It isn’t Christmas without…

Visit Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews for the recipe for this Very Merry Cranberry Cocktail!
Visit Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews for the recipe for this Very Merry Cranberry Cocktail!

BOOZE! To find out why, go here. 🙂 I’m visiting Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews today because my friend Sharon asked me to write a little something about my holiday traditions. Since I’m a Protestant who went to Catholic school and then married a Jew, things get wild and wooly around the holidays. Mostly because of all the fruitcakes I make, but that’s not the recipe I’m sharing today. That one’s next.

Four layers of Ultimate White Cake filled with whole cranberry filling, frosted with vanilla bean buttercream, and garnished with sugared cranberries and a white chocolate bow!

But first, please visit Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews for my Very Merry Cranberry Cocktail! I honestly can’t remember which came first, the desire to create a cocktail for the Guilty Pleasures blog or the need to come up with a new cake for the patisserie case at Wegmans, but I killed two birds with one stone with those gorgeous sugared cranberries. Three, if you count the fact that they make a great snack. I even put them in my daughter’s lunch and labeled them “magic berries.” They are seriously yummy. Sweet on the outside and tart on the inside. (Anyone else identify with that description? The next time I have to describe myself I’ll say: I’m a string of sugared cranberries perched on the rim of a martini. Sounds about right these days. Ha!)

Usen_Baked Sugar Cake
Moravian Sugar Cake

In my Guilty Pleasures post, I mentioned that it isn’t Christmas without Moravian Sugar Cakes. I first shared the recipe on Stella Ex-Libris’s blog a few years ago, the real from-scratch-with-mashed-potatoes-to-keep-it-moist recipe. However…I always cheat. So did my mom. And my grandmother, who actually WAS a Moravian. (As I understand it, the Moravians were a small sect that split off from Catholicism before the Protestant Reformation. They settled in Winston Salem, NC, and, mysteriously, Hope, IN, which is where my grandmother lived.)

Back to the cheating…

IMG_3399I use Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix! It’s super-easy, especially if you have a mixer. (The dough is kind of sticky.) Follow the directions on the box. If you want round sugar cakes, divide it between two 8″ or 9″ round pans. Proof it. Poke it. Top it with melted butter and cinnamon sugar (the more the merrier!). Then bake it! Your house will smell cinna-mazing! The cinnamon sugar collects in the dimples in the dough, and when you pour melted butter over it, it makes a salty-sweet cinnamon goo that is THE BEST THING EVER.

For those of you who appreciate a bit more technicality in your recipes, here you go:

Moravian Sugar Cake (Pillsbury-style)

(makes 1 13X9 pan or two 8″ or 9″ pans)

The Cake:

One box Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix

The Topping:

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

½ cup (one stick) butter, melted (I use salted.)

The Method:

Follow the directions on the box all the way through step 4.

5. Place the dough in a buttered bowl, turn to coat with butter, and cover. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

6. Butter your baking pans. Divide the dough into two pieces if you are making rounds. Keep it in one if you are making a 13X9 pan. Lay it in the pan(s) and encourage it to cover the bottom(s). Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon for the topping.

7. Melt the butter for the topping. Then dimple the dough with your fingers to create deep pockets. Spread the brown sugar and cinnamon topping over the top of each cake, then drizzle the melted butter over the topping. As it bakes, the butter and sugar will sink into the pockets, creating deliciousness!

The Drizzling!
The Drizzling!
The Dimpling!
The Dimpling!

8. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until it begins to get brown around any tiny edge that might not be covered by the topping. I tend to overbake them, and then complain about it, so watch them carefully. If your pans are shallow, place something beneath them to catch the drips. These cakes love to rise, and the topping might need somewhere to go.

9. Cool briefly and serve warm. Mmmm…Christmas!

The Eating!
The Eating!

Do you have a favorite Christmas/Holiday thing? What is it? Please share so we can all be sentimental with you! Speaking of sharing, thanks to all of you who shared perspective, experiences, and encouragement after my Not failure. Not the death of  dream blog. I’m not alone! Neither are you. We will get through this grown-up-life-thing together with kindness to ourselves and each other and with as much grace as we can muster. When grace isn’t possible, we will forgive ourselves for showing our butts and celebrate getting through it. Period.

It’s not too late to get in on the candy giveaway if you have something you’d like to share. 🙂

Happy Monday! Happy drinking, baking, and eating! I love you guys. ❤


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