Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Rich cake benefits from a wee dram

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EARLIER this month, Gerri Stemler wrote in asking for a fruit cake recipe published in the Free Press in the 1970s that used dates and Brazil nuts. Thanks to Alice LaFleche and Jeannette Johnston of Keewatin. Another reader wrote in requesting a recipe for Ukrainian honey cookies, saying that hers had turned out hard as rocks. Thanks to Jeannette Johnston (again!) and to Randy Marchinko, who sent in an old family recipe.

If you can help with a recipe request, have your own request, or a favourite recipe you'd like to share, send an email to recipeswap@freepress.mb.ca, fax it to 697-7412, or write to Recipe Swap, c/o Alison Gillmor, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Please include your first and last name, address and telephone number.

 

Brazil nut sensation

175 ml (3/4 cup) sifted all-purpose flour
175 ml (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
2 ml (1/2 tsp) baking powder
2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
750 ml (3 cups) shelled Brazil nuts, roughly chopped
450 g (1 lb) pitted dates, roughly chopped
250 ml (1 cup) maraschino cherries, drained and halved
3 eggs
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla

Preheat oven to 150 C (300 F). Line a 22x12.5x7.5 cm (9x5x3 inch) loaf pan with parchment paper. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In large bowl, mix nuts, dates and cherries. Sift flour over this mixture and stir until well coated. Beat eggs until foamy, add vanilla, and stir into nut mixture until well mixed. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until cake tests done. Cool in pan on wire rack. Wrap in foil and store in fridge. (Will keep for 5-6 weeks.)

 

Tester's notes: Dark, dense and rich, this holiday treat is basically a whole lot of dates and nuts held together with just a bit of cake batter. I really liked using dates rather than glace fruit and peel mixes. I couldn't justify buying Brazil nuts when I had lots of nuts left over from holiday baking, so I used a mix of walnuts, pecans and blanched almonds, which worked fine. I also sprinkled a little Scotch over the cake before wrapping.

 

Baba's old country cookies

250 ml (1 cup) honey
250 ml (1 cup) brown or raw sugar
500 ml (2 cups) all-purpose flour
3 eggs
500 ml (2 cups) all-purpose flour
7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) baking soda
5 ml (1 tsp) cinnamon
2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
125 ml (1/2 cup) finely chopped walnuts

 

Preheat oven to 160 C (325 F). Lightly oil a cookie sheet. In a medium heavy pot, bring honey and sugar to a boil. Add 500 ml (2 cups) flour to the boiling honey and mix well. Remove from heat and cool until mixture is just warm. Add the eggs and blend well. In small bowl, combine the other 500 ml (2 cups) flour with baking soda, cinnamon, salt and walnuts, add to honey mixture and mix well. Drop small rounds of dough onto prepared sheet, flatten slightly and bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and store in a tightly closed container.

 

Tester's notes: Randy's grandmother made these spiced honey cookies in the first cool days of fall and then they were hidden away to mellow until Christmas -- unless the kids found them first. Usually made without butter, shortening or oil, these cookies -- also called medovniky or medianyky -- actually get better with age, as the texture softens and the honey and spice flavour deepens. Randy suggests adding half a cut apple to the closed container if you need to speed up the process. Some recipes call for the dough to be rolled out, cut into shapes and decorated with sugar.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 12, 2012 C5

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