Hot Cross Buns And Snow


My snowy backyard.


I was at the book store one day last week and to my delight my eyes came upon a new magazine: SIFT, a King Arthur Publication. As I thumbed my way through I saw beautiful pictures of bread, muffins, cakes, biscuits, pizza, sandwiches, gluten free baked goods, and a section on a Mediterranean feast. The photos all looked so appealing, but one picture really had my attention: hot cross buns. I was hoping to make hot cross buns for the upcoming Easter season this year to share with my Mother-In-Law Helen. She just loves hot cross buns and buys them every year. I read over the ingredients and method for preparing the dough and the baking. I happily purchased my new magazine and couldn’t wait to bake the buns. Later that week we had a snow storm and I knew it was the perfect day for baking. The recipe called for either apple juice or rum, and I had rum on hand so I used that. It also called for mixed dried fruit, and I used a mixture of golden raisins and California raisins. I chose to mix the dough by hand instead of the mixer. When baking bread at home in such a small batch I love to get my hands in it. The dough was easy to mix and the process was relaxing. I did some reading during the rise times. It was so hard waiting for those buns to cool, but I wanted to enjoy the little taste of icing piped on the top to get the whole experience of the tasting. It was worth the wait! The bun was soft and tender. The fruit was tasty with the infusion of the rum, and who doesn’t love the taste of icing? I love the buns and the magazine. I will be patiently awaiting the next issue, but ‘till then there’s lots more great recipes in this issue to try.













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Brandy Nut Cake

DSCF4489 I love reaching into my recipe box at Christmas time. I know whichever recipe I pull out will have years of history and tender memories attached to it. Such is the case with this beautiful fruit and nut cake. The recipe was shared with me by my dear former mother-in-law Janet. The cake is loaded with nuts, cherries, and raisins, and the apricot brandy gives it such a lovely flavor. Janet and I loved baking together on her visits. The Christmas season we made these cakes was an especially happy one for me. Our family lived in Washington State and we didn’t get visits from our family very often. It really lifted my spirit that they were with us for such a special time of year. There would be a few visits from Janet and my father-in-law Bill while lived there. These visits were cherished and all the more at Christmas time. The children were always so happy to see Mom mom and Pop pop. I remember shopping for all the ingredients at our local Costco. We made so many of these cakes that year that we needed to buy in bulk! I enjoyed chopping the nuts and halving the cherries. My fingertips were a lovely shade of red for a day or two! I loved the raisins and I would sneak a few as we were preparing the ingredients. We decided to make the cakes in little loaf pans to stretch the giving to my friends and church family. Mom would take some home with her to enjoy with family and friends who stopped in for a visit. We did lots of baking that year. After the little cakes, we baked all our favorite cookies. Butter spritz, pecan Sandy’s, jam thumb prints, and sugar cookie cut outs. My children couldn’t wait to eat them! I love the smell of the cake baking in my oven today. I couldn’t be more grateful for those precious memories of that special Christmas visit.
















Brandy Nut Cake

3 Cups coarsely chopped walnuts

1 ½ Cups maraschino cherries-halved

1 ½ Cups raisins

¾ Cups all-purpose flour

¾ Cups granulated sugar

½ Teaspoon baking powder

½ Teaspoon salt

3 Extra-large eggs

2 Tablespoons apricot brandy

½ Cup apricot brandy for wrapping

Combine nuts and fruit; sift together flour, sugar, and baking powder, salt. Add to the nuts and fruit tossing to coat well. Beat the eggs till frothy; then add the 2 tablespoons of brandy. Pour the egg mixture over the fruit and nut mixture. Mix well. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 300 degrees 1 hour and 45 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. When cake is completely cool remove from the pan. Moisten several layers of cheese cloth with the ½ cup of brandy. Wrap the cake in the cheese cloth then wrap in aluminum foil. Store in the refrigerator. I have no way of knowing the creator of the recipe. Janet never mentioned where she had gotten it. But I sure think it’s worth sharing. Enjoy!




Maple Glazed Pumpkin Muffins

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Muffin.
Maple Glazed Pumpkin Muffin. A comforting Autumn treat.
Whisk dry ingredients.
Whisk dry ingredients.
Lightly beat eggs, add wet ingredients.
Lightly beat eggs, add wet ingredients.
Add melted butter to dry ingredients. Then add the other wet ingredients. Stir just to combine.
Add melted butter to dry ingredients. Then add the other wet ingredients. Stir just to combine.
Fold in the nuts and raisins.
Fold in the nuts and raisins.
Spoon batter into prepared muffins cups.
Spoon batter into prepared muffins cups.
Drizzle muffins with Maple glaze.
Drizzle muffins with maple glaze.


Maple Glazed Pumpkin Muffins

2 Cups all-purpose flour

¾ up to 1 Cup granulated sugar, if you want a sweeter muffin use 1 cup of sugar

½ Teaspoon fine sea salt

1 ½ Teaspoons baking powder

¼ Teaspoon baking soda

1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ Teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ Teaspoon ground cloves

1 Cup solid packed pumpkin puree, Libby’s, or organic

¼ Cup buttermilk or evaporated milk

¼ Cup sour cream or plain yogurt

4 oz. Butter (1 stick), melted

2 Large eggs

¼ Cup raisins

¼ Cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Sift the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl; you can use a whisk to sift if you like. Melt the butter and set aside. In a separate bowl lightly beat the eggs. Add the pumpkin puree, sour cream, and buttermilk or evaporated milk. Add the melted butter and wet ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon just to combine the ingredients. Fold in the nuts and raisins. Spoon 2/3 of batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake 20 minutes or till cake tester comes out clean.

Bakers note: I used organic pumpkin for my muffins. If you use Libby’s the muffins will be a darker color.


4 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

2 Tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

Stir the confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup together, add more of either ingredient to get a not to thick not to thin mixture. Drizzle over cooled muffins.

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