The holidays are sneaking up on us.  While I don’t have sugar plums dancing in my head, I most certainly DO have the recipes for holiday dishes and desserts dancing up there!’

Right now, I’ve got a batch of whole cranberry sauce cooling on the stove and I do believe I outdid myself this time.  It’s Traditional Cranberries with a Kick.  I usually do not make spicy foods, though I love them.  One reason being is that DH has a very delicate stomach and the other is that hot spice gives me heartburn… ugh.  BUT… there’s always a but.  Today, I stepped outside of the norm.  No pics yet, but I’ve just got to write down the recipe before I forget.

Whole Cranberry Sauce, with a KICK…

Traditional Cranberries With a Kick

  • 1 package Raw Cranberries
  • 1 cup Sugar (used white today, but usually use dark brown sugar)
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 can Crushed Pineapple (with juice, try to make the water and juice add up to 1 cup.)
  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg (fresh ground)
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper (secret kick-but ingredient)

Put all ingredients into a saucepan and heat to boiling.  Watch all the berries pop… this is the fun part.  This recipe is forgiving in that you can just start with the cranberries and water, then add the rest of the ingredients at your leisure.  Stir.  I started out with more than a cup of liquid, so I had to keep this boiling until the liquid thickened a little.  The amount of cayenne pepper should be to your taste.  I’m assuming you can use chili peppers, and maybe jalapeno peppers… but not sure on that.  That’s too spicy for me, though I might try it.  Just received a couple of homegrown jalapeno peppers and this might just be the experiment for it.  Okay, if you use the correct amount of liquid combination, you should just need to boil for 5 minutes, or to whatever thickness you like.

Edited 10/19/2012 1:01pm:  To insert pic of cranberry sauce above.  I do think mine is not as thick as I’d like, so I will cook it down further or add a thickening agent if I have one on hand.

Fig Nut Cookies

Italian Fig Nut Cookies.  Cute but compared, visually, to what I remember is like comparing a toddler’s artwork to a one of the masters.

Another holiday tradition that snuck back into view this week is an old Italian fig cookie recipe that I first experienced during the years of my first marriage, mid-late nineties.  They are called by various names: cuccidati, buccellati and Emril even has a recipe.  If you look close, he’s got TWO recipes listed for fig nut cookies.  Hey, this is a BIG thing in Italy.  The ex’s aunt, Tsi Tsi (aunt), and totally not sure that I’m spelling that correctly, would make the most delicious fig cookies that reminded me of all the cookie recipes my own grandmother would make with love every year, stretching from October on into Jan.  Every time company would come over, she’d come out of her room with a plate of mixed cookies.

Anyway coming back to the topic of fig cookies.  I believe I was slated to receive this secret family recipe, but then the divorce threw a wrench into that idea.   Yeah, his aunt took a lot of pride in these cookies and she even let me help her make them one year.  Of course, I was never privy to the exact ingredients, but I helped her form and cut the cookies.  They were beautiful and reminded me of graceful flowers.  If I remember correctly, the fig filling was encased in the dough, like a calzone.  Then she’d cut along one edge, making thin pieces on one side.  THEN came the fun part.  She’d pick up each little “arm” and twisted and turned each piece in turn.  Each cookie was a unique piece of artwork.  I’ve yet to find any pics of these cookies that look even similar to what Tsi Tsi created.

I am so totally psyched.  Little do my nephew and new niece know, but I am going to use Thanksgiving to test out whatever recipe I use or tweak or whatever.  So many recipes out there and that is not uncommon, I’ve learned.  Each town has it’s traditional way of making it.  Wow, even FAMILIES have their own version, of course, being a well guarded secret family recipe.  I can’t wait to start my own family tradition, over here in the USA…  I don’t remember my own grandmother making this recipe, but so what.  It will be brand new one, coming from me and hopefully, I’ll be able to put my own spin on this one.

Pics to follow….. of COURSE~!

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