I apologize for the break in blogs. Man December has been busy! I had a lovely weekend away in Sedona with best friend, who shall be called “Boo”, which shall be reported on later.
But now, it’s time for my first guest blog! This is from my sister Mary, who will extoll the virtues of our family’s nut rolls. Ah yes, a holiday tradition for the Myers family! I will let her explain (with a few notes from me in between!):
“Myers’ Family Christmas
Family holiday traditions. We all grow up with them and as we age, we expect them to continue.
As long as I can remember until our Mother passed, the Myers family had traditions that Santa and his reindeer could synchronize their watches to. My sister Jennifer mentioned the candied yams at Thanksgiving. What she forgot to mention was the mandarin orange tapioca salad that had a special place on our holiday dinner table. (Yes, “salad” as in Jell-O “salad”. I shudder to think of it now. It wasn’t my mother’s fault—she was from Michigan.)
Christmas Eve was always spent at a family friends house, where at least 20 men, women and children (and pets too!) were in attendance. I would like to say it was controlled chaos at these celebrations, however lets just say they were chaos and move on from there. (That’s for sure. I won’t mention the family’s name, but they made annual ski trips fun too with their special kind of mayhem.)
On Christmas morning our ears would wake up to Christmas music and our noses would be teased with the Cheddar & Mushroom Baked Fondue baking in the oven. This fondue was an acquired taste. I remember not liking it too much when I was younger, however by the time I was close to my teen years, it had grown on me. I can’t speak for my sisters and their taste buds. (I always loved the baked fondue, and always thought it was amazing how breakfast would be magically ready after we opened all of our presents! I have modified this recipe and will post soon.)
In my opinion, the best holiday tradition was all the baking my Mother did for the holidays. She would bake holiday goodies for days to share with friends, colleagues and neighbors. The tradition of baking for friends and neighbors is something I have done for the past 7 years. My best friend Tina and I would bake for an entire day and have at least 14-17 different items on the menu. Fan favorites are the Lemon Bars, Raspberry Chocolate Crumb Bars and Fudge Meltaways. Tina & I would then plate everything and give to friends, neighbors, hair dressers, etc. 3 years ago Tina experienced a back injury and can no longer participate in our baking tradition, so I now holiday bake alone.
Tina and I both had our favorites. Tina’s was the Frangipane Apricot Bars & Fudge Meltaways and mine was a family recipe for Nut Rolls. The Nut Roll is a yeast bread with a walnut & sugar filling. You roll out the dough after the initial rise and you spread the filling on top then roll into a long roll. You then rise again and bake. Once I put the Nut Rolls in the oven I just wait for the wonderful baked bread with a touch of sweetness smell spread through the kitchen and finally throughout my home. This is when the Christmas holiday can officially begin! The recipe makes 6 rolls so I make a point of giving some to my Dad & (step) Mom, and all of my sisters. Jennifer told me this year that “it’s just not Christmas without it!”. I also understand that my niece-dog Kayla was itching to share in the Myers Christmas tradition as well. Knowing Jennifer, Kayla had no chance of any crumbs from the Nut Roll, at all. (Nope. That dog does not get people food, unless it’s some meat scraps here and there. And usually she doesn’t beg, so she must have really like the smell of the nut roll. More importantly, our friends from Italy snapped it up! They loved it!)
As far as the Myers family is concerned, the Christmas holidays have officially begun and Tina shared with me that this batch of Nut Rolls was my best yet. Happy Holidays.”
Thanks, Mary! The photo is by her as well. Recipe below:
2 ½ Cups milk, warmed (1 ¼ cups milk)
2 Sticks butter, melted (1 stick butter)
1 Cup sugar (1/2 cup sugar)
1 ½ teas salt (3/4 teas salt)
2 Tbls vanilla (1 Tbls vanilla)
3 Pkgs. dry yeast in 1 Cup warm water (2 pkgs – 1/2 cup warm water)
with 1 Tbls (1/2 Tbls) sugar, dissolve
3 Eggs (2 eggs)
3 Cups flour then approximately 7 cups more (2 cups then 3 cups more)
Add in order given. Knead well. Rise for 1 hour in warm area, make into balls (10 to 12 oz)
Makes around 6 rolls (3 rolls)
2 Cups sugar (1 cup sugar)
2 Lbs ground walnuts (1 Lbs ground walnuts)
1 Cup warm milk with 2 Tbls butter, melted
(1/2 cup warm milk with 1 Tbls butter)
2 Tbls vanilla (1 Tbls vanilla)
Roll dough about ¼” thick. Spread with nut filling, roll like jelly roll and put onto greased cookie sheet, and let rise again. Bake @ 350° for 20 to 25 minutes.
**1/2 recipe is in parentheses**