Aunt Ellen’s Fruit Cakes

Putting the finishing touches on a fruit cake

Fruit Cake? I’m not joking! Don’t give up on fruit cake until you’ve tried Aunt Ellen’s Fruit Cake. It’s full of sweet candied and dried fruit, marinated in cherry brandy then mixed with nuts and a spiced batter that’s baked to perfection. If you haven’t tried fruit cake, this is the one to try. If you are a fruit cake lover, then you’ll know that Aunt Ellen’s Fruit Cake is the best you have ever had!

four fruit cakes on a cooling rack
Aunt Ellen’s Fruit Cakes
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Full of sweet candied and dried fruit marinated in cherry brandy, then mixed with nuts and a spiced batter that's baked to perfection. This is why fruit cake is a holiday tradition that has lasted for centuries. If you haven't tried fruit cake, this is the one to try. If you are a fruit cake lover, then you'll know this is the best!
Servings Prep Time
75 Servings 1 1/2 hour
Cook Time Calories per Serving
3 hours 135
Servings Prep Time
75 Servings 1 1/2 hour
Cook Time Calories per Serving
3 hours 135
four fruit cakes on a cooling rack
Aunt Ellen’s Fruit Cakes
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Full of sweet candied and dried fruit marinated in cherry brandy, then mixed with nuts and a spiced batter that's baked to perfection. This is why fruit cake is a holiday tradition that has lasted for centuries. If you haven't tried fruit cake, this is the one to try. If you are a fruit cake lover, then you'll know this is the best!
Servings Prep Time
75 Servings 1 1/2 hour
Cook Time Calories per Serving
3 hours 135
Servings Prep Time
75 Servings 1 1/2 hour
Cook Time Calories per Serving
3 hours 135
This is What You Need
The Fruit
The Batter
This is What You Do
Prepare the Fruit
  1. The night before you make the Fruit Cake, chop the fruit into small pieces (about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch); Set some red and green cherries (sliced in half), some pineapple chunks and some pecans halves aside for topping the fruit cakes. Place the raisins and chopped fruit in a large bowl. Pour ½ cup cherry brandy over the fruit and toss well.
  2. Let the fruit and brandy mixture stand at room temperature overnight, stirring often to mix the fruit.
Other Preparation
  1. Prepare some 8 X 4 aluminum loaf pans (see Recipe Notes) by spreading a thin layer of shortening all over the inside, then lining each loaf pan with parchment paper or wax paper.
  2. Chop the nuts into small pieces (don't pulverize) and mix into the fruit and cherry brandy mix; set aside.
  3. Combine the flour, cinnamon, allspice, grated nutmeg and salt and sift all together into a bowl; set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
Mix the Batter and Fruit
  1. Using a stand mixer, cream the softened butter or margarine until light and fluffy.
  2. With the mixer on a medium speed, add the brown sugar gradually, allowing the brown sugar and butter to completely combine before adding more brown sugar.
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the eggs one at a time. Make sure each egg is completely mixed in before adding the next egg.
  4. Keeping the mixer on low, add the sifted spiced flour to the butter and brown sugar mixture, a little at a time, making sure that it is all incorporated before adding more.
  5. Turn off the stand mixer and transfer the batter to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the fruit and nut mixture, a little at a time. Mix everything together well, then mix some more!
  6. Turn the mixture into the prepared loaf pans.
  7. Bake at 250 degrees for 2 ½ to 3 hours. The fruit cakes are done when a toothpick comes out clean, but slightly sticky. (see Recipe Notes)
  8. Cool the fruit cakes in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto cooling racks until fully cooled. This will take a few hours or can be cooled over night.
  9. To finish the fruit cake, poke several holes in the top of each with a tooth pick and pour a little cherry brandy over the fruit cakes slowly.
  10. Once the cherry brandy has been absorbed, individually wrap the finished fruit cakes tightly in plastic wrap (airtight) and store. These fruit cakes can be eaten right away or stored for a couple of months in the refrigerator or pantry, or can be frozen for several months.
Recipe Notes

This recipe says to marinate the chopped fruit in the cherry brandy for twelve hours....feel free to do it longer if you want. Just keep stirring it every few hours!

This recipe is easy to increase-just keep all the ingredients proportional.

Sifting the dry ingredients together, then adding the sifted, dry ingredients gradually will make sure that the delicious spices are distributed throughout all the batter.

This recipe will fill approximately five of the 8" x 4" X 2 1/2" loaf pans, or about 15 of the little 6" x 3 1/2" x 2" loaf pans. The little ones are the perfect size for gifts.  This is also great in larger loaf pans or the round  angel-food cake pans.

The cooking time is a good estimate and depends a lot on the size loaf pans you decide to use.   Check after about 2 hours-if they are done the cakes should be firm when you press down on them and just starting to pull away from the sides of the pans. Poke them with a tooth pick-if it comes out clean and just a little sticky, it's done! 

Make sure to wrap the fruit cakes tightly-start with plastic wrap then cover with aluminum foil. Make them airtight! They can be placed in freezer bags and stored for up to six months, either in the fridge or out. They can also be frozen for a year.

Nutrition Facts
Aunt Ellen’s Fruit Cakes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 135 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 8%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 17mg 6%
Sodium 98mg 4%
Potassium 76mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 14g
Protein 2g 4%
Vitamin A 4%
Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 1%
Iron 3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cranberry BBQ Sauce

Cranberry BBQ Sauce on Grilled Chicken with Green Beans
Cranberry BBQ Sauce in Bowl with Ladle and Andouille Sausage
Cranberry BBQ Sauce
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Try something just a little different at the next BBQ. This BBQ sauce is sweet and savory and sets itself apart by combining the tartness of whole cranberries and the smokiness of chipotle peppers. Your family and friends will wonder where this delicious sauce came from and ask for it time and time again.
Servings Prep Time
32 Servings 20 Minutes
Cook Time Calories per Serving
70 Minutes 64
Servings Prep Time
32 Servings 20 Minutes
Cook Time Calories per Serving
70 Minutes 64
Cranberry BBQ Sauce in Bowl with Ladle and Andouille Sausage
Cranberry BBQ Sauce
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Try something just a little different at the next BBQ. This BBQ sauce is sweet and savory and sets itself apart by combining the tartness of whole cranberries and the smokiness of chipotle peppers. Your family and friends will wonder where this delicious sauce came from and ask for it time and time again.
Servings Prep Time
32 Servings 20 Minutes
Cook Time Calories per Serving
70 Minutes 64
Servings Prep Time
32 Servings 20 Minutes
Cook Time Calories per Serving
70 Minutes 64
This is What You Need
This is What You Do
  1. Fry bacon until crispy in a cast iron dutch oven over medium high heat, until the fat has rendered.
  2. Remove the bacon from the pot, but leave the bacon grease, and add the onions.
  3. Saute the onions, stirring almost constantly, until clear and the edges are just starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and stir until aromatic, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin and lemon zest. Stir to combine all the ingredients and simmer together for about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the chopped pepper, the cranberries and a pinch of salt, stir completely to mix all ingredients.
  7. Add the vinegar, lemon juice and brown sugar and stir well for a couple of minutes, until all the ingredients are combined.
  8. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover for about 10 to 15 minutes, while the cranberries break down. Stir occasionally.
  9. Remove the dutch oven from the heat. Using an immersion blender, reduce the whole cranberries into small pieces. The sauce will have a thick, paste like consistency at this point. (see Notes)
  10. Let the sauce cool slightly, about 5 minutes, then process through a food mill set with its finest disc. Remember to scrape off the bottom of the disc and return that with all the processed sauce to the dutch oven. (see Notes)
  11. Place the dutch oven over medium high heat and mix in the beef stock, starting with about 1 cup. Stir to blend together, adding more stock until you reach your desired consistency.
  12. Reduce to a simmer, cover and allow it to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add more beef stock to thin out the sauce, if desired. (If you need it to thicken, just simmer without the cover)
  13. Turn heat off and allow to sit for about 10 minutes.
Recipe Notes

Fresh or frozen cranberries are very tart, but the amount of brown sugar can be adjusted to your taste.

Canned cranberry sauce can be substituted for the whole cranberries-use two 15 ounce cans. There are other ingredients in the canned sauce, so you should consider the amount of brown sugar you use. Maybe start with 1 cup, then add more after tasting, if desired.

Use a food processor to chop the onions, garlic and chipotle pepper. You want them as fine as you can get them.

This recipe was developed using about 1/4 ounce of chipotle pepper in adobo sauce-that was 1 pepper.  To increase the heat, add more.

If you do not have an immersion blender, use a potato masher or large wooden spoon to smash the cranberries, or you can add them as is to a blender or a food processor.

If you do not have a food mill, a blender or food processor works very well. Make sure to process the sauce until smooth.

The final consistency of the sauce will depend upon the amount of beef stock or beef broth you add. You may use more than two cups of stock to get the consistency you like....that's OK!

To make this vegetarian, substitute olive oil or vegetable oil for the bacon grease and vegetable stock or broth for the beef stock.

 

 

Nutrition Facts
Cranberry BBQ Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 64 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0.3g 2%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.4g
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 163mg 7%
Potassium 34mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 13g
Protein 0.3g 1%
Vitamin A 9%
Vitamin C 5%
Calcium 0.2%
Iron 1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Double Shot Butternut Squash

Roasted butternut squash with rum sauce

Heartwarming and special. Roast butternut squash until it is tender, then mix in a sweet and savory sauce fortified with rum and topped off with some Louisiana pecans. This is a great side dish that will upgrade any meal.

 

double shot butternut squash on a plate with shot and bottle of rum
Sweet Daddy D's Double Shot Butternut Squash
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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A rich and hearty side dish, perfect for winter or anytime. Roasted butternut squash with a delicious sauce of brown sugar, butter, spices and pecans, highlighted with a double shot of dark rum. An instant family favorite.
Servings Prep Time
8 Servings 30 Minutes
Cook Time Calories per Serving
1 Hour 381
Servings Prep Time
8 Servings 30 Minutes
Cook Time Calories per Serving
1 Hour 381
double shot butternut squash on a plate with shot and bottle of rum
Sweet Daddy D's Double Shot Butternut Squash
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
A rich and hearty side dish, perfect for winter or anytime. Roasted butternut squash with a delicious sauce of brown sugar, butter, spices and pecans, highlighted with a double shot of dark rum. An instant family favorite.
Servings Prep Time
8 Servings 30 Minutes
Cook Time Calories per Serving
1 Hour 381
Servings Prep Time
8 Servings 30 Minutes
Cook Time Calories per Serving
1 Hour 381
This is What You Need
Double Shot Sauce
This is What You Do
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Butter the inside of an oven safe baking dish.
  3. Peel and cube the butternut squash, place in the backing dish with a pinch of salt; mix well to distribute salt.
  4. Place the butternut squash in the preheated oven and roast for 40 minutes.
  5. While the squash roasts mix the ingredients for the sauce:
  6. In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter.
  7. Add brown sugar and stir until desolved.
  8. Add salt, thyme and allspice; mix well
  9. Stir in the apple cider vinegar and rum.
  10. Add the pecans and the whole cloves, continue to stir.
  11. Bring to a low boil and cook about 5-10 minutes, stirring often. Set aside until butternut squash is ready.
  12. After the butternut squash has roasted for 40 minutes, remove the it from the oven. Mix well.
  13. Check for tenderness by probing with a toothpick. If the squash is still hard, place back in the oven and check again in about 10 minutes. When the butternut squash is beginning to get tender, go on to the next step:
  14. Pour the sauce over the butternut squash and mix well
  15. Return to the oven for 10 to 20 minutes until the butternut squash is soft when probed with a toothpick.
  16. Remove for the oven and mix well.
Recipe Notes

The butternut squash is ready when it is tender, regardless of how much time it has been in the oven. Use a tooth pick to probe the squash after about 40 minutes, just put it back in the oven if its still tough.

This butternut squash will go very well with many things-try it with roasted chicken or turkey, or a nice pork loin or pork or beef tenderloin. Versatile, nutritious, warming, and rich with a little kick.

Besides tasting great, Butternut Squash is pretty nutritious as well. It's a source for potassium and other important nutrients and a great source of fiber. It benefits your hair and skin, digestion and blood pressure. Here’s a short article  on the nutritional benefits of Butternut Squash.  

You can also learn a little more about Butternut Squash and other winter squash varieties by reading my Lagniappe article Get to Know your Butternut Squash.

Nutrition Facts
Sweet Daddy D's Double Shot Butternut Squash
Amount Per Serving
Calories 381 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 35%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 43mg 14%
Sodium 283mg 12%
Potassium 6mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 42g 14%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 20g
Protein 3g 6%
Vitamin A 303%
Vitamin C 67%
Calcium 9%
Iron 9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.