When plans go awry make fruitcake!

This was a much waited for and eagerly anticipated weekend for my family, immediate and extended.

We see it this way: There’s Thanksgiving, there’s Christmas, and there’s hunting!

One son arrived at our house with his family Thursday night and this morning we were to head for the farm I grew up on in north central North Dakota for opening deer season. We don’t hunt, but nephews and cousins from other states do and they would be there, too.

There’s no way to really explain how much these 40-something cousins look forward to getting together.

However, we’ve been on the phone with the farmers and up to a foot of snow is expected in that part of the state over the weekend. Some of us won’t get there. I’ve been in the ditch in the middle of a blizzard and I don’t want to go there again. Better safe than sorry.

What should one do at a time like this? I say, make fruitcake. After all, it’s November. Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and Christmas is but a breath and a sigh from that.

It’s only been in the last few years that I have come to thoroughly enjoy fruitcake. Some are definitely better than others and when my cousin, Gloria Bethke, gave us a little loaf as a gift last year I immediately asked for the recipe. This is the best I have ever tasted, bar none.

Just so happens that I picked up all the needed ingredients at Hugo’s this week so I’m ready to go.

Gloria used to live in Minot, N.D., and she doesn’t remember where she got this recipe, but it’s on faded yellowed newsprint.

Here goes:

Dark Rich Fruitcake:

  • ¾ cup butter or margarine
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • 2 cups mixed candied fruits, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped candied pineapple
  • 1 cup whole candied cherries
  • 1 package (8 oz.) dates, snipped
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecan halves
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups golden brown sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup dark molasses
  • Brandy

Melt butter. Cool. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add candied fruits, dates and nuts. Mix to coat fruit with dry ingredients. Beat eggs until foamy. Gradually add brown sugar, beating until well combined

Blend in orange juice, molasses, cooled butter. Add to fruit mixture; stir until well combined. Turn batter into two greased and floured loaf pans.

Bake in 300 degree oven for almost two hours or until toothpick inserted in center comes out dry. Pierce fruitcake generously with a toothpick. Slowly spoon one-third to one-half cup brandy into each loaf allowing liquor to soak in before removing from pan.

Wrap in cheesecloth and then foil while still hot. Stores in refrigerator for several weeks.

What I like about this recipe is that I consider it uncomplicated, much more so than what I remember my mother going through when she made fruitcake. You can buy all the candied fruit and nuts already chopped which makes the process go quickly. If you are a fruitcake lover, I’m pretty sure you’ll fall for this recipe.

Until Soon

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