While you’re at it, why not deck the cookies and candies with boughs of holly, too. Christmas time inspires us to entertain. Whether you’re hosting an open house, luncheon, or potluck at the church, every occasion deserves a special ending. When I was baking for friends, my most frequently requested Southern dessert was my mother’s Hummingbird Cake.
Andy’s Cranberry Lemon Nut Cookie
1 cup salted butter
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon lemon flavoring
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup finely chopped pecans (I used the food processor)
Cream butter with sugar until fluffy (use a mixer). Add milk and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Shape into one log and refrigerate. Cover and chill for one-two hours. Slice and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until slightly brown.
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons of milk
Stir the glaze until you can barely stir. Add what you need. A little of everything may be needed to make it really thick. It needs to dry hard on the cookie. Before it dries completely, sprinkle a little of crushed pecans and add a couple of dried cranberries on top.
Andy’s Note: This is a new cookie for me this Christmas, and I dearly loved experimenting with different recipes. Instead of my regular chocolate chip cookies or peanut butter cookies, I like to bake what I call a Christmastime cookie with nuts and fruits. Enjoy!
Mother’s Hummingbird Cake
3 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
3 eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups Crisco oil
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups mashed bananas
8-ounce cream cheese
1 box powdered sugar
9-ounce Cool Whip
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts
Combine all dry ingredients. Add eggs and oil. Stir until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not beat! This cake is mixed by hand and please, NO MIXER! Bake at 350 degrees in three greased and floured cake pans for 25-30 minutes. Test with a toothpick.
Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together. After it is mixed really well, fold in pecans and Cool Whip.
Andy’s Note: This is one of the easiest cakes to bake for it to be so WONDERFUL. Mother baked this for years and then I took up where she left off. I had a friend that gave this cake as Christmas gifts every year to the people with whom she worked. What is so great about this cake is that the flavor improves after being frozen. When I was at one of my cookbook signings, a man asked me if I had that “birdcake” recipe in my cookbook. I nearly fell out laughing!
Happy Christmas Cooking, Andy Bedwell
“Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell” can be purchased at Alabama Gift Company in downtown Gadsden and at The Messenger on Rainbow Drive.