Sunday, December 12, 2010
Holidays & CHOCOLATE Fruitcake
This morning I looked at the countdown to Christmas on my blog sidebar and realized that there weren't enough days left for me to get everything done on my list! Each year I resolve to start earlier in the year with my Christmas preparations, but other things consume my time. I believe that in my heart I have learned to enjoy the moment; to live in the present. I embrace and enjoy each holiday, season, and event as it comes along. But sometimes there isn't much time between holidays and events to get a lot done for whatever upcoming event is next. For me, simplifying is the answer. Not one to completely redecorate the entire house, I rely upon little things that give festive flair and are easy to implement. Table-settings, centerpieces, candles, and holiday foods set the stage for each season, holiday, or event as it comes along.
All this to share a recipe with you; one for a holiday food. It is for the infamous holiday fruit cake! I would probably be better off baking Christmas cookies or a cheesecake of sorts, but I recently found a recipe for Chocolate Fruitcake in the newspaper, and it brought back so many memories that I knew I had to try it. My very English mother loved fruitcake! It was her Christmas treat. In fact, for her it was a wedding treat as well (she baked fruitcake for her wedding and mine as well, bundling up tiny pieces in foil and tulle tied with satin ribbons for each guest to take home with them). Since my own family doesn't care very much for fruitcake, I have let the tradition fall to the wayside until this year. But finding a recipe for CHOCOLATE fruitcake sounded too good to be true. I had to try it, and as I speak, ten little loaves are cooling on a rack on kitchen counter. Adaptations and alterations were not complicated with this recipe. Vegan and gluten-free versions only require a few substitutions, like Ener-G egg replacer or Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flour blend. Here's the recipe, though, in its original form. You can make adaptations to fit your individual needs.
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
3 1-oz. squares unsweetened baking chocolate
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons milk
3 cups candied fruit (lemon or orange peel; pineapple; mixed fruit)
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts, chopped
2 teaspoons butter
Heat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Cream together the shortening, sugar, and eggs. When smooth and creamy, slowly add melted chocolate.
In another bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly add the flour to the creamed mixture, alternating with milk.
Gently stir in the walnuts, raisins, and candied fruit.
Coat 5 small loaf pans with butter (or vegetable shortening). Dust with cocoa powder. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until done (knife inserted in center of loaf should come out clean). Remove from oven and cool in pans.
*Delicious! But next time I will not dust the pan with cocoa powder because it makes it look like it is burned (even though it wasn't). You can use larger loaf pans or a tube cake pan, but will need to increase the baking time.
**Better with age and so yummy with hot cocoa. I'll be making this again!