Holiday Fruit Cake


An American version of a fruitcake which conta...

An American version of a fruitcake which contains both fruit and nuts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve decided to broach the subject of the dreaded Christmas fruitcake which I know is not all as popular as it was years ago.  I’ll start by giving a brief history of the lowly fruitcake’s origins.

Fruit cake originated, it is believed, in ancient Rome in a much simpler form.  It started to be called ‘fruitcake’ in the Middle Ages when spice, honey and preserved fruits were added to it.  With the discovery of America and the sugars that were produced in the colonies and the abundance of fruits and nuts, the fruitcake began to come into it’s own.  It was now possible to obtain inexpensive sweeteners and many different types of ingredients to add to the cakes.  In the 1700’s nuts were often added to the fruitcake to celebrate good fortune and the abundant harvests.  A great many different types of fruitcakes were produced, varying from light to dark, according to what type of fruits, flours, and nuts were used.  Traditional fruitcake are soaked in liquor to flavor and preserve the cakes,  with brandy and rum being most often used for soaking.  Many fruitcake recipes have been handed down through generations of a family.

The following fruitcake recipe is at least seventy years old.  It is up to you whether you want to further soak the cake with brandy by drizzling it slowly over the top until it is moistened:

1/2 lb. dates, chopped
1/2 lb. dried apricots- chopped
1/2 lb. red and green candied cherries- chopped
1/2 lb. red and green candied pineapple- chopped
1/2 lb. dark raisins
1/2 lb. walnuts – toasted and chopped
1/2 lb. pecans- chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup softened butter
1 orange, juice and grated rind
1 lemon, juice and grated rind
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons brandy
2 Tablespoons Curacao
2 Tablespoons dark rum

Measure out ingredients in advance for easier preparation.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Thoroughly grease two 8″ x 5″ x 3″ loaf pans.  Dredge the fruit and nuts with flour and set aside.  Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Sift the remaining flour with spices, baking soda and salt.  Add to the creamed butter and sugar mixture alternating with adding the liquor, spices, and vanilla.  Fold the floured fruit and nuts into the batter.  Pour into prepared loaf pans – put the loaf pans into a large pan of hot water and bake for about 2-2  1/2 hours or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool ten minutes and gently remove cakes to a wire baking rack to further cool.

When cool, fruitcake can be further soaked in brandy or rum by drizzling liquor onto cake and letting it seep in to moisten.
Wrap cakes thoroughly in plastic wrap.  They can be aged for several weeks for flavors to meld.  Good served with cream cheese or butter.

HAPPY BAKING AND HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON.

Chocolate Liqueur


English: Roasted cocoa (cacao) beans

English: Roasted cocoa (cacao) beans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a quick recipe for a liqueur that can be used for any special occasion.  I’ve found it an easy recipe to make and it is can be enjoyed after things have settled down after your holiday meal.

CHOCOLATE LIQUEUR

1 CUP LIGHT CORN SYRUP
3/4 CUP SUGAR
2 CUPS VODKA
3 TABLESPOONS CHOCOLATE EXTRACT
2 TEASPOONS PURE VANILLA EXTRACT

In a saucepan, mix together the sugar and corn syrup, stirring occasionally.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, being careful not to burn it.  Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes.  Mix in the vodka; stir in the

vanilla extract

vanilla extract (Photo credit: craftapalooza)

vanilla and chocolate extracts.  Pour finished liqueur into glass bottles with corks or into other fancy glass containers.  Cover and let stand for 2 or more days for the flavor to develop.

YIELD: 1 QUART

This is good served with a shortbread cookie or Biscotti’s.

Diabetic Oatmeal Cookies


yes, i FINALLY made cookies again. it's been y...

Below is an older recipe that my mother had in her recipe box.  Even though she was being treated for a heart condition, she had many low or sugar-free and fat free recipes in her collection.  I always stole some of these after working all day and would ruin my dinner having just a few too many.  I’ve adapted them to be more diabetic friendly by replacing some of the sugar with dry sugar substitute and lessening some of the fat.

36 cookies

45 min preparation time

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray large baking sheet very lightly with cooking spray.

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup margarine, softened

1 cup dry sugar substitute (Splenda for  Baking)

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 medium eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (pure vanilla is best)

3 cups old-fashioned oats

1  1/2  cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon of salt

3/4 cups raisins

Cream margerine, sugar substitute and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Blend in oats, baking soda and salt, then add the flour.  Blend thoroughly until of stiff consistency.  Add raisins and mix completely.

Chill dough to make it easier to handle.  Roll the dough into ball (36 portions) and flatten with a glass dipped in water and powdered sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Cookies should be lightly browned. Do not overcook.

Remove  cookies from baking sheet to wire rack. Let cool.

Serving size: 1 cookie

Total fat 5.9 grams   Cholesterol  25 mg.    Sodium   141 grams       Protein  2.0 grams      Carbs  17.1 grams    Sugar 4.3 grams

calories  76

I always like to have a few of these cookies for my bedtime snack with a glass of milk.

Please refer to your diabetic diet plan or ask your nutritionist for the proper amount of cookies you may have.

Enjoy!