Merry Christmas Red Punch, Ada Lee’s Russian Tea, Santa’s Whiskers and Festive Corn Chip Crunch


By Andy Bedwell

May joy fill your heart,

May peace touch

your soul,

May love fill your life this Christmas and

Always Christmas

Blessings to you and yours.

Every year, as soon as the last bite of cranberry sauce and the final morsel of Thanksgiving turkey has been devoured, neighborhoods begin to look like fantasy lands. Christmas lights will be  shimmering along the rooftops with festive wreaths hung on front doors. Inside many a home, Christmas trees glisten with colorful lights and grandmother’s best china on the table.

This month, I want to share with you some of my soothing scents from my oven and some Christmas delights from my kitchen.

Merry Christmas

Red Punch

2 packages black cherry Kool-Aid

(add water and sugar)

1 (6-ounce) can frozen lemonade (add water)

1 (6-ounce) can frozen orange juice (add water)

1 large can pineapple juice

1 (32-ounce) bottle

cranberry juice

3 cups sugar

Mix all ingredients and freeze to a slush.

Andy’s Note: You can also add vodka or rum if you like. This will keep in the freezer forever! I always freeze mine in gallon ice cream tubs. Then you can thaw and break up easier. This makes two gallons. Years ago, I practically drove a caterer crazy until she gave me this recipe. Children love this punch!

Ada Lee’s Russian Tea

Juice and rind of 3

lemons, sliced over

3 cups of sugar

3 small Tetley tea bags

2 sticks of cinnamon

4 whole cloves in

a quart of hot water

Boil mixture for 10 minutes. Strain and pour over lemons and sugar mixture. Let stand until cool. Add three quarts of water. Makes one gallon.

Andy’s Note: This has a great taste and smells wonderful! Ada Lee Bishop was a fabulous cook and made the best lemon ice box pies that I have ever eaten. She was the mother of Sylvia Stewart who taught dancing in Gadsden for years.

Santa’s Whiskers

1 cup real butter (salted)

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups

all-purpose flour

3/4 cup red and green

candied cherries, chopped

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

3/4 cup coconut

Cream butter with sugar until fluffy (use a mixer)

Add milk and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in the rest of ingredients except coconut. Shape into two logs and roll each in coconut. Cover and chill for one to two hours. Slice and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until slightly brown. Be careful and do not let your coconut get too brown. Be sure and take these off of the cookie sheet as soon as they come out of the oven.

Andy’s Note: It is just not Christmas until I make these cookies. They are great to take to a cookie swap. You know every recipe with me has a story! I will never forget a principal from an elementary school in Gadsden called me from Atlanta to get this recipe. She had tried to get in touch with me before she left Gadsden. She said, “I don’t have time to talk, I just want that cookie recipe.” She was in a grocery store and needed to buy the ingredients.

Festive Corn

Chip Crunch

6 cups corn chips

1 1/2 cups of dry

roasted peanuts

1/2 cup packed

brown sugar

1/2 cup dark corn syrup

1/4 cup butter

In a large bowl, combine corn chips and peanuts. In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Pour over corn chip mixture; toss to coat. Transfer to a greased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake at 250 degrees for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread onto waxed paper and let cool. Break apart and store in plastic bags.

Andy’s Note: This is so good and so easy! Great to have during the Christmas holidays for adults or children.

Let’s fill our homes with the season’s joy and create magical memories as well.

Happy Christmas Cooking,

Andy Bedwell

“Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell” can be purchased at Alabama Gift Company in downtown Gadsden and at The Messenger on Rainbow Drive.

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