It’s been fun doing “Christmas in October” here at The Daily Digi and I’m excited to share some fabulous holiday recipes with you today for the un-digi post. One of my favorite things about November and December is eating all the special foods that we save for this season. Yummy!
I (Katie) asked some of our team members to share their special holiday treats with all of us. We have team members from all over the world so if you need help with recipe conversions be sure to check out The Metric Kitchen.
This year my kids are getting little 4×6 photo albums with our family’s Christmas recipes in their Christmas stockings. I used Shabby Princess’s free recipe cards and printed them at Snapfish and they look so pretty.
Here’s one of my favorite recipes – Gingerbread Men:
Heat to boiling point:
1 c. molasses
Add and mix well:
1/2 c. sugar
6 T. shortening
2 T. milk
Mix and sift together:
4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. ginger
Add sifted dry ingredients to first mixture. Shape into mound, wrap in waxed paper and chill well. Roll on board lightly “floured” with powdered sugar until dough is 1/4″ thick. Dip cutter in powdered sugar. Place on lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake at 375 F for 6-8 min.
I’ve used this recipe for years, modified from one I got from an American friend in Brazil. I now live in Malaysia and start collecting bottles of molasses months before Christmas. We serve well over 200 people at an annual Christmas buffet and staff Christmas party so I probably make 8-10 batches of these. I pipe powdered sugar frosting around the edges with 3 little buttons. They’re a big hit!
A simple Christmas Train I made with a cake pan I found at Loblaws this past Christmas. I chose a simple spice cake, not from scratch just the regular box kind cause I had MANY things to make for Christmas dinner and my Mom who is our normal baker had just had surgery on her hands. It was all on me!
I bought some candies and used royal icing for the train tracks and as glue for the candies. Icing sugar to top the cake and use as snow. Candies were tricky to get because my son has a Peanut Allergy but we managed to get a bit of a selection. I just pieced everything together with my son’s help, topped it with the icing sugar and I don’t think there was a piece left by the end of the night it was a big hit with the kids.
Fern’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
These chocolate chip cookies are what I think of when somebody mentions chocolate chip cookies. This is my Grandma Fern’s recipe. They have almost a sugar-cookie base, loaded with chocolate chips. They’re perfect for cookie exchanges and they freeze beautifully. In fact, I like them straight out of the freezer, dunked in tea. But that’s just me…
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
small package chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a cookie sheet.
In a mixer, cream together the shortening and butter, then add in the white and brown sugar. Cream together until fluffy. Beat in the egg until well combined. Add the flour and baking powder. Mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips until just combined. This is a dry dough.
With wet hands, form round balls of dough (about 1 1/2 inch diameter) and place on the cookie sheet, leaving about 1 inch between each ball. Fill a glass with water and dunk a fork in it. Using the wet fork, flatten each cookie ball until about 1/3 inch high (may take multiple flattens). This creates an nice lines on the cookie top.
Bake in a preheated oven for about 8 minutes, or until the bottom is just turned golden brown. All to rest on the sheet for 2-3 minutes and then use a spatula to lift onto cookie racks to finish cooling. The cookies will be very soft, but do not be tempted to over-bake! They get firmer as they cool.
Oma’s Red Wine Cake
This is a substantial cake suitable to give as a gift. I remember my Mom giving it to teachers as a Christmas gift when I was in elementary school. I like to top it with sifted icing sugar for an attractive presentation. (Don’t worry about the alcohol with kids — it cooks off.)
300 g unsalted butter
300 g white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla (or 2 packages vanilla sugar)
300 g cake flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons cocoa powder
100 mL dry red wine
5 large eggs
150 g chocolate sprinkles
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a large bundt pan.
In mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
In a separate mixing bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and salt.
Add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet ingredients. Mix well. Stir in the sprinkles. Add the red wine. Mix well.
Pour into the greased pan and bake for 55 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
butternut squash muffins with a frosty top
by Jaime Oliver (*wub*)
serves 12 muffins
My kids love these squash muffins. They taste a bit like carrot cake, as the two vegetables are very similar – I’ve simply swapped carrots for squash. Both of them are wonderful carriers of flavours like cinnamon, cloves and vanilla. The skin of a butternut squash goes deliciously chewy and soft when cooked, so there’s no need to peel it off. Give these little cakes a go – they’re a perfect naughty-but-nice treat. And a great way of getting your kids to eat squash!
• 400g butternut squash, skin on, deseeded and roughly chopped
• 350g light soft brown sugar
• 4 large free-range or organic eggs
300g plain flour, unsifted
• 2 heaped teaspoons baking powder
• a handful of walnuts
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 175ml extra virgin olive oil
for the frosted cream topping
• zest of 1 clementine
• zest of 1 lemon and juice of ½ a lemon
• 140ml soured cream
• 2 heaped tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
optional: lavender flowers or rose petals
• 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped out
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Line your muffin tins with paper cases.
Whiz the squash in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the sugar, and crack in the eggs. Add a pinch of salt, the flour, baking powder, walnuts, cinnamon and olive oil and whiz together until well beaten. You may need to pause the machine at some point to scrape the mix down the sides with a rubber spatula. Try not to overdo it with the mixing – you want to just combine everything and no more.
Fill the paper cases with the cake mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Check to see whether they are cooked properly by sticking a wooden skewer or a knife right into one of the cakes – if it comes out clean, they’re done. If it’s a bit sticky, pop them back into the oven for a little longer. Remove from the oven and leave the cakes to cool on a wire rack.
As soon as the muffins are in the oven, make your runny frosted topping. Place most of the clementine zest, all the lemon zest and the lemon juice in a bowl. Add the soured cream, icing sugar and vanilla seeds and mix well. Taste and have a think about it – adjust the amount of lemon juice or icing sugar to balance the sweet and sour. Put into the fridge until your cakes have cooled down, then spoon the topping on to the cakes.
Serve on a lovely plate (or on a cake stand if you’re feeling elegant, or on a rustic slab if you’re more of a hunter-gatherer type!), with the rest of the clementine zest sprinkled over. For an interesting flavour and look, a few dried lavender flowers or rose petals are fantastic.
Thanksgiving is one of my very favorite holidays!! My first Thanksgiving away from my family was also my first Thanksgiving married. My mother-in-law asked me to bring one of my families favorite dishes to Thanksgiving dinner. She figured it might be nice for me to have something that was a tradition for me, especially since it was my first Thanksgiving away. I worked so hard on my dish and was so proud of it and knew that everyone would love it. As we pulled into my in-laws driveway, my husband of a few months said, “You know my family isn’t going to eat that, right?” I was shocked and said, “Why won’t they eat it?” He simply said, “We don’t eat nuts.”
When we walked in the house, my mother-in-law could tell I was upset and asked if everything was okay. I proceeded to tell her that I didn’t know they didn’t eat nuts and my dish had nuts in it. She assured me that they did eat nuts and not to worry. During dinner everyone made a fuss over my dish and ate every last bit of it. For a very long time, I thought they did that just to make me feel better, but the fact that my mother-in-law and sister-in-law still call me for the recipe a few days prior to Thanksgiving sixteen years later tells me that they really do like it.
It is a long-standing family joke and one my poor husband will never live down…the yams that no one would eat!!
The recipe is very similar to this one, but I use chopped pecans and don’t add any additional spices.
Holiday Gumdrop Bread from Betty Crocker
I can’t stand fruitcake, but I love the look of a festive wrapped quick bread. This simple recipe for gumdrop bread always gets good reviews from anyone I share it with. My trick is to dip the cut up gumdrops in a light coating of flour before adding to the batter. This seems to make them less sticky to deal with. We leave the nuts out of our version. This is a nice bread for mini loaves which are just perfect for gift giving!
Cherry Chocolate Kisses
- 1 cup butter (no substitutes)
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar (I never sift mine – shhhh! Don’t tell!)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons maraschino cherry liquid (from the jar of cherries)
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 and ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup chopped maraschino cherries
- Granulated sugar
- 48 milk chocolate Hershey Kisses (unwrapped) – I’m sure you could also use dark ones if you like
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Beat butter in mixing bowl with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add powdered sugar and salt; beat until combined. Beat in cherry liquid and almond extract. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour and cherries with a wooden spoon.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 14 minutes until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove from oven and immediately place an unwrapped chocolate kiss in the middle of each cookie. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Makes 48.
These cookies are especially nice at Christmas or Valentine’s Day. They are really pretty because of the pink color.
Nutty Cracker Delights
- 42 Keebler Club crackers
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup slivered almonds
Place crackers in a single layer on a large foil lined cookie sheet. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add sugar and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour evenly over crackers and sprinkle with nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
These are soooo good! They satisfy both sweet and salty cravings at the same time.
We’d love to know what you’re favorite holiday foods are. Feel free to leave us a comment and/or a link so we can try them too.
P.S. The random winner from this month’s reader challenge is Jodi who said “I like this challenge every month…
Here’s mine: http://www.flickr.com/photos/inkyfingers95/5107316445/” – Watch your email for your gift Jodi! 🙂
All of the layouts were just fantastic so I hope you will check them out in the comments section of the post!