Holiday Traditions

With the start of the holidays a few weeks away, I am always brought back to the many traditions that were handed down through the generations in my family.

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We lived next door to my grandparents, so I was very fortunate to have been able to watch my grandmother as she would cook and bake.  We were quite a large family, so when the holidays came she would start to prepare days in advance by baking cookies and storing them until she was ready to use them.  Her pastas were made fresh; I remember her cutting the raviolis on the kitchen table.

Everything was homemade.  She would can and jar the vegetables and fruits from the garden that my grandfather grew to enjoy them throughout the year.  Of course, at the time I was too young to realize this was the way she was taught by her mother.

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She made so many great meals and desserts, so I thought I would share her recipe for one of my favorite cookies that she baked, her melt-in-your-mouth Walnut Sticks.

I try to keep with tradition, though unlike my grandmother, I may not cook or bake everything from scratch. One of the desserts I bake every Thanksgiving is Pumpkin Pie.  This is a favorite in my house and I always make sure I bake enough of them so there is plenty to go around.

I hope you enjoy these desserts.  It’s never too late to start a tradition of your own to pass down in your family!

Walnut Sticks

Walnut Sticks Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 ½ cup of dark brown sugar

1 cup Crisco or 2 sticks margarine or butter

1 cup chopped nuts

2 eggs

Use a quarter sheet cookie baking pan.  If using a full half sheet, you will need to double recipe and cooking time.

Makes approximately 2 dozen.

Mix together the flour, 1 cup brown sugar, Crisco or butter, and 1 egg.  Mix until soft enough to spread onto a cookie sheet pan.  Spread evenly, making sure it is not too thick or the cookies will be doughy and heavy; they need to be thin and crispy.  Beat the other egg slightly and spread on top of the batter.  Sprinkle the ½ cup of brown sugar on top of the batter, then spread the nuts on top.

Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely.  Cut into 1 ¼” wide and 2 ½” long cookies.

Pumpkin Pie

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Ingredients:

1 ½ cups sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 ½ tsp. ground cloves

4 large eggs

1 can (29oz.) Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin

2 cans (12 fl.oz. each) Carnation Evaporated Milk

2 unbaked 9-inch (4 cup volume) deep-dish pie shells

8 to 16oz heavy cream for whipping

Makes 2 pies.

Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in a small bowl.  Beat eggs in a large bowl.  Stir pumpkin and sugar mixture into eggs.  Gradually stir in evaporated milk.  Pour into pie shells and bake in preheated oven at 425F for 15 minutes.  Reduce temperature to 350 F and bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until knife or toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack for 2 hours, then serve immediately or refrigerate.

I usually make these pies the night before.  Just be careful not to touch the top of the pies when storing them.

Whip the cream just before serving pies; I usually add some sugar to the cream while whipping.  Enjoy!