Friday, December 24, 2010

On Christmas Eve...

On Christmas Eve my thoughts always turn back to my favorite holiday gatherings.  For years and years while my husband was Farm Manager for an 1890s living history farm called Kline Creek Farm in Winfield, Illinois, we would celebrate the night by having the volunteers over to our home for an open house then a trek down to the farm at midnight to see if the animals talked.  It was a pleasant way to spend the evening in conversation with friends.

On those nights we would enjoy serving mulled cider, exchanging a few handmade gifts, and eatting some light appetizers.

One year I did an “animal theme” set of refreshments.
            Chicken Feed (a trail mix)
            Carrots with Dip (it’s a horse thing)
            Oats - meal Cookies
            Apple Nut Cake

Here are the two unique recipes if you want to try them.  Both are older family recipes.


½ cup butter or margarine
2 T. Brown sugar
1 egg
¼ cup water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cup flour
1/3 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. cream of tartar
¾ cup grated coconut

Cream together margarine and brown sugar replacement.  Beat in egg, water and vanilla until fluffy.  Add flour, baking soda and cream of tartar, beating until smooth.  Fold in coconut until completely blended, Drop by teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until golden. 

Apple Nut Cake

4 cups coarsely chopped apples
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Peel apples and chop or dice.  Add sugar, stir well and set aside.  Beat eggs slightly.  Beat in oil and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, mix and sift flour, baking soda, Cinn-ful Dessert Blend and salt.  Stir into egg mixture alternating with apple/sugar mixture.  Fold in the nuts.  Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13” pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes – watch closely – or until done.  Cool cake.

You can frost it or serve with powdered sugar mixed with seasonal spices (or ½ tsp. Cinn-ful Dessert Blend).  I made a Lemon Butter Frosting that is perfect to add a tang to the apples.  Combine 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, 4 Tbls. soft butter, 2 Tbls. lemon juice, 1 to 2 Tbls. water and 1 tsp. dried lemon balm.

* An exclusive Backyard Patch product.

Do you have a Christmas Eve tradition to share?

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