Let’s use this thread to discuss, plan, celebrate and share the special things we’re making for the 2022 winter holidays, any and all of them! You may think starting this thread in October is early, but fruitcakes and German gingerbread are already underway in some households of my acquaintence. This was a special thread every year on Chowhound, and I hope the tradition can continue here on Hungry Onion
I’m still working on my cookie baking plans, but have thus far mapped out the spirited end of things:
Fruit cake two ways: one with apple, rum and brandy flavors, the other with chocolate, cherry and kirshwasser. I started soaking my fruit back in August, and did the first bake (two out of eight cakes) today (posted about it here on the baking thread).
Over the course of the summer, I made 5 flavors of liqueur infused with fresh fruit: sour cherry, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, apple. Most of this has been strained and decanted into 5 oz. bottles for gifting (blackberry and apple yet to be bottled).
I’ve also been building two rumtopfs. One will be gifted out as a concoction of both fruit and booze: sour cherry, strawberry, apricot, raspberry, currant, peach and (not yet added) grapes. I might bake small pound cakes to deliver along with jars of the spirited fruit. The other rumtopf is made from imperfect fruits, nuts and cinnamon sticks – this batch I will strain out all inclusions and bottle for giving the flavored rum only.
When I figure out my cookie baking plans, I’ll post them here!
This coming weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving. I won’t baking this weekend, but I’ve already bought and cut into a pumpkin pie this week!
Just read that rumtopf link . What an amazing project! Really love the seasonality of it and the long buildup and anticipation!
Oh, yes! @Phoenikia shared it with me. As soon as I read about it, I knew it was right up my alley. I also love the seasonality, and the perpetuity. You can supposedly keep one of these going for years, should you desire.
Ohhh, my! I remember my Mom making this (or something similar) in a large, tall, glass jar she left on the kitchen counter, adding alternating fruits and sugar each week. We called it something different - Friendship Fruit - because you gave it to new friends? Not sure. Anyway, IIRC, it had canned pineapple, sliced peaches, maraschino cherries, and another fruit - maybe apples? And brandy and sugar. That was always a “special dessert” when she’d make pound cake and we were allowed some of the brandied fruit. Thanks for the memory!
:::nodding::: I think Mom’s record was a bit over 3 years.
I really need to get my gingerbread dough together but I’m traveling this weekend… THE PRESSURE!
I’d go with a more realistic green, and these do take up fridge space, but it’s a cute idea to make for little kids. The picture omits the bead of icing that seals the candy-filled cone to the cookie before the exterior is decorated.
ALSO: I saw a good hint for the time-challenged. Use poptarts to construct little “gingerbread” houses. They cut easily without shattering. Make royal icing to join the walls and attach the roof, holding in place for 30 seconds.
I opened up the rumtopfs today to add some bartlett pears, and used the opportunity to take photos.
The first was started early last summer, and has lots of berries and seasonal fruits. The rum is now reddish and tastily tart-sweet.
The second is strictly an autumn rumtopf - amber in color, with a warm and spiced flavor.
I believe I am done adding to these, and will let them macerate until Thanksgiving-ish, when it will be time to sample more in depth.
For Xmas this year: The same old same old:
Peanut Blossoms: thick peanut butter cookies with a Hershey’s Kiss on top.
Pecan puffs: kind of a Mexican Wedding with pecans rolled in confectioner sugar.
Empire biscuits: A buttery shortbread cookie. Rolled out and cut in circles. Baked then stuffed with raspberry jam. Frosted with buttercream and top with a maraschino cherry. Served on a silver platter. Always.
And Chex Mix of course.
I picked up a few 10 oz. bags of pecan halves on sale at the store today for $2.00. So maybe a pecan pie will be in the future. And Hershey’s milk chocolate chips for $1.50… Both are in the freezer.
One thing I made one Xmas was those Rollo caramel chocolate candies. Heated for a few minutes in the oven then press a small curly salted pretzel on top. Cool. They were popular but I never made them again.
A silver platter even!
Frozen soups. My non-cooking friends love this gift which I freeze in quart containers. Probably roasted garlic and something italian-ish with little meatballs. TBD. Maybe frozen biscuits to go along.
Always a good idea for family. I used to make up a list of “Mom meals” when she was alive, and would freeze them in 1 or 2 cup containers for her after Christmas. For my sister and BIL, I’ll make them favorite meals of theirs and put in larger containers so they have something to eat when they go up to their cabin in Maine or get HOME from the cabin late and can just pull out of the freezer, defrost, and eat.
Holidays here start with Diwali, which is early this year, meaning October.
So far I’ve made a tester Shrikhand Tart and a full Mishti Doi Panna Cotta Tart for gatherings, a tester of a cheat recipe for Boondi Laddoo using couscous (whaaat!!!), and a trial blancmange for a different take on the panna cotta tart for a different event.
Goodies are still pending, both sweet and savory family favorites.
On the sweet side, Shakkarpara, lightly sweetened and cardamom-scented cookies (old pic here) are top of list. I may buy the first batch if I run out of time, in which case I’l make the homemade ones later (they taste vastly better). The other sweet snack only I like, so I may wait till later.
For savory, masala puris (fried flatbreads, so good with tea, but usually scarfed down on there own in a race to the finish, lol) and chakri (multigrain, spiced, crunchy spirals).
It’s not a coincidence that ALL these goodies are fried. I’ve tried increasing the fat in the dough and baking instead, but they are a poor substitute. For a couple of bites once a year, I’ve decided fried is just fine.
I’ll make some actual sweets too, still trying to figure out what, though. Only certain one is magaj / besan laddoos.
'Tis the season of suspending calorie counts
Why does the software want to correct me when I’m right? Ugh. *THEIR.
I do want to make some gingerbread cookies this year. I picked up a whole bunch of “fun” cookie cutters at Goodwill over the summer (including the actual gingerbread man cutter). I have a “Tasty 101” recipe from their TV show and I modified it slightly. I’ve had pretty good results with it. I’ll probably start my holiday baking in early December.
3 cups of Flour (sifted)
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
¼ teaspoon of allspice
2 teaspoons of ginger
½ teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
½ cup of butter
¾ cup of molasses
½ cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 egg (beaten)
In a pot (over stove) medium high heat, melt butter, add molasses, add sugar and mix with wooden spoon until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat add vanilla and beaten egg, mix well. Mix dry ingredients well. Reduce heat even more, slowly add dry ingredients and mix well. Remove from stove, place mixture on cutting board allow to cool enough to knead. Knead slightly and wrap in cling film, chill overnight.
Next day, cut off a portion, heat in microwave 20 seconds. Flour cutting board and roll out to ¼ inch thickness. Utilize cookie cutters to cut out various cookies, place on parchment paper on cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Place cookies on cooling rack, when cool put in Ziploc bag and refrigerate.