Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Holiday Traditions Old and New

Cornmeal Cranberry Cookies

Holiday bakers tend to fall into two camps: traditionalists and neo-traditionalists. Some of us look forward to bringing out our cherished family recipes year after year and wouldn’t dream of changing a thing. And some of us view the holidays as an opportunity to try new techniques and tweak the classics.

At C&H Sugar, we don’t take sides—we believe in equal opportunity for all holiday bakers! As proof, here’s a collection of holiday recipes that will satisfy everyone: those of you who stick to the classics and those who crave a little novelty.

Halloween Treats

Welcome the spooky season with a classic: Caramel Apples made with a deliciously gooey mixture of C&H Pure Cane Golden Brown Sugar, C&H Pure Cane Granulated Sugar, and light corn syrup. And you don’t have to be trick-or-treat age to enjoy these delicious Popcorn Balls: offer them at a late-October football party and watch adult guests turn into happy kids.

Looking for something a little more innovative in the confection department? How about a batch of Banana Split Fudge, made in three yummy layers with your favorite banana split ingredients? Or instead of baking a dozen cookies, make just one Monster Chocolate Cookie—with Halloween candies baked right into it—in a pizza pan! To serve, simply cut into wedges as you would with pizza.

Giving Thanks

Cold Pumpkin Souffle

Grace your Thanksgiving table with a selection of all-time favorites, like this All-American Apple Pie topped with ice cream or sliced cheese. (Choose Golden Delicious apples for the perfect texture.) Bakesale Betty’s Pecan Pie has almost a full cup of nuts and the rich, deep flavor of C&H Pure Cane Dark Brown Sugar. This Classic Pumpkin Pie—easy to prepare, with just the right hint of spiciness—takes on extra flavor from C&H Washed Raw Cane Sugar (although you can substitute C&H Pure Cane Granulated Sugar). Cooking a big bird? Our Fluffy Pumpkin Pie requires no baking, so you can free up your oven for the turkey and other dishes. The eggs are cooked on your stovetop, so they’re safe to eat.

For more adventurous palates, we recommend this unusual and scrumptious Cranberry Date Pie, which also contains walnuts (or pecans) and sliced apples. (Although the instructions say to slice the cranberries, you can save time by skipping the slicing: the berries will burst while you’re cooking them.) And instead of pumpkin pie, why not this Cold Pumpkin Soufflé, an elegant no-bake dessert you can make the day before your feast? Or tempt your guests with ultra-rich and perfectly spiced Pumpkin Bread Pudding, served with a dollop of gingered crème Anglaise.

Winter Wonders

Gingerbread House

December’s a whirl of family gatherings and festive parties. For you traditionally minded bakers, that means baking plenty of Crisp Sugar Cookies in seasonal shapes like stars and snowmen (get the kids to help with decorations—they’ll love it!). Gingerbread Cookies are perfect for nibbling by the fireplace or hanging on your tree. Or gather the family and create a unique Gingerbread House using our recipe, template, and step-by-step directions.

Want to go beyond the tried and true? This Cornmeal-Cranberry Cookie recipe has seasonal flavor and color combined with the unexpected texture of coarsely ground cornmeal (or polenta). Serve the cookies with a pitcher of Spiced Cranberry Punch for the perfect afternoon snack. For dinner parties and fancy holiday meals, our Cranberry-Pear Tart is a sophisticated, slightly tangy variation on classic fruit pies.

Frosty the Snowman Cake

And if you love decorating, be sure to make time for at least one fancy cake this season. This Frosty the Snowman Cake requires minimal equipment (just two cake pans); our colorful photo provides an easy-to-follow decorating guide. A little more advanced, but well worth it for the “wow!” factor, the New Year’s Countdown Cake is the perfect centerpiece for an unforgettable Dec. 31 party. Just add something sparkling in your glass!

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