We are home after almost a week of feasting with family in New Hampshire, and I’m happy to report that this was one of the best Christmases in recent memory. Here’s why:
A whole lake of freshly frozen black ice. It beckoned us to drive the 45 minutes to the nearest skate rental store so we could enjoy a classic New England Christmas. And it was so worth it. In my many years of traveling north for the holidays, I only remember one other year when we had these perfect conditions for smooth skating at Christmas. Usually the lake isn’t frozen or if it is, there has been snow or sleet, which completely ruins the icy surface, making for some bumpy skating. The ice was so clear, the kids even spied a frozen leaf a couple of inches down.
The second best part of our fabulous family festivities was the food. I didn’t take many photos of the meals – with 16 people in and around the kitchen, it was enough just to get dinner served. But here are two of our Christmas favorites: Sticky Buns and Brunswick Stew. I made both of these ahead of time so they just needed to be heated and served. I don’t really follow a recipe for the stew – I try to recall how my mother used to make it and alter it according to taste. However, recipe #4 on this website seems pretty close. Don’t be alarmed if you Google Brunswick Stew and see “squirrel” or “rabbit” in the recipe; I opted for the suburbanite’s version and used chicken. It’s fantastic with some country ham and cornbread or hush puppies.
The stickies are a tradition and I’ve learned to make them with the help of my bread machine. I use the “Sweet Dough” setting on my bread maker, but I’m not sure of the equivalent on others. The dough would also turn out well made by hand by softening the yeast in the water before adding the other ingredients, kneading, and rising until about double in size.
from foodie plus 4’s really old recipe book
Note: Ceramic or glass 9 x 13 pans work best. I used a metal pan this year and burned the bottoms of the stickies. The buns in the ceramic dish were fine and tasty!
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 4 1/4 cups bread flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup shortening [I use butter-flavored Crisco]
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 2/3 cup butter, softened [I like salted butter, but either works fine]
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup chopped pecans (optional) [I do one tray with and one without]
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- Place all “dough” ingredients in the bread machine pot in the order listed. Use the “Sweet Dough” setting or your machine’s dough setting.
- Mix together filling ingredients, except the nuts.
- When cycle is complete, turn dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to roughly 16 x 24 inches.
- Spread filling mixture over the rectangle of dough and sprinkle on nuts, if using.
- Roll the long side away from you, pressing firmly and evening out the roll as you go. Let rest while you make the sticky sauce.
- Melt butter and brown sugar in a heavy saucepan. Stir until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for one minute without stirring and remove from heat. Divide between two 9- x 13-inch pans.
- Slice roll into 1-inch pieces and lay in the pans on top of the sauce. Cover and let rise 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F, and bake for 30 minutes or until tops are golden brown.
- If not serving immediately, refrigerate then reheat at 300°F for 15–20 minutes.
- Makes 24 or more sticky buns.