Now on to Baking.
Every year a make traditional English Christmas cakes, the recipe is rich and includes 2lbs of dried fruit, almonds and cherries. Once the cakes are baked they are kept in a tin and each week I "feed" them a little dry sherry, I usually bake the cakes at the end of October and by Christmas they are ready and oh, oh, oh, oh, oh are they good. It is standard to cover the cakes with marzipan a week before Christmas, and the day before Christmas decorate with royal icing, the cakes look splendid. Over the years we have decided to pass on marzipan and royal icing, who needs the additional calories? and the fruit cake stands well on its own. I have a standing order each year to bake a cake for both of my sisters and my parents and of course for Dave and me, I now make 6" diameter cakes, again we can all enjoy the Christmas cake but not live to regret it :).
|English Christmas Cake|
12 oz butter - softened
7 oz sugar
12 oz plain flour
4 oz rice flour
Cream the butter with half of the sugar until extremely well mixed, add the flour and again make sure it is really, really worked into the butter/sugar mixture. Then add the remaining sugar and mix in well.
This quadrupled batch needs to be baked in a 9"/13" baking pan. Put the dough into the baking pan and then push it into the pan and make sure the dough is even throughout the pan, lightly sprinkle sugar over the top. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, it may take a minute or two or three longer.
Allow the shortbread to cool for ten minutes, cut into one and half inch squares and leave it in the pan to let it cool for another half hour. Remove the shortbread from the pan and enjoy, but make sure you pack most of it up to give away as gifts, this stuff is NOT lo-cal.
Oh, and yes, unfortunately none of the above recipes are vegan, I generally do not eat desserts so do not mind having a little of something really good once in a while. I will say that the vegan baked goods I have tried have not been very good, it seems that sugar, butter, and eggs are key ingredients for a rich, tasty dessert. I guess I am practicing quality over quantity, I am quite happy to enjoy a vegan diet 99% of the time, but on a holiday or special occasion enjoy a tasty treat. Moderation is the key to good living.
Today I took Emily and the grandsons into Fort Wayne, we stopped at the Fort Wayne Historical Museum to tour the Gingerbread Festival, this is fun event and there are an awful lot of gingerbread creations on display. The creators ranged in age from pre-school to adult along with a professional category. The boys really liked the SpongeBob Squarepants entry, and another that recreated a large red barn with lots of little animals. A girl scout troop had a fun log cabin entry with a pond with "goldfish" swimming in it, the boys liked this as goldfish crackers are a favorite treat. All entries have to be made with edible stuff, and some people are very creative. After the Gingerbread Festival we headed over to Christmas at the Old Fort, there were vendors set up in each of the fort buildings, and games for kids, unfortunately our nice weather from Thursday is long gone and today it was overcast and the high was only in the mid thirties, since this activity was primarily outside we did not stay as long as we might have done if the weather had been warmer. I was able to visit the Heirloom Spoon man and purchase some more beautifully made wooden cooking utensils for Christmas gifts, and another vendor was selling everything beeswax. I purchased my FIRST EVER beeswax candles, what a pleasant surprise to find that they have the most delightful aroma, I also purchased some beeswax soap that smells divine. One of the games for kids involved tying a donut on a string and then the participant, in this case Patrick, had to put his hands in his pockets and attempt to eat the donut, this is not an easy task. With some help Patrick did finally manage to master the donut and his persistence paid off with a tummy full of yummy donut. When we returned home we had lunch and warmed up and then watched The Wizard of Oz, what a fab movie. During the movie Pat and Charlie fell asleep, a little later Henry and I headed into the kitchen to assemble our gingerbread house kit, we had fun putting it together, we had a few collapses during assembly but in the end it turned out fine.
|Henry really enjoyed this project|
|I just love the colors in this tie-dye|
Well that is today's update, I hope all that celebrated Thanksgiving had a wonderful day with family and friends.