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The Best: Christmastime favorites

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By Mary Alice Holt

When my daughter was little, we would make a special treat for Santa Claus every Christmas Eve. We would put the treat on a Spode Christmas plate near the stockings, and we would all be so excited on Christmas morning to see only a few crumbs left on the plate. We knew by the overflowing stockings that Santa had come, but we were so glad we had been able to give him a little sustenance to help him get through his long night.

More often than not, that special treat was Sausage Balls. We would then have the rest of the Sausage Balls for our own Christmas breakfast. I’m not sure what kind of treats my daughter and grandchildren leave for Santa on Christmas Eve, but we still continue the tradition of Sausage Balls for breakfast. I’ve already made them for this year. I will take them out of the freezer on Christmas Eve, bake them early Christmas morning, and head to Bowling Green for our special Christmas breakfast with the whole family.

The other special recipe you get today would be wonderful for Christmas dinner. The recipe came from Tom Kasey, and it’s his mother’s recipe for Jam Cake. I’ve always loved jam cake, and I plan to make Tom’s this year for dessert after the big Christmas meal.

Mary Alice can be reached at 505-1751 or at maholt@thenewsenterprise.com.

Sausage Balls

1 pound sausage, room temperature

2 cups Bisquick

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

2 to 3 tablespoons milk

Dash of chili powder (optional)

Mix together with fork. After greasing hands with vegetable oil, form into balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 10 minutes or until crunchy.

I always make the sausage balls in advance and freeze them in a Zip-Loc bag before baking them. Then when you’re ready to serve them, take them out of the freezer, thaw them and bake them.

Jam Cake

1 cup butter or shortening

2 cups sugar

5 eggs, well beaten

3 cups all-purpose or cake flour

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1½ teaspoons ground cloves

1½ teaspoons ground allspice

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped nuts

1 cup raisins or chopped dates

1 cup jam

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cream the butter and gradually add the sugar. Cream together until light and fluffy. Add the well-beaten eggs. Sift flour before measuring it, and add the spices and salt. Dissolve soda in buttermilk and alternately add it along with the flour mixture to the egg/sugar/butter mixture, beating after each addition. Lightly dredge the fruit and nuts with extra flour and add it to the mixture. Then add the jam, stirring it to get good distribution.

Grease and line with parchment paper 2 or 3 nine-inch cake pans. Bake at 325 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Ice with your favorite caramel icing or “burnt sugar icing.”