My grandmother, Blanche Stewart, was born in 1896 in South Dakota, U.S.A. She moved to Maidstone, Sask. with her parents and eight siblings when she was 17 years old.
She was hired on at the Maidstone Hotel, where she worked in the dining room. She learned to cook for discerning clients as a young woman, and we all benefited from the skills that she acquired.
Christmas dinner at Grandma’s house was American style.
She loved Christmas Day and having the family together for dinner at her home. I clearly recall the aromas of roasted turkey that were matched by the sumptuous flavours of a complete turkey dinner with stuffing, mashed potatoes, carmelized yams, succotash, brussel sprouts, home-made dinner rolls, and a finale of steamed Christmas pudding with rum sauce.
Grandma lived independently in her own home until she was 93. Then she suffered a stroke, and agreed it would be best for her to move into my aunt’s home. There, she received wonderful in-home care from my aunt, a registered nurse.
On Dec. 25, 1992, surrounded by family who were gathered at my aunt’s home, Grandma passed away peacefully at the age of 96 years.
This recipe is one of my favourites of hers; it is a simpler way to enjoy Christmas fruit cake.
Making Christmas Cake Cookies brings back all of my memories of many special family Christmases with my Grandma.
from Debra Hauptman, chief executive officer for Langley Care Society
Christmas Cake Cookies
Recipe makes about 10 dozen
• 2 pounds dates
• ½ lb candied cherries
• ½ lb candied pineapple
• ½ lb shelled almonds or cashews
• ½ lb. brazil nuts
• 2½ cups all purpose flour
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1 cup butter (1/2 lb.)
• 1½ cups white sugar
• 2 eggs
Chop fruit and nuts evenly; not too fine.
Cream butter until soft and creamy.
Add sugar and eggs and continue to beat until well blended.
Stir in flour, soda, salt, and cinnamon.
Dough should be smooth and soft.
With your hands, mix all fruit and nuts into the cookie dough.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 350 F for 8-10 minutes.
Don’t over bake – cookies are better when soft in texture.