Monday, December 21, 2009

Baking is now checked off the list.

Dear Mom,
During yesterday's baking frenzy, in which I tried a few new recipes, and after talking with you, have come to the conclusion  that: ThereIsNothingLikeAGoodOldFashionedSugarCookie and WhyDoWeKeepTrying?, Bonnie delivered her Cranberry Cordial. OR, as I will be calling it, Mommy's Little Christmas Helper.
Bonnie also kindly shared a jar of the intoxicated cranberries that have been steeping in alcohol for months until the cranberry cordial was Just Right.
Remember that scene in Mary Poppins when she gives the kids the spoonful of medicine and each spoonful is a different color and flavor, and then when Mary takes hers she just glows and says, "RUM PUNCH"? Well that is how Bonnie Jo's Cranberry Cordial makes you feel. Like you should trill your R's and say "CRRRRRANBERRRRRRY CORRRRRRDIAL" just because it is that good.
Having been raised Not to be Wasteful and having been told by a reliable source (Bonnie Jo), these cranberry bits will be excellent on vanilla ice cream with a few chocolate chips and a bit of the cordial, I'll be making a trip to the grocery store for some ice cream later today. I will say that the cranberries are good all by themselves, but have nothing on the actual cranberry cordial, which I will NOT be sharing.

I'll leave it to Bonnie Jo to share the recipe. I understand that the process of chopping a billion cranberries was....colorful. But I've also heard Bonnie Jo talking about how to improve the process, which makes me think that she will make some more next year. hint hint

So yesterday, I tried a recipe for Sweet Spiced Almonds, which are pretty good, and a fudge that is rich but broke into eleventy-two pieces when I tried cutting it into squares. Is there a secret to cutting fudge and keeping it intact? I managed to get enough good squares to make a decent gift, but there are alot of fudge shards in a plastic container in my kitchen now.
I also made Laura's Eggnog Pound Cake, which is easy, delicious and I will be making again. In fact, I am adding it to my very limited Holiday Baking Recipe Arsenal. Laura tells me she got the recipe from a Southern Living magazine, but I don't know which one.
Here is the recipe:

Eggnog Pound Cake

1 (16 oz) package pound cake mix ( you just gotta love a recipe that starts with a mix)
1 1/4 cups eggnog
2 large eggs
1/2 t. grated nutmeg
1/2 t. vanilla extract

 Beat all ingredients with an electric mixer at low speed until blended. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Pour into a lightly greased 9X5 loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until a long wooden pick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and allow loaf to cool completely.

This does taste better when completely cooled. I made mine in mini loaf pans for the neighbors and they cooked about 40 minutes, but you will want to start checking them at 30 minutes if  you do it this way. I over-filled my pans and the cake mix glopped over the pans onto the bottom of the oven during baking time.Next time I will use 4 mini pans instead of 3. Less dough in the pan should equal less cooking time, so that is why you should start checking at 30 minutes. Or just make it easy on yourself and make a big loaf and follow the recipe. This tastes so good you will want the big loaf anyway!