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Posted by: News_Desk on 12/14/2020 04:46 PM Updated by: News_Desk on 12/14/2020 05:43 PM
Expires: 01/01/2025 12:00 AM

Jenny's Kitchen Christmas Mincemeat Tarts & Taste O' Mint Cookies! ~ Jenny Baxter

Angels Camp, CA... One of my favorite things to do this time of the year, when it involves my column, is to interview some of our local residents to see what their Christmas traditions were growing up and are now. I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I did writing about them.

This year I decided to talk with a few of our Calaveras County Supervisors and Angels Camp council women. For the past 30 plus years Supervisor Callaway, who has held the position as our supervisor for 24 years, has spent her Christmas day working with other “Murphy’s Friends” to provide a fine holiday dinner to many people in this beautiful area of ours! And at the age of seven or eight, she introduced her daughter, Brianna, to this worth while project. Tim Folendorf, chief cook and creator of the famous Christmas dinner, designed and made a stand-up drill for Bri so she could stand up on a chair and mash the potatoes! And to this day, Brianna, now in her 30’s, comes back to our town to carry on a long-time family tradition with her mom, Merita. Born into a military family, Supervisor Callaway stated that they did not have traditions because her Marine father spend many Christmas’ overseas and, in those days, families were not allowed to join the enlisted when there was traveling involved. When she married and started her own family, she then decided it was time to make some traditions. She began by explaining to Brianna that Santa doesn’t come until she falls asleep. It was much easier this way to get her to sleep so she could put the finishing touches on Christmas.

Current Angels Camp Mayor and Supervisor Elect, Amanda Folendorf, was happy to share a tradition that is still utilized to this day. Amanda, sister Alissa and mom Cheryl, spent Christmas Eve at her maternal grandmother’s house making mincemeat tarts. (no meat was ever used!) They gathered in her kitchen laughing and conversing as they prepared the dough and its filling. Alissa was in charge of tying on the aprons and Amanda said her job was to hang out and have fun with this culinary experience. Chuckling she said, “More ended up in my mouth than in the pan!” Although these tarts were served after Christmas day dinner, she and her sister were each allowed to pick one to eat before they went to bed on Christmas Eve. Although her gram has moved to a different state, Alissa, the cook in the family, bakes these tasty treats every Christmas Eve to ensure that the tradition stays alive. Now married, Amanda plans to join her sister in the kitchen once she has started her own family. Our other veteran Supervisor, Gary Tofanelli, recalled the fun they had decorating the house and their tree for Christmas. No gifts were ever seen under the tree until they awoke Christmas morning. Needless to say, they would be up before the sun rose waking their parents and hurrying to view and open their gifts.

Another fine memory was baking Christmas cookies 2-3 days before Christmas with all the holiday cookie cutters and indulging in the sweet frosting and sprinkles. Like Amanda, more went into his mouth than on the finished cookie platter. His mom served a traditional turkey dinner with all the usual trimmings and never varied from this meal. Everyone in the family came to dinner at their house. Gary and his wife, Denise, have carried on the tradition of serving a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings and their grandchildren know their house as the Christmas house, because for the past 25 years, as when he was growing up, the family comes to them for Christmas dinner. Their table is graced with 15-20 family members as the Tofanelli family continues to grow, but this year with all the changes, Supervisor Tofanelli is not expecting a traditional Tofanelli Christmas. And last, but not least, Council woman, Veronica Metildi, eagerly told me about her Christmas traditions growing up.

As soon as Thanksgiving was over the Christmas carols began. Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Burl Ives, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, etc. flowed through the house from room to room. It signaled the time for Veronica and her mom, Bobbi, to bake their traditional cookie, “Taste of Mint!” This thumbprint cookie has chocolate in the center, half of a pecan placed on top of the chocolate and of course mint flavoring. Spending time with her mom in the kitchen was not only a bonding experience, but a lesson in baking and the fun a mother and daughter can share. Because this time was so rewarding, Veronica continued the tradition with her own daughter, Jessica, baking this cookie and playing Christmas music.

Now in her 30’s, Jessica has also kept the tradition alive with her family as well. In 2001, Veronica and her DJ husband, Dave, started a new tradition of their own; decorating their yard and house with Christmas lights of varying colors and sizes! Each year the lights increase in size and colors. Feeling pleased and confident with this years stunning presentation, Dave and Veronica decided to enter the Angels Camp Business Association Christmas Light Competition! “We have to do as much for charity especially in our community as we can, by supporting our local organizational fund raisers!” Veronica concluded. I wish them good luck. Amanda and Veronica were both very generous in sharing their cookie recipe with us. Merry Christmas to all!

Mincemeat Tarts

350 grams flour
225 grams butter
Pinch salt
I beaten egg
Ice water as needed

Place all the ingredients, except the egg and water, into a bowl and using your fingertips work the mixture until it resembles coarse sand. Stir in the egg and add the water a teaspoon at a time until the mixture forms a dough. Form the dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap chilling it for a half hour. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Dust a board and using 2/3 of the dough, roll it to an 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut the dough into 12 circles that will fit into the bottom of a muffin tin.

2 jars prepared mincemeat

Fill the dough circles 2/3 full with the mincemeat and roll out the remaining dough into 1/8th thickness. Cut the dough into smaller circles and place on top of the mincemeat. Cut a slit in the center of each tart and dampen the edges to press the tops into the mincemeat. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and when the tarts are cool sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar

Taste of Mint Cookies

2 cubes softened butter
4 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon peppermint
Green food coloring
Combine the above ingredients in a large bowl. Gradually add:
2 cups flour

Using a Tablespoon portion for each cookie, roll the dough into a ball and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Place a thumbprint in the center of the cookie. Bake at 325 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and when the cookies cool add some frosting from a can of prepared Duncan Hines chocolate frosting. Then place half a pecan in the center of the frosting.

Well, it’s thyme to go.

Jenny Baxter

Jenny’s Kitchen

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