Here's a gift from some of our readers, who shared their favorite holiday recipes. Due to space limitations, we were only able to publish the first 13 recipes that we received. We plan to use more in the weeks to come.


BUTTER MINTS

"I learned how to make butter mints from Virginia Stewart at Spanish Fork High School. They became a family trademark. We wore blisters on our hands making them for both sets of grandparent's 50th wedding anniversaries. One of my brothers made them for his own wedding, another brother taught his LDS ward's Relief Society how to make them." — Lana Creer Harris, Spanish Fork

Equipment: A buttered marble slab, a large jelly roll pan dusted with powdered sugar and good kitchen scissors.

1 stick butter (no substitutions)

3 cups of sugar (take care to not allow sugar to stick to sides of pans)

1 cup of water

1 teaspoon mint flavoring

A few drops green or pink food coloring (optional)

In large heavy pan, combine butter, sugar and water. Heat until butter melts and sugar is dissolved. Cover pan and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Remove lid and wash down pan with wet cloth or pastry brush. Leave no sugar crystals on sides. Boil, without stirring, to 248 degrees, a very hard ball or soft-crack stage. Pour out onto buttered slab. Do NOT scrape pan or stir. Let mixture cool until it can be comfortably handled. Add mint flavoring and green or pink food coloring, if you want pastel mints.

With buttered fingertips, pull candy as if it were taffy at the ends of candy mass. Do not squeeze out incorporated air. Stretch until candy becomes stiff, loses its gloss and ridges from pulling remain. Stretch out into a rope on prepared surface. Cut with scissors into small pillow shapes. The candy will be chewy at this stage. After it has dried, place in airtight container to mellow overnight. Don't layer pink and green mints in a container — the colors run.


GRANDMA'S GUMDROP BREAD

"As a child, the excitement of Christmas didn't really begin until "the box" arrived from my grandparents who lived in California. Not only was it loaded with presents but boxes and boxes of goodies. One of my favorite treats was grandma's gumdrop bread." — JaLee Cheatham, Spanish Fork

Note: You may need to reduce the applesauce by 1/2 cup and add a little more flour, since the recipe hasn't been adjusted for Utah's altitude.

4 cups flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pound golden raisins

1 pound gumdrops (chopped)

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

1 cup nuts, chopped and toasted in butter

Sift first four ingredients. Dredge raisins and the chopped up gumdrops in flour mixture. Line three loaf pans with wax paper and grease. Cream butter, sugar and eggs. Add applesauce, vanilla and soda, mix well. Add creamed mixture to dry mixture and add the nuts. Pour into pans and bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until done in center.


CHAR SUI PORK

This is our New Year's tradition. — Toni-Sue Lua, Provo

4-5 pounds sliced pork

Kosher or sea salt

Marinade:

2 cups sugar

1 cup soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon MSG (optional)

1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder

3/4 teaspoon red paste color

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 clove garlic, chopped

Salt pork and let sit 1/2 hour. Mix marinade ingredients. Marinate pork in the sauce overnight, then grill or bake pork in oven.


FROZEN FRUIT APPETIZER

Years ago I attended a demonstration at Utah Power and Light and received a booklet of holiday recipes. Now no Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner at our home is complete without this recipe. — Jillaine Hadfield, Salt Lake City

3 cups water

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 6-ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate

1 6-ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate

1 can crushed pineapple

3 bananas, mashed

1 package frozen raspberries

1 cup frozen blueberries, optional

1 quart lemon-lime soda

Combine water and sugar, and heat to make a syrup. Add frozen orange juice, lemonade, pineapple with its juice, bananas and berries to the syrup. Stir to combine. Freeze. Remove from freezer an hour or so before serving. Break up mixture. Place a large scoop in small glasses or sherbert dishes (about 2/3 full), then pour some soda over the top. Garnish with a lime twist or mint leaves.


CANDY CANE COOKIES

Mother and I found this recipe back in the 1950s in the Better Homes and Gardens magazine. We still have the original page from the magazine. Since that time, these cookies have always been the centerpiece of our Christmas Eve family party. — Carolyn Mollinet

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

1 egg

3/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract, to taste

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup crushed candy canes

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon red food coloring

Mix shortening, butter, powdered sugar, egg, almond extract and vanilla. Add flour and salt and blend well. Divide dough in half. Add food coloring to half of the dough. Wrap each color separately in waxed paper and chill.

To shape cookies: Roll 1 teaspoon of each color dough into pencil-thin strips about 4 inches long. Place strips side by side, press lightly together and twist like a rope (hold one end in place while twisting). Then roll the strips together until they are smooth.

Curve top down to form handle of candy-cane shape. Make complete cookies one at a time. If all the dough of one color is shaped in strips first, they become too dry to twist. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 degrees nine minutes or until lightly browned. While cookies bake, mix crushed candy and sugar together. Remove cookies from baking pan immediately to a paper towel. While still warm, sprinkle with candy mixture so it sticks. (The mixture that falls on the towel can be used again on the next batch of cookies.) Makes about four dozen cookies.


NO-COOK MINT PATTIES

About 20 years ago I bought a Christmas craft book with this simple recipe. We have made mints every year since — about 1,200 of them every year. I make several quadruple batches using the dough hook on my bread mixer. — Marsha Downs, Sandy

1/3 cup light corn syrup,

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 teaspoon mint extract

4 cups powdered sugar

2 drops red food coloring

2 drops green food coloring

In a small mixer bowl combine the light corn syrup, butter and mint extract; beat until well combined. Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well. Stir in as much of the remaining powdered sugar as you can mix with a spoon.

Turn out onto a surface dusted with a little powdered sugar. Knead in enough of the remaining powdered sugar to make a stiff dough.

Divide dough in thirds. Knead red food coloring into one third, green food coloring into one third and leave one third white. Shape the dough into 1/2-inch balls; place on baking sheets lined with wax paper. Press lightly with tines of a fork. Let dry about 12 hours. Flip over and let dry 6 more hours.


LASAGNA ROLLS

This is a recipe I tried just last year and plan to make a holiday tradition. — Marie Galbraith, Sandy

1 pound mild sausage cooked, crumbled and drained (or ground beef)

11 ounces cream cheese (an 8-ounce package plus a 3-ounce package)

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 green pepper, diced

26-ounce jar spaghetti sauce

16 lasagna noodles

1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Combine meat and cream cheese in skillet. Cook over low heat until cheese melts. Stir in onion and green pepper; remove from heat. Spread half the spaghetti sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cook noodles according to package directions. Remove from heat and leave in water. Lay one noodle flat on a cutting board and spoon 1-2 tablespoons of meat mixture at one end. Carefully roll and place in baking dish. Repeat with rest of noodles. Pour reserved sauce over top of rolls; top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees 15-20 minutes until cheese melts.


CHRISTMAS CUT-OUTS

This sugar cookie recipe comes from a cookbook my mother got for a wedding present in 1947. We always made them at Christmas. I have used this recipe for the past 28 years in my middle school foods classes — and even kids can make it with success. — Janice Wuckert, Murray

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream shortening with sugar. Add egg and cream until fluffy. Sift dry ingredients together and add alternately with milk (add vanilla to milk). Chill dough, roll out and cut into shapes. Bake on a foil-lined cookie sheet at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Frost and decorate.


LISA AHMU'S PUMPKIN GINGERBREAD WITH CARAMEL SAUCE

Lisa was the friend who seemed to do everything perfectly. At Christmastime, her little house turned into a festival of trees, while her kitchen smelled like heaven ought to. The best part about Lisa, though, was that she acted like everything was "no big deal." A young mother of four, Lisa suddenly passed away a few years ago from a brain hemorrhage. Her many friends think of her around Christmastime because of all the things, like her gingerbread recipe, she passed on to us. — Courtney K. Walker, Sandy

2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

2/3 cups butter

3/4 cup fine chopped pecans

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons ginger

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cloves

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Cut in 2/3 cup butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in pecans. Press 1 1/4 cups of crumb mixture into bottom of a 9-by-9-inch pan. Add remaining ingredients to dry mixture; mix well. Pour evenly over crust-lined pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until done.

Caramel Sauce:

1/2 cup butter

1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/2 cup whipping cream

Melt butter in sauce pan. Stir in brown sugar and syrup. Bring to a boil. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves; about one minute. Stir in cream; return to a boil. Remove from heat. Serve over warm gingerbread with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Garnish with chopped pecans, if desired. Serves 12.


SO GOOD WINGS

Here is my most requested appetizer. I usually make it for my husband's work potlucks. — Stephina Fear, Rancho Cordova

3/4 cup soy sauce

3/4 cup white sugar

5 cloves garlic

1 1/2 inches of peeled ginger

3-4 pounds of chicken wings

Place first four ingredients in a blender and blend well. Wash and disjoint wings, getting rid of third joint. Place wings in a zip-top bag and pour marinade over them. Marinate for 18-24 hours in refrigerator. Pour all the wings and marinade in a well-greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Roast in oven at 375 degrees for about an hour or so, until the chicken is cooked. Let cool slightly before serving.


JESSIE'S SCOTCH SHORTBREAD

A cookie from the Deseret News many years ago is a perennial favorite. — Gerry Baumgarten, Provo

1 pound butter (no substitute)

1 cup powdered sugar

4 cups flour

1/3 cup cornstarch

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add flour and cornstarch (sifted together) a little at a time until all ingredients are blended. Gather mixture into ball. Knead on lightly floured board for 5-10 minutes. Roll about 1/2-inch thick. You can use a springerle rolling pin to make designs on the dough. Or simply cut dough into 1 1/2-inch squares; prick top lightly with fork.

Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until barely brown. Store in tightly covered tin.


AMY TANNER'S CRANBERRY SHERBERT

This dessert has been a Thanksgiving and Christmas tradition in my family since I was a kid in the 1940s . It's so simple even I can make it. — Jim Tanner, San Jose, Calif.

1 pound cranberries (4 cups)

2 1/2 cups water

2 cups sugar

Juice of 2 lemons

1 tablespoon (Knox plain) gelatin dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water

Boil cranberries in the 2 1/2 cups water until the popping stops. Rub the entire hot mixture through a sieve. Add sugar and heat until dissolved. Cool to room temperature. Stir in strained lemon juice and gelatin/water mix. Pour into tray to freeze.


BUCHANAN FAVORITE CHEESE BALL

This recipe was shared with me about 18 years ago by Laura Lee Rose in San Jose, Calif. It was a hit, and it makes a great gift or holiday treat. — Linda Buchanan, Mesa, Ariz.

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

6-8 green onions, chopped

1 small can chopped olives

2 cups cheddar cheese

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Optional: chopped nuts

Mix all ingredients until blended. Divide into 3 equal parts, place each ball on a piece of wax paper. Wrap with waxed paper and shape into a ball. Wrap waxed paper ball with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Before serving, you may roll in chopped nuts. Makes two large or three small balls.


E-mail: vphillips@desnews.com