Super Saturday – The Sprint to Bake, Make and Take

During the holiday season, we have Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday and now  I’m giving you a heads up on Super Saturday.

In my house, Super Saturday (the Saturday before Christmas) has always been the sprint to cook up those delicious goodies that most of us only bake, make or take once a year. (That wouldn’t be me. My sweet tooth prohibits such behavior.)

Here are three of our favorites, along with family crafting ideas for presenting the cookies:
My son’s favorite, White Trash, traditionally made by my mother;
My favorite, Chocolate Chip Cookies (Mom’s recipe tweaked by me);
And one of my mother’s favorites, Mexican Wedding Cakes (my little sister and I called them Snowballs).

First up — What we call White Trash. This is a sweet treat that’s so simple to make, and not just at Christmas time. When the horrendous 2004 hurricane season was deemed over, my family celebrated at our Thanksgiving dinner, where everyone had to bring something iconic to the “Year of the Back-to-Back Hurricanes.” Because the streets were loaded with trash – palm frons, tree branches, pieces of window shutters, etc. for so many weeks, my mother made her White Trash and had it in little tiny trash can containers for everyone. Clever, right?

White Trash Ingredients
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips                          1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar                                               9 cups Rice Chex cereal

Put cereal in a large bowl. Melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler, then add the peanut butter and melt, stirring with a fork. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal and gently stir until all of the cereal is coated with chocolate. Put powdered sugar into a large plastic bag, add chocolate coated cereal and shake until all of the cereal is coated with powdered sugar. Store in an air-tight container.

15-Minute Craft — You know those metal burner covers you can buy for gas and electric stoves? Turn one over and clip clothes pins to the edge that’s turned up. The small burner cover takes about 40 clothes pins. At this point, you can spray paint it, if you want to, but I left mine natural. Tie a ribbon around it and fill it with ornaments. Call it done!

Next are some of the best Chocolate Chip Cookies you’ll ever taste. The secret to these cookies lies in the oatmeal, a little extra flour and eating them while they’re fresh.

Chocolate Chip Cookies Ingredients — 350-degrees
1 cup sweet unsalted butter                                     3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar                                        1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs                                                                   1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda                                                       2 1/2 cups sifted, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup one-minute oatmeal                                   18 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy, add both sugars and beat until creamy, then add the two eggs and vanilla and beat until creamy. While mixer is on a low speed, add salt and baking soda. Then add flour 1/4 cup at a time and slowly increase speed of mixer. Add oatmeal and mix until well blended. Then add chocolate chips by hand, stirring until completely blended. Don’t scrimp on the chips. Every bite of each cookie will be filled with the sweet taste of chocolate. Note — I hate spending all day putting cookies in and out of the oven, so I make mine larger than most, using an ice cream scooper. Place cookies on a greased sheet and bake for about 15-20-minutes. Every oven is different, and I have a convection oven, which is another secret to what makes these cookies divine.

15-Minute Craft — Using hot glue, silk flowers and ribbon, attach a flower and a bow to plastic shower curtain rings. Viola! You have beautiful napkin rings.

Finally, growing up we never celebrated Christmas without Mexican Wedding Cakes, and you can see why my sister and I called them Snowballs. These are best with a glass of milk. (Good to leave out for Santa.)

Mexican Wedding Cakes Ingredients — 325-degrees
1/2 cup powdered sugar                                            1 cup sweet unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla                                                                2 cups sifted, all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans                                   1/4 tsp. salt
additional 3/4 powdered sugar

In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. On low speed, add flour 1/4 cup at a time, then add pecans and salt. Mix until well blended. Form into 1-inch balls (again, I have no patience for this part of baking, so mine are always larger) and place on an ungreased cookie sheet about an inch apart. Bake 13-17 minutes, or until set but not brown. Basically, they’ll look about the same coming out as they did going in to the oven. Remove from oven, and place on cooling racks for 10-minutes. Place the additional 3/4 cup of powdered sugar in a small bowl and roll cookies around in the powdered sugar until coated. Cool 15-minutes then roll in powdered sugar, again.

15-Minute Craft — Have your children/grandchildren help you with this one. Using white copy paper, cut into shapes of the season (Christmas tree, bell, stocking, et.). Have the children color them, spread with glue and glitter, etc. After they dry, turn them over and write the date and name of each child. Poke a hole at the top and put an ornament hanger on them — Hang them with pride. The ornaments pictured were made by my son in 1981.

Hope this inspires you to get going with your holiday baking so you’re not caught in the Super Saturday Baking Sprint.

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