As you have seen and heard by the media, the Christmas holiday season is off and running full-tilt! If you were brave enough to battle the crowds on “Black Friday”, hopefully it helped get you into the spirit of the season in a positive way. Even today, “Cyber Monday”, you can still get into the spirit at the comfort of your computer to do your Christmas shopping (which I prefer to do!)
And while you’re at home, I’m starting this column with something to certainly put the holiday season in the air. We all know how much everyone enjoys the good fragrances that come from the kitchen during the holidays. This first recipe is one you don’t eat or drink….but just to smell! It’s an “Old-Fashioned Christmas Aroma” that is made up of citrus peels and spices, which are simmered to perfume your home. It’s not only money-saving (since you don’t have to buy candles or air fresheners), it’s also environmentally friendly, since you’re recycling your leftover fruit peels. It’s a wonderful combination of scents to make your home smell like the holidays!
Now that we have the home smelling like the holidays, let’s bake some holiday treats to add to the scents! The second recipe is for a “Chocolate Applesauce Cake”. This is a spicy, slightly chewy cake that combines the flavor of chocolate along with applesauce to give it additional moistness. Frosted with a chocolate frosting, it’s a tasty, yet different, type of chocolate cake that’s great for the holidays.
Then comes a recipe for a “Christmas Cake”. This is a beautiful cake, with its snowy-white layers and red and green icing, which comes from the red and green maraschino cherries. It look very much like Christmas and is very tasty. It doesn’t call for any candied fruits, so those that aren’t big on fruitcake would like this one.
So, fire up the oven, get out the baking pans and let’s create some holiday “sights and smells”!
OLD-FASHIONED CHRISTMAS AROMA
Peels of 1 Grapefruit, 2 Oranges, & 2 Lemons
4 C. Water
2 Sticks Cinnamon
1 Tbls. each of Cloves and Allspice
Place the above in a kettle or medium-sized saucepan and let simmer as long as needed to perfume the house, adding additional water as needed. This may be reused numerous times. For added aroma, add the peel from one or more tangerines.
THIS IS NOT TO BE EATEN OR DRUNK–but just to smell! Your home will bring back many happy holiday memories!
CHOCOLATE APPLESAUCE CAKE
2 C. Applesauce (fresh or canned)
1 Square Unsweetened Chocolate
2 C. Sugar
1 C. Shortening, such as Crisco
3 C. All-Purpose Flour
1 Tsp. Nutmeg
1 Tsp. Cloves
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
3 Tsp. Baking Soda, dissolved in 1 Tbls. Hot Water
3/4 C. Chopped Nuts
3/4 C. Chopped Dates
Heat a small amount of the applesauce with the chocolate until it melts; let cool; Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy; add the egg and remaining applesauce, along with the melted chocolate mixture; mix the dry ingredients (flour and spices) and gently fold these into the creamed mixture; add dissolved baking soda and mix well; stir in dates and nuts by hand; bake in a greased and floured tube pan for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Frost with a favorite chocolate frosting.
2-1/2 C. Cake Flour
1-2/3 C. Sugar
1 Tsp. Salt
4 Tsp. Baking Powder
2/3 C. White Vegetable Shortening, such as Crisco
1-1/4 C. Milk
5 Large Egg Whites
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
Mix dry ingredients; add the shortening and half the milk and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes; add remaining milk, egg whites, and vanilla extract and mix 2 more minutes; bake in 3 greased and floured 8 inch layer pans at 350 degrees for 25-30 or until layers test done; turn out and let cool.
2 Sticks Butter
1 C. Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 Large Can (about 15 oz.) Crushed Pineapple, drained
1 Small Jar Red Maraschino Cherries, drained
1 Small Jar Green Maraschino Cherries, drained
1-1/3 C. Flaked Coconut
1 C. Chopped Nuts
Cook butter, sugar, and eggs together over medium heat until thick; add remaining ingredients and stir; spread between layers and on top and sides. (This cake may be kept at room temperature, tightly covered, for up to 48 hours. Afterwards, refrigerate tightly covered.)