December 2018


Mini Fruitcake Loaves

December 27: National Fruitcake Day

Highlander’s Mum would make traditional fruitcake for the family for Christmas, starting her holiday baking months before to give them time to age in orange juice-soaked cheesecloth. Sometimes she would make large round cakes, other times she would make them in large loaf pans. We make ours mini size to give away as gifts to Highlander’s family who don’t have the time to make them for their own holiday celebrations. They appreciate the childhood memories when they eat fruitcake for Christmas. Slice and serve with hot, heartwarming tea or rich eggnog for a festive holiday snack, especially on National Fruitcake Day!

Recipe

From Highlander’s Mum

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups mixed candied fruit (green and red cherries, lemon and orange peels, candied pineapple pieces, etc.)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 ½ cups mixed, chopped nuts (we used pecans, walnuts and slivered blanched almonds)
  • 3 ¼ cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 grated rind of a large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • candied cherries (green and red)

Directions

Mist mini loaf pans or cake pans with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together the fruitcake mix, raisins and nuts.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Pour over the mixed fruit and nuts and coat well.

In another bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, eggs and grated lemon rind. Add the vanilla and lemon extracts. Mix this into the above until well blended. Divide the batter evenly into the wells of the mini loaf pan. Top with green and red candied cherries.

Bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour (test the cake for doneness with a toothpick and bake for another 10-15 minutes). Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Notes

  • Optional: Soak a piece of cheesecloth in orange juice. Drain the cheesecloth and wrap a mini fruitcake loaf in it. Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least two weeks to age.
  • National Fruitcake Month is December. National Fruitcake Toss Day is January 3.

No-Churn Egg Nog Ice Cream

eggnogicecream

December 24: National Egg Nog Day

We look forward to toasting a seasonal drink every Christmas Eve—egg nog! But it has been a warm winter in Texas (and always in Islander’s home state of Hawaii) so we try to keep cool by eating egg nog ice cream. This delightful dessert is a simply sweet alternative (or addition) to Christmas cookies, fruitcake or Yule logs. Enjoy some no-churn egg nog ice cream on National Egg Nog Day! 

Recipe

(Adapted from Delish)

Ingredients

  • 1 pint (2 cups) heaving whipping cream
  • 1 14-ounce can condensed milk
  • ¼ cup egg nog (we used lactose-free, non-alcoholic)
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions

Beat the cream until stiff peaks form. In a large bowl, mix the condensed milk with egg nog.

eggnogicecreamsteps1

Stir in the ground nutmeg. Fold the whipped cream into this mixture until smooth, being careful not to whip more air into it. Place in a loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap or put the mixture in a freezer-safe container. Freeze for at least six hours or overnight. Remove from the freezer. Let stand for a few minutes and scoop into cones or dessert dishes. Sprinkle with additional ground nutmeg, if desired.

eggnogicecreamsteps2

Notes

  • Spike up your Christmas “spirit” by mixing in 1-2 teaspoons of rum or rum extract/flavoring in the recipe.
  • Search our blog for other recipes related to egg nog and the winter holidays.

Candied Maple Bacon

December 17: National Maple Syrup Day

Maple syrup and brown sugar on bacon? Oh my! This is a triple threat treat that is both savory and sweet at the same time. It is so irresistible just right out of the oven that we are too impatient to let the candied maple bacon slices cool to a crisp. This snack is definitely not for the health conscious so we rarely indulge on candied maple bacon—except on National Maple Syrup Day (and the upcoming National Bacon Day on December 30)!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pound thick cut bacon (we used maple flavor)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup brown sugar

Directions

Line a jelly roll/lipped baking pan with foil and place a wire rack in the middle. Cut the bacon in half and place the slices on top of the wire rack. Brush with maple syrup. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 10-15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and turn over the bacon slices on the wire rack. Brush again with maple syrup and sprinkle with more brown sugar. Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes more or until crisp. Watch carefully to make sure the bacon does not burn. Remove from the oven and immediately place the candied bacon on a sheet of waxed paper to prevent sticking to the wire rack as it cools. Serve at room temperature or reheat if desired.

Notes

  • In addition to December 30, some sources note that other bacon holidays include February 26 and September (the Saturday before Labor Day). These are additional days that we get to indulge in candied maple bacon!
  • Search our blog for other recipes that include maple syrup as an ingredient.