Saturday, November 24, 2012

Grandma's Christmas Kitchen

Hello Sweets,

I hope you all are enjoying your weekend.  :)  Perhaps you're as fortunate (unfortunate in my opinion lol) as my city is and you've got some snow to get you into the festive spirit!  Now personally I do not care for snow, but it is only a little sprinkle so I think I'll be okay ;)  Do you guys enjoy snow?  Or are you a sun bunny like myself?  What is your favorite winter activity?  Mine is snuggling up next to a warm fire with a cup of hot cocoa, and my love Nathan by my side (well now I just made myself miss him more hmph! :( ).

I actually find it really coincidental that it snowed today, because my grandmother and I are baking her famous Christmas cake :), and I don't think we could have asked for a more pretty back drop.  My grandma has been making these cakes every year since before I was born, although when I was young she would have to make two; one adult (w/ brandy) and one children's (w/o brandy).  But now since everyone is grown, she just makes one batch of her famous cake, although we will have to make sure little Miguel doesn't get his hands on this.  I asked her today if this was one of my great grandmother's recipes, but she couldn't remember (I'm pretty sure it is).  Either way it is a family recipe that I now have to carry on with me.  :)   It is a two day process and total time in the kitchen (with baking) is around 4-5 hours depending on your speed and organizational skills, so be prepared to spend some quality time with your counter tops lol.  Now, shall we get to the festive delight of a dessert?

Grandma's Dark Christmas Cake
1lb candied pineapple
1/2lb candied cherries
1/4lb candied citron
2oz lemon peel
2oz orange peel
1lb golden raisins
1/2lb dark raisins
1/4lb currants
1/2C brandy liqueur
1/4lb almonds
1/4lb walnuts (or pecans)
2C flour, sifted
1/2Tsp mace (can substitute w/ nutmeg)
1/2Tsp cinnamon
1/2Tsp baking soda
5 eggs
1 Tbs milk
1 Tsp almond extract
1/4lb butter, softened
1C white sugar
1C brown sugar
(makes 2 loaves)

Day 1~ Mix all candied fruits and soak overnight in the brandy in the refrigerator.

Day 2~
1)  Coarsely chop nuts, and mix in with the fruit.  Set aside.

2)  Grease two loaf pans, and line with parchment paper (tinfoil can be substituted).  Preheat oven to 275F.

3)  Sift flour into a medium bowl, remove 1/2C from the bowl and set aside.  With the remainder of the flour sift in baking soda and spices, set aside.
flour check, spices check!

4)  Take 1/2C of flour and mix thoroughly with the brandied fruit and nuts.  Set aside.

5)  Beat eggs slightly, add milk and almond extract.  Set aside.

6)  Cream butter with both sugars until light and fluffy.  Mix in egg and flour mixtures thoroughly.

7)  Pour batter into prepared loaf pans, be sure to press the batter down and evenly distribute.  Bake for 3 hours and 5 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let stand for 30 minutes, then turn it upside down on a wire rack and remove paper (tinfoil).  Most importantly, enjoy!


Today has been a really great day, being back in the kitchen with my grandmother filled me with nostalgia of when she first taught me how to bake.  Believe it or not, my favorite thing to do when baking with her, a close second is licking the beaters (what kid doesn't), but for me it was sifting!  I'm not kidding lol, I would go to town sifting every last grain of flour :) making sure I got every last piece through.  Even still to this day when I am sifting, I find myself smiling and seeing that little girl standing on a kitchen chair sifting over the giant mixing bowl.

Do you have a favorite holiday baking memory?  Or maybe your favorite holiday memory with your grandparents?  I know I have a ton of great memories with my grandparents over the holiday season, and I will do my best to share as many as I can over this holiday season :)  As always, I love hearing from you guys, so please don't hesitate to contact me about anything!

Now I have to convince my grandmother to make homemade Christmas pudding, which apparently is a 20 hour excursion O_O.  But it is oh so yummy, and she makes this delicious brandy sauce from scratch, so I figured why not the pudding too this year!  Wish me the best of luck, as I go to state my case ;)  Until next time........

Stay sweet,

Jennifer xoxoxo

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