Toting homemade food across state lines is a holiday tradition for many families including mine. Below are recipes (as requested by family and friends) for two items that were particularly well-received this Thanksgiving. With some careful packing (for the cookies) and refrigeration (for the cranberry preserves), both easily survived the six-hour drive from Des Moines to Chicago. Enjoy!
Another family member managed to safely transport a 22-pound uncooked (but perfectly seasoned) turkey and several pounds worth of cooked turkey breast from suburban Detroit to Chicago. Both made for a delicious and food poisoning-free Thanksgiving! (Want to share your secret to success on that Barbara?)
(Polly’s) Cranberry Cassis Preserves
Makes about 4 cups
3 cups sugar (I recommend using a little less)
3/4 cup water
4 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely diced (no need to peel)
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1/4 to 1/3 cup creme de cassis
Heat sugar and water in a heavy large saucepan over low heat, swirling pan occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Add cranberries, apples and lemon peel. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until consistency of thick jam, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. Stir in cassis to taste. (I also threw in some more cranberries at the end to add a little tartness and pretty whole berries.) Cool completely before serving. Can be stored in refrigerator one month. (I’ve tried freezing some…in preparation for a nine-hour drive to my in-laws in western Kansas at Christmas. We shall see.)
TIPS FOR TRANSPORT: I spooned the preserves into glass jars and put them a cooler with an ice pack. They came out of the jars looking almost like canned cranberries but I mushed them up so they looked more homemade.
(Mom’s) Chocolate Nut Revels
prep: 20 minutes. Bake: 10 minutes per batch. Cool: 2 minutes per batch
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1) In a small saucepan, melt chocolate chips over low heat. Remove pan from stove. Stir in the chopped pecans and set aside.
2) In large mixing blow, beat softened butter with mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add 2/3 cup sugar and vanilla. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in flour and salt until mixture is combined.
3) Spoon chocolate/nut mixture over dough. Stir just until “reveled” or marbled. Drop the cookie dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Works well to roll each mound into a ball to get more even edges (and prettier cookies than mine).
4) Grease the bottom of a juice glass with butter. Dip glass into sugar then press cookies with glass to 1/4-inch thickness.
5) Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until edges firm. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool. (Will be fragile at first)
Makes about 36 cookies.
TIPS FOR TRANSPORT: These butter cookies can be delicate – so pack in a flat plastic container, between wax paper, and put that container in a firm metal cooking pan.