• 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups flour, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix together all ingredients thorough salt thougherly. Chill dough. Roll into balls the size of a small walnut.  Roll in mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Place about 2 inches apart on baking sheet.  Bake until light brown at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, but still soft.  These cookies will puff up at first, then flatten out with a crinkled top

Pecan Pralines

This may very well be the quintessential Southern candy and a personal favorite.

3 cups brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 stick unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sorghum molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 cups toasted pecan halves

Add the brown sugar, cream, butter, and sorghum in a medium pot over medium heat and bring it up to 236 degrees stirring constantly (this is very important keep stirring with a wooden spoon until it comes up to temperature).

When the temperature has been reached, remove the pot from the heat and let the mixture cool to 150 degrees and then stir in the vanilla, sesame seeds, and pecans. Spoon onto wax paper in tablespoon-size or a bit larger mounds and allow to cool.

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days, not that they’ll last that long.

Simple Saltine Toffee

An oldie but a goodie.

About 50 saltine crackers
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a 12-by-18-inch rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil or parchment paper.

Lay the crackers out in one layer as close together as possible, filling the baking sheet.

Melt the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. When the butter is melted, raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, and keep at a boil for about 3 minutes, stirring. When the 3 minutes are up, give it a good stir and pour evenly over the crackers on the baking sheet.

Spread the caramel around with a spatula if needed, but don’t worry if the surface isn’t covered completely, you just don’t want it pooling in one place. Bake the crackers for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top in an even layer. Let sit for 5 minutes, then use a spatula to spread the chocolate in an even layer over the crackers.

Sprinkle the pecans and the sea salt evenly over the top of the toffee. Leave to cool, then place in the refrigerator for about an hour for the chocolate to set. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Gingerbread Cookies

1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup melted butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup molasses
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon lemon extract
4 cups unbleached flour

Combine the sugar, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Mix well. Add the melted butter, evaporated milk and molasses. Add the extracts. Mix well. Add the flour 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly.

Knead the dough for a smoother texture. Add up to ½ cup additional flour if necessary to prevent sticking. When the dough is smooth, roll it out ¼ inch thick on a floured surface and cut it into cookies.

Bake on floured or greased cookie sheets in a preheated 375 degrees oven for 10 to 12 minutes. The gingerbread cookies are done when they spring back when touched.

Bourbon Balls

  • 2 cups vanilla wafers crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup bourbon

Mix well vanilla wafer crumbs, cocoa, 1 cup of confectioners sugar and pecans.  Add corn syrup and bourbon, mix well.  Shape into 1-inch balls and roll in confectioners sugar.  Wait at least 12 hours before serving,

Rum Balls Alternative: substitute 1/2 cup rum for bourbon.

Brandy Balls Alternative: substitute 1/2 cup brandy for bourbon.

Chocolate Balls

1 cup butter

2 pounds powdered sugar

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 pound chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 large package of chocolate chips

1/4 bar of paraffin

mix above ingredients through vanilla until creamy. Chill.  Roll into balls.  Return to refrigerator to keep cold.  Melt chocolate chips and paraffin.  Using toothpicks dip each ball into chocolate to coat.

Date Nut Bars

1 pound of dates

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 eggs

1 teaspoon hot water

powdered sugar

Beat eggs and add brown sugar, butter and flour.  Mix nuts with a little flour and add to butter.  Add baking soda and hot water last.  Cook in an 8×8 pan for about 20 minutes in a moderate (350 degrees) oven.  Test before taking out with a knife in the enter which should be fairly clean, but don’t cook too long.  Allow to cool and toss in powdered sugar.