Tahlequah Daily Press

December 4, 2012

Sugar, spice and everything nice

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Thanksgiving is a distant memory, and area bakers and cooks are gearing up for a second round in the kitchen.

Many will break out time-honored traditional recipes for cookies and candies and snacks, while others will seek to start new traditions.

Longtime Tahlequah resident Isabel Baker believes in carrying on family tradition, and always has two staples on her “goodies” menu.

“At Christmas, every year, I have to make two things for sure: New Orleans pralines - made with buttermilk, not brown sugar. They always go fast, [and] the other is oatmeal crispies cookies. Both recipes are over 50 years old.”

Dianne Barker-Harrold, attorney for the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council, began a “bake-off” tradition, which is now carried on by her daughters and grandchildren.

“When our girls were growing up, Patty Kaufman and I always had a Christmas bake-off,” said Barker-Harrold. “We would get together with our girls and make fudge, cookies, and all kinds of Christmas goodies. We would try to find new recipes and unique and creative cookie decorations.”

Some of Barker-Harrold’s family favorites include pumpkin and poppy seed breads, for which she has a “secret ingredient recipe,” as well as some savory items.

“Another favorite is fudge an homemade bonbons, a cheese log rolled in black pepper, and I still use Patty’s cheese ball recipe,” said Barker-Harrold. “Over the years, my youngest daughter and her friends and some of the grandkids got together and also make gingerbread houses.”

Staff members at the Daily Press, as well as county and city employees, are annual recipients of goody platters from Rep. Mike Brown and his wife, Tammy, which include a variety of sweet treats.

“With the warm weather, it’s been hard to think about what I’m going to make this year, but I’m sure I’ll do fudge and bonbons, which are two of my favorites,” said Brown. “I don’t really get started until the middle of month.”

Brown prepares anywhere from 25 to 30 platters, which her husband delivers.

“I always experiment,” said Brown. “Sometimes, I’ll do English toffee, and I like to try new things. I don’t do any of this for my family; we send it all out to other people. I love to cook and bake, and this is a nice way to let people know we appreciate them.”

Patti Gulager makes a wide variety of goodies, ranging from sweet to savory.

“I am making peanut patties, fudge, Hello Dollies, Mounds and chocolate-covered pretzels,” said Gulager. “I usually do Puppy Chow and Chex mix, too. Last year, my sister, Penni, and I did it together. We had a lot of fun.”

Local resident, gardener and foodie Pam Moore takes care of holiday food gifts during the late summer and fall, making hot and sweet jalapeño relish and garden relish.

“I also did peach jam this year; the peaches were really good,” said Moore. “Oh, and for goodies – this year, I am planning on cookie plates for friends at work. There is a recipe on Pinterest for cookies from cake mix and Cool Whip. I made these some years back and they were really tasty.”

Lisa Snell, local resident and publisher of Native American Times, makes cookies for her father as a gift every year.

“I always take my dad a batch of snickerdoodles,” said Snell. “He’s at that age – 80 – where he has all the stuff he’ll ever need or want. So, his favorite cookies are a nice treat he can enjoy for several days with his coffee, and there’s nothing left sitting around for mom to dust.”

Northeastern State University Associate Professor of Accounting Dr. John Yeutter puts his own spin on Chex mix.

“I make my version of Chex mix - Purina people chow – with frosted mini-wheats, along with the standard [General Mills] cereals,” said Yeutter. “The mix of sweet and salty is better than the original.”


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