Thirty years of sweet treats

December 08, 2004|by ANDREA ROWLAND

St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church's "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread" - and beverages, soups, sandwiches, desserts, meats and much, much more - cookbook boasts hundreds of favorite recipes from church members and friends. The 366-page cookbook features recipes for edibles ranging from appetizers to vegetables, helpful kitchen hints, cooking and calorie guides, a complete index, illustrations by Shirley Fout Miller, prayers and scriptural passages, and a brief history of the 234-year-old church.

Originally published in 1970 and recently reprinted, the $10 cookbook is available at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 141 S. Potomac St. in downtown Hagerstown, and through church members. The book - and dozens of cookies - also will be available at the church's Cookie Celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11. Shirley Fout Miller will sign copies of the cookbook from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, at Borders Books Music & Cafe in Hagerstown.


Cookbook contributors B. Marie Byers, Jeannette Rutledge and Barbara Reynolds, all of Hagerstown, will be at the Cookie Celebration with some of the sweet confections for which they first offered recipes more than 30 years ago to help benefit church projects. The Kentucky Bourbon Balls recipe that Rutledge inherited from her mother, the late Mrs. Harry Kaylor, the Secret Kiss Cookies recipe that Byers requested from friend Sue Nelson, and the Pecan Wafers that Reynolds' late mother-in-law, Alice Reynolds, used to love making are among the cookbook's more than 100 cookie recipes.

The ladies and other members of St. John's women's auxiliary - the Mary Martha Circle - first published the cookbook to celebrate the church's 200th anniversary and to raise funds for parlor furniture and identification bracelets for a mission hospital in Africa, said Byers, cookbook editor. Proceeds from the cookbook's second printing about 10 years ago helped to fund lighting improvements in the church's sanctuary and pay for a new roof for a chapel in India, she said. And proceeds from the newest printing will benefit the elevator project for the church's education building.

B. Marie Byers puts Coconut Cherry Bars at the top of her holiday cookie menu. She said the bars taste even better after they're stored in an airtight container for a few days.

Coconut Cherry Bars

· 1 cup margarine or butter

· 1 1/4 cups sugar

· 1 egg

· 1 teaspoon vanilla

· 2 1/2 cups sifted flour

· 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

· 1/2 teaspoon salt

· 1/2 cup chopped nuts

· 1/2 cup maraschino cherries, chopped

· 2/3 cup flaked coconut

· 1 (6-ounce) package chocolate chips

Cream margarine or butter; add sugar gradually. Blend in egg and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt, and stir into the creamed mixture. Add nuts, cherries, coconut and chocolate chips. Spread dough in a greased jellyroll pan. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes. Cool slightly, then cut into 40 bars.

Cookbook committee member Ruth Case's Christmas Mice cookies aren't included in the St. John's cookbook, but they're too fun not to share.

Christmas Mice

· 12 Oreo cookies, divided (See cook's note.)

· 12 maraschino cherries with stems

· 12 Hershey's Kisses

· Melted chocolate for dipping

· Red and green gel icing

Cook's note: You will need only the cookie halves with the vanilla icing.

Pull Oreos apart; lay halves with icing face-up on a serving plate. Melt chocolate. Dip each cherry in melted chocolate and place on cookie icing, pressing stem gently against a hard surface to create a "tail" that stands up slightly. Allow cherries to cool completely. Put dab of chocolate on flat side of each Hershey's Kiss before affixing candy to cherry to create mouse's "head." Dot candy with red gel icing to create two eyes and a nose for each "mouse." Use red and green gel icing to make a wreath design on border of cookie icing.

Makes 12.

Jeannette Rutledge said these Crescent Cookies always are a big hit during the holidays. Handle them carefully because they are delicate, or shape them into balls instead of crescents to make them more durable, she said.

Crescent Cookies

· 1/4 pound (1 stick) butter

· 1/4 cup superfine sugar

· 1 1/2 cups cake flour, measured after sifting once

· 1/2 tablespoon vanilla

· 1 cup finely chopped pecans

· Confectioners' sugar

Cream butter and sugar; gradually add flour. Stir in vanilla and pecans. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thick, and cut into crescent shapes. Dough also can be rolled into small balls. Bake at 325 degrees until light brown, about 15 to 18 minutes. Cool completely before sprinkling liberally with confectioners' sugar.

Makes 4 dozen.

Barbara Reynolds said her late mother-in-law's Pecan Wafers are one of her family's favorite holiday treats.

Pecan Wafers

· 1 cup dark brown sugar

· 2 heaping tablespoons butter

· 2 tablespoons flour

· Pinch of salt

· 1 egg

· 1 cup chopped pecans

Combine ingredients in order given, and drop in spoonfuls onto buttered cookie sheet or, preferably, a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 300 to 350 degrees until done. Watch carefully. Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet.

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