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Tasty Gift Ideas for the Hostess : Homemade Cookies, Candy are Festive Treats for Holidays

December 03, 1987

Packed in attractive containers and adorned with ribbons, homemade cookies and candies make ideal hostess gifts during the holiday season.

Going to a potluck? Linzer Coconut Squares, arranged on an attractive tray and covered with plastic wrap, need no further attention before serving. Afterward, the hostess is sure to find plenty of other uses for the tray.

Any number of containers will first accommodate Coconut Rum Balls, then whatever whim of the recipient. The candies require no baking and may be stored in the refrigerator for weeks, making them an ideal emergency item to have on hand for last-minute invitations.

LINZER COCONUT SQUARES

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter or margarine, cut in chunks

3 tablespoons cold water, about

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

2 2/3 cups flaked coconut

1/3 cup raspberry preserves

Combine flour and salt. Cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles large peas. Sprinkle with water, small amount at a time, mixing lightly until all particles are moistened and cling together when pressed into ball.

Press mixture into ungreased 9-inch square pan. Bake at 425 degrees 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, beat eggs well. Gradually beat in sugar and continue beating until thick and light in color. Fold in coconut.

Spread preserves over pastry in pan to within 1/4 inch of edges. Carefully spread coconut mixture over preserves. Bake at 375 degrees 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and cut into squares or bars. Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies.

COCONUT-RUM BALLS

4 cups vanilla wafer crumbs

1 1/3 cups flaked coconut

1 cup finely chopped nuts

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup rum

Powdered sugar

Combine crumbs, coconut and nuts in bowl. Stir in condensed milk and rum, mixing well. Shape into 1-inch balls and roll in powdered sugar to coat. Cover and store in refrigerator at least 24 hours or up to several weeks. Roll again in powdered sugar just before serving. Makes 6 dozen candies.

Note: 1/2 cup water and 1 teaspoon rum extract may be substituted for rum.

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