Food & Drink

Recipes to help make the season bright

The holiday season is in full swing, and readers’ requests and shared recipes prove it.

Each year, it seems that readers need old-favorite recipes that they have misplaced or a request for a dish that they have eaten at a party or restaurant. Other readers eagerly share their family favorites.

Today, retired Lt. Col. Robert M. Petersen offers two cinnamon cakes for S.J. Houser of Florida to try. Houser requested a recipe that had appeared in the Bradenton Herald several years ago. Peter- sen thought maybe one of these recipes would be the answer. If any Florida readers clipped this recipe, please send it to me.

Brenda Plaisance of St. Martin found some old holiday recipes that she thought readers would enjoy: divinity, icebox fruitcake and walnut bread.

Karen Varnado shares her sweet potato muffins recipe that she needs readers’ help in finding the canned mashed sweet potatoes. Readers, have you located her request for help?

Don’t forget to send in those holiday party recipes. To get you started thinking about those recipes, I offer one that I did for a party last weekend, cheese-pecan biscuits. I had enjoyed a similar biscuit at a morning meeting and decided to tweak it a bit. Several friends wouldn’t let me leave the party without sharing the recipe, so I guess the biscuits were a hit.


1-1/2 cups all purpose flour

2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup milk

Cinnamon Crumb Topping:

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon


Coconut Nut Topping:

2/3 cups brown sugar, packed

1 cup flaked coconut

1/3 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients for cake. Beat together egg, oil and milk and then add to dry ingredients.

Brush square or circular pan with butter. Dust pan with flour and tap out any excess. Fill pan with cake batter and level off top with spatula.

If using Cinnamon Crumb Topping, spread over top of cake and bake.

If using Coconut Nut Topping, combine ingredients after cake is baked and spread over cake while still warm. Broil on low (just under top burner in oven) until lightly golden. Watch carefully so as not to burn.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

-- Submitted by Retired Lt. Col. Robert Petersen


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup shortening

11/3 cups white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 eggs

2/3 cups milk

1/2 cup white sugar

6 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup water

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour 10-inch Bundt pan. Stir together flour, baking powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and salt; set aside.

In large bowl, beat shortening, 1-1/3 cups white sugar and 1-11/2 teaspoons vanilla until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, beating for at least 1 minute after each egg.

Beat in flour mixture alternately with milk, Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto wire rack.

Remove cake from pan while it is still warm and poke holes around top of cake with fork.

Pour warm cinnamon syrup into holes and onto top and sides of cake.

To make cinnamon syrup: In sauce pan, combine 1/2 cup white sugar, butter, water, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Heat and stir until butter melts.

-- Submitted by Retired Lt. Col. Robert Petersen


1-15-ounce can mashed sweet potatoes

1-1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2/3 teaspoon cinnamon

2 large eggs

3/4 cup oil

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Cream sweet potatoes, flour, sugar and cinnamon. Add eggs, oil, then raisins and nuts. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

-- Submitted by Karen Varnado


2 cups sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup water

1 egg white, stiffly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chopped nuts

Combine sugar, syrup and water. Bring to a boil at 240 degrees. (Be sure not to let candy thermometer touch bottom of sauce pan.) Pour mix over egg whites. Beat with mixer until mixture loses its gloss. Add vanilla and nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls on buttered cookie sheets.

-- Submitted by Brenda Plaisance


1 cup raisins

1 box graham crackers, crushed

1 can coconut

1 quart pecans

1 pound candied cherries

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 can evaporated milk

Mix all ingredients. Pack well into a buttered 2-quart dish. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Better if let set in refrigerator for a week or so before cutting.

-- Submitted by Brenda Plaisance


3 cups flour

1 cup sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup shortening

1-1/2 cups walnuts

1 egg, beaten

1-1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift dry ingredients. Cut in shortening. Stir in 11/4 cups nuts. Add eggs, milk and vanilla Mix until blended. Turn into greased and floured 9-by-5- inch pan. Sprinkle nuts over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes.

-- Submitted by Brenda Plaisance


2 sticks butter, no substitutes

2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 to 1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper, depending on taste

2 cups flour

1 cup ground pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter; add cheese, then salt, Cayenne and flour.

Roll into small balls and place on a cooking sheet and bake for 15-19 minutes, depending on how oven cooks.

Note: These do spread a little, not much though.


“I found this corn casserole on a website I receive weekly and decided to try it for

Thanksgiving. It was very simple to make, quite tasty and was a big hit with everyone,” said Pamela Merritt. “I’m sure by using a little imagination and the right spices Glenda Cuevas would be quite happy with this recipe.”


1 can whole kernel corn with liquid

1 can creamed corn

1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix (must use Jiffy)

2 eggs

8 ounces sour cream

2 tablespoons sugar

8 ounces shredded mild or sharp Cheddar cheese

It is very important to add things in order according to directions and mix each time as directed, otherwise it will effect the end result.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and add sugar. Beat well. Add sour cream and beat well. Add both cans of corn and stir well. Add Jiffy mix and about 6 ounces of the cheese. Mix well and pour into a 9-by-13-inch casserole that has been sprayed well with nonstick spray. Top with remaining cheese and bake for

45 minutes.

-- Submitted by Pamela Merritt


“I have been looking for a recipe for Hungarian goulash,” said Helen Moroz of Holmes Beach. “I am sure you would come through with a good one. I went online and found one, but it doesn’t seem very authentic. Please help.”

Readers, I know some of you have great recipes for Hungarian goulash. Please check those recipe files and mail or e-mail me the recipes.


“Please ask your readers to help me with stewed apples and stewed pears. My mum back in Aussie would make these for us many a time for dessert,” said Lynette Faul. “Any help will be more than appreciated.”


“I would like to know where to get sugar-free chocolate chips that are included in your recent sugar-free recipes,” said Donna Walters. “Keep up the good work of printing reduced or sugar-free recipes.”

Readers, let me know which supermarkets are carrying the sugar-free chocolate chips. I know they are available to order, and I’ll share those sources next week. If you see them in local stores, please let me know.

Andrea Yeager, a freelance writer, can be reached at Send contributions or requests to Cook’s Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567. If requesting a recipe, include the name or describe it.