When I was growing up in the foothills of Carolina, Christmas just wasn’t Christmas without something homemade given to you by someone that loved you dearly. It could be a crocheted scarf or a special dress or a pretty apron made of gingham and cross-stitched with bright thread and trimmed in rickrack. I am sure this tradition sprang from the history that my ancestors, Carolina farmers, had to endure during the depression. And the time they spent to make you special something was the love they gave to you.
But being farmers, we always had good food. And good food was often the gift, a cake, a pie, homemade bread, a smoked ham, or beautifully canned pickles. My Granny’s favorite thing to give to us kids was homemade popcorn balls wrapped in stiff red and green cellophane twisted at the ends and tied with curly ribbon to keep them fresh. When was the last time you even saw a popcorn ball? Or sometimes homemade doughnuts, the cake variety that she’d cook in a rolling vat of oil and sprinkled with granulated sugar and cinnamon. I always got the doughnut holes because I was such a good helper, because I always got the doughnut holes. To this day they are my favorite kind of doughnut. We always got plump juicy oranges in our Christmas stockings, because they were very special when Granny was growing up, something she didn’t get very often. Each distinct holiday, we had special food. If we had nothing else we had excellent food.
This year, I was reminded of that tradition when my best friend (besides my beagle) in the whole world, Shelly left homemade goodness on my front porch still warm from the oven, on Christmas Eve Night. She made Pumpkin bread, her specialty and my favorite, and this amazing orange cranberry bread that looked just like Christmas because the fresh cranberries had floated to the top of the loaf and made a bright red crown of berries on each slice. As an accompaniment to this amazing loaf was a jar of orange glaze that she had made to pour over the top once it had cooled. We however just spread it on each slice of bread as we ate it. Me, I actually just ate it right off the spoon, pretty much made my Christmas. Y’all are thinking I am going to give you that recipe right? Well I am in the form of a link to the page it appears on,
So there, now you can made me some and bring it on by the house.
The other thing I am going to talk about today is a pie that I have come up with to feed my Nutella and Biscoff crazy craves. I remember the first time my son’s high school girlfriend introduced me to Nutella on toast. I didn’t much care for it. But then years later I bought another jar, and ate it off a spoon and thought to myself this has possibilities. It just needs a crunchy cookie to go under it. Enter the crunchy cinnamon cookie, Biscoff. First of all I am a nut for crunchy sandy cookies, the addition of cinnamon just makes it even better, it reminds me of the crunchy edges on my Granny’s doughnuts. You will need a whole package Biscoff cookies, but you are allowed to eat 3 of them while making this pie, more than that you won’t have enough for the crust. If you don’t want to make the pie you can spread Nutella on this cookie and be very happy. But if you are looking for something a little more fancy, here you go. the end result has an almost cheese cake texture. And the creaminess combined with the crunchy crust is divine.
Nutella Pie with hazelnut Biscoff crust.
1 Package of Biscoff (8.8 oz size) cookies minus 3, chopped in a food processor until they are fine crumbs
1 cup of hazelnuts, chopped in a food processor until they are ground up good (by the way this makes a fine noise, like if you want your husband to wake up and get off the couch)
2 heaping tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of cocoa (I used Hershey’s dark chocolate cocoa)
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
6 tablespoons of melted butter (the regular salted kind, don’t you just hate it when a recipe calls for unsalted butter, like who buys that on a regular basis?)
Mix the 1st 5 ingredients together in a bowl really well, pour the melted butter over the top and mix again, press into a buttered deep dish pie pan, glass or metal. Put into refrigerator to chill and harden up some.
Now the creamy part…
1 13 oz. jar of Nutella (you will need all this for the pie so if you want to nibble some on a cookie get a larger jar and measure out 1 cup)
1 8 oz. brick of creme cheese softened, room temp is good I let mine sit out for about 4 hours (get the good stuff and for heavens sake not the low fat, this is dessert people)
1 cup of heavy whipping creme
4 heaping tablespoons of powdered sugar, separated
Get out the big mixer for this…
Whip the heavy whipping creme until soft peaks form, add in 2 tablespoons of the powdered sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Transfer to another bowl. In the same mixing bowl that you whipped the creme in, dump in the creme cheese and whip it up some, then add the Nutella , blend them together, add the 2 heaping tablespoons of powdered sugar and mix well. Add the whipped creme back in and on LOW speed blend mixture together finishing the mixing process with a spatula. Pour all of the mixture into the pie crust you already made and stick it in the freezer for 1 hour. Grate dark chocolate on top as a garnish. And serve. Keep leftovers (if any) in refrigerator, the freezer part is just so it will get a little more solid before serving.
Now see wasn’t that easy, you didn’t even have to turn on the oven.