How Sweet It Is…

As we get closer to the Christmas holiday, the time to start our baking has come.  MANY varieties of cookies, cakes, breads, jello molds and candies will eventually decorate my dessert table on Christmas Eve.  But, like all good things, each recipe will take time and patience, so we begin early in the month with things that will stand the test of time.  Everyone has their favorite cookie variety:  Peanut-Butter Kisses, Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal, Snowballs, Thumbprints filled with jeweled-colored jellies and jams, Snickerdoodles, Spumoni layer cookies (very colorful) and sugar cookies, just to name a few.  
For some, the concept of Fruitcake is a frightening one, at best, that conjure up the thoughts of dense, dry, sticky bricks that are the butt of many a re-gifting joke.  But, I PROMISE you that the recipe beow that has been developed by us over the years is DELICIOUS and really speaks to the festivity of the season.  I encourage you to try it and if you hate it – ReGift it!
Next in the attached recipe department is my Mom’s favorite recipe for Nut Roll, which is not her own recipe but rather one that she felt was the most superior version found from her youth.  Besides nuts, the filling could also be Poppy-Seed or Lekvar (a prune filling) – no matter what the filling, be a generous as possible, but be careful to not overfill or your Rolls will split and ooze.  These are outstanding and get rave reviews from everyone who tries them. 
Finally, I have added the recipe for Crispel – which CAN NOT be made very far ahead, same day or a few hours prior to serving is the best.  The dough can be made ahead, but the frying and sugaring must be done at the end.  These light, airy, doughy pillows frosted with granulated sugar (some like them just plain so we leave some alone after frying) melt in your mouth and are quite addictive.  Everybody begins to salivate when we start to fry them and they appear out of the woodwork to sample the final product – we have no problem finding people for “quality control”. 
I will do the fruitcakes and Dad will do the Nut Rolls (maybe poppy-seed too) and mix the Crispel dough and we both share the cookie baking.  As we progress to final products for display, I will add photos of the sweet feast to this post.  Suffice to say for now that they are beautiful, tasty and unique and one of the highlights of the Christmas Feast.
These traditional foods are just a few of those which have sttod the test of time in our family. I am sure many of you have similar favorites within your own sweet memories.  If you have a special recipe send it along to be posted and tell us about the story behind the delicacy that is special to you.  In this way, we honor those who came before us and keep their memories alive.
Mother/Daughter Fruit Cake
3 Boxes Flavored Dessert Bread Mixes (suggestions: Nut, Date, Cranberry-Orange, Apricot; mix/match)
3 Eggs beaten well;  ¾ C Oil

1½ C Orange Juice Concentrate mixed with 1½ C Apricot Brandy (or other fruit flavor liqueur)
16 Oz Mixed Candied Fruit +  1/3 cup chopped dates + 6-8 Oz broken pecans

For decorating and glazing the top of the loaves AFTER BAKING: WHOLE pecans, white Corn Syrup, OJ concentrate and Gran Marnier liquer

Mix all main ingredients thoroughly, divide equally into 2 buttered or sprayed bundt pans – or 5 Foil Loaf pans. Bang pans on counter to spread evenly and remove trapped air.

Bake in pre-heated 350° oven for 45-55 min. (until a toothpick comes out clean ). Cool on rack. Remove from pans when slightly cooled. Lightly press WHOLE Pecan Halves into the top of the loaf in a pretty pattern.

While cooling, prepare glaze of ½ C Orange Juice Concentrate (no
water added), ½ C Gran Marnier and a 1/4 C of Light Corn Syrup.

When cakes are cooled, cut Cheesecloth pieces large enough to cover a cake, rinse cheesecloth under cold water and squeeze dry. Then soak the Cheesecloth in the glaze mixture. Cover the cakes with the cloths and wrap cakes tightly in foil, then plastic bag or place in airtight tin. Keep them covered and occasionally re-wet the cheesecloth with the glaze mixture. Store in
refrigerator to keep from molding. For best flavor, make several weeks before
serving. (Alternate non-cheesecloth  method:  Leave loaves in the original baking pan and paint the glaze liberally and oftern on the top, letting the liquid seep down into the cake, unmold day of serving and aint all outer serfuces with glaze again, let dry to a shiny finish).

To dress up cake before serving, tuck holly into the center opening and serve on a tiered cake dish. It’s not your everyday old fruitcake, after all!

Bunny Scenarie’s
Two-Hour Nut
FILLING (Prepare First)
Grind 1 Lb Walnuts very fine in grinder or blender
Add: 2 C Sugar – ½ C Brown Sugar
– Small can of Condensed Milk and 2 T Vanilla to the ground nuts in a large
bowl. You should have a thick nut paste that can be easily spread. Add milk
carefully if it gets too thick as it sits.

DOUGH (This does not need to rise before making rolls)
2 Packs Quick Rise Yeast – ½ C Very Warm
Milk – ½ Lb Butter
13-Oz Can Evaporated Milk – 3 Large Eggs – ½ C Sugar – 1
tsp Salt
1 T Vanilla

6+ C Flour

Dissolve 2 Packs Quick Rise
Yeast in ½ C very warm milk & set aside

Heat Can of Evaporated Milk,
to steaming.

Dissolve one pound butter in hot milk.
Let cool to very warm
Stir the yeast mixture into the butter and milk.

Beat 3 Large Eggs very well in large bowl with mixer.
Slowly add ½ C Sugar beating constantly.
Add 1 T Vanilla & mix again.

Meanwhile measure out about 6 C sifted flour.
Begin combining the flour a cup at a time, alternately with the milk/yeast mixture, to the beaten eggs. In first cup add 1 tsp salt. Start with flour and end with flour.

You can use the mixer until it is too stiff to work, then switch to wooden spoon. Use more or less flour, as needed to make a dough that will ball up and be workable without being sticky. (Amount of flour will depend on size of eggs, etc.)

Turn dough out on lightly floured board. Knead gently until it forms up and can be shaped into a ball. Flatten ball slightly and cut in 8 equal pieces. Shape pieces into round balls…let sit under a bowl.

Immediately begin to form nut rolls. (I recommend rolling them out on a sheet of waxed paper or better still, parchment paper. You can easily flip the paper over to make the dough roll over into a jelly roll shape and it prevents tearing of roll.)

Roll each piece of dough out on the lightly floured paper until it is about 1/8″ thick. I shape mine in rectangles, because it is easier to seal the ends.

Brush the dough with melted butter. Spread thinly right to the edge with nut mixture. (Mixture rises a bit in cooking so too much bursts the dough.)

Roll up jelly roll style, but more tightly. Seal the ends by pressing dough together and tucking the closed end under the top fold of the roll.

Place the rolls on a foil covered cookie sheet (this makes it easier to remove to cool), 2 to a tray. Cover and let rise in a warm spot until double in size, about 20 min. Brush tops with melted butter, sprinkle lightly with sugar & bake in preheated 350° oven until golden brown…. (About 20 minutes.)

Remove from oven; lift foil and all onto a cooling towel or cloth. After a few moments of cooling, roll the Kolachi off the foil to finish cooling. After thoroughly cooled, store snugly wrapped in foil, then plastic bag. Keeps very well a week in refrigerator, 6 months or more in freezer.

(Sugared Fried
Best When Made on Day To Be Served; does not keep well.
1 Pack Dry Yeast (fast rising is best)
¼ C Very Warm Water + 1T Sugar
– 1 C Scalded Milk
½ C warm tap water – ½ C Sugar – 1 tsp Salt – 2T Corn
2½ C Flour +/-

Dissolve yeast in ¼ C very warm water and 1T Sugar,
set aside.

Scald the milk and add the ½ C warm tap water to it in a large
Add the ½ C Sugar, Salt, & Corn Oil to the Milk Mixture. Stir
Add the Yeast Mixture, stir.
Beat in 1½ C Flour with wooden spoon
very well. Cover and let sit for 20 Minutes.

Add enough Flour to make a
Stiff Dough (about 1 C). Mix well.
Turn out on floured board and knead until elastic and smooth.
Place dough in greased bowl, turning to oil on all sides, cover and let rise until doubled.

Punch down & let rise to double again.

Heat about 2 inches of peanut oil to 375 in a large skillet, or
deep fryer.

Cut dough into 3 inch pieces; stretch and poke hole in center
to make donut shape.

Fry in oil, several at a time, turning, until raised and light brown. Drain well on paper towels. Immediately shake in paper bag with granulated sugar. Place on large tray and let cool.

Shake in sugar bag again after all are fried and sugared the first time.
(This goes easier as a 2-person operation… one to fry, the other to sugar.)

Mound in lined basket or bowl, cover with plastic bag until serving time.
This recipe will serve 8 easily, but it is very popular. Recipe can be doubled, tripled.

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