Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Fudge

This is another heirloom recipe.  Something my family has been making for as long as I can remember...meaning more than 50 years.  I remember as a young lass sleeping in an upstairs sparest of bedrooms, just off the dearest of non-scary attics, realizing that my mother stored her beloved fudge in a wonderful gold and white fruitcake tin in said attic.  I don't know how many years I stole and enjoyed this fudge covertly.  Just suffice it to say it happened multiple times.  And my mother was a wonder of housekeeping and bookkeeping.  Which means I was an equal wonder of cover theft (or else my mum just forgave me and moved on, but that's neither here nor there).

Christmas Fudge

In a large pot (or bowl) break up and mix:

12 oz german (sweet) chocolate
12 oz semi sweet chocolate (just use chips)
1 pt. marshmallow fluff
2 cups chopped nut meats

You'll need a strong arm, or a willing fella.  Which makes this a very romantic Christmas recipe.

So while you're strong-arming that in a bowl, the more delicate of the pair shall do the following:

In a heavy saucepan, mix and then boil:

2 Tlb. butter
1 13 oz. can evaporated milk
4 1/2 c. sugar
1 pinch salt

Just stir it up, bring it to a bubble, and stir it for 6 full minutes (at the full bubble).  When it's all done, pour it into the chocolate/marshmallow mixture and strongarm it once again:

So strong arm it all together, and push it into a nice big pan.  This makes a wonderful amount of fudge...more than enough for a family, but never enough to share. We sent all of our first batch with soldier packages.   We've got some post Christmas soldier packages to send out, and even so, there's plenty of good, mellow, creamy sweet fudgy goodness for everyone.

To me, if there is fresh fudge, it MUST be Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Figgy Cookies!!!

Oh bring us some figgy pudding
Oh bring us some figgy pudding
Oh bring us some figgy pudding
Oh bring them right here

Oh bother (sorry, that's Pooh, not Dickens)

I have  no idea what that line in the classic carol talks about because I've never researched or baked a "figgy pudding".  I honestly don't care.  I know I should care because a baked pudding is enchanting, and I do have some cooked figs in the fridge tonight.  But I do care about figgy cookies.  Because they are really and truly awesome.  So for tonight it's figgy cookies -- for Christmas weekend, who knows!  With Google, many things are possible...

And we DO have a recipe for figgy cookies tonight.  It's not anything-free, but if you're like us, you'll adjust and adapt so that you can enjoy this and every recipe, no matter what your dietary restrictions may  be.

This is a sacred (more than 50 years in my family) recipe.  Use it or not as you wish, but it must not be lost, so I'm sharing.

So......My Nonny's Fig Cookie Recipe

1 cup dried figs (chopped)
1/2 cup water
1 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup margarine (that's what the recipe says, we use butter)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup flaked coconut

Cook water & fig.  Cream margaring, sugar.  Add egg & vanilla.  Add cooked figs, flour, baking pwder & salt.  Roll in balls and in coconut.  Press down center with half pecans. 

Now a few notes of reality.  I cooked my figs this year in the crockpot, covered with water while I was serving at my obligatory day job.  When I got home, I shut it off and cooled the figs, then drained them and added them to the recipe.

Another thing, even if I could find margarine, I wouldn't use it.  It's unhealthy.  OKOKOK, I already know.  White flour, brown sugar, none of it is healthy.  But I only ever use butter.  That's just me.  I STRONGLY suspect my mother wrote margarine because she was a child of the depression.  At some point, margarine cost 10% of what butter cost.  Yeah, well, do whatever you need to do.  If you use "spread" you're throwing your money away and you'll waste your time and ingredients and your recipients will think you're a really lousy cook.  These cookies are awesome with butter.  I can also remember them being awesome with margarine, but I don't really think you can find "mazola, corn goodness" margarine any more, so don't even bother.

Another note, that was a "depression era" amount of coconut.  You'll need a lot more.  Trust me, it's worth it.

Hugs to you all tonight, I really hope that you appreciate this insight into the culinary history of us humble folk here at The Haney Place.  Thank you all for your continued support, despite our recently sporadic publication.  We truly do appreciate it.  We are so encouraged by the fact that folks do find our posts helpful and informative. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

An End - And A New Beginning

We've been quiet for a while.  It's not that there hasn't been plenty going on.  For a time, I decided to forego the blog to make time for another writing project I've been working on. it just so happens, I don't think it's the blog that's taking up my time.  Also, there are so many times I've thought "I need to blog this or that".  This blog has a life of its own.  Even for me -- at the very least it's an archive of me and my family.  Recipes, moments, good times, food, food, food....  well.....

At any rate, a chapter closed this past week with the passing of Big Steve's dad.  He had been quite ill for some many months.  Even so, it's so hard to say goodbye.  Once again today (as has been his habit for the past several months), Steve ran the course of the NYS Thruway on his way home from his parents' house, and this time, he brought a remembrance.  So I took a picture:

Some cards and well wishes, along with some really fragrant flowers from a memorial service.  My own plants add a bit of symmetry.  This is a remembrance of someone whose art was much too far-reaching for me to even try to represent in this blog.  This is our dining room right now.

So on to the kitchen, and what greeted me this afternoon as I passed through.  I'm torn between being sorry that it bloomed so early, and will be gone by Christmas, and then the beauty of it flows through me, and God's beauty knows no human season.  I was so overcome by its glory, I hope this digital photograph shows something of the newness of life that I felt.

If I was a real photographer, I would have staged it with proper lighting, etc.  But then it wouldn't have projected exactly the simple, yet exquisite beauty that I enjoyed while entering my kitchen this afternoon.

At any rate, I guess I'm back to blogging.  Thank you so much to everyone who has inquired where we've been and fear not, Christmas baking and merry-making is in our immediate blogging future.

Thanks so much each and every one of you who has stuck by us this far.  It humbles us to realize what an effect this silly, simple little blog has on people.  Thanks again.