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Forget half-baked gifts, try these holiday recipes


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POSTED: Wednesday, December 16, 2009

'Tis the season for holiday baking, so we picked out some of our favorite recipes for gift-giving.

The Fruit Cake Bars taste nothing like those dreaded fruitcakes everyone makes fun of. These will give you an appreciation for fruitcake.

The Chinese Pretzels are fun to make and taste much better than anything store-bought. For variety, sprinkle black sesame seeds into the batter before frying.

FRUIT CAKE BARS

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup chopped candied fruit
1 cup chopped nuts
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix 2 cups of flour with powdered sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press into a 13-by-9-inch pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

In large bowl, sift remaining 1/2 cup flour with sugar, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, candied fruit, nuts; mix well.

Spread batter over crust. Bake 35 more minutes. Cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar; cut into bars. Yields 36 bars.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 180 calories, 8 g total fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 125 mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 20 sugar, 2g protein

CHINESE PRETZELS

Vegetable oil for deep-frying
1 3/4 cups cornstarch
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
Dash of salt
1/4 cup evaporated milk, undiluted
1 1/4 cups water
1 egg, beaten

Heat oil to 400 degrees. In large bowl, sift cornstarch with flour, sugar and salt. Combine milk, water and egg. Stir into dry ingredients; mix until smooth. Heat rosette iron in oil until hot. Dip hot iron into batter only up to top of rosette and return to oil. Cook until pretzels are delicately browned, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Yields 6 dozen pretzels.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 50 calories, 3 g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 10 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 0.5 g protein

GINGERBREAD COOKIES

3/4 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup full flavor molasses
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

In large bowl of electric mixer cream butter, sugar, egg, and molasses until fluffy. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; stir into butter mixture. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. On floured board, roll dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Bake 10 to 15 minutes; cool. Decorate. Yields about 5 dozen 3-inch cookies.

Nutritional information unavailable.

Hawaiian Electric Co. presents this weekly collection of recipes as a public service. Many are available at www.heco.com.