Chatelaine Kitchen

Kitchen Fix: Bake something for yourself

Get an organized, clean kitchen for the holidays with our month-long kitchen fix. Today’s task? Take a breather, and have a little fun in the kitchen!

 

Ultimate fruitcake

Ultimate fruitcake. (Photo, Roberto Caruso.)

With the kitchen and pantry tidy and everything in its place, take a little breather and bake a little treat for yourself. Or, start baking for friends or charity bake sales. All it takes is one good recipe!

Our ultimate holiday fruitcake is my personal favourite to keep and give – the commercial kind takes a lot of heat for being the unwanted hostess gift (or doorstopper). But there is nothing like a well-made, boozy and dense cake studded with sweet fruit and nuts. Trust me. No one will be re-gifting it . . . or shoving it into the back of the freezer.

Buying all the ingredients for this indulgence can add up, so this is what I do:

Shop for dried fruits and nuts early (sometimes up to 6 months before the holidays). You can end up paying a lot more for the very same items if you’re only buying exactly when you need them. To keep them from turning rancid, store them in air-tight containers and freeze until needed.

Know your supermarket door crasher specials. Flour, butter and sugar are always in the top ten list of sale items. Stock up. Butter can keep in the freezer up to 6 months.

Keep an eye on markdowns at the liquor store. Buy a large bottle of brandy or rum. They’ll go a long way to make those fruitcakes stay on the wanted list.

Use disposable pans so cakes can be baked and given away. Depending on your budget, supermarket foil pans ($2) work just as well as the newer heavy-duty, oven-safe paper pans ($9.95 for a set of 6).

Start making lists of who will get what, and buy the packaging early. I like to look for rolls of cellophane at Dollarama.

Buy shipping materials, and start writing address labels in advance if you’re sending treats across Canada.

And if you didn’t sign up to make big batch cakes, try this easy square; it gives you a fruitcake fix without the wait.

What will you be baking for the holidays? Here are our picks for delicious holiday giveaways:

Ultimate fruitcake, Carolyn
Slow rise Italian panetone, Claire
Classic lemon loaf, Irene
The dutchess doughnut, Michelle

Good luck and don’t forget to share your progress with us on social media using the hashtag #kitchenfix!

Carolyn,
Associate Food Editor

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