Monday, December 1, 2008


Holy crap, have you looked at the calendar? It's December already. Sheesh! Where did this year go?

The Bag Lady has turned her thoughts toward preparations for Christmas. She has to do some baking and is thinking it would be nice to do something a little different this year. She tends to stick to the same old tried and true; but occasionally likes to throw something a little different into the mix. She has her old stand-bys - recipes she learned at her mother's knee, for things like shortbread cookies that melt in your mouth, and butter tarts to die for - but is on the look-out for something to become a new favourite tradition.

Christmas wouldn't be the same for her without the shortbread and the tarts, but she doesn't like fruitcake at all (although her mother did make a light/white fruitcake one year that wasn't too bad), and it wouldn't be the same for the Cow Whisperer without his mothers' carrot pudding. The Bag Lady has to admit that her mother-in-law makes a fabulous carrot pudding, and it rapidly took its' place amongst her favourites! Who needs fruitcake when you have steamed pudding?

What are some of your favourite Christmas foods? Anything unusual that you care to share? Got a recipe for something that will make the Bag Lady swoon and add to her list of favourite things?


Anonymous said...

My husband's favorites:

Chocolate Chip Snowballs

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tbs vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp if butter isn't unsalted
3 cups all-purpose flour
12 ozs mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.
Beat butter, sugar, vanilla extract and salt until creamy.
Gradually stir in flour, then chocolate chips.
Shape by tablespoons into walnut sized (a little bigger than 1") balls.
Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly golden brown.
Cool on rack.
If desired, dust with additional powdered sugar once they are cooled.
Makes about 60 cookies, that will not last as long as you'd imagine.

the Bag Lady said...

Ooh, Marianne - I'm trying that one - it sounds good!

Anonymous said...

No recipes, although I'm a huge fan of leftover mashed potatoes with cheese.

solarity said...

Ready? Er, um. {scuttles off to type the recipe into the file of the family cookbook she's been meaning to re-issue for...five years now?}

Back later.
Mary Anne in Kentucky

Leah J. Utas said...

Oh, I love fruitcake. Dad could make a mean one. He made it around Dec. 1 or so and it cured for quite some time before we got at it. That said, most people do not have the knack.
Mike makes a really good fruitcake too although it's of a different variety.
Mike also does the lebkuchen (honey cake) and linzertorte, and he's made a few other things, too, like Bishop's Bread. They're all good.

Anonymous said...

I love this time of year as I can thoroughly enjoy it since hanukkah is such a minor holiday.

I feel almost guilty :)


Anonymous said...

I never liked fruitcake until I had the famous ones from that bakery in Corsicana, TX. I adore those!
When I lived in Germany, a neighbor made such wonderful Stollen that I begged for the recipe (it was her mother's). Let me know if you are interested and I will blog it as a post (no time to do it right now).

solarity said...

I'm back. This recipe for Woodford Pudding (an old Kentucky specialty) has been in my family for about a century and a half. My father says "It's so good it'll make a strong man cry."

Woodford Pudding

1/2 C. butter
1 C. sugar
3 eggs
1/2 C. sour milk [I can’t estimate how many years I’ve been leaving this out]
1 t. soda
1 t. [or more] cinnamon
1 C. flour
1 C. blackberry jam
Cream butter and sugar with eggs until light. Add milk, soda, cinnamon, and flour. Blend in jam. Bake in a greased pan about 7 1/2 by 12 inches (the size matters; it won’t cook right if the batter is too deep or too shallow) for about 40 minutes at 325ºF.

Top with butterscotch sauce.

Butterscotch Sauce

Mix 1 1/2 C. brown sugar with 4 T. flour. Blend well and add 1 C. boiling water and a dash of salt. Stir and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes. If too thick, add a little more boiling water. Take off heat and add 4 T. butter and 2 T. cream and 1/2 t. vanilla. [I’ve been leaving the cream and the vanilla out for as many years as I’ve been leaving the sour milk out of the pudding.) Blend well and keep warm until used.
Makes about three cups.

The pudding freezes well. The sauce keeps in the refrigerator for months, if you leave it alone that long. Defrost the pudding in the microwave, pour some sauce on top, heat in the microwave for instant holiday food after the holidays. Modern life is wonderful!

Mary Anne in Kentucky

solarity said...

MizFit, no holiday that involves latkes can possibly be minor! They are a celebration in themselves.

Mary Anne in Kentucky

Emily said...

My sister's family always makes peanut butter balls...think Reeces peanut butter cups but BETTER! I don't have the recipe, it's their 'secret' : ( Funny how much good recipes are like that!

Tom Rooney said...

Christmas morning we make an easy coffee cake, yes I can do this too.

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup soft shortening or stick of butter
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups sifted gold medal flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together the sugar, butter and egg. Stir in the milk and flour mixture (flour, baking powder, salt).
Spread batter in greased and floured 9 inch square pan. Sprinkle with desired topping. Bake until wooden pick thrust into center of cake comes out clean. Serve warm, fresh from the oven.

Streusel Topping

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Bake at 375 for 25 to 35 minutes

Geosomin said...

Snickerdoodles and pumpkin cookies are my christmas favourites.
Absolutely...if I weren't (shhhh) at work I'd post the recipe. I'll try and remember to put them on my cooking blog soon, as I"m going to be doing some serious baking int he next few weeks.
I just have to finish painting the bedroom first. We got the dumb idea to do the floor while we're at it'll take an extra weekend. Busy busy busy...

David Cranmer said...

You know for me there's no particular Christmas food I prefer. Thanksgiving is my big day for food. Hmmm... I guess pumpkin pie continues to be my favorite for either holiday.

JavaChick said...

No! I'm not ready!

I don't like fruitcake either; I do like shortbread, and usually this time of year I make Skor Shortbread to take home to NS (my mother in law really likes it), but we won't be going home this year because husband is on call. So I won't get my Mom's turkey dinner and my sister's Plum Pudding with brandy sauce. Sigh.

Crabby McSlacker said...

I'm dyin' here with all these delicious sounding recipes!

I didn't grow up in a baking-type family, which may be a blessing in disguise. I don't know how I'd be the least bit reasonable around all these yummy sounding treats.

I tend to sample a bit too much at holiday parties, but would be in Deep Trouble if I had batches of stuff sitting around at home.

Penny said...

I did lemon trifle one year and we ate the lot in one sitting! It IS gorgeous.

100g amaretti biscuits (or sponge fingers)
100g lemon curd
3 tbsp Limoncello liqueur
500ml double cream
120g caster sugar
100ml lemon juice

To finish
250ml whipping cream, or double cream
zest 1 small orange
crumbled amaretti biscuits

Break up the biscuits and mix them with the lemon curd. Put them in a big glass trifle dish and pour over the limoncello. Leave it for a good few hours to soak in.

Pour the cream into a saucepan and add the sugar. Bring to the boil over a moderate heat, then turn down the heat and leave to simmer for a good 2-3 minutes.

Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, then pour this mixture over the biscuits. They might swim about a bit in the lemon custard but just push them down and leave to cool. When the mixture has cooled, refrigerate the whole thing for a couple of hours, or better yet overnight, until set.

When it's done, whip up the cream and spread it over the top, then grate over the orange zest and crumbled biscuits.

TA x

the Bag Lady said...

The Bag Lady is wearing her book-keeper/secretary hat today and is supposed to be typing invoices, but she peeked in here really quickly and is going to have to print her comment section for the FIRST TIME EVER!!

These recipes all sound fabulous.....thanks, everyone!

(have to get back to what I'm actually supposed to be doing on this computer now.....)

Unknown said...

Mmmm love baked goods! These recipes sound fantastic.

Anything in particular you're looking for, Bag Lady? I have a whole lot of recipes that we make each year that are awesome, especially the whipped shortbread. Ooh and ginger snaps. And fiddle diddles!

Anyways. Let me know if there's anything especially that strikes your fancy and I'll give you the recipe:)

the Bag Lady said...

Sagan - fiddle diddles???? Share that one - I'd love to be able to tell everyone we're having fiddle diddles!!!

Missicat said...

How did it get to be DECEMBER????

hmmm....I may have to try some of these recipes - who knows, they may become part of my tradition!

Being the single childless gal, I am usually the guest at holiday parties (bring wine, can't mess that up) so I too love snacking on leftovers that my hosts send home with me. yum!

Hilary said...

What is this "ready" concept of which you speak?

I almost never bake because I wouldn't resist temptation. Those recipes sound TOO mouth-watering.

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

No Christmas recipes to share, but I sure would like some of yours!

Missicat said...

TA - that sounds delicious but I need to translate it into "American" to make it! :-)
ml?? g?? wha..??

new*me said...

in this house we couldn't have the holidays without homemade pb cups, frosted cut out sugar cookies, pumpkin roll, bourbon balls, cinnamon rolls, snowballs, and gingerbread boys ;) I used to make about 15 kinds each year. This year I am scaling it down to these 7

the Bag Lady said...

I'm nowhere close to being ready, either!
Thanks to all who shared recipes here - I'll be trying all of them - they all sound great.
Missicat - Google metric/imperial conversion charts! (Maybe you'll have better luck than I in figuring them out! LOL)
BG - I'll probably be posting some recipes later this month, but be warned, they probably won't be very healthy! The Rancher is big on old-fashioned-style baked goods!

Siobhán said...

Yet another delayed reaction from Shivers, but I'm sure I can contribute a recipe, I love Christmas baking! :) I make ginger bread every year, but I'm going to try Lebkuchen this time. Actually seeing as I just got this recipe from the BBC site, I may as well just give you the link (Yes I am THAT lazy! :))

the Bag Lady said...

Shivers - ooh, those look good. And simple. I might just have to try them soon!
Thanks for the link!

Anonymous said...

Emily: I think those peanut butter balls are probably Buckeyes

Tokaiangel: That lemon trifle looks fabulous!!

Now accepting samples... ;)