Friday, November 11, 2011
A call for baked goods at the church bake sale had me perking up my ears and mentally looking for New England recipes I could foist off on unsuspecting eaters. After all, Jonathan, the acupuncturist, could only be expected to eat so many cookies. He has already eaten sooo many cookies!!
On Veterans Day, after a satisfying morning of folding and putting away the innumerable baskets of clean clothes that are secreted around our house, I got down to baking.
Lizzies are fruitcakes in the form of cookies. A cursory glance at Google indicates that there does not seem to be an established kind of cookie called the Lizzie. They were in fact, a kind of cookie I had never heard of, eaten or seen. So, at one point during the process of making them, I wondered if this was the way they were supposed to turn out. The recipe makes what doesn't seem like very much of a firm dough, into which the cook mixes a pound of raisins, three-quarters of a cup of candied cherries and candied pineapple, and three cups of pecans.
I was wondering if there was enough dough to hold everything together. I also tripled the amount of milk called for just so I could mix everything up. (We're talking about 4 1/2 tablespoons of milk as versus 1 1/2 tablespoons in the original recipes. ) It worked out just fine, and was practically the first time in my career as an amateur baker that I actually made the number of cookies predicted in the recipe. That was because the cookie dough and all its fillings was not very good raw. Not like raw chocolate chip dough or sugar cookie dough. That stuff's good!
I was nearly brought up short at the beginning, when the first set of directions told me to pour half a cup of whiskey over a pound of raisins. I dug around in the pantry, uncovering the two, half empty raisin containers that I was pretty sure were in there. Okay, now for the whiskey. That could have been a problem. My husband and I are not big drinkers. In fact, because of a problem with blood clotting, he is not supposed to drink liquor at all.
I went to the bar and, lo and behold, there was not one, but two bottles of whiskey, left behind by my son when he married and moved out. Okay, raisins set to soak.
Next on the list of item searches were the spices. I have a goodly number of spices. We have enough whole cloves to stick in glazed ham for at least two years. The recipe called for ground cloves, which we also have. Then, it called for allspice. We also have allspice, but it is whole allspice. My husband dug out the ceramic mortar and pestle and ground away, producing a teaspoon of ground allspice in short order.
I followed the instructions to sift the flour, also sifting the allspice shells out of the mix, and mixed away with the mixer. The dough was so stiff it forced the mixer to grind almost to a halt, growling and protesting. When I lifted the beaters out of the dough to clear them and keep from burning out the motor, bits of dough flicked over my hand, the toaster and the coffee maker.
Finally I got all the candied cherries, pineapple, raisins and pecans mixed into the dough and plopped it onto the baking pans. The directions say to bake for 15 minutes or until browned and done. Browned took a while longer than 15 minutes, but what I discovered was that browning made them crispy, which they were not supposed to be. So the second and third batches got cooked for 15 minutes.
Even though I am not crazy about cookies with candied fruit in them, these were good with a vaguely gingerbready taste from the spices. They seemed to be popular. My husband dropped them off at the bazaar around 9 am and when I got there around 1:00, they were not in evidence.
1 pound raisins
1/2 cup whisky
1/4 cup butter
3/4 light brown sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons milk (or more)
3/4 pound candied cherries
3/4 pound candied pineapple
3 cups chopped pecans
1. Soak the raisins in the whisky one hour until plump.
2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
3. Cream the butter and gradually beat in the brown sugar . Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. Sift the flour with the baking soda and spices. Add to creamed mixture alternately with the milk.
5. Add the plumped raisins, candied cherries, candied pineapple, and pecans. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto buttered baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until browned and done. Cool on a rack. Store in airtight container or freeze. Makes about 4 dozen.