Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell


Russian Rocks and Orange Slice Cookies

I think I say this every October, but this really is my favorite time of the year. Along with the beautiful colors of fall, we have the pumpkin patches, cornmazes, and so many wonderful events that happens in Alabama. Of course, we have our football and hunting seasons in the fall that brings you outdoors. But for me, fall is the beginning of the greatest cooking season of the year. I am anticipating making my dressing this week and freezing it for Thanksgiving.

I am like a kid in a toy shop when I am in the grocery store during this time of year. The egg nog, candied fruits, bakeries full of decorated cookies and cakes for the holidays, beautiful magazines with decorated houses, and all of the unusual spices and nuts for the upcoming season.

Russian Rocks

3 cups plain flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs, well beaten

1/2 cup butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup lukewarm water

1/2 pound pineapple (candied)

2 pounds seedless dates

1 pound red and green cherries (candied)

4 cups pecans

1/2 teaspoon each of baking powder, vanilla, lemon, orange

1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves

Chop fruit and leave nuts whole. Sift flour and salt over fruit. Mix well. Cream butter and sugar. Add well beaten eggs to butter mixture. Add baking powder, spices, and flavorings. Add one-half cup lukewarm water. Pour butter mixture over fruit and stir until mixed. Drop by teaspoon on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Watch very closely while baking. Just let them get barely brown.

Andy’s Note: This recipe will make 400 cookies. These need to be made as soon as you see the candied fruit in the grocery stores as they improve with flavor as they age. I know these are pricey to make, but this recipe is the best of the best!

One Christmas, my mother needed a gift for someone, so we filled a cookies tin with these Russian Rocks. She just loved them! Mother was so happy that she had decided to give her this gift. A truly outstanding cookie!

Orange Slice Cookie

1 Duncan Hines’ yellow cake mix (remember to add the extra 3 ounces)

3/4 cup Crisco oil

1 egg

1 teaspoon butternut flavoring

orange slice candy, chopped (use as many as you like)

1 cup chopped pecans

Mix the cake mix, oil, egg and flavoring together. Add the chopped candy and pecans. Bake on a slightly greased cookie sheet at 325 degrees for about 12-15 minutes. Just look for a little brown on the bottom.

Andy’s Note: Pretty, easy and really good. I have these cookies as samples at crafts shows and people cannot believe how easy and how good they are. In fact, one lady told me that the only reason that she bought my cookbook was for this recipe.

I am going to have to dedicate this column to my sister, Mary Fielder. Both of these recipes are her favorites!

Happy fall, y’all!

Andy Bedwell

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

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