Five days to go! When I was a kid, my parents always hosted Christmas. My Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins descended upon the house with brightly colored tins full of homemade cookies, cakes and candies that we only had at Christmas. Among my favorites were Aunt Florence’s chewy ginger cookies, Cousin Noel’s bright green sticky holly wreaths, and my grandmother’s specialty treats, Mimi’s Orange Balls, and Scotch Shortbread. It just isn’t Christmas without Orange Balls and Scotch Shortbread.
My mom came down today and supervised Caroline and me in the kitchen. We made lemon cookies, Mexican Wedding cookies, homemade marshmallows, Mimi’s Orange Balls and a Cheese ball. It was a fun time filled with laughter and lots of powdered sugar! As we were baking we tried to figure out how Mimi, my great-grandmother, came upon the Orange Ball recipe. Mom remembers her making them forever, however, several of the ingredients weren’t even available commercially until the early 60’s, so our best guess would be that she found it in a magazine during that time. This is a recipe that I have never seen or tasted other than in my family’s kitchens. The Orange Balls have a rich flavor, that develops over a few days and gets even better. I’ve won not one, but two cookie swap competitions with this cookie, it is that good. It is super easy and no bake! Here’s how you do it.
In a heavy saucepan melt 1 bag of butterscotch chips, Karo syrup, sugar and orange juice concentrate over low heat.
In a separate bowl, finely crush a box of vanilla wafers, and 1 cup of pecans, I use a food processor for the nuts, but a fine chop will do.
Next you mix everything together, form into balls and roll in granulated sugar. Could that be any simpler? They are very rich so I like to roll them into 1/2 inch balls, Caroline and mom did the rolling and made this batch a little bigger than usual.
Mimi’s Orange Balls
1 16oz package of Butterscotch Chips
3T light Karo Syrup
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. frozen orange juice concentrate
1 box vanilla wafers
1 C. crushed pecans
about 1/2 C sugar.
Melt first 4 ingredients in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile finely crush the vanilla wafers and pecans, mix well in a large bowl. Add the melted mixture to the crushed cookies and nuts, mix very well. Once cool enough to handle, (about 5 min.) form into 1/2 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar. Keep in a tightly covered tin for up to 2 weeks, (if they last that long!) Enjoy!
Caroline also insisted that I share her favorite recipe that I make, Mrs. Walker’s Cheese Ball. Mrs. Walker is a sweet lady that lives across the street from where I grew up, she is a fabulous cook and shared this recipe with me years ago when I was a young bride. Caroline loves it……… a lot! It’s very savory, and very simple. I form it into 3 smallish balls as opposed to one, so she doesn’t inhale it all at once!
Mrs. Walker’s Cheese Ball
1 pkg cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 C finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 T Worcestershire sauce
optional, 4 oz blue cheese, (Caroline likes it best without the blue cheese, but I love it!)
1/4 C finely chopped pecans
1/4 C finely pimento stuffed olives
Mix first 4, (or 5 if using blue cheese) ingredients together until fully combined. Form into a ball, I usually make three small ones. In a separate plate mix together the pecans and olives. Roll the cheese ball around on the nut/olive mixture until fully covered. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Serve with crackers, Enjoy!
My older brother and his family came in tonight, and our baby brother comes on Monday! We are waiting for him to get here to make the shortbread, our absolute favorite!
Stay tuned for that recipe!
For a printable PDF click Orange Balls and Cheese Ball recipe cards