A GUIDEPOST REPRINT: “Bringing Back Them Old Family Christmases,” 22 December 1972 (PART 2)

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by Betty Sode
22 December 1972


Pumpkin dessert with walnut toppings

Mix 1 ½ cups sugar with ½ cup dry sherry. Boil to 240 on a Candy thermometer, or to the point where a little dribbled from the tip of a spoon into a cup of cold water forms a soft ball when poked with the finger. Remove from the heat and add ¼ tsp of cinnamon and ¼ tsp nutmeg. Stir in 2-3 cups walnut halves until the mixture becomes cloudy Pour out onto a buttered cookie sheet or pan and, when cooled, separate walnut halves with a fork. Store in an airtight can.

Toasted almonds and Parmesan on kale and grapefruit salad

Spread shelled almonds in a large cookie pan and dot with butter. Set in a 325oven and stir occasionally while toasting Remove from heat and salt to taste.

Cover shelled almonds with boiling wáter for three minutes. Pour off wáter and cool. Slip off skins with the fingers while still warm. If you are going to silver or chop the almonds for future use, do this hile they are still moist and warm. Blanched almonds may also be toasted, with or without butter and salt, depending on their use.

Melt 2 squares (2 ounces) of bitter chocoate with ½ cup butter over hot wáter. Add 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, ½ cup flour, ¼ tsp salt and ½ tsp vanilla. Mix well and spread in a greased jelly roll pan (1 x 10 x 15).  Sprinkle generously with 1 cup chopped hazelnuts. Bake at 400 for about 12 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into elegant diamond shapes if you can manage it, or plain bars. Should make 4 dozen


Stuffed pitted dates or figs with a blanched almond and roll in granulated or powdered sugar. Store in airtight tins.

Over low heat, melt 1 cup sugar with 2tbsp orange juice, 1 tsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp each grated orange and lemon rind. Cool and add 1 cup finely chopped nuts and 172 cup finely chopped glaceed fruits. Work well with the hands until mixture is well mixed. Pinch ioff small quantities and form into small balls. Roll in cocoa sugar, or coconut. Store in airtight tins.

Christmas pudding

Prepare 3 cups of finely chopped fruits including pitted dates, seedless raisins (dark and Golden both, if available), and candied citron, orange peel and fruits. Mix with 1 ½ cups beer and let stand several hours. (Or use a light cocktal sherry.) Beat four goodsized eggs with 1 ½ cups Brown sugar and add fruit mixture with liquid. Stir in ¾ cup chopped nuts, ½ cup dry bread crumbs, 1 cup minced suet, 1 cup sifted flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 ½ tsp baking poder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp cloves and ¼ tsp ground allspice. Mix well and turn into 2 one-quart greased pudding molds, filling ¾ full. Cover top of mold tightly with aluminum foil and tie in place. Set on a rack in a large kettle and pour in boiling wáter to a level half-way up the molds. Cover kettle and steam puddings for 2 ½ hours, adding more wáter as necessary. Remove puddings from kettle and remove foil immediately. Cool and re-cover to store in refrigerator. Re-steam about ½ hour before serving. Serve with Hard Sause or Rum Sauce.

“Santa” sugar cookies with red sprinkles

Cream together ½ cup shortening and 1 cup White sugar. Add2 well beaten eggs and 1 tbsp milk. Sift together 3 cups flour (or 2 ½ cups American all-purpose flour), 172 tsp baking poder, ¼ tsp salt, and ¾ tsp nutmeg. Add sifted dry ingredients to first mixture and chill overnight. <<Flour>> board with confectioner’s sugar and dip cookie cutters in confectioner’s sugar after each use. (This is the best bit of coolie-making advice I’ve found in years, and came off the back of a cookie-cutter cardboard!) Roll out dough ¼-inch thick and cut cookies. Place on tightly greased cookie sheet and bake about 8 minutes in a preheated 375 oven. Cool before decorating.

Mix egg whites with sifted confectioner’s sugar and flavor with a Little lemon juice. Figure approximately 1 egg White, not too large, for eacyh ½ pound of sugar + juice of ½ lemon. Tint with vegetable coloring, and keep tightly covered when not in use. Icing will get hard surface.

Popcorn garland on Christmas Tree

Mix 2 cups sugar, 2/3 cup light corn syrup, 2/3 cup wáter, ½ cup butter and 2 tsp salt nd bring to a boil. Cook to 270 on Candy thermometer, or until mixture is brittle when dropped into cold wáter. Add 2 tsp vanilla and stir. Pour slowly over 6 quarts of popped corn and grease fingers before handling to make popcorn balls. (You may add 1 cup shelled peanuts, if desired.) If corn is to be colored, madd coloring with vanilla.

Ed’s note: In order not to tax the reader’s patience, this very interesting but lenghty article, originally published in one go, has been split into two parts. Please go to “Bringing Back Them Old Family Christmases (PART 1),” for the first part of the article.




Images via Wikimedia Commons
Punpkin dessert with walnuts/E402, CC BY-SA4.0. Cropped. Color-adjusted.
Toasted almonds/Cajsa Lilliehook, CC BY-SA2.0
Figs/Randi Hausken, CC BY-SA2.0
Pudding/Musical Linguist, CC BY-SA3.0
Sugar cookies/Famartin, CC BY-SA4.0
Popcorn garland/Los Angeles County Arboretum, CC BY2.0. Cropped.