October 24, 2004

Nothing can compare to a Latino Christmas. We love having family and friends over the house during the holiday season, as the spirit of giving and sharing becomes even more special. We strive to prepare the best down home holiday meals and we love to give presents.

A gift doesn't have to cost a lot for it to be appreciated; something that is simple yet practical can be even more valuable. The most important thing is to give with love. You can add a special touch when creating personalized items with just a little creativity. Homemade sweets are always a good alternative.

You can even prepare delicious confections in the comfort of your own home. The whole family can pitch in to help make the dish and the event can even turn into a holiday tradition. You can also decorate the container with gift-wrapping paper according to the recipient's particular taste and style.

Likewise, it's not a bad idea to prepare a little extra to keep at home for unexpected guests to have with a cup of coffee. Keeping instant coffee on hand is ideal for a last minute get-together, but remember that you must consume it all six months after opening. Maxwell House Instant Coffee offers the delicious, smooth and rich flavor of a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Preparation is easy and cleaning time is fast, leaving more time for entertaining.

Coffee is also an excellent ingredient for desserts. The following is a fast and delicious recipe that will fool friends and family into thinking that you spent the whole day in the kitchen.

COFFEE AND RUM BALLS

Preparation time: 40 min.

Serves 16 rations of 3 balls each

-- 60 NILLA Wafers, finely chopped (approximately 2-1/2 cups)

-- 1 cup powdered sugar

-- 1 cup PLANTERS pecans, finely chopped

-- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted

-- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

-- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (chocolate)

-- 1 teaspoon MAXWELL HOUSE Instant Coffee

-- 1/4 cup rum

-- 1 cup BAKER'S ANGEL FLAKE coconut, toasted

Excellent substitute: You can replace the coconut for PLANTERS toasted almonds (chopped), or chocolate for sprinkling.

Mix the ground wafers, powdered sugar, pecans, butter, corn syrup and cocoa in a large bowl.

Add the instant coffee granules to the rum. Stir until the granules completely dissolve and then add the mixture to the wafers. Mix well. Let stand 15 minutes.

Roll 1 inch balls with the mixture and sprinkle them or roll them over the coconut or its substitute. Place the balls in an airtight container and add parchment paper between layers. Store at room temperature.

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