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Thread: ~*~*All Things Christmas*~*~

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Default ~*~*All Things Christmas*~*~

    Marshmallow Truffles

    Makes: about 40 truffles
    Prep: 1 hr.
    Chill: 1 hr.
    Freeze: 20 min.
    Stand: 15 min.

    1 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
    1/3 cup butter, softened
    1/4 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla*
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    3 cups powdered sugar
    Toasted whole almonds, toasted pecan halves, toasted macadamia nuts, toasted hazelnuts (filberts), quartered pitted dates, and/or dried cherries
    Powdered sugar
    8 ounces semisweet chocolate squares, chopped**
    1 tablespoon shortening
    Finely chopped toasted nuts, toasted coconut, or candy sprinkles
    White baking chocolate, melted

    1. Line a large baking sheet with waxed paper; butter the paper. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine marshmallow creme, butter, almond extract, and salt. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add the 3 cups powdered sugar, beating until well mixed. Cover and chill about 1 hour or until mixture is easy to handle.

    2. Lightly dust your hands with additional powdered sugar; shape marshmallow mixture into 1-inch balls, forming the mixture around a whole almond, pecan half, macadamia nut, hazelnut (filbert), date piece, or dried cherry (you may need more marshmallow mixture to completely cover the pecan halves and almonds). Place balls on prepared baking sheet. Cover lightly; freeze for 20 minutes.

    3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine semisweet chocolate and shortening. Heat and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.

    4. Line another large baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside. Remove balls, a few at a time, from the freezer; dip balls in chocolate and use a fork to lift balls out of chocolate, drawing the fork across the rim of the saucepan to remove excess chocolate. Place balls on waxed-paper-lined baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle tops with finely chopped nuts, toasted coconut, or candy sprinkles. Let stand at room temperature about 15 minutes or until completely set. If desired, drizzle truffles with melted white chocolate. Makes about 40 truffles.

    *Test Kitchen Tip: If you prefer, omit the almond extract or vanilla and add 1 tablespoon desired flavored liqueur (such as raspberry or orange) to the marshmallow mixture; increase the 3 cups powdered sugar to 3-1/4 cups.

    **Test Kitchen Tip: You may use 8 ounces vanilla-flavor candy coating instead of (or in addition to) the semisweet chocolate. If using both, in separate small saucepans, combine the candy coating or semisweet chocolate with the shortening; melt, dip, and decorate truffles as directed. (You will have leftover melted candy coating and chocolate, but use 8 ounces of each so you get enough depth to dip truffles.) If desired, drizzle white-coated truffles with melted semisweet chocolate.

    TO STORE:Layer truffles between pieces of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


    Icy Holiday Margaritas

    Start to Finish: 10 minutes

    1/2 cup frozen cranberry-raspberry juice concentrate, thawed
    1/2 cup tequila
    1/4 cup orange liqueur
    3 tablespoons melon liqueur
    5 cups ice cubes
    Light-colored corn syrup (optional)
    Multicolored coarse decorating sugar (optional)

    1. In a blender combine juice concentrate, tequila, orange liqueur, and melon liqueur. Cover and blend until combined.

    2. With blender running, add ice cubes, one at a time, through opening in lid, blending until slushy. If desired, dip rims of six glasses into corn syrup and then into decorating sugar placed in a shallow dish. Pour blended mixture into glasses. Makes 6 servings.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


    'Twas the Night Before Christmas
    (or A Visit from St. Nicholas)
    by Clement Clarke Moore

    'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
    not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
    The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
    in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

    The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
    while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
    And Mama in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
    had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap.

    When out on the roof there arose such a clatter,
    I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
    Away to the window I flew like a flash,
    tore open the shutter, and threw up the sash.

    The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
    gave the lustre of midday to objects below,
    when, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
    but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

    With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
    I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
    More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came,
    and he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

    "Now Dasher! Now Dancer!
    Now, Prancer and Vixen!
    On, Comet! On, Cupid!
    On, Donner and Blitzen!
    To the top of the porch!
    To the top of the wall!
    Now dash away! Dash away!
    Dash away all!"

    As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
    when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky
    so up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
    with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

    And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
    the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
    As I drew in my head and was turning around,
    down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

    He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
    and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
    A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
    and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

    His eyes--how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
    His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
    His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
    and the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.
    The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
    and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
    He had a broad face and a little round belly,
    that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

    He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
    and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
    A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
    soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

    He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
    and filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
    And laying his finger aside of his nose,
    and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

    He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
    And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
    But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,

    "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


    A Brief Note about the Author and the Poem

    Clement Clarke Moore's famous poem, which he named "A Visit From St. Nicholas," was published for the first time on December 23, 1823 by a New York newspaper, the Sentinel. Since then, the poem has been reprinted, translated into innumerable languages and circulated throughout the world.

    Clement Clarke Moore was born in 1779 to a well-known New York family. His father, Reverend Benjamin Moore, was president of (what is now) Columbia University and was the Episcopal Bishop of New York. Moore's father also participated in George Washington's first inauguration and gave last rites to Alexander Hamilton after Hamilton was mortally wounded in an 1804 duel with Aaron Burr. Moore himself was an author, a noted Hebrew scholar, spoke five languages, and was an early real-estate owner and developer in Manhattan.

    Despite his accomplishments, Clement Clarke Moore is remembered only for "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," which legend says he wrote on Christmas Eve in 1822 during a sleigh ride home from Greenwich Village after buying a turkey for his family. Some say the inspiration for Moore's pot-bellied St. Nicholas was the chubby, bewhiskered Dutchman who drove Moore to Greenwich Village to buy his holiday turkey. Moore never copyrighted his poem, and only claimed as his own over a decade after it was first made public.

    Moore read the poem to his wife and six children the night he wrote it, and supposedly thought no more about it. But a family friend heard about it and submitted the poem to the Sentinel, a newspaper in upstate New York, which published it anonymously the following Christmas. Moore's poem immediately caught the attention and imagination of the state, then the nation, and then the world. Finally, in 1844, he included it in a book of his poetry. Moore died in 1863 and is buried in Trinity Cemetery in Washington Heights, New York.

    Because of his "mere trifle," as he called it, 175 years ago Clement Clarke Moore almost single-handedly defined our now timeless image of Santa Claus.

    Note: Some scholars now believe the poem was actually written by Major Henry Livingston, Jr. Whatever the authorship controversy ultimately determines, this work has become a Christmas favorite. "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."

    Note: What is a "courser?" A swift horse; a charger.

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