Holiday Entertaining Made Easy

Phyllis Schurz

With both Hanukkah and Christmas in December, it becomes a month for entertaining. It is one of those months when we do a lot of entertaining. So, it’s wise to have a few good treats on hand.

Maybe it’s just a Midwestern thing, but I always associate caramel corn with Christmas. I like this recipe for several reasons. It’s tasty, fun to do with young guests (grandkids), and cleanup is easy.

Caramel Corn in Paper Bag

6-7 quarts of popped popcorn

1 cup brown sugar

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

1/4 cup white corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon soda

In a microwave-safe container blend sugar, butter, syrup, and salt together.

Microwave for 2 minutes, add the soda, and stir together. Put the popped popcorn in a brown paper grocery bag. Pour the sugar mixture over the popcorn and shake well. The grandkids love to shake the bag. Put the bag back in the microwave and heat for 1-1/2 minutes. Remove from the oven and shake again and microwave for another 1-1/2 minute. Repeat one more time. Empty bag of popcorn into a large bowl and throw away the bag. No clean-up.

This recipe for Almond Roca Candy tastes very similar to the candy at the supermarket at a fraction of the price.

Almond Roca Candy

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon white corn syrup

3/4 cup almonds, slivered

Melt the butter and add sugar, blend. Add the water and white corn syrup and cook to 290 degrees (soft crack). Stir and pour out onto a cookie sheet that has been greased lightly. When buttered mixture has cooled slightly, coat with melted semisweet chocolate and sprinkle with nuts. When cool, break into pieces.

It just would not be a Christmas party at our house without Cranberry Daiquiris served in a decorative glass. A great make-ahead drink. If you as the hostess/cook are busy, this drink can be easily served by anyone, even a guest.

Cranberry Daiquiris

1 can (12 oz.) frozen condensed lemonade

1 pint cranberry juice cocktail

2 cans of 7 Up

12 ounces of rum, or more if you wish

Mix all in a plastic container suitable for freezing. After you have put the 12 ounces of lemonade in the freezer container, fill the 12-oz. lemonade can full of rum and add to the lemonade. Add the cranberry cocktail and 7 Up to the container and mix well. Freeze this for at least 24 hours before serving. When serving, put the frozen mixture in a glass and allow it to thaw very slightly before serving; a slushy consistency is best. The mixture will thaw as people drink.

Recipes from Food Is Love, written by Phyllis Schurz.