Another Fruitcake

This is the last one, I promise!!!

The recipe for this one looked easy – it mixed in one bowl, with no pre-soaking required.  Best of all, it was ready to eat after baking (and cooling)!

The secret? Condensed milk!

I followed this recipe from Eagle Brand.  But not knowing where to find mincemeat I just used mixed dried fruit, about 2 cups worth.  I also added about half a tablespoon of apple pie spice…

Fast.  Easy.  Delicious.

Yuummmmmm!

 

Advertisements

B’s Hot Chocolate 2018 Christmas ed.

B: mommy, can you make me hot chocolate? With marshmallows?

M: of course

(Of course, i had to deliver more than what was asked… added chocolate on the rim, and topped the whole thing with ice cream and choco syrup!)

B: Wow mommy! It’s beautiful!

(And after tasting it)

IT IS SOOOOOOOO YUMMMYYYYY MOMMYYYYY! You’re the best at making the best stuff!

(I so love it when she thinks I’m the best 😍)

Homemade Irish Cream

I tried my hand at mixing homemade liqueurs last Christmas but for some unknown reason I skipped the recipe for homemade Irish Cream.  Maybe it was the astronomical price for Irish whiskey…

This year however, I decided that i would try to make the recipe even if I used ordinary whiskey!!!  I don’t know what difference it would make in the recipe but at the end of the day, plain whiskey is what I can afford (and believe me, the price of the real Irish Cream is cheaper than the price of Irish whiskey!!!)

So I followed this recipe and it’s fantastic!  When they said that the homemade version is way better than Bailey’s, they weren’t kidding!!!

It is sooooooo yummy that I will be  making another batch in the next few days!  The recipe says that it is good for 2 months in the fridge.  Well, I know this for sure – it will long be gone before then!!!

Fruitcake 2018, Finally!

I say “finally” because I have found what I was looking for – a great tasting fruitcake whose recipe is fast (truly fast with no need even for a mixer!), simple, easy, and even when it’s last minute!

After much experimentation that began in July, here it is!!!

It is so fast and easy that even if it’s mid-December already, I can still bake it and give it the day after.  The texture is great – moist but not breaking apart… it is not too heavy but it is not light at all… it is chockfull of fruits (which admittedly is the most time consuming of all – with dicing big fruits and soaking it in brandy for more than 3 months), and IT IS DELICIOUS!!!

00_2018 FC
(a peek of the inside, from the first trial of the recipe, baked in a glass pan)

I bake it right in the “pan”, brush it with more brandy, cool it in the same container then just cover it with the see-through lid that is part of the package (or in one case where I broke the lid, cover it with clingfilm).  Then I just stick a label on it and send it – DONE!

(will post the recipe later after I’ve organized everything.)

For now, I will enjoy baking this last minute fruitcake and then sit back while the recipients compliment me!

hahahahaha!

 

Date Walnut Cake

This is a version that I specifically made for a special order five or six years ago.  Someone asked me if I could make a healthier version for her mom who loves dates and walnuts but has issues with fat/cholesterol, sugar… the usual culprits that make the lives of the elderly difficult.  After several experiments, this was the winner!

So, this cake – no egg, no butter or oil!  NO CHOLESTEROL!  Low is sugar, except for the inherent sugar in dates… AND, AND…  IT HAS A BEAUTIFUL TEXTURE (very moist!) AND GREAT TASTE!

Check out the (estimated) nutritional analysis –

date walnut cake nutr 1

6 years ago, I made about 60 of these (in addition to some others) in ONE day!  To be honest, the baking was not the part I found tedious.  It was the packing and washing.  You see, I DO NOT have 60 or so pans to bake in.  At most I have 8 or so (maybe 10 max) so the waiting time is tedious and then I have to wash up (and dry!) before I could use the pans again.  THEN!  I had to fold boxes (although the kid and hubby helped a lot) and tie ribbons, etc. etc.

These days, I am so relieved to find a baking pan and gift package in one!  The base is made of thick cardboard and is coated with some sort of film.  The cake is baked in it (the store said it was a direct-bake package) and cooled in it.  The cover is a clear plastic that fits perfectly.  It saves time, effort and money (the whole package costs less than a cake box and cake board)!  I love it!!!

 

 

Pasko na Talaga!

(It really is Christmas Already!)

It is a (good-humored) joke that Christmas in our country begins with the “ber” months. The malls begin playing Christmas songs and start putting up Christmas decorations. For me, Christmas begins when I see my favorite Christmas ham in the stores. But it is really IT for me when my kitchen starts churning out goodies that we are giving out to friends!

My kitchen opened early, sometime in July, when I started trying out new fruitcake recipes… but official production just recently began… with Cheese Pimiento!

The bulk of the fun is baking, cooking, and having fun in the kitchen, but part of the fun is the Christmas packaging! In fact, half the living room gets transformed into a mini production site littered with ribbons, boxes, tags labels, glitter pens, stickers…

It’s tiring but so very enjoyable!

Hello Christmas, here I come!

Fruitcake Truffles

So, I have been experimenting with fruitcakes. Now, I know I already have good fruitcake recipes but I just cannot stop trying out new recipes, or tweaking old recipes!!!

The problem with experimenting, though, is that there is always that chance that the experiment won’t be successful.  This is one of those times.  I had thought that this would be THE HG recipe, but it fell way, way short.

The taste was not so bad.  But the texture was wayyyy off.  It crumbled at the slightest wobble!  For a couple of weeks, I debated what to do – I had hoped it could be salvaged but no such luck.  I had to figure out how to repurpose it!!!!

The most obvious solution?  make it into a cakepop – crumble the cake, add ready-made or homemade frosting, then form into balls then dip into chocolate…

Except that I did not want a seriously sweet thing that was covered in (still sweet) chocolate!

So, what could I use to bind the crumbs together?  And what would I coat them in?

It had to be something sticky like frosting… I got an idea from some Rum Balls recipe I found – condensed milk!  I just eye-balled it… pouring a bit from the can and mixing until I felt it was the right consistency.  I got about 2 dozen pieces from an 8×4-inch loaf of fruitcake.

My next problem?  The coating…  I had originally thought of rolling the balls in toasted diced cashew nuts… but was feeling rather lazy… then I thought of cocoa, but felt it was inconsistent with fruitcake… when my sight landed on a bag of graham cracker crumbs!!!

Tada!

But I didn’t want to call them fruitcake pops or fruitcake balls…

Fruitcake Truffles sounded better – more elegant!

 

Date Walnut Bars

a.k.a. Food for the Gods… at least in our part of the world…  why are they called Food for the Gods?  Well, it is said that these treats are so delicious that they are for (greek? roman?) gods.

These treats are available all year round, but they are most popular as Christmas giveaways.  They are usually sliced into small squares or rectangles and wrapped in foil paper or cellophane.  Trust me, a small portion goes a long way for these super-rich treats.

When I was younger (and single, and living with my mom), my mom would bake her fruitcakes, lasagna, and apple pies, while I would make food for the gods and brownies.  We even had a kitchen schedule fixed ahead of time so we would not quarrel over oven time!

I used her recipe to make these treats, but made a couple of adjustments – I used way less sugar that her recipe specified.  I remember these treats being ultra-rich and sweet and I wanted to reduce the sweetness if I could, without compromising its nature  – the dates are sweet enough on their own!!!  And, instead of walnuts, I used our local kasuy (cashews)!  This is a personal preference because in my book, cashews are way better than walnuts! 🙂

My first try was not so successful, but it was entirely my fault.  I halved the recipe but forgot to halve the flour!  The result was a utterly dry and stiff bar that was no good!  My second attempt was great, although I discovered that the treats had better texture after being left alone overnight!  They were good straight out of the oven, truth be told, but they were even better the day after!

 

Mommy’s Fruitcake

My mom, for Christmas, is famous for 3 things – her lasagna, her apple pie, and her fruitcake!

I have succeeded with the lasagna, and am still struggling with the apple pie… but with her fruitcake?  Hmmmm, I know I botched up her recipe!

Why do I say this?

Well, first of all, she has 3 recipes for fruitcake in her recipe collection.  I have no idea which one she used!

Then, I thought I had all the ingredients – I checked a week before to see if I had everything… and I did, except for some dried and glazed fruit, and brandy.  I got hubby to drive me to various baking supply stores and the wine shop to get what I needed.  Then I started soaking my fruit.  When  baking day arrived, I gathered my ingredients together and discovered, to my dismay (!) that my molasses had gone bad!!!  Too late to go out and find molasses so I used dark corn syrup instead…

Then I committed the ultimate “sin”… I failed to check the oven temperature, and I baked the fruitcakes a tad longer than I was supposed to!  After 4 decades of baking, I forget the most basic of rules!  (totally my fault because I decided to substitute pans – made the fruitcakes into cupcakes and a small loaf, instead of 2 medium loaves).

So, it really isn’t any wonder that my (mom’s) fruitcake did not resemble the original!

Don’t worry, I will try again.  In fact, I have 1.5 kilograms of fruit soaking in brandy right now!!!  (And yes, I got the molasses too!)  Now all I have to do is find the time to bake!

(Hubby says that the fruitcake is delicious, although it is a bit dry inside…)

 

 

Light Tropical Fruitcake

Brother E has been baking up a storm, using the master loaf recipe. He’s tried the ones I suggested and has even come up with a few of his own – avocado, honey and almond, banana-honey, squash… and he is thinking of some others such as salted caramel…

as for me, I thought of making it fruitcake… a white fruitcake.  Why fruitcake? and why white?

Well, since the fire that engulfed my mom’s recipes, I have been in a frenzy to find the copies that I took home with me a long time ago.  As I find them, I encode them (again) to save them… I came across a recipe for white fruitcake with the title “Cely’s White Fruitcake”.  I am presuming that it refers to her sister, my aunt, Cely.

Of course I have no permission to share that recipe but I thought I could adapt my master loaf recipe to make a white fruitcake.  And it was a success!

How did I do it?  Well, first I used butter instead of oil.  Then I substituted some of the sugar with honey.  I added cinnamon and a dried fruit mix which was soaked in my favorite rum!

The first thing to do – soak the fruits in rum… a good 3 hours before making the fruitcake, but preferably the night before.  A note on the fruits – I like a dried fruit mix instead of glazed fruits but it is the baker’s choice!  So you could use whatever fruits you like – mix dried fruits and glazed fruits… add some chopped nuts… like I said, baker’s choice!  (for this I used a tropical fruit mix – pineapple, papaya, coconut, mango…)

150g dried fruit mix (about 1 cup)
75g pitted dates, diced
3 to 4 tablespoons rum

For the fruitcake itself –

½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

Beat the butter and sugar together, add honey and vanilla. Mix well then add the egg. Beat a couple of minutes.

1 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
zest from 1 orange, optional
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Mix the dry ingredients together. Add to butter-egg mix alternately with

¼ cup milk

Fold in the fruit mix.

Place in a greased and lined 7×3 loaf pan. Bake in a preheated 325*F oven for about 55 minutes. Tent with foil if the top gets too browned.

Brush the loaf with rum and more rum.

The loaf can be aged with rum (keep in fridge, wrapped in foil; brush with rum once or twice a week) or it can be enjoyed sooner – immediately, that is once it has cooled.  Frankly, hubby can be impatient so I cheat.  What do I do? I slice the loaf and brush the slices with rum before serving!

Yummm!