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Dec 24, 2011 01:55 PM

The family recipes we cherish...

Happy holidays all - I'm sure I'm not the only one here who gets lonesome for the departed at this time of year. One of the ways in which love survives is in the recipes left behind. Here are a couple of my family's that I thought mighe be of interest --

My second cousin once removed by marriage, Clara's, peanut brittle - transcribed from the file card my mom gave the recipe to me on, with a few clarifications ():

2 c sugar

1 c corn syrup

1 c water

3 c mixed nuts or peanuts

2 tb butter

2 t vanilla

2 t baking soda

Mix sugar, syrup & water in large (and deep sauce-) pan. Cover, heat to boiling point. Uncover and cook rapidly to 236° or (a bit of) syrup in cold water makes a soft ball. Stir in nuts bubbling all the time. Cook raspidly to 280° or syrup dropped in water makes a hard ball. Stir in butter (and 1/2 tsp or so of salt if nuts are unsalted). Continue cooking to 300° (when dropped in water it makes threads that are brittle and hard). Stir in vanilla. Sprinkle soda over top quickly then stir vigorously 15 seconds until mixture is puffy. Pour into jelly-roll pan at once (line it with lightly-buttered foil for easiest cleanup). Cool completely. Break into pieces. Very good. I use peanuts with skins on (Spanish). /Mom

The lady who helped my MIL around the house when my husband was a kid - among many other things - Mrs. Edith K's sand cookies (you have to use shortening and cream of tartar in these for the texture to be right)

1 1/2 c white sugar

1 c Crisco - creamed together

Beat in 3 egg yolks, 1 tsp vanilla.

Add 2 c unsifted flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cream of tartar, dash salt (I use 1/2 tsp or so)

Batter will be quite crumbly.

Roll into balls (about 1 tb per), roll in sugar.

Bake at 350° until (golden) brown (about 15 mins or so).

Makes about 7 doz cookies.

(I roll these in finely-chopped nuts sometimes and if I'm really feeling fancy, form them around a piece of chocolate or a Hershey's kiss, Special Dark is best in these.)

Currant sugar crinkle cookies - my mom's recipe

These were my father's favourites BUT with half brown sugar (I use 1/3)

1/2 c butter

1/2 c shortening

1 1/2 c sugar, half or 1/3 light brown

1 egg

Cream fats and sugar, beat in egg until fluffyish, add 1 tsp vanilla

Sift together 2 1/2 c sifted ap flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp cream of tartar

Stir into creamed mixture. This makes a lovely, friable, nice-handling dough.

Stir in 1 c (dried Zante) currants that have been rinsed and dried, form into 1" ball, roll in granulated sugar.

You can also do the chocolate and nut thing with this.

Bake on parchment 20 to a half-sheet for about 8-10 mins at 400 deg F for about 15 mins, until risen, collapsed (thank you baking soda), crinkled, and lightly brown on the bottoms.

Nice hot and lovely cooled - sandy and crisp.

These all came out of my ancient avocado-green (that tells you how ancient) filecard box. There are tons more. What treasures are lurking in yours?

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  1. Great thread idea! I just made casadetti, which is a Sicilian pastry that my father used to make at Christmas. My friend described it as cannoli ravioli, and it is so delicious and not very sweet.

    2 lbs of flour
    10 oz. leaf lard or Crisco
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1 egg
    1/2 cup of water

    2 lbs fine, fresh ricotta, drained overnight in cheesecloth
    11/2 cups of sugar
    mini chocolate chips
    glaced fruits (very optional -- I never use them)
    Mix these together for the filling

    Cut lard (or crisco) into flour and sugar. Lightly beat the egg with the water, and mix into the flour (start with 1/2 cup of water mixed with the egg. Add additional water to make the dough pliable but not wet). Mix throughly, and let rest for 2 hours.
    Roll the dough out, and form into any ravioli shape you like. (Usually half moons, but I once made these in a small ravioli pan and served three on a plate with an additional dollop of the ricotta mixture sprinkled with a small amount of cocoa). Make sure that the casadetti are completely sealed, and don't over-fill. Use a little water and the tines of a fork to assure that they are sealed. Fry until golden brown, and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. It's hard to resist these warm (I had some almost hot from a bakery in Sicily), but I think they taste best room temperature. If not serving the same day, forgo the cinnamon sugar, refrigerate, and when ready to serve, put them in a warm oven to crisp up a bit. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar and serve. These actually keep very well.

    2 Replies
    1. re: roxlet

      I reallyreally want to try those!

      1. re: buttertart

        They're almost gone now. My guests really scarfed them down! They were particularly good this year. I used this little cutter sealer thingy that I bought years ago from Martha by mail just for this purpose. They sealed so well that I was able to fill them fuller than I had in the past, and they stayed closed through the frying. I used to get so frustrated with the seals opening and the cannoli cream seeping into the hot oil. This Is a great gizmo.

    2. Tourtiere----or meat pie. The recipe is from my French-Canadian great-grandmother. Nothing tastes like the holidays as much as meat pie, served with pickled beets and coleslaw. Equal parts ground pork and ground beef, with finely chopped onion, cinnamon and ground cloves. Crushed crackers to bind it, a bit of salt and pepper and put into a two part pie crust. Just heavenly. Every Christmas Eve we have it (as well as the night before Thanksgiving). My great-grandmother used to stuff the turkey with the same thing too. Leftover pieces for breakfast with cranberry sauce on the side....mmm-hmmmmm. I have the home-made recipe book of my Grandmother's with it in her writing---in an old Patriot notebook..... It's only the second Christmas without my mother but I know she would have been pleased with my meat pie....

      6 Replies
        1. re: roxlet

          Sure Roxlet!

          2 lbs ground beef
          2 lbs ground pork
          1 large onion chopped

          Everything else is to taste but I'll give you approximations.

          I put the meat and chopped onion all in together in a large skillet. You don't want the onion browned at all. Cook at a low heat until fully cooked, add salt and pepper to taste. You can drain some fat but don't drain too much---you need the moisture to absorb the crackers. I used about about 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon and 2 teaspoons ground cloves for that amount of meat. You can go a bit heavier too. I then crushed saltines (I used one sleeve) in my hands and mixed in. You don't want it totally dry but close----the amount of crackers will depend on the amount of fat/liquid in your meat. Sometimes I use more than one sleeve---it's flexible. Then just fill two unbaked pie crusts, cover and cut vents. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then 350 for another 15 minutes. It's good served with something sharp---hence the pickled beets or cranberry sauce. And it tastes like the holidays to me!

            1. re: thesandwichlife

              Sounds very elemental -- but delicious! I'd like to make some meat pies this winter. I'll have to give this one a whirl.

              1. re: roxlet

                It is simple---but as you said, delicious. Some people used mashed potato instead of cracker which sounds good but not the way my Grandma made it so I stick to the traditional. I think there are a couple of threads on tourtiere is you poke around the forums.... Post if you try it---and Happy New Year!

        2. Cuban food, arroz con pollo, chicken soup with lemon slices (must have lemon on any chicken soup) tostones and maduros, Grandma's chicken and dumpling although as a kid I would only eat the dumplings, I have mastered the chicken soup myself, however I have yet to even try arroz con pollo which by the way I eat with a bit of mayo on the end of the fork. Some things mama always makes better and I have tried the chicken and dumplings but find its not the biggest hit with my family