Rhubarb recipe ‘takes the cake’

Last Monday evening a group of us who work for the diocese went to see the documentary “Pope Francis: A Man of His Word.” It truly is an inspiring film with a number of powerful and thought-provoking messages. If it is playing in your area, I highly recommend going to see it.

At dinner before the movie, the conversation turned to recipes and rhubarb. Alice Coudron, a consultant for planned giving and major gifts in the Catholic Foundation, mentioned this rhubarb cake recipe and several of us who are familiar with it raved about how scrumptious it is! Alice generously volunteered to get up early the next morning to bake one for colleagues working in the Pastoral Center

She did not disappoint. The next morning, the warm, enticing treat was waiting for us on the kitchen counter in the staff lounge. One co-worker called it “awesome.” I agree.

Alice’s Awesome Rhubarb Cake
Alice Coudron

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1/3 to 1/2 cup oil*
3 eggs*
1 cup water*

5 cups raw rhubarb, finely chopped
1 to 1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream

Additional whipping cream, whipped, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix cake (using oil, eggs and water) following the directions on the box. (*Various brands of cake mix may call for different amounts of oil, eggs and water.)

Pour the cake batter into an ungreased 13x9x2-inch pan. Toss diced rhubarb evenly over cake batter. Sprinkle sugar over rhubarb and then pour cream over sugar.

Bake cake at 350°F for 45 to 50 minutes. (Test for doneness by inserting toothpick into center of cake — it should come out clean with no streaks of batter.)

Serve topped with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

Yield: 15 servings

A note from Alice:
This is such a simple recipe. It takes less than five minutes to make once the rhubarb is cut up. My family likes it best when it is served warm from the oven. Serving it with canned whipped cream or whipped topping is easier and quicker than whipping the cream. (Refrigerate the uneaten portion.)

A note from Carol:
Alice is well known in our building as an excellent cook and baker. She frequently brings treats to share. While discussing the cake recipe, she told me that this year her graduating class, from the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, celebrates its 50th reunion. She double majored in math and home economics. After graduation, she taught microwave classes for Litton throughout the Twin Cities. Microwave ovens had just began appearing on the market for home cooks at that time. Her demonstrations included prime rib roast, shake and bake chicken, stuffed green peppers, a head of cauliflower with cheese sauce, corn on the cob in the husk and a broccoli, cauliflower, carrot combination with Hollandaise sauce.

Carol Jessen-Klixbull is a copy editor at The Visitor. She is a former Family and Consumer Science teacher who has a passion for all things “food.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cocoa Party Cake stirs sweet memories

 

Last week my colleague Dianne Towalski, graphic designer and multimedia reporter at The Visitor, reminisced about the chocolate cake that her mother, Vicky Williams, always baked for her birthday. Vicky shares that special recipe with our readers in honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday and recalls fond memories of her own dear mom.

“This chocolate cake recipe is from a small cookbook that came with a can of Hershey’s Cocoa decades ago,” Vicky said. “I don’t remember when I made it for the first time — it was so long ago. We are all chocolate fans, so my kids usually requested chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for birthdays.

Vicky Williams, right, poses with her mom Margie Arnold in 2010.

“I enjoy baking and like the way the house smells when there’s something in the oven. It smells like home to me,” she continued. “My mom, Margie Arnold, was a great cook and also loved to bake. On Saturdays, when we were growing up, my sister Sandy and I would make two kinds of cookies for the week, while our mom baked coffeecake and cinnamon rolls. Her cinnamon rolls are the standard by which I judge all cinnamon rolls. She also made a great peach cobbler.

“Mom passed away last year,” Vicky said. “She was a lovely woman and we all still miss her so much.”

Happy Mother’s Day to Dianne, Vicky and all mothers everywhere!

Cocoa Party Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Submitted by Vicky Williams

Cake
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups buttermilk or sour milk*

Frosting
1/3 cup cocoa
1/3 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1-2 tbsp. milk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 13x9x2-inch pan or three round 8-inch layer pans.

Cream butter and sugar in large mixer bowl. Add eggs and vanilla; blend well. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add alternately with buttermilk to the creamed mixture.

Pour into greased and floured pan/s. Bake at 350°F for 55 to 60 minutes for a rectangular cake (or 30 to 35 minutes for layers) or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Frost when cake is cool. (If making a layer cake, cool in pans for 10 minutes then remove cake from pans to cool completely.)

For the frosting: Mix the cocoa and butter together, add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Add the milk, a little at a time, until it’s the right consistency.

*To sour milk: Use 2 tbsp. vinegar plus milk to equal 2 cups.

A note from Vicky
I always use butter when baking this cake — it just tastes better. (If you’re going to indulge, you might as well do it right.) I always use all-purpose flour even though the original recipe called for unsifted cake flour. I’ve soured the milk occasionally, but I usually buy buttermilk. It’s good either way. I believe in doing things the easy way, so I usually bake it in a 9×13-inch pan. (Of course, it looks more spectacular as a three-layer cake, so if you want to impress people, that’s the way to go.)

Carol Jessen-Klixbull is a copy editor at The Visitor. She is a former Family and Consumer Science teacher who has a passion for all things “food.”

Capirotada de vigilia features symbolic ingredients of Christ’s Passion

Mayuli Bales, diocesan director of Multicultural Ministries

“The smell of capirotada bubbling in the oven was the smell of home,” Mayuli Bales, diocesan director of multicultural ministries, fondly reminisced about the traditional Mexican bread pudding served during Lent. “My grandmother used to make it for the Lenten period and served it on Good Friday. My mother would bake it ahead of time and it was our family custom to eat it on Fridays before Holy Week.”

There are thousands of variations for capirotada, which begins with toasted bread, soaked in a warm, mulled syrup, then layered with fruits and nuts and finally topped with cheese. Some recipes include a layer of meat and others are made with milk. Cuisines differ between the northern and southern regions of Mexico.

The ingredients in this dish symbolize elements during the Passion of Christ: the bread as the Body of Christ, syrup as Christ’s blood, cloves are the nails and cinnamon sticks are the wood of the cross. The melted cheese stands for the Holy Shroud.

Mayuli grew up in Oaxaca, Mexico, which is close to 300 miles southwest of Mexico City. Her family’s recipe for capirotada has been handed down only through oral tradition but she has recorded now it for her children and future generations.

Capirotada de vigilia
Mayuli Bales

6 “bolillo” or 2 stale French bread loaves
2 quarts water
2 cups “piloncillo” (3-4 pieces)
1/2 cup raisins
4 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 anise stars
6 cloves
6 green “tomatillos,” diced
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts
2 cups shredded Manchego or Ranchero cheese (or a blend of both)

Slice the bread and fry it in oil or broil it — turning as needed, until nicely brown and crisp. Remove from frying pan or broiler and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prepare the syrup in a medium saucepan by boiling the water and adding the piloncillo, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, anise stars, cloves, tomatillos and onions. Simmer mixture for 5 to 10 minutes until it is slightly thickened and becomes syrup. Pour the mixture through a strainer and discard the solids except raisins. Keep the syrup warm.

Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or a large casserole dish. Place one third of the bread pieces in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle it with some of the cooked raisins, peanuts, almonds and cheese. Drizzle some of the syrup over this layer, letting it soak into the bread. Continue layering bread, raisins, peanuts, almonds, cheese and a little syrup and finish with a layer of cheese. Pour the rest of the syrup over the whole dish. Bake 30 minutes at 350°F.

Serve capirotada warm or chilled.

Yield: 12 servings

Notes from Mayuli:

  • A bolillo is a variation of a baguette traditionally made in Mexico.
  • Piloncillo cones are unrefined pure cane sugar with no additives. (Don’t mistake it for brown sugar.)
  • Tomatillos are also known as the Mexican husk tomato. They are purplish or yellow when ripe but are most often used when green. Green tomatoes can be substituted for this dish if tomatillos cannot be found.
  • Manchego cheese is made from sheep’s milk. It is from the La Mancha region of Spain. Ranchero is an artisan cheese with a dry, crumbly texture similar to Parmesan cheese. It has a mild, buttery flavor. (Monterrey Jack or white cheddar will work in this recipe, too.)

Notes from Carol:

Mayuli’s maternal grandmother was Guadalupe Ruiz. She was from Oaxaca, Mexico. Her mother, who lives in Mexico, is Esther Infante.

Carol Jessen-Klixbull is a copy editor at The Visitor. She is a former Family and Consumer Science teacher who has a passion for all things “food.”

Cream cheese makes egg burritos ‘egg-stra’ special

A couple of weeks ago I enjoyed sharing three salmon recipes that I had published in “Food, Faith and Fellowship,” a blog I authored for The Visitor from 2010 to 2012.

Eggs are another good choice for a meatless meal during Lent or any other time. Consider preparing these egg burritos that I originally printed on March 28, 2012 — they are a delicious, healthy and inexpensive alternative to fish or meat.

Egg Burritos
(Cheryl Orbeck)

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
2 tsp. oil
7 eggs
3 tbsp. cream cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
10 (8-inch) flour tortillas
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup salsa

In a nonstick skillet, sauté the mushrooms, onion and red pepper in the oil until tender. Remove and keep warm. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, egg substitute, cream cheese and salt and pepper. Pour into the same skillet, cook and stir over medium heat until the eggs are completely set. Stir in the sautéed vegetables. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the mixture onto the center of each tortilla; top with cheese and salsa. Fold the ends and sides over the filling. Serve immediately.

Yield: 10 burritos

A note from Cheryl: Sometimes I lay all the ingredients out and let everyone make their own burritos using the combinations they prefer.

A note from Carol: Cheryl discovered the original recipe, which called for 3 eggs and 1 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute, about five years ago in a “Taste of Home” magazine. She submitted it for the “Fruit of the Spirit” cookbook, published by St. Donatus Parish in Brooten, where she and her family were members when she grew up. To order the cookbook, contact the St. Donatus Parish office at stdonatus@tds.net or 320-346-2431. They are on sale for $15 each. (Shipping and handling is $5 for one book or $7 for two.)

Carol Jessen-Klixbull is a copy editor at The Visitor. She is a former Family and Consumer Science teacher who has a passion for all things “food.”

Maple salmon is sophisticated and elegant

This is the third and final in a series.

Meandering through memory lane earlier this month inspired me to bring back three salmon recipes from “Food, Faith and Fellowship,” a food blog I wrote for The Visitor from August 2010 to December 2012.

This Maple Salmon recipe is a favorite that I shared with my readers on March 22, 2012. The others are Honey-Orange Marinated Salmon and Pecan Crusted Salmon.

Maple Salmon
(Sheila Ballweg-Pulju)

1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp. soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 lb. salmon

In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic powder and pepper.

Spray a shallow baking dish with no-stick spray. Place the salmon in the dish and coat with the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish and marinate the salmon in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, turning once.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake the salmon for 15 to 20 minutes, or until it easily flakes with a fork.

Yield: 4 servings

A note from Sheila: This easy recipe been a family dinner favorite since the day I discovered it. I’ve served the salmon the next day as an appetizer, on crackers and in salads but it’s so good that we rarely have any left over. 

A note from Carol: I wanted to prepare this special recipe for dinner recently but found that there was no time to marinate the fish. So, I prepared the marinade and put it in a baking dish, placed the salmon (skin side down) in the marinade, poured several spoonfuls of it over the topside of the fish and set the dish in the preheated oven. When it was finished baking I again poured several spoonfuls of the marinade — which had reduced beautifully — over the salmon again. I served the fish and the rich-tasting marinade, which I then called a “sauce,” together and it was fabulous!

Enjoy!

Carol Jessen-Klixbull is a copy editor at The Visitor. She is a former Family and Consumer Science teacher who has a passion for all things “food.”

 

Pecan Crusted Salmon features flavor and finesse

This is the second in a series.

This Pecan Crusted Salmon is the second in a series of distinctive salmon recipes I’m sharing from “Food, Faith and Fellowship,” a blog I previously authored for The Visitor. It was originally posted on March 21, 2012.

Yesterday’s post from this tempting collection featured Honey-Orange Marinated Salmon.

Pecan Crusted Salmon
(Amy Klaphake)

4 (about 6 oz.) salmon fillets
2 cups milk
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. seasoned salt
2 tsp. pepper
3 tbsp. oil

Place salmon fillets in a large resealable plastic bag; add the milk. Seal the bag and turn to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes; drain.

Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, combine the pecans, flour, brown sugar, seasoned salt and pepper. Coat fillets with pecan mixture, gently pressing into the fish. In a large skillet, brown the salmon in oil over medium-high heat. Transfer to a 15x10x1-inch baking pan coated with no-stick cooking spray. Bake at 400°F for 8 to 10 minutes until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Yield: 4 servings

A note from Amy: I usually don’t soak the fish in as much milk or for as long as the recipe calls for. I put it upside down (skin side up) in a glass pan, pour in a little milk, let it soak for about 10 minutes and then pour it off.

I’ve found that the pecan crust mixture makes a lot so I usually freeze half of it and it’s ready to go when I want to make the recipe again.

The first time I made it I browned the fish as directed but since then I’ve skipped that step and put it straight into the oven after I’ve dipped it in the crust mixture. I’ve also put it in a greased aluminum pan and placed it on the grill. It’s turns out great that way as well.

A note from Carol: Amy and I compared notes after I tried this recipe so I did things a little differently. I, too, felt that there was an abundance of the pecan mixture and so I peeled the skin off and covered both sides of the fish with it. (Next time I likely would make half the amount of this crust mixture.)

I followed the recipe and browned the fish — on both sides — since there was crust mixture on both. I made it in an ovenproof skillet and then put that pan directly in the oven rather than using another baking dish.

Enjoy!

Carol Jessen-Klixbull is a copy editor at The Visitor. She is a former Family and Consumer Science teacher who has a passion for all things “food.”

Ginger adds spicy note to Honey-Orange Marinated Salmon

This is the first in a series of three.

The Visitor celebrated Catholic Press Month during February . To share in the fun, I searched “Food, Faith and Fellowship,” a food blog I wrote for The Visitor from August 2010 to December 2012 for a “Flashback Friday” recipe for the paper’s Facebook site.

Looking back through my blog entries was a delicious trek! I re-discovered a collection of salmon recipes that I posted in March 2012. They are so enticing I am eager to prepare them again soon and I’m excited to share this tasty series with our readers of “From The Heart.”

We’ll start with Honey-Orange Marinated Salmon that was posted on March 20, 2012. For the full story, click the link above.

Honey-Orange Marinated Salmon
(Sandy Durant)

1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup honey
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. sherry (or apple juice)
1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger root
1 (1 lb.) salmon fillet

In large resealable bag, combine the first seven ingredients. Add the salmon. Seal the bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least one hour, turning several times.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with foil. Coat the foil with no-stick cooking spray. Place salmon in prepared baking dish and discard the marinade. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 40 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Yield: 4 servings

A note from Sandy: We’ve had lots of compliments on this recipe, which can easily be adapted to suit your own tastes. Make it sweeter by adding more honey or sassier by upping the amount of orange juice and ginger root.

Enjoy!

Carol Jessen-Klixbull is a copy editor at The Visitor. She is a former Family and Consumer Science teacher who has a passion for all things “food.”

Rice Bowl recipes connect us with our global family

Janet Dusek, administrative assistant for the Office of Marriage and Family, and Sheila Reineke, Natural Family Planning program coordinator for the diocese, enjoyed the lunch — which included two Rice Bowl soups — at the retreat.

Yesterday diocesan employees gathered for our second all-staff retreat centered on StrengthsFinder, a program that we’ve been using to learn more about our own strengths and those of our co-workers and to assist all of us in exploring how we can best minister together as a team. Leisa Anslinger, a national leader in StrengthsFinder work, parish engagement and stewardship, led the retreat. We had a great day with team building activities, collaboration, self-reflection and prayer.

Iraqui lablabi (chickpea soup) and Haitian vegetable stew were on the menu at the February 21 Lenten retreat for diocesan employees.

Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl played an important role in our day, too. Two of this year’s meatless Rice Bowl recipes were featured at lunchtime — vegetable stew from Haiti and chickpea soup from Iraq. Both soups received good reviews from those who attended the retreat!

CRS Rice Bowl is a Lenten program sponsored by Catholic Relief Services that helps parishes, schools and families learn more about its work around the world and the people it serves. Participants are urged to put the money they save from eating simple, meatless meals into a symbolic “rice bowl” to be donated to CRS. Perhaps you have saved the Rice Bowl pullout section from our February 9 issue or have viewed the section online. This year’s theme is “Who is my neighbor? Called to be companions on the journey.”

Kateri Mancini, who has recently been named the new director of social concerns for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud, coordinated the preparation of the Rice Bowl dishes with staff of The Visitor. Kateri has worked as the coordinator of mission education at the St. Cloud Mission Office for the last 12 years. (The Mass collection taken at the event was earmarked for Rice Bowl.)

This year Rice Bowl offers recipes for cheese soup with fritters from Nicaragua, bean cakes from Burkina Faso and vegetables with rice from Malawi in addition to the Haitian stew and chickpea soup.

Perhaps you remember a Rice Bowl recipe you’ve enjoyed from past years or would like to explore other meatless options during Lent — or any other time. Recipes from 2013 to the present are featured on their website. One that I want to try soon is the bean soup with squash and rice from Honduras. It is a Rice Bowl favorite of our editor, Joe Towalski and his wife, Dianne, Visitor multimedia reporter and graphic designer.

Here’s the recipe for the Honduran bean soup with squash and rice. I hear it’s delicious!

 

Carol Jessen-Klixbull is a copy editor at The Visitor. She is a former Family and Consumer Science teacher who has a passion for all things “food.”

 

 

 

Candy cane coffee cakes create custom of giving

Janet Dusek (left) and her mom, Marilyn Muellner, pose with the well-worn “Betty Crocker’s Cookbook” from 1971.

Janet Dusek’s mother, Marilyn Muellner, has always had a knack for making the Christmas season special for her family. As long as Janet can remember, her mom lovingly decorated their home and tree with angels and other treasured ornaments, baked cookies of all kinds and one year sewed each of her children special stockings that they cherish to this day.

A holiday tradition that warms Janet Dusek’s heart is baking Candy Cane Coffee Cakes with her mother, and her sister, Jill Muellner. Marilyn has been creating the festive sweet breads since Janet was in elementary school.

Jill Muellner, Janet’s sister, kneads the dough for the coffee cakes.

“I really have fond memories of these coffee cakes,” Janet said. “They are rich and full of fruit — and also encourage the act of giving. The recipe makes three beautiful cakes. Our family tradition was (and still is) to keep one and give the other two away. Making these cakes is time-consuming as there are several steps in the process and the dough has to rise for about an hour. But, I love that as it allows us to spend more time together and we can use the time to drink coffee and catch up with each other.

“My assignment this year was to chop the sticky fruits,” Janet added. “Jill kneaded the dough and, after all these years, Mom is a master at braiding it.”

Candy Cane Coffee Cakes
Submitted by Janet Dusek

Coffee Cake:
2 cups sour cream
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115°F)
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
About 6 cups flour
1 1/2 cups finely chopped dried apricots
1 1/2 cups drained, finely chopped maraschino cherries

Extra soft butter or margarine

Thin Icing:
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp. water

Heat sour cream over low heat just until lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in sour cream, 1/4 cup butter, sugar, salt, eggs, and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in enough of remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.

Turn dough onto well-floured board; knead until smooth, about 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover; let rise in warm place until double, about 1 hour.

Heat oven to 375° F. Punch down dough; divide into 3 extra parts. Roll each part into 15×6-inch rectangle; place on greased baking sheet. With scissors, make 2-inch cuts at 1/2-inch intervals on long sides of rectangles.

Two of the braided candy cane cakes are ready for the oven.

Combine apricots and cherries; spread 1/3 of mixture down center of each rectangle. Crisscross strips over filling. Stretch dough to 22 inches. Curve to form cane. Bake the cakes at 375°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Create icing by blending confectioner’s sugar and water. If icing is too stiff, stir in a few drops of water.

While coffee cakes are warm, brush with butter and drizzle canes with the thin icing. If desired, decorate with cherry halves or pieces.

Yield: 3 coffee cakes

Notes from Janet: Mom always uses butter for this recipe. The original recipe is from the 1971 edition of “Betty Crocker’s Cookbook.”

A note from Carol: Janet Dusek is the administrative assistant for the diocesan Office of Marriage and Family. She and her husband, Rod, and their children, Katie and Andrew, are members of St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud. Marilyn is a member of St. Joseph Parish in Grey Eagle. (Katie took the pictures for this blog post.)

Carol Jessen-Klixbull is a copy editor at The Visitor. She is a former Family and Consumer Science teacher who has a passion for all things “food.”

Gingersnaps — time-honored cookies baked with spices and love

One of the first Christmas cookies, gingerbread has been around for centuries. The dough for this traditional, spiced treat is generally rolled out and cut into holiday-related shapes. Gingerbread men and dwellings — from simple cottages to elaborate castles — abound this time of year. Gingersnaps are a variation of this historic confection.

Today Mary Beth Hanson shares one of her family’s favorite Christmas cookie recipes — Dipped Gingersnap Cookies. She discovered the recipe in 1997 in a “Taste of Home” magazine and has been making them ever since. When she first started making these cookies for her then high-school-aged sons and their friends, she couldn’t keep enough on hand — the boys really liked them and were able to find these classic treats in all the locations where she “hid” them.

“For me, baking is equated with love,” Mary Beth said. “I’ve always enjoyed baking and cookies are my favorites. They make people happy, make the house smell good and are truly something I love to give to others.”

Dipped Gingersnap Cookies
submitted by
Mary Beth Hanson

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups flour
4 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
Additional sugar (for rolling cookies)
10 oz. pkg. Ghirardelli White Chocolate Melting Wafers

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and oil; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in molasses.  

Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.

Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls and roll in sugar. Place two inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake cookies at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookie springs back when lightly touched. Remove them to wire racks to cool.

Melt the white chocolate wafers according to the directions on the package. Dip the cooled cookies halfway into the melted white chocolate and shake off the excess. Place on waxed paper-lined cookie sheets to harden.

Yield: About 14 dozen

Notes from Mary Beth:
Temperatures seem to vary from one oven to another. I had to adjust mine to a little cooler temperature for baking this recipe. My family prefers these cookies to be soft and chewy. Consider slightly under-baking them as they continue to bake a bit when removed from the oven. I bake them until they crackle on top.

I dip the cookies halfway in the white chocolate, as noted in the recipe, and sprinkle some with decorative sugar before they cool. (White chocolate baking chips or almond bark also work well for dipping.)

A note from Carol:
Mary Beth Hanson has been married to Curt Hanson, the diocesan director of stewardship and development, for 40 years. They are members of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Little Falls, Minnesota.

Carol Jessen-Klixbull is a copy editor at The Visitor. She is a former Family and Consumer Science teacher who has a passion for all things “food.”