Well, the elves have been busy in the kitchen of the Horner house this December. We start stocking up on ingredients in November and roll up our sleeves early in December. The kitchen stays warm with the heat from the oven that stays lit on baking days. I wear more powdered sugar on my T shirt than actually makes it to the bowl, and I must have been over-zealous when I was beating the chocolate fudge as I found about six ounces of chocolate in my hair later that night. But, it all part of the process!
My mother began this tradition of mass baking so that we could make up trays of goodies. It was her way of saying “Thank you, we appreciate all you do and who you are.” I began to help more as the years went by and the pans became too heavy for her to lift, or the fudge was too thick for her to beat as well as she used to. I had no idea how much…muchness…went into her trays. The more I took over, the more I saw it as a chore, a laborious task to undertake in an already busy time. I would give a long-suffering sigh and wearily roll up my sleeves, dragging my feet as I entered the kitchen.
But let me tell you, there is magic in what she does. When I thumb through her old cookbooks, like my favorite Gold Medal Jubilee, with recipes spanning from 1880 ~ 1955, the memories of Christmases Past waft through my mind as sweetly as the baking smells waft from the ever-busy oven. The magic of giving your best blossoms like a spring flower as each tray is handed out and you can see the pleasure on faces of friends and family.
My mother reminds me of The Little Drummer Boy; she has always given her best by whatever means she had. May we always be reminded of the importance of thinking of others, and touched with the spirit of giving and love this Christmas and always.
Merry Christmas from the Horner family! I have included two of the recipes that we use for our trays, and one is from the beloved Gold Medal book. I hope you try them and enjoy them as much as we do. Love and peace…and check your hair for chocolate!
Jubilee Jumbles (1955)
½ cup soft shortening
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup undiluted evaporated milk or thick sour cream (I use sour cream)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ¾ cups sifted Gold Medal Flour
½ tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix thoroughly shortening, sugars, eggs. Stir in sour cream, vanilla. Sift together flour, soda, salt, and stir in. Blend in walnuts. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart on greased baking sheet. Bake about 10 min., until delicately browned. Frost with Burn butter Glaze (recipe below). Makes about 4 dozen.
Burnt Butter Glaze
Heat 2 tbsp. butter until golden brown. Beat in until smooth 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar and 14 cup undiluted evaporated milk.
Texas Millionaires (the turtle-like candies)
1 ~ 14 oz. package caramels, unwrapped
2 T butter or margarine
2 T water
3 cups chopped pecans
Wilton milk chocolate dipping chocolate wafers. I start with one package
Cook first three ingredients in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Stir in pecan bits. Cool in pan five minutes.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto lightly greased was paper. Chill one hour or freeze twenty minutes until firm.
Heat water over a double broiler. Remove from heat. Melt milk chocolate discs in double broiler, stirring until smooth. Dip caramel candies into melted chocolate, allowing excess to drip; place on lightly greased was paper. Let stand until firm. Yield: 4 dozen