Article by Karen Ciancio

Christmas is celebrated around the world and each of us has our own Christmas traditions developed with family and friends over the years. Many of these traditions involve the kinds of food we eat.

Christmas foods played a large role in the traditions of my family – whether it was the Christmas eve cabbage rolls and pierogi dinner with my Austrian parents or the Italian sweet treats served Christmas day by the other side of the family. And we can’t forget the delicious turkey dinners, served with all the trimmings.

Often times we don’t think that much of these traditions while we are young, and take them for granted. But as we grow older we appreciate the richness these holiday traditions have added to our lives. And as adults we have the opportunity to create our own traditions, those special times together that will become cherished memories for our own children to remember.

Here are two holiday recipes that may become family favorites at your house and may form part of your family’s memorable Christmas traditions.

Festive Rum or Orange Balls

2 squares (ounces) semi-sweet chocolate1/4 cup corn syrup1/4 cup icing sugar1/3 cup orange juice2 cups vanilla wafers, finely crushed1 cup chopped pecans

For the outer coating:Toasted pecans, finely choppedicing sugarchocolate, finely grated

Melt chocolate squares in a pot over hot water and stir until melted. Add corn syrup, wafer crumbs and nuts. Mix well. Chill this mixture until it is firm enough to handle.

Shape into 1 inch balls. Roll in one of the coatings.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for at least one week to meld flavors.

(Use an equal amount of dark rum for rum balls).Makes about 30 balls

Surprise Inside Hint:Place one well drained maraschino cherry into the center of each rum ball as you are rolling them. Roll rum mixture around the cherry evenly.

Ginger Krinkles

1/2 cup shortening or unsalted butter, at room temperature1/2 cup sugar1 egg1/2 cup molasses2 cups flour1 teaspoon baking soda1/4 teaspoon salt2 teaspoons ground ginger1 teaspoon cinnamon1 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)sugar

Preheat oven to 325