Archive for the ‘A Little of This’ Category


Time to make Christmas Cakes! Recipe Redux!

It’s that time of the year again…

“Isn’t that a fruitcake?” asked Husband.  “No, people don’t like fruitcake.  These are going to be Christmas Cakes.  BIG difference.  One is edible, one is not.” I tell him.  “Oh, so it’s a different recipe?” he asks.  “No, same recipe.  Different outcome.”

You all know what I mean don’t you?  You can call something one thing and it not be good at all.  Rename it and there you go!  Success!

Anyway, I do know a few people who LOVE fruitcake.  Good fruitcake.  Not bought fruitcake.  Me being one of those people.  OH! Excuse me, I meant Christmas Cake.  I LOVE Christmas Cake.Please do not assume you don’t like Christmas Cake (or fruitcake, if you insist on calling them this!) because you don’t like the store bought variety. They are NOT one in the same. Bought Christmas cakes contain that awful candied cherry and citron mixture that not only is not tasty but hard as rocks sometimes. This recipe I am about to give you is easy as can be.

This recipe makes four 6″ cakes.

  • 12 cups of dried fruit – I used apricots, dates, blueberries, cranberries, dark and golden raisins.
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup brandy or Cognac

Chop the large fruits into 1/4 inch pieces. Put all the fruit in a non-reactive container (plastic or glass) and pour the honey and brandy over it, stirring to coat well. Cover and let sit for a day or up to two weeks, mixing occasionally.


When ready to assemble the cakes, heat your oven to 275°F. Pour your fruit into a colander set over a bowl and let it drain while you prepare the rest of the recipe. Generously butter and flour your pans. As I said I used four 6″ rounds. But I think two 8’s would work as well. I also like to put a round of brown paper in the bottom of my pans over the butter/flour.


Cake ingredients:

  • Prepared fruit mixture
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1TBSP coarse salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups nuts – coarsely chopped (I used walnuts and pecans)
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup light brown, 1/2 cup white and 1/4 cup dark brown)
  • 7 large eggs

ccspices.jpgAnd for the glaze you will need apricot jam, brandy and water.

Stir together the dry ingredients and then add the nuts and stir again. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer with your paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Transfer to a large bowl and using the folding method, add the flour/nut mixture and then the fruit mixture. Stir to evenly distribute the fruits.


Divide the batter between the prepared pans. These pans will be full – note you didnt use any leavening so they are going to be dense (read: YUMMY) cakes.


Cut parchment to fit around the pans and above the rim at least 2 1/2 inches. Tie with baker’s twine.


Place on pans on cookie sheet and bake for 2 hours to 2 1/4 hours. Or until cake tester comes out clean. Transfer pans to wire rack to cool completely. Turn out cakes, then flip back over so top is up.


Heat 1/4 cup apricot jam, 1/4 cup brandy and 1/4 cup water until jam is liquid. Brush on tops of cooled cakes. Wrap in parchment and store in refrigerator for up to six months.


If you live in a cold climate, and you have a cool spot in your house, they can be kept in a tin or plastic container and unrefrigerated. But since many times we have the air conditioning on in December as much as July, we keep ours refrigerated.

As always look over this recipe and read completely before starting. If you have any questions or something doesn’t look right let me know. I read and reread my recipes but still miss some things.

Have a great day. I have other recipes I am working on so stay tuned!

Mine this year will be gluten free. I will let you know how they turn out.  This gluten free thing is a lot of work :/

There are some GREAT things coming up next week.  I might be scarce for a few days but things are already lined up so do stay tuned.  You won’t won’t to miss next Tuesday’s Tree-hugging post for sure! WOW…you’re going to love it!


Hello Friends!

Sorry I have been absent but life has been kicking my tail! I have been sick as much as well with my stomach.  Lots going on and honestly the past couple of weeks computer time has been scarce!  BUT, things are getting back to a normal busy and I have some crazy good things coming up for you.  CRAZY good.  So, it will be worth the wait.  I will meet you here Friday morning with a couple of recipes.

Blessings to you all as we enter this busy season! I finally figured out what makes it so stressful.  It is almost humanly impossible to keep your chin up and your nose to the grindstone 🙂


Foodie Friday – COOKIES!

I have not fallen off the face of the Earth.  My week was turned upside down when my sweetie came home a day (and two hours – but whose counting? 😉 ) early from Tunisia.  He called Tuesday afternoon and said his flight home had been moved to Wednesday night  at 9:30.  Well Wednesday was a crazy busy day.  Busy enough that Ben and I didn’t make it to the Human Society.  But we did get an ortho appt, chemistry class, groceries, some outside work and a good bit of the inside work done.  I had just walked in from chemistry class when the phone rang and it was Jerry saying he thought he could catch the 6:45 out of Atlanta and he’d call right back.  I jumped in the shower and told the kids they would have to “root hog” for supper and waited to hear from him.  Yep…I was out the door by 5:45.  I pulled up to the airport and two minutes later he walked out!  Talk about timing!  So yesterday we just mostly hung out and watch TV, napped and ate a not heart healthy supper.  Like my friend whose husband works the same kinda schedule mine does “The first day they are home, they eat what they want.  It’s the law.” Ü

I had a few cookies to make for a friend and made extras for the fam.  Their favorite: Cream Wafers.  Well, as you know, I have been having H-E double hockey sticks with my tummy and have decided it’s gluten.  I know, I know.  NOT something else.  Yep.  I have an appointment with my allergist next Friday for some tests but from trial and error I am fairly certain it’s the culprit.  So after making these cookies I got to thinking, why not just try a 1/2 batch gluten free substituting rice flour for the all purpose flour?  So I did.  Honestly, not too shabby for my first attempt  at gluten free cookies from scratch.  I have tried some packaged things and was none to pleased. In fact decided doing without was much better.  I am ordering xanthan gum today to see if I can improve on this recipe. The texture of the cookie was a little grainy and much more delicate than the original which is already delicate enough.  I will keep you posted. But all in all a fine substitution until I can perfect the formula.  I will be trying other recipes. But for now…a fine, FINE substitute.  And NO tummy trouble after eating a couple – so goal accomplished! Rachel liked them too.  They are just gluten free but do have dairy, just so you know.  I very well might attempt a gluten free/dairy free version soon.  I know people that are looking for gluten free, many times need dairy free as well.

All I really changed was the flour content from all purpose to white rice flour and used pure cane sugar for the cookie coating before baking.  I used filling I had left from the regular batch to fill them.


Okay now for all you I promised my Sugar Cookie Recipe to, I have two versions.  One is a little softer cookie from the addition of the brown sugar.  If you need a very sturdy crisp cookie use the first recipe.  If you like your cookies a little softer, the second should suit you.

NotQuiteJuneCleaver’s Sugar Cookies

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Whisk these three things together in a separate bowl.  Beat until light and fluffy:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar

One at a time add:

  • 2 large eggs

Beating well after each.  Then thoroughly mix in:

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract

With your  mixer running on slow, gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined well.  Don’t over beat cookie dough…makes ’em tough.

Divide your dough into 3rds or 4ths and wrap each in waxed paper, put them in a freezer bag and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.  This dough can be frozen for later use.  Just thaw in the frig the day before you need it.

Preheat oven to 350.

On a lightly floured pasty cloth roll your dough 1/8 inch thick.  Cut it out as desired with floured cutters.   Place on parchment lined baking sheet.  If you want to add sprinkles or colored sugar, now is the time.  Otherwise bake them plain for decorating with icing.  Bake 8-10 minutes depending on the shape of your cookies.  Pointy cookies like stars will be too brown on the edges if you over bake so watch your time.  Slide your parchment off onto a flat surface to let them cool or remove  them to a wire rack. When they are completely cooled you can decorate them as you wish.  This makes about 3-4 dozen depending on the size cutters you use.

Susan’s Sugar Cookies

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean (optional ~ cut the vanilla bean in half then slit one half lengthwise and scrape the insides out with the blade of your knife, add this scraping to the dough before adding the flour)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter, shortening and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time and then the flavorings (including the vanilla bean if you choose to use it). On low speed or by hand, mix in the flour combination. Divide the dough into thirds, wrapping each third in a piece of waxed paper. Place dough in freezer bag and refrigerate 2 hours or over night. This dough can be frozend for up to 3 months.

Preheat oven to 375.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut out desired shapes and place 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.


Royal Icing
I use Martha Stewart’s Royal Icing with one acception…I add 1 TBSP light Karo syrup. Makes it shiny and very smooth and she has some great tips for decorating cookies as you probably already know. So check out her website for technique.

We keep a wide variety of cookie decorations…sugars, pearls, dragees, jimmies…you name it we have it! A couple of great place to purchase these things is Fancy Flours and Country Kitchen. You can get a crazy wide variety of cookie cutters at Cookie Cutters Online.

Now have fun!

Xmas Cookies5cookiesforSam