The smells of fall baking have been replaced by peppermint and chocolate at my house as holiday treat season is underway! There is nothing I love to give more than treats from my kitchen. Each year, I pull out my well-worn family favorite recipes and add one or two new ones into the mix. This month, I’m sharing two tried-and-true treats and a special bonus from a beloved Alabama Farmers Federation cook.
Despite traditional fruitcake being frowned upon by many, fruitcake cookies are a shining star on any holiday cookie platter. In fact, this is one of my most requested holiday recipes. While most fruitcake cookies call for shortening, I like to use butter to add a more homestyle flavor. Mix that with the best candied fruit you can find, and you’re sure to win over even the most stalwart fruitcake haters.
I prepare and package countless batches of peanut brittle each Christmas. It’s the perfect make-ahead gift folks across generations are delighted to receive. Microwave Peanut Brittle tastes just like my mom’s old-fashioned recipe but incorporates using a microwave for far less fuss.
Last, but certainly not least, I’m honored to share a recipe from Federation member Linda Finney, the organization’s former Alfa Health manager. Finney and her family hail from Elmore County, where her Cracker Brittle, originally shared in the December 1997 Neighbors, is the stuff of legends. Chances are you’ve had some version of this before. If you haven’t, it’s popular for a reason, so get ready to be impressed. Sweet toffee is baked onto saltine crackers that are then topped with chocolate. That sweet and salty combo gets me every time.
I hope you have a delicious holiday season with lots of memory-making in store. You know, I always say we Southerners have a special way of telling folks we love them: We cook for them. And the holidays are the perfect opportunity to share that love. May the warmth of your heart be rivaled only by the warmth of your kitchen.
Merry Christmas, y’all.