In the last of this four-part series on holiday baking, indulge in some of my family's tastiest recipes. if you missed the other articles, you can view them here:
The wonderful women in my family are busy at work during the holiday season, and the benefits are delicious for everyone involved.
This is a deliciously sweet and classic family recipe that is easy to prepare.
½ lb hazelnuts
¼ cup margarine
1 bag marshmallows
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Roast hazelnuts and remove skins.
- Melt margarine, preferably over a double boiler.
- Add marshmallows and stir. Add chocolate chips and melt.
- Add nuts immediately.
- Remove from stove and spread quickly down into a greased 8-inch cake pan.
- Cool and refrigerate until mixture is hardened. When ready to serve, cut into serving-size pieces.
Makes one loaf
This deliciously light loaf is perfect as an appetizer, when guests are piling in for Christmas dinner.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2 cups pumpkin, mashed
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
3 cups granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
- Peel, cook and mash pumpkin and set aside.
- Beat eggs until frothy. Add oil and water to the mixture and mix with pumpkin.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and salt together and add to the pumpkin mixture.
- Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for one hour, or until knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
This is a classic recipe from my late Great Aunt Antonietta Ranucci's collection. Zeppole is a classic treat enjoyed around the holidays and special festivals. A special thank you goes out to my American cousins, Mark Francis and Linda Volpe, for keeping the tradition alive. This is about as easy as making a pancake – just tastier.
1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Oil for frying
- Crack eggs into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until foamy.
- Add all of the dry ingredients to the eggs in the mixing bowl, while on slow speed. Add ricotta and vanilla right away. Continue to mix on a slow speed until well combined. The batter will be thick and creamy. Do not overmix.
- Heat oil in a cast iron skillet. It should be approximately 375 degrees F. Spray a small melon ball scoop with oil and scoop up the batter. Carefully drop batter into the oil. Repeat with consecutive scoops, but don't let them touch.
- Turn them a few times for even browning, for about 3 minutes, until they are a little bigger. Once they've reached a golden brown, place them on paper towels or brown paper to drain. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.
Note: These are delicious served plain, too!
Take this handy list with you next time you go shopping.
Vegetables and fruits:
Milk and milk products:
- Whole-milk ricotta cheese
Meat and alternatives:
- Ground nutmeg
- Ground cloves
- Ground ginger
- Ground cinnamon
- Baking powder
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil
- Granulated sugar
- Confectioners' sugar
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips