Your Tray or Mine: Baking with the Grandmas…More Family Favorites

22 Dec

ORIGINALLY POSTED DECEMBER 14, 2011

I am very, very lucky and I know it. I still have two of my grandmothers living and although they are both now in their 90s, they are both healthy and they are both tremendous cooks. I literally was born into this tradition of baking and cooking. Knowing that so many of the grandmas’ recipes were “in their heads,” we’ve taken a great deal of effort to get them to put them down on paper recently. Especially important to me are the two recipes for the cookies that go on our Christmas Cookie Trays. Grandma Rose makes hundreds of tiny Wine Biscuits each year for her trays and ours, and Grandma Grello makes her delicious iced Prune Cookies for our trays as well. Like I said, we are very lucky.

In honor of the Grandmas I am going to share with you their two cookie recipes. Consider them passed on from me to you. 🙂

Grandma Rose

This is Grandma Rose with our girls, three of her five great-grandchildren, on her 90th birthday this past November.

GRANDMA ROSE’S WINE BISCUITS

5 cups flour

1 cup sugar

3 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup wine (Deep Burgundy)

3/4 cup oil

Grandma Rose's Wine Biscuits

Can you imagine making 400 of these every Christmas? Grandma Rose can!

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll dough into small logs, form into knots.

Brush beaten egg yolk on knots for glaze before baking.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes til lightly browned

*******************************************************************************************************************

Grandma Grello and the girls

This is Grandma Grello with our girls, three out of I think 15? great grandchildren, this past July which is shortly after she turned 91 in May.

GRANDMA GRELLO’S ICED PRUNE COOKIES

*Note: This recipe, as well as her Meat Pies recipe, was featured in the Providence Journal’s Food Section this past year.

A note from my mom:

Although this recipe may seem involved, it’s really not difficult because the cookies are made in several steps, and the various steps can be spread out over a period of time.

FOR THE FILLING:

1 large box of pitted prunes (18 oz. or more)

1/2 lb. raisins (dark, not golden)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup strong black coffee

Zest of one lemon and one orange

1/2 lemon

1/2 orange

=====================================

10 oz. jar maraschino cherries, drained and chopped

1/2 cup coffee brandy or Kahlúa

=====================================

Cover prunes and raisins with water.  Add sugar, coffee, lemon zest, orange zest, the half lemon and the half orange.  Cook until prunes and raisins are soft to the touch.  Drain well and return to pan.  Add chopped cherries and coffee brandy or Kahlúa.  Mix well and refrigerate overnight or for several days.

This is what the finished Prune Cookies roll looks like before you slice it for serving or putting on trays.

FOR THE DOUGH:

6 cups all purpose flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup Crisco shortening

1 1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 tsp. vanilla

6 eggs

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and set aside.  In another bowl, combine sugar and shortening and beat with mixer until smooth.  Add milk and vanilla.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add this mixture to dry ingredients and mix together by hand with a large spoon.  Once incorporated (and with lightweight “kitchen-type” gloves, if possible), finish mixing with your hands until it comes together into a smooth dough.  Transfer to a floured surface, and use a knife to cut dough into six pieces.  Roll each piece out into a long strip (approximately 13-14” long and about 7” wide), one at a time, and fill center of strip with a portion of the prune filling.  Fold each side over the middle and fold the ends under.  Place filled strip on parchment-lined cookie sheet (two strips per sheet) with seam side down.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack and cool completely before adding glaze.  (If desired, the strips can be frozen without glaze for later use.  To freeze, wrap them individually, first in parchment paper and then in heavy duty foil.  Then when needed, thaw completely and add glaze.)

Let glaze “set” (dry), and then slice before serving.

Here is what they look like once they are sliced.

FOR THE GLAZE:

The following amounts may be adjusted for consistency and flavor desired, but these ingredients should frost six strips.

4 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

4 1/2 tbl. lemon juice

3 to 4 1/2 tbl. hot water (try with 3 tbl. first, then add more as needed)

Multi-colored nonpareils (optional)

Mix until smooth.  Top each strip with glaze, and if desired, add nonpareils.

ENJOY TODAY’S COOKING WITH THE GRANDMAS RECIPES!

Enjoy!

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2 Responses to “Your Tray or Mine: Baking with the Grandmas…More Family Favorites”

  1. Keri Marshall December 15, 2011 at 11:17 am #

    Jen,
    I just saw the recipe for the iced prune cookies and it brought tears to my eyes, My grandmother use to make a very similar one. It is a great Christmas memory for me; we would make them together year after year. No one ever got the recipe from her before she passed away. I will be making this as gifts for my aunts this year. Thank you!

    Keri Marshall

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