Saturday, November 22, 2008

Christmas Questions and a Recipe

My girlfriend sent me some "Christmas Questions" today. Without getting into the political-correctness of talking about "Christmas," instead of "Holiday," I sent her this reply:

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? She puts them in envelopes.***

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? No.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No.

5. When do you put your decorations up? The last time was 2002.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Sweet potato casserole, made by my daughter-in-law.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Waking up to find a Posey Doll under the tree. I still have her, in her original box.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I was about 11, I think. My sister and I heard the delivery men putting the toys on the front porch. She peeked, I didn't. Back in "the day," the store would hold the toys for you until Christmas, then deliver them after dark on Christmas Eve. In Alabama, it got dark at 4 pm in December.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes. After the children were teens, we used to open all presents on Christmas Eve, and then sleep late on Christmas Day. But the Granddaughters have created a new tradition: open one gift at night, then the remaining gifts in the morning.

10. What kind of cookies does Santa get set out for him? Are you kidding? She's too fat as it is!

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Love it! 'Course I live in Texas, where a light dusting of snow means a day off work and lots of work for auto repair shops!

12. Can you ice skate? NO! But, I can watch other people ice skate.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Anytime I get a gift, it is my favorite. However, in 1972, my then-husband gave me a bicycle and a monogrammed piece of luggage. I asked him if he was giving me a hint.

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Not getting too depressed, and getting someone else to do the cooking.

15. Candy canes! Yum or yuck? "Back in the day," before high-fructose corn syrup, there was a melt in your mouth brand I used to like. Now that I am older and wiser, I realize I could be one candy cane away from diabetes. So, I will pass on the candy canes.

16. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? When I was a child, my brother, sister and I received a metal see-saw from Santa. Imagine a semi-circle with the circular-side facing down, and the halved-side facing up with a seat on each side. My fat cousin and my brother tried it out first, and bent the metal so that it did not rock any more. I never even got to try it.

17. What tops your tree? We'd like to think it is a hawk's nest; but we really think it is a squirrel's nest up there. We can't be sure, because the tree is too tall and we haven't seen anything going and coming.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? I like to give, but I don't like to shop. ***If you are on my gift list, expect a gift certificate or money. I hope you like to shop.

19. What is your favorite Christmas carol? Silver Bells

20. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Tutti-Fruiti cake. I can no longer eat it, but I can think about it.

Tutti-Fruiti Cake - A Christmas cake

1/2 cup butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1 TBSP wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups sifted self-rising flour
4 TBSP powdered cocoa
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped dates

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare 2 round cake- baking pans: grease and flour.

Dust pecans and dates with small amount of the sifted flour. Doing this will keep the nuts and dates from settling to the bottom of the cake layers. Set aside

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until light, add sugar and egg and cream until well blended and fluffy.
Stir soda into 1 cup of buttermilk. Set aside.
Mix cocoa and sifted flour.
Add buttermilk mixture, alternating with flour mixture, to the creamed butter/sugar mixture. Do not over beat.
Fold in nuts, dates and vinegar.

Pour into prepared pans. Bake until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean (about 20-25 minutes.)
Remove from oven, cool about 10 minutes, and turn out onto cooling rack. Cool thoroughly before frosting.

Pineapple Icing

2 1/2 cups sugar
1 TBSP butter
1 large can crushed pineapple in heavy syrup

Cook together until thick, then cool and set aside while you make the...

Chocolate Frosting

2 TBSP butter
4 TBSP cream
4 TBSP powdered cocoa
Sifted powdered sugar (about a pound)

Combine butter, cream and cocoa in large saucepan. Heat, stirring, until melted and well blended. Remove from heat.
Add sifted powdered sugar, incorporating a small amount at a time until frosting is thick and of a spreadable consistency. If too thick, add a drop of cream to soften.

To assemble cake:

Place one layer on cake plate. Place 1/2 of the pineapple filling of the top (only) of the cake layer. Frost the layer, top and sides, with chocolate frosting.
Place the second layer on top of the first layer. Place remaining pineapple filling on the top (only) of the second cake layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining chocolate frosting.

Garnish with lightly toasted pecan halves.

Note: the longer this cake sits, the better it gets. Problem is, it never lasts very long, so we don't know just how good it can be!

Merry Christmas. Oh, wait, we haven't celebrated Thanksgiving yet!

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