Sumptuous, seasonal and so, so tasty
My lovely assistant Jean and I have a few more holiday recipes to share for your baking and eating pleasure this season. Make sure to check out last year’s recipes, too.
Certain to be a family favourite, this recipe makes four large loaf pans or about twelve small ones.
1 lb butter
1 lb brown sugar
2 lbs raisins
2 lbs currants
1 lb dates
1 lb mixed peel
½ lb cherries
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp allspice
1 tsp mace
1 tsp mixed spices
1 tsp soda
5 cups flour
1 cup brandy
Wash raisins and currants, chop dates, cut up any of the too-big pieces of mixed peel. Mix together fruits, spices, flour, soda and salt – ensure it’s well mixed! Cream butter and sugar then add eggs one at a time. Add brandy & fruit mixture alternately to the creamed butter mixture.
Grease cake pans and bake in oven, not more than 300°F. Large cakes take two to three hours, medium takes one and a half, small pans take one hour. Leave cake in the pans until cool.
For storing, there are two different methods: 1.) Wrap with a brandy-soaked cheesecloth then wrap with foil; or, 2.) Wrap with saran wrap then foil, store in covered container or Ziploc freezer bag; then remove covering every 30 days, brush with brandy and rewrap.
Holiday snack mix
Careful, this one is as addictive as it is easy. It’s simple to buy gluten-free options for the pretzels and cereals, if that’s a consideration. And if you’re feeling really crazy, add in some popped corn halfway through the baking time.
1 cup of salted butter
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
A few drops of hot sauce (optional)
5 cups pretzel sticks
5 cups toasted oat cereal (Cheerios)
4 cups of corn or wheat square cereal (Shreddies)
4 cups of rice square cereal (Chex)
2 cups of nuts or roasted pumpkin seeds for a nut-free option
Preheat your oven to 275°F. In a very large roaster pan, combine the cereals, nuts and pretzels. In the microwave (or on the stove) melt butter and mix in spices and Worcestershire. Pour over dry ingredients and stir gently to mix thoroughly.
Bake for about an hour, stirring gently with a spoon every 15 minutes or so. The mix will be done when you can see that all the butter mixture has been absorbed and is dry. Spread on a large piece of foil to cool, then store in an air-tight container for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to three months.
Quick and appetizing – with just three ingredients, these couldn’t be more straightforward.
1 package frozen-puff pastry, thawed
½ lb brie cheese
1 cup cranberry sauce
Preheat oven to 375°F; cut the puff pastry sheets into approximately 3-inch squares. Press each square into a muffin cavity. Cut brie into ¾-inch cubes and place a cube of cheese in the center of each puff-pastry square. Top the cheese with about 2 teaspoons of cranberry sauce. As an option, top with chopped pecans and a sprig of rosemary. Bake for about 10 minutes until pastry corners are toasted lightly brown; cool 5 minutes before serving.