Read More

A Baker's Dozen of Maida Heatter recipes for the holidays

My intentions were to post this list of past recipes in time for Thanksgiving. Well, you know how that goes...

So, if you are thinking about making something different for Christmas or New Year's (or whenever), here are some suggestions. There are a great number of recipes throughout Maida's books that are traditionally served at Christmas, from all over the world. And there are quite a number that I haven't attempted yet (such as Stollen, which I wanted to do this year). This weekend I plan to make the Kentucky Whiskey Cake.

The following list of recipes are ones that I have made over the years and some, more than once. They are all good!

Black Forest Cherry Torte - If you're in the mood to impress with a big cake, this one might be the ticket. I love Black Forest cake but I know some people don't like the kirsch flavor. This is a time-consuming cake to make so I did it in stages. Now that I think of it, I've only made this cake once, but then again, I like to try different recipes. If someone requested it, I would definitely go with Maida's recipe. 

Pennsylvania Dutch Chocolate Cookies - I made these for the first time last year and thought they were fantastic.  I tried to limit myself to one per night but would usually end up eating more than that. In a word, they are addictive. The dough is thick and smooth and very easy to work with. The cookies are crisp yet soft and chewy on the inside. The chocolate flavor is intense, especially if you use Dutch-process cocoa.

Texas Fruitcake -  I was a late convert to fruitcake and I have Maida to thank for introducing me to making it. I've tried a few of her recipes and I think this is my favorite. First of all, it is so beautiful. I think it looks like stained glass. Pearl's Southhampton Fruitcake (called the "classic fruitcake" is also very good. Fruitcakes are time-consuming and expensive to make but so worth it. It really pays to plan ahead!

Kathy's Cranberry Loaf - This is very much like a fruitcake and a reader suggested that the nuts and fruits could be reduced by half to make it more like a cake. I have not tried that but I enjoyed it the way it is written. The orange flavoring is particularly nice. With the cranberries (which can be either fresh or frozen), it might be more of a Thanksgiving recipe. Either way, it is quite nice. 

Haleakala Cake - When my family got together for the holidays, there would always be a coconut cake, either made by my mother or one of my aunts (I don't think any of my uncles baked! ha). When I made this cake a few years ago, I thought to myself that it was the best. I don't suppose it is your traditional coconut cake, what with a pineapple filling, but it is a lovely cake and so pretty!

Moosehead Gingerbread - A reader of the blog requested this recipe and I'm so glad she did. It is delicious! Maida Heatter got the recipe from a fishing guide at Moosehead Lake, near the Canadian border. There are several other gingerbread recipes that I haven't tried yet, namely the Mary Washington recipe. I have tried Gingerbread Muffins and they are quite good also. 

Moravian Wafers - Like gingerbread, molasses is the star ingredient in these cookies. Talk about addictive, I can't just eat one. These are like the cookies we used to buy in tins at Christmas. These keep well and make a nice gift. They are excellent with a cup of coffee.

Carrot Cake - Like Coconut Cake, Carrot Cake was a staple at holiday dinners and it was my father's favorite cake. The recipe in the Gourmet Cookbook has long been my favorite but this one is equally good. It calls for brown sugar in addition to white (always a good thing) as well as raisins and cocoa powder. The cake is very moist and dense. The icing is heavenly (and identical to the recipe in Gourmet).

Macadamia Shortbread Biscotti -  I must make more biscotti and someone just recommended a Maida recipe ("Biscotti Cioccolato") that I haven't made before. Maida has a large number of biscotti recipes. The entire first chapter in Brand New Book of Great Cookies is devoted to it. Barbara's Milk Chocolate Biscotti is wonderful but I think I remember this one because I made it around New Year's and I remember we had friends over and they raved about it. 

Christmas Brownies - The "Christmasy" ingredient in these brownies is the candied fruit. They are very thin, very moist and very delicious. The recipe only makes about sixteen brownies so you might want to double it. These were a tasty surprise.

Christmas Fruitcake Bars -  If you haven't the time or inclination to make a fruitcake, these are the next best thing. Very easy and festive looking! You can use a variety of candied fruits or whatever you like best.

Pecan Squares Americana - Do you want to try something different from the basic pecan pie? This is one of the most popular recipes on the site. It is a bit time consuming but you will be rewarded with the results and your friends and family will thank you.  

Swedish Jelly Cookies - A shortbread-like cookie with an apricot filling. These are Michael's favorite cookies.  The recipe requires a bit of swiftness and I always enlist a helping hand to get them rolled up before the dough cracks. They are lovely cookies.

Post a comment