foil-wrapped package.

INGREDIENTS

2/3 cup boiling water

1/4 cup softened butter

1/2 pound chopped dates

2/3 cup sugar

1 lightly beaten egg

1 cup chopped nuts

1 3/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour boiling water over softened butter, dates and sugar. Let cool. Add the beaten egg and nuts and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and add until mixed.

Grease two cans about 4 1/2 inches tall by 3 1/2 inches wide. Line the bottom and sides of cans with wax paper. Fill mixture about 2/3 full into can. Press down with spoon. Cover cans with greased baking sheet and weigh down.

Bake in oven 40-50 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before removing from can.


Swedish butter cookies

Serves 30

Submitted by Beverly Riddle of Nevada City.

Why this recipe is special:

I cut this recipe out of The Sacramento Bee in the late 1950s when we lived in Grass Valley. I have made these cookies every year since that Christmas. We are now in the third generation, as my granddaughter in Truckee also makes them. They look like Christmas.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 pound butter or margarine (1 cup)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg white, beaten

1/2 cup chopped nuts

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter and add the sugar. Add the egg yolk, cream and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour, which has been sifted with the baking powder.

Form the dough into small balls and dip in egg white and chopped nuts. Make a small indentation in the center of the balls of dough after placing them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Fill the indentation with jelly or a red or green candied cherry cut in half. Bake for 20 minutes.


'Potato' candy

Makes 24 pieces

Submitted by Britta Tigan, Nevada City.

Why this recipe is special:

Our dad, Bob Tigan, started making his "podado" candy right after Thanksgiving so he'd have enough for the holidays. Some years he made 10 or 12 batches.

Most of the grandkids have learned how to make it with him. All the kids loved the candy and they loved making it with Dad.

What a learning experience it was for them! They learned patience because they had to wait up to an hour while it cooled. They learned teamwork because you have to trade off the beating part when your arms get tired. They learned to work fast because when it's ready to shape, you've only got a few minutes to work. They learned about success and failure because when it flops, it's not the end of the world – they could eat the sticky goo with a spoon or dig the hardened mess out of the pan with a knife.

And they learned that even the most successful batch had to be shared and only lasted a brief time. Happy times.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup Pet Milk (must be Pet evaporated, not sweetened condensed)

1 tablespoon butter

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cinnamon, for rolling

Nuts, in small pieces, for "eyes"

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix sugar, milk, butter, cream of tartar and salt in a sauce pan. Cook to boiling, stirring constantly. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, to 234 degrees on candy thermometer.

Remove from heat, cool at room temperature, without stirring, until lukewarm. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat until creamy and quite stiff. Then shape with fingers into small pieces to resemble potatoes. Roll in cinnamon. Insert small pieces of nuts to look like the eyes of potatoes.

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