Category: Valentine’s Day
|February 13, 2019||Posted by Wendy Perry under cherries, chocolate, Mindless Mutterings from the Teacher's Lounge, party foods, published, sweet treats, Valentine's Day|
Published in Carolina Country Magazine ~ February 2018
I do love cherries! Any kind of cherries, but most especially, maraschino cherries. There’s just something about those bright red sweet little nuggets that take me back to my childhood in an instant.
I suppose my cherry affection is genetic. My Daddy Hocutt and Ma Hocutt, my mama’s mama and daddy, planted cherry trees in their back yard in Zebulon when they built their house back in the early 1950’s. It was only the 6th house built in the city limits best I remember them telling me. When I was born in 1958, they planted me a tree! My Daddy Hocutt died when I was only 8 years old… he had a massive heart attack and they went off the side of a remote mountain road near Charlottesville, VA coming back from vacation in Washington, DC. He died then and there, and Ma Hocutt was torn all to pieces and was “invalid” the rest of her life until she died at 91.
Ok… so back to the story. Every year, when the cherry trees would blossom, Daddy Hocutt would cover them with this gauze kinda cloth to keep the birds from eating our cherries! He would let me help him do that. And I can remember waiting impatiently for “my” cherries to ripen so we could pull that cloth back and eat cherries until I had a stomach ache. After he died, the trees all just wearied themselves away, but I do have a few short years of those memories.
We had a place in town called the Dairy Bar. One side served the BEST cheeseburgers, hot dogs… and milkshakes! The other little room had a jukebox and bar stools where the cool teenagers would go hang out and dance. Daddy Hocutt would sometimes take me in there for burgers and a shake.
Ma Hocutt loved a cherry milkshake too! And after a few years of recovery from their accident, she was able to drive again. She would ride over the the Watkins Dairy Bar, just a few blocks from her house, and toot the horn. They knew she wasn’t able to get out and walk in to order, so they’d just make a cherry milkshake… and take it out to her! If I went with her, I’d go in and order them… “2 cherry milkshakes please!”
They were in those big old waxed cups… white, with red lines around them and best I remember, hearts around the tops. And big ass straws!
God I loved those things! And to this day, still my favorite of all milkshakes, but it’s near’bout impossible to find a good cherry milkshake anymore!
Did you know that Dairy Queen… yep, the Dairy Queen, doesn’t have cherries?
How in the hell can you have a proper sundae, or banana split, without a cherry on top? Silliest thing I’ve ever heard tell of! Cherries are a staple of such.
Sooooo… when coming up with ideas for the February issue of Carolina Country, my mind immediately went to cherries! I also associate cherries with Valentine’s Day. And I created some really yummy chocolate cherry truffles for Our State magazine years back too. I will have to throw those here on my blog soon too.
But for now, for my maraschino cherry brothers and sisters… I encourage you to make these rice krispie treats! They are cherrylicious… fun to eat AND share. Grab some icing in those tubes and sprinkles and let your aspiring little culinarians get creative in decorating.
Y’all have a Happy Valentine’s Day too… I love you all for being here!
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 16 ounce bag mini marshmallows
- 5 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 16 ounce jar maraschino cherries, drained & chopped (save juice)
- 8 cup Rice Krispies® cereal
- 1 cup toasted almonds, crumbled
- decorating icing and sprinkles
- heart shaped cookie cutters
Melt butter in a heavy pot over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, cherries and cereal.
Using a buttered spatula, fold together until well combined. Pour out onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and spread to about 1-inch thickness. Cool.
Cut, decorate and dust with toasted almonds.
Very Cherry Vanilla Treats
Make basic recipe, stirring in 2 tablespoons of red cherry gelatin powder.
Black Forest Treats
Make basic recipe, substituting chocolate Rice Krispies cereal. Stir 1 cup of milk chocolate chips in with cereal.
Cherry Juice Goodness
Wait! Don’t pour out that delicious drained cherry juice leftover from this recipe. Use in frostings, whipped cream or cake batter. A splash makes your hot chocolate into “Chocolate Covered Cherry” hot chocolate and will turn your cola drinks into fun cherry ones. Use to make lemon or limeade cherry ice cubes, too.
|January 21, 2019||Posted by Wendy Perry under cherries, gluten free, Mindless Mutterings from the Teacher's Lounge, sweet treats, Valentine's Day, wendy's signature recipes|
Goodness gracious, February has evaporated! My grandmas surely were right about that “time flying” thing when you’re “seasoned.” (I strive to abstain from using the word old, older or any derivative of it.) I surely don’t wish my life away, BUT, I cannot tell a lie (doesn’t that have some sort of relationship with cherry trees?)… I’m mighty glad to be seeing winter quickly moving into the rear view mirror.
I’m a Spring Chick! The R A I N BO W spring brings makes me giddy. I love looking upward to see GREEN buds on a palate of BLUE sky… and gazing down to see YELLOW buttercups already making their debut in my yard… I start looking forward to cute little roadside signs, often hand-painted, letting me know it’s time for RED strawberries… and grin when I see Lavender chive blossoms burst open for my salads (although I mostly enjoy chomping on them right out there in the yard). But there is one color I dread come spring… the glaring WHITE on my winterized legs! Now I’ve never been a sun worshiper (boring!) and I do make sure to use sun protection, but I must admit that I do feel a little better with a tad of color when debuting shorts, skirts and skorts come Spring.
Soooo, back to saying buh-bye to February. Being that it’s National Cherry Month AND being that cherries in any shape, form or fashion are about my FAV fruit, I couldn’t “march’ forward without some sort of cherry treat. My foodie friends know I’m the quintessential NON-baker, so as I looked about for inspirations, “no bake” recipes screamed w.e.n.d.y.! I’m also not one of those folks who cannot exist without sweet stuff, so this concoction realllly got me out of the proverbial ‘box.’ But when I started digging to see what I had on hand to create a new masterpiece, a “no bake sweet treat” is what emerged. I hope you enjoy making these FAST goodies as much as I did…
(“fast” + “EZ” + “no bake” = My Kind ‘o Throw Together Goodie)!
“A Date With Cherry”
…cherry chocolate chip date nut balls
…a recipe by Wendy Perry
Yield: 1 dozen
Prep Time: less than 10 minutes
1 c. asst. nuts/pieces* (salted or unsalted)
pinch of salt (if your nuts are unsalted)
1/2 c. dried cherries, unsweetened
3/4 c. dates (whole or pieces)
1/4 t. almond extract (Watkins)
1/4 t. vanilla extract (Watkins)
2 T. water (or if for adults, Amaretto, vanilla or cherry rum or chocolate liquer)
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. flaked coconut (half toasted)**
* This is a great recipe to use up those tidbits of nuts because a mixture is a ‘good thing’ in this recipe.
For recipe creation, I used pecans, walnuts and some macadamia nut pieces (previously toasted for another recipe).
Throw your nuts and salt into a food processor and whiz until fine crumbs. Throw cherries, dates, extracts and water (or alcohol) in and pulse until you have an ooey gooey paste. With a spatula, fold in the chocolate chips.
Pinch mixture and make 1″ balls. Roll in coconut and place into freezer to firm up for about an hour. Keep chilled.
**Toast coconut in non-stick pan until some is toasted and some isn’t so you have a half-n-half mix. Bu doing this, you’ll get a nice “chew” with the bits that haven’t toasted, yet a nice toasty crunch with the flakes that are toasted.
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