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November and December are the two biggest food months of the year, and now is the time to begin planning for them. Be sure to check out our Holiday Recipes page, and watch our newsletters for delectable dishes for your holiday table. The best food on your table begins at

Start this fruitcake about a month before you want to enjoy it. This recipe makes two 9-inch loaf cakes, so you'll have one for yourself and one to give.
  • 1-1/2 pounds (about 3 cups) mixed diced candied fruit (dates, dried cherries, candied pineapple, etc.
  • 2-1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 15-ounce package golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup brandy, for soaking fruit
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup additional butter, softened
  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup brewed coffee
  • 2 cups additional brandy, for sprinkling
In a large bowl, combine the candied fruit, pecans, raisins and 1/2 cup brandy. Toss to mix thoroughly, cover, and let stand for 3 to 5 hours at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Using 1 tablespoon butter for each, butter two 9-inch loaf pans. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of the breadcrumbs, and rotate to coat evenly.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, allspice and cinnamon. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream 1 cup butter with the brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture alternately with the coffee, stirring after each addition, until batter is just blended.

Pour batter over the fruit mixture and blend thoroughly. Spoon batter into prepared pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 1-1/2 hours until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pans for 20 minutes, and then turn out onto racks, and cool completely. Place each cake on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Sprinkle each cake with 1/4 cup brandy. (See Note, below) Wrap each cake tightly in the aluminum foil, sealing well. Store in a cool dark place.

After seven days, unwrap the cakes and sprinkle each with an additional 1/4 cup brandy. Rewrap. Repeat this procedure each week for the next two weeks. Then let the cakes mellow for a final week before serving.

Note: Don't just dump the brandy over the cake. It takes a little patience, but let the brandy drip onto the cake so that it is absorbed. If you like, use a toothpick to make fine holes in the surface of the cake.

You just can't have too many good pies at Thanksgiving.
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup (Karo)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (see Note below)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon whiskey (optional)
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
  • Sweetened whipped cream
Preheat oven to 425°F.

Melt butter in a large, heavy saucepan. All the pecans and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until butter is golden brown and pecans are toasted.

Remove pan from heat and stir in sweet potatoes, eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and bourbon, mixing well.

Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake at 425°F for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325° and bake an additional 45 minutes or until center is set. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with sweetened whipped cream, if desired.

Note: The equivalent of 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice is 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/8 teaspoon allspice and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg.

Good side dishes play an important part in the holiday feast: Buttery Carrots and Rutabagas and Scalloped Potatoes.

These and over 600 kitchen tested (and time tested) recipes can be found in Grandma's Cookbook. It's your online cookbook.

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