|Happy Yule !
"The sky was a vivid crimson in every airt. Great bonfires flamed and the
bairns were delirious with delight."
This easy Eagle brand Magic Bars recipe makes a decadent treat
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 (14 oz.) Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 cups (12 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped nuts
Heat oven to 350°F. Coat 13 x 9-inch baking pan with no-stick
Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter in small bowl. Press into
bottom of prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly
over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate chips, coconut and
nuts. Press down firmly with fork.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Loosen from sides of
pan while still warm; cool on wire rack. Cut into bars.
Another easy family favorite is:
CREAM CHEESE BROWNIES
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces
12 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate chopped
6 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cake flour
18 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
(for a shortcut 1 package of brownie mix that does not include a
syrup pouch can be substituted)
In another bowl mix together:
8 ounce package Cream Cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt butter with chocolate in a large metal bowl set over a saucepan
of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from
pan and whisk in eggs, 1 at a time. Sift together flour and cocoa
powder in a separate bowl and stir into batter with sugar and salt.
Spread into greased 13x9-inch baking pan.Top with Cream Cheese
mixture. Take a knife and cut through batter several times for
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until cream cheese mixture is lightly
browned. Cool; cut into squares.
Known by many names, these sweet and nutty treats are always on
our Christmas baking list.
RUSSIAN TEA CAKES
You will need:
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 Tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, cream butter and vanilla until smooth. Combine
the 6 tablespoons confectioners' sugar and flour; stir into the butter
mixture until just blended. Mix in the chopped walnuts. Roll dough
into 1 inch balls, and place them 2 inches apart on an ungreased
Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. When cool, roll in
remaining confectioners' sugar. I also like to roll mine in the sugar a
The Solstice marks the longest night of the year. Since the dawn of civilization December has been a month of celebration, for after this
night, the dark nights begin to grow shorter as light once again returns to the world. Yule is a time for new beginnings. It is a time to
gather together, to feast and renew relationships, to strengthen the bonds of friendship and family ties. This is also the time to forgive,
a time to abandon the things that did not serve, to make peace with the troubles of the past and to look ahead with hope, each of us
aspiring to be better, as we pay homage to the cycle of life. It is important that we each join the celebration, taking time to gather with
family and friends and join the feast for it is at this time that relationships are renewed, that memories are made, that the bonds of
friendship and family ties are strengthened and we find that joining the celebration holds a magic for us all. Participating in holiday
celebrations helps us feel connected to our place in society. By recognizing and celebrating holidays and interacting with family, friends,
and community we acknowledge the seasonal change, attune with the natural tides, and acknowledge the rhythms of life, death, and
rebirth as we recognize that we are a part of the ever changing cycle.
The Symbols of the Season
For a millennia Yule has been a time of feasting and merriment and many of its old customs are still practiced in our modern
celebrations. Traditions such as the greening the home with pine, holly, and mistletoe, decorating a tree, wassailing, baking specialty
cakes, cookies, and breads, and the baking of the Yule log all can be traced back to antiquated Solstice customs. Even Santa, the
bearded jolly old soul, parallels stories of the god Oden and the Norse Yule Elf who leaves gifts on the Solstice to those who give him
offerings, from England he is Father Christmas, from Germany Kris Kringle, from Holland St. Nick and from Russia Father Winter.
Gathering together for the feast, the giving of gifts, putting up lights, and the hanging of wreaths are all symbols of the Yuletide and
these symbols of the season have origins dating back more than 5,000 years.
"Ritual and ceremony can bridge our
past and our present elegantly,
making it possible for folks like you
and me to travel through life, honoring
the good and bad times we’ve been
through. They can help us become
human “well-beings,” ready to take on
more life and liberty and ready to
pursue our happiness.
- Carl Jung
Golden Decision Maple Pecan Tart
This one uses seasonal flair of the pecan pie offsets with the rich flavor of maple chill
in the fridge overnight. This tart is the perfect treat to serve at any small planning
gathering. Not only will it sweeten everyone’s mood. It employs the energy of: the
Maple and the Pecan tree to draw good luck and prosperity. Pecans have the energy
to call up new ideas. Wheat grants energy for positive transformation. While Rum will
aid in channeling Divine inspiration and Cherries promote a rational action rather than
an emotional decision.
You will need:
a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom
a food processor
1 large egg yolk
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 Tablespoon water
2 cups pecan halves, divided
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
2 large eggs
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons dark rum
1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
For Crust: Combine egg yolk, 2 tablespoons melted butter, oil and water in a small
bowl. Process 1/2 cup pecans and sugar in a food processor to the consistency of
coarse meal. Add flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt and pulse until combined. Add the yolk
mixture and pulse just until the mixture is combined. Press mixture evenly into the
prepared pan programming the crumb as you press it.
Bake 12 to 14 minutes.
Crust should be starting to brown. Remove the tart crust from the oven. Reduce the
oven temperature to 350°. If there are any cracks in the crust, sprinkle with a little
flour and smooth over lightly with the back of a spoon.
For Filling: Chop 1 cup of pecans. Set aside. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Add
maple syrup, brown sugar, rum and mix. When smooth, beat in 1 tablespoon butter
and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Reserve 1/2 cup of this mixture and set aside. Return to bowl
and stir in chopped pecans and cherries. Pour mixture into crust. Arrange whole
pecans artfully over mixture and top with reserved sugary filling. Bake 25 to 30
minutes at 350 or until filling is firm and no longer jiggles in the center when gently
Cool 15 minutes before removing the sides of the pan. Use a butter knife to gently
loosen the tart from the pan sides if needed. Let cool completely before refrigerating
A Healthier Pumpkin Pie
The Pumpkin is a highly magickal gourd associated with the autumn festivals:
Halloween, Samhain and Thanksgiving. It is the symbol of the changing season and
there is no reason to skip the pie when you have this recipe in your arsenal. Not only
is there no added sugar, this melds the magickal energies of Pumpkin (abundance,
banishing, divination, health, prosperity, and revealing the unseen) with the energy
of Hazelnuts (healing and luck), Maple Syrup (love, luck, and wealth) and the spices:
Ginger, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Clove (love, luck and prosperity) to create a pie
brimming with energy to lift your mood and set your spirit in a festive frame of mind.
This Pumpkin Pie tastes amazing and like all good things, it requires some prep work,
or time. You need to toast and grind 2 1/2 Cups of hazelnuts to make the crust. To
do this, spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 for 7
minutes or until they brown and split. Check at 4 minute mark and stir. Remove and
cool enough to handle comfortably. Gentle rub the skins off. Allow to cool completely
and grind in a smoothie maker or food processor until the consistency of rice.
For the crust:
You will need:
2 cups ground hazelnuts
5 Tablespoons of melted butter
3/4 teaspoon of salt
Press in to pie dish. As you press the crumb, program it with your intention.
Bake at 350 for 8 -10 minutes
For the Filling:
1/2 cup real maple syrup
2 cups baked pumpkin
3/4 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons arrowroot flour
grated zest of 1 lemon
Cream together eggs and syrup. Add pumpkin. Mix until smooth. Add the rest of the
ingredients and mix. Fill crust and bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until pie is set.
Cool and refrigerate. This custard-like creation is best served cold.
Mini Walnut, Raspberry Tarts
This crumbly, melt in your mouth tart is adapted from an old scone recipe. It uses the
energy of Raspberries, Walnuts and Cornmeal to bake up tasty treat loaded with
Earth energy, love and happiness. My family raves over these and it is the treat they
most often request. It is time intensive as the crumb must be kept cold it is made
from cold butter and must remain cold by returning to the refrigerator if it begins to
melt and again after mixing for 2 hours or overnight. The crumb also uses 1/2 cup of
Walnut meal produced by toasting 1 cup of walnut halves and then cooling and
To begin make the Walnut Meal: Place 1 cup of Walnuts in a single layer on a baking
sheet. Toast under the broiler until brown. Do not burn. They will become bitter and
change the taste of the tart. Let cool and grind.
You will need:
1/2 cup of cooled Walnut meal
2 cups of Flour
1 Tablespoon of Baking powder
2 Tablespoons of Cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons of Sugar
1 cup Butter
1/3 cup Milk
In a large bowl mix: Dry ingredients. Cut in 1 cup cold unsalted Butter. As you cut in
the butter, use the energy of your work to program an intention into the dough. When
butter has been cut through the dough, mix by pushing your palm through the
crumbs. Work the dough until the butter is distributed throughout in small pea-sized
beads. If the dough becomes sticky, return bowl to the refrigerator until butter has
hardened. Add 1/3 cup milk. Mix delicately by pushing palm through the dough and
turning a couple of times. Do not over mix. At this stage too much handling will ruin
the texture of the crumb. Dump dough onto a piece of parchment paper. Press into a
log. Wrap tightly and refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.
To Serve: Bake only the portion you are going to serve. The dough keeps wonderfully
in the fridge but the tarts are best the day they are baked. Heat the oven to 375.
Place only the number of tarts that are going to be eaten within the next couple of
hours on a baking sheet, well spaced. Press a spoon of good Raspberry jam into the
center. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until browned. Lift careful off the sheet
and allow to cool before serving. Keep the remaining uncooked tart crumbs in the
refrigerator tightly wrapped. The crumb will remain fresh tasting for up to a week.
Cast Iron Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
from America's Test Kitchen
You will need:
1 cast iron skillet
6 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 6 pieces
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped coarse
2/3 cup (2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup packed (2 1/3 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup brewed coffee
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Melt butter,
chocolate, and 1/3 cup cocoa together in 10-inch cast-iron skillet over low heat,
stirring often, until smooth, 2 to 4 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in bowl. In separate bowl, whisk brown
sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and remaining 1/3 cup cocoa together, breaking up
any large clumps of brown sugar with fingers. In third bowl, combine coffee and water.
Whisk milk, vanilla, egg yolk, and remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar into cooled
chocolate mixture. Whisk in flour mixture until just combined. Sprinkle brown sugar
mixture evenly over top, covering entire surface of batter. Pour coffee mixture gently
over brown sugar mixture.
Transfer skillet to oven and bake until cake is puffed and bubbling and just beginning
to pull away from sides of skillet, about 35 minutes, rotating skillet halfway through
baking. Using potholders, transfer skillet to wire rack and let cake cool for 15
minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.