Monthly Archives: December 2009

English Toffee


1 lb butter, cut into thin slices

2 cups finely chopped lightly toasted almonds

2 T. water

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

10 oz. good quality chocolate, chopped (semi-sweet chocolate chips can be used)

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Cranberry Brunch Cake


This is great for Christmas Brunch!

3 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

1 cup butter, slightly softened

2 cups granulated sugar

1 T. grated orange zest

3 eggs

1 cup orange juice (fresh is best)

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

3/4 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour a 10 inch angel food cake pan or bundt pan.

Measure dry ingredients together and sift or mix with a wire whisk. Set aside.

Cream butter, sugar, and orange zest with an electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each. Alternately add flour mixture and juice. Gently stir in cranberries and nuts.

Pour into prepared pan and smooth evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 30 minutes before turning out onto a cake plate. Server warm but it’s great the next day also, gets more moist.

Hot Spiced Tea (an alternative to Hot Spiced Cider)


I like this better than hot cider because starting with tea instead of cider makes it less sweet.

Bring 3 qts of water, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 tsp. whole cloves,  and 1/2 tsp. whole allspice to a rolling boil in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Boil for about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and add 6 regular size tea bags or 2 large family size tea bags (regular or decaf). Cover with a lid and steep to desired strength (at least 10 minutes). Dunk and then remove tea bags.

Add sugar to taste, 1/2 cup – 2 cups (start with less and add more after tasting). (Stir the contents of a 12 oz can of frozen orange juice concentrate and a 12 oz can of lemonade concentrate <while still frozen, if it has started to separate> before measuring out half.) Add 6 oz frozen orange juice concentrate (1/2 of a 12 oz. can) and 6 oz frozen lemonade concentrate (1/2 of a 12 oz can). Stir together and return the heat to simmer or place in a crock pot.

Slice various citrus for added flavor and color (like oranges, lemons, limes and/or tangerines) and allow them to float with the spices while staying warm or add to each mug.

Texas Pecan Pie (Thanksgiving Tradition)






1 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 T. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

1 cup broken pecans (I put much more, at least double)

3 T. butter, melted

1 9 inch pie crust shell, unbaked

In a large mixing bowl, combine corn syrup, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, vanilla and eggs. Mix well. Add pecans stir to coat. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake on the low rack of a preheated 300 degree oven for 1 hour. I sometimes turn the oven up the last 10 minutes to help brown the crust and crunch up the pecans.

Food Editors’ Favorites, Desserts

Kitty Crider

Austin American-Statesman, Austin, TX

Sand Tarts (Lenny’s Favorite Cookie)


1 cup butter

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 cups sifted cake flour

1 cup chopped pecans

1 tsp. vanilla

dash of salt

Confectioners sugar

In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Mix in flour, pecans, vanilla and salt. Roll into balls or shape into crescents. Place on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until very lightly browned. While cookies are still warm (but not hot), roll in additional confectioners’ sugar and finish cooling on wire racks

Food Editors’ Favorites, Desserts

Louis Mahoney, The Richmond News Leader, Richmond, VA

Spiced Roasted Pecans


This is a great thing to make right before your family comes home or guests arrive…the aroma makes the house smell like Christmas!

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (or a little more)
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
Mix together with whisk in small bowl.
Add to water and egg white.
2 T. water
1 egg white (slightly beaten)
Whisk together well.
Pour in 2 1/2 cups (or more) pecan halves and stir to coat. Spray oil on large cookie sheet (or jelly roll pan with edges works best). Use your fingers to turn pecans over so that the flat side is down on the baking sheet. Bake in a 250 degree oven for 1 hour, stir half way through cooking and separate as much as you can. Stir again while cooling in pan to help break apart. After completely cool store in airtight container to keep them crunchy in humid weather.