I, for one, have to have fruitcake. I love the stuff. Especially the one from the Collins Street Bakery in Corsicana.
Then I need something with mincemeat in it. Oh, and don’t forget anything gingerbread flavored.
This is also about the only time of the year I will eat peppermint. Oh, and eggnog. When I was little, my mom fixed it with Coca-Cola in it for me (instead of bourbon like the grown-ups had) and I still like it that way.
I still buy chocolate-covered cherries as my dad loved them so much and that was his holiday favorite. But please don’t make me eat anything with anise. My great-grandmother, Emma Jacob Kenne, would make these hard German cookies that tasted like licorice and I remember my mom making me eat one once when we visited her. It was an awful thing to give a 6-year-old and I still have nightmares about it.
I can also still remember the wonderful smell of my grandparents’ house when we entered on Christmas Eve. Beside his chair, Grandpa had a crate of apples, a crate of oranges, a huge peppermint stick and a bowl of mixed nuts ready to crack. I think it reminded him of the treats he would get once a year at Christmas when he was a young boy. That smell of the ripening fruit and peppermint, along with the spindly Christmas tree decked out with shiny tinsel made my childhood Christmas a wonder.
I hope your Christmas will be a wonder. As the day rushes by, you will probably not even realize the memories your kids or grandkids are tucking away. It’s usually not the big things that stick with them for decades, it is the little things. So don’t worry about making a big production out of everything as the little things will count with them, too, and they will cherish them in their hearts when their hair is gray, just like I do.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
Eggnog Pound Cake
• 1 box French vanilla cake mix (regular size)
• 1 box (3.9 oz.) instant French vanilla pudding mix
• 4 eggs
• 1 1/4 cups dairy eggnog
• 1/4 cup Canola or vegetable oil
• 2 tsp. rum extract
• 1 tsp. eggnog extract (optional)
• 1 tsp. ground nutmeg (I used fresh grated)
• 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
• 1/4 tsp. rum extract
• 2/3 tbsp. dairy eggnog
• In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, eggnog, oil, extracts and nutmeg and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes
• Pour into a well-greased 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate.
• In a small bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, extract and enough eggnog to achieve a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cooled cake. Sprinkle with more nutmeg, if desired.
(aka Peppermint Chex Mix)
• 8 cups Rice Chex® or Chocolate Chex® cereal
• 1 lb. almond bark or your favorite dipping white chocolate (I used half of a block of Ghirardelli white chocolate dipping bar from Sam’s)
• 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy canes/sticks
• Line several cookie sheets with foil or waxed paper. (I just put wax paper on the counter top.) Place cereal in large bowl.
• Melt dipping bar according to instructions on the package. Stir in half the crushed peppermint candy.
• Pour over cereal and toss to evenly coat. Spread mixture in single layer on waxed paper. Immediately sprinkle with remaining candy. Let set about 20 minutes. Gently break up coated cereal. Store in airtight container.
Christmas Fruit Cookies
(A very old recipe and always a must on the cookie tray)
• 1 cup chopped pecans
• 2 cups pecan halves
• 1 10 oz. pkg. dates, chopped
• 1/2 lb. candied cherries, chopped
• 3/4 lb. raisins (dark or golden)
• 1/2 lb. candied pineapple, chopped
• 1 cup flour
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup butter
• 4 eggs
• 3 tbsp. milk
• 1/2 cup whiskey
• 3 tsp. baking soda
• 2 cups flour
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• 1 tsp. nutmeg
• 1 tsp. cloves
• In a large bowl, combine the fruits, nuts and the1 cup of flour. Allow to sit overnight.
• The next day, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, milk and whiskey. Stir floured fruit mixture into sugar/egg mixture. Sift dry ingredients together and then gradually add to fruit mixture.
• Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees or until lightly browned.