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Recipes- My Family’s Traditional Christmas Treats

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Rose Mary's mother and all of her aunts are great southern cooks. She likes to think she's not so bad herself.

In my late teens, my small nuclear family started a new family tradition. We would go to evening Christmas Candlelight Services at the small country church we attended. When we came home, we’d have a full out junk food feast before opening our gifts. We opened gifts one at a time. We had such fun seeing each other’s reaction to each gift, we didn’t want to miss anything. It was the one time of year that we took pictures.

I’ve already shared my recipes for the traditional holiday dinner in my hub Thanksgiving Southern Family Feast Recipes. My family has essentially the same meal on Christmas Day with my mom’s extended family. On Christmas Eve we ate lots of sweets and other “finger foods”. We might have pies, such as the sweet potato and pecan pies. Those recipes are in my Thanksgiving hub. We would also usually have fruitcake and possibly some other kind of cake. Mom would usually have a Hickory Farms sausage. The rest of the junk out was foods like the recipes I have collected into this hub.

Recipes in this hub:

Martha Washington Candy

Sausage and Cheese Balls

Two Flavor Fudge

Cheese Straws

Peanut Butter Balls

Cheese Roll

Martha Washington Candy

Martha Washington Candy

Martha Washington Candy

This candy is too good for words. The safest way not to get obsessed with it is to not try it. Dangerous stuff. The chocolate dip forms an ever so thin cover.

2 sticks butter

1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk

1 ½ tsp vanilla

2 boxes powdered sugar

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1 quart pecans, chopped

8 oz box semi-sweet chocolate squares

1 sheet paraffin wax, such as Gulf wax

1- Cream together butter, condensed milk and vanilla.

2- Add gradually powdered sugar.

3- Add pecans.

4- Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet.

5- Refrigerate overnight.

6- Next day, melt chocolate and paraffin in top of double boiler.

7- Dip candy in chocolate to coat.

8- Place candy in single layers on wax paper to set.

9- Store in refrigerator.

Form mixture into 1" balls and place on baking sheet.

Form mixture into 1" balls and place on baking sheet.

Sausage and cheese balls

Sausage and cheese balls

Sausage and Cheese Balls

1 lb loose sausage

1 10-oz pkg sharp cheese, grated

3 c Bisquick mix

¾ c water

1- Mix Bisquick and water.

2- Add sausage and cheese, and combine.

3- Make into 1” balls.

4- Bake at 350 degrees until light brown.

This looks exactly like my mom's Two Flavor Fudge!

This looks exactly like my mom's Two Flavor Fudge!

Two Flavor Fudge

This is definitely one of my mom’s personal holiday favorites.

2 c light brown sugar, packed

1 c granulated sugar

½ c butter, softened

1 c evaporated milk

1 jar marshmallow cream

6 oz butterscotch morsels

6 oz semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1 c walnuts, chopped

1 tsp vanilla

1- In top of double boiler, combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter and milk.

2- Bring to boil and boil 15 minutes on moderate heat, stirring constantly.

3- Remove from heat. Stir in marshmallow cream.

4- Stir in morsels until melted and mixture is smooth.

5- Add in walnuts and vanilla.

6- Pour into greased 9” square pan. Let set. Cut into 1” squares.

Homemade Cheese Straws

Cheese straws from church bake sale.  These have a little "kick", maybe from a little cayenne pepper.

Cheese straws from church bake sale. These have a little "kick", maybe from a little cayenne pepper.

Cheese Straws can be made in various shapes.   Everyone I know favors the star attachment on a cookie press.  Photo from

Cheese Straws can be made in various shapes. Everyone I know favors the star attachment on a cookie press. Photo from

Round cheese straws

Round cheese straws

Cheese Straws

Mom never made these, yet most years we had them. Our neighbor or my Aunt Pat would usually make them for us. This is my stepbrother’s family recipe.

¼ lb butter

1 lb sharp cheese, grated

1 egg

1 T cold water

1 ¾ c sifted plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp paprika

1- Cream grated cheese & butter with mixer.

2- Add egg & water.

3- Heat well.

4- Sift together dry ingredients. Add gradually, mixing well.

5- Use star tip on cookie press to dispense on greased cookie sheet.

6- Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

Makes 10-12 dozen.

Peanutbutter Balls before chocolate dip

Peanutbutter Balls before chocolate dip

Peanutbutter Balls

1 ¼ c graham cracker crumbs

½ c peanut butter

1 c coconut

½ chopped nuts

½ box powdered sugar

½ stick butter, melted

6 oz chocolate chips

½ tsp Crisco

1- Mix crumbs, peanut butter, coconut, nuts, sugar and butter.

2- Form into 1” balls.

3- Melt chocolate and Crisco.

4- Dip balls in chocolate with toothpick. Dry on waxed paper.

Makes about 50.

Cheese Ball with water crackers

Cheese Ball with water crackers

Cheese Ball

This is another something we always seemed to have, but I don’t recall Mom making. We probably got ours from Hickory Farms, or friend or aunt.

1 lb sharp cheese, grated

8 oz cream cheese

¼ tsp garlic salt or 1 clove garlic

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp hot sauce

2 T mayonnaise

1 tsp prepared mustard

1 cup chopped nuts

2 T Paprika

1 T Chili powder

1 T Curry powder

1- Combine cheese and cream cheese.

2- Add garlic, salt, hot sauce, mayo and mustard.

3- Shape into roll, loaf or ball.

4- Roll in paprika and chili powder.

5- Roll in paprika and curry powder.

6- Roll in chopped nuts.


Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 25, 2019:

O my....these should just be against the law!!!! I have drooled all over my laptop just reading about these. Pinning to 'good things to eat'. Angels are headed your way ps

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on December 27, 2011:

Thanks for the tip joyceann. Mom and I always talk about how good the MW candy is, but how much trouble it is to make. When I told her about your version, she said "That still sounds like a lot of trouble"!

joyceann1983 on October 04, 2011:

Hey, we used to make martha washington fudge rolls... where we would keep the fudge overnight in the fridge and then roll out the hardened dough as if we were making dumplings. Next liberally spread peanut butter on it and roll it into a log. Slice it into small pieces and set on wax paper ready to serve. Try it... it is just as good =)

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on January 30, 2011:

Lita I'm so sorry you can't eat the Martha Washington Candy! Oh well, enjoy the sausage balls.

Lita C. Malicdem from Philippines on January 07, 2011:

I have a soft heart for family tradition food and I just love your recipes. I love most the cheesy recipes. They sound easy to prepare and yummy, too.

Ohh, that Martha Washington Candy, you're not kidding huh? I'm diabetic, haha! Cheers!

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on November 27, 2010:

Thanks ajcor. I have gone back and put in Amazon capsules with some of the ingredients so you can see them, and maybe go to Amazon and view a larger picture and read about the products.

Marshmallow cream is like melted marshmallows that are spreadable. Graham crackers are slightly sweet, slightly reminiscent of gingerbread. They are a favorite of toddlers and young children. We use Graham cracker crumbs for cheesecake “crust”. In fact, you can buy Graham cracker pie crusts in the grocery store ready to use for lots of different pies.

Crisco is a name brand of solid vegetable shortening. The paraffin is the edible kind, like used to seal when doing home canning. It helps with having a light chocolate coating that sticks.

ajcor from NSW. Australia on November 26, 2010:

Thanks rmcrayne - love your recipes going to print off and try to make for Christmas - of course some of the ingredients I have not heard of before - such as 1 jar marshmallow cream.

Are Graham Crackers like our Australian Arnotts plain biscuits?

is crisco a nut oil for cooking?

while 1 sheet paraffin wax, such as Gulf wax sounds somewhat inedible to me - can you please explain what this is? thank you in advance for being patient with me and helping me through this recipe crisis.....cheers

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on November 23, 2010:

Never fear Stephanie, some of them are fairly quick. Thanks for stopping by.

Stephanie Henkel from USA on November 15, 2010:

These look so delicious, I may have to stop writing for a while and start cooking!

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on December 29, 2009:

Ahhh. Yum. Sausage balls are not the same in TX though, because in SC we make them with a local family-owned label sausage. Counts sausage, with or without onion, the best.

The Rope from SE US on December 29, 2009:

Cheese straws and sausage balls of course! What self-respectin' Southern woman doesn't have these ingredients on hand - no matter where she is!

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on December 26, 2009:

Rope you're funny! So what did you make?!

The Rope from SE US on December 25, 2009:

What a sweetie! It's Christmas morning, the festivities are over, everyone has gone to do their favorite activities and I'm thinking wow! I could really get into cooking some favorite recipes right now but of course didn't bring any recipe books up here. Immediately thought of this hub and I'm now up to my elbows in favorites. THANKS!!!

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on December 16, 2009:

Thanks Rope for your ringing endorsement! Actually I think most of the recipes are from old country church cookbooks. Careful with that Martha Washington candy. If you get addicted, don't blame me.

The Rope from SE US on December 16, 2009:

Oh YUM!!! The once a year "treats" are my favorite part of the holidays. We share again RM! Cheese straws are Mrs. Dull's recipe and I bet your mother or grandmother got them straight from her articles in the Atlanta Journal. We love them too! The sausage balls are my personal favorite and I use them all year long (easy breakfasts!) But your recipe on the Martha Washington Candy is amazing! I'll have to put these on this years menu immediately! They will be an incredible addition - thanks for sharing. AND...I've been looking for this peanut butter ball recipe for ages, I can't believe I finally found it. Once again, a wonderful article - thank you so much!

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on November 24, 2009:

Hope you enjoy the recipes RTalloni.

RTalloni on November 23, 2009:

Oh dear. This is trouble...the good kind though. :)

Jane@CM on November 17, 2009:

Thank you !

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on November 16, 2009:

Recipes are for sharing Jane!

Jane@CM on November 16, 2009:

A cheese ball recipe! Can I copy it and the Martha Washington candy and the fudge...YUMMY!

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on November 15, 2009:

Thanks for reading habee. Let me know if you make them if they taste like your mom's.

Holle Abee from Georgia on November 15, 2009:

My mom made peanut butter balls, but I haven't been able to find her recipe. I bet this is it! Thanks!

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on November 10, 2009:

Trudy, I am honored that some of my family traditional favorites may soon become yours as well. Be warned that the Martha Washington candy is dangerous!

TrudyVan Curre from South Africa on November 08, 2009:

You have done it again. Just printed off and I am going to make them for our christmas. thank you.

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on October 31, 2009:

Thanks emi and ethel for reading and commenting. I hope you'll try some of these and let me know how they turned out.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on October 31, 2009:

My Mum used to make cheese straws with left over pastry.The rest are new to me. These recipes are all so nice and naughty. They sound easy too

emievil from Philippines on October 31, 2009:

What recipes! I just had my dinner but when I saw your hub, I'm hungry all over again. The pictures made me hungrier :). Thanks rmcrayne.

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