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Home for the Holidays – Prepare Ahead for Family Gatherings

Posted By News Staff On Sunday, December 16, 2012 @ 10:00 am In Arts and Leisure | No Comments

Martha White®Nashville, TN – It would be wonderful if we all had a warm cozy grandmother’s house to go to for the holidays. But, we know that “home for the holidays” is not really about a place, but about being with family and friends.

In the South, we are all about planning what we’re going to eat, but the food represents so much more to us. It’s about the long-standing traditions of gathering to share the bounty of the table and reconnect with loved ones.

Aunt Lois' Banana Nut Bread, Sour Cream Coffee Cake and Easy Chocolate Chip Blondies

Aunt Lois’ Banana Nut Bread, Sour Cream Coffee Cake and Easy Chocolate Chip Blondies

Big holiday dinners get most of the attention, but don’t forget to plan for leisurely visits around the kitchen table, too. Some of our best memories come from those moments when we can relax and have a quiet conversation, tell stories or reminisce about the past. At times like that, it’s nice to have a few treats hidden away to pull out and serve.

Stash Holiday Treats in the Freezer

Many cookies, cakes and breads freeze well and will be nice to have on hand during the holidays. Family favorites are always a good choice and simple baked goods without frosting, glaze or decorations are easiest to pack up and freeze. Some frosted and decorated cakes and cookies may also be frozen, but require a little more preparation. (See freezing tips.)

Aunt Lois’ Banana Nut Bread is a Martha White® Kitchen all-time favorite and perfect to have on hand during the holidays. Always moist and flavorful, this recipe is easy to stir up and good served plain or with a cream cheese spread. Delicious with mid-morning coffee or for brunch, Sour Cream Coffee Cake is similar to a pound cake except each slice reveals a ribbon of cinnamon sugar streusel. And you can never go wrong with bar cookies. Easy Chocolate Chip Blondies are so rich and delicious no one will ever guess you started with a chocolate chip muffin mix.

Tips for Freezing

Quick loaves, like banana bread – Cool completely. Wrap in foil or heavy duty plastic wrap pressing out all air from the package. Freeze up to 3 months. To thaw, let stand, wrapped at room temperature about 1 1/2 hours.

Cookies – Cool thoroughly. Pack in any suitable sturdy freezer container. If fragile, cushion with crumpled waxed paper. If cookie is frosted, place on clean cookie sheet and freeze; then pack. Freeze up to 6 months. To use, unwrap and thaw about 10 minutes at room temperature.

Cakes and Coffeecakes – Cool completely. Place on foil wrapped cardboard, wrap in foil or heavy duty plastic wrap pressing out as much air as possible. If glazed or frosted, place in freezer to harden before covering. (Butter cream frostings freeze best. Do not freeze egg white frostings or custard fillings.) Freeze unfrosted up to 6 months, frosted up to 3 months. Thaw unfrosted cakes, covered for 2 to 3 hours at room temperature. Thaw frosted cakes loosely covered in the refrigerator overnight.

And remember, those delicious treats you have in the freezer make thoughtful gifts for friends, co-workers and teachers, too. For more festive cookies, cakes and breads, go to www.marthawhite.com [1] and click on the recipe section.

Aunt Lois’ Banana Nut Bread

Aunt Lois' Banana Nut Bread

1 1/2 cups Martha White® All-Purpose Flour
3/ 4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup Crisco® Vegetable Oil
3 tablespoons buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup chopped pecans


1. Heat oven to 325° F. Grease and flour bottom only of 8×4 or 9×5-inch loaf pan. In large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; mix well.

2. Add sugar, oil, buttermilk and eggs; blend well. Add bananas and pecans; mix well. Pour batter into greased and floured pan.

3. Bake at 325° F. for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Remove from pan; place on wire rack. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled. Wrap and store in refrigerator.

12 to 16 slices

Crisco is a registered trademark of The J.M. Smucker Company.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Sugar Mixture
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon melted butter or margarine

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups Martha White® All-Purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk


1. Heat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour 12–cup Bundt or 10-inch tube pan. In small bowl combine brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans and 1 tablespoon butter; mix well. Set aside.

2. In large bowl, combine 1 cup butter and sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla; blend well.

3. In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; mix well. Add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream and milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing well after each addition. Spoon half of batter into greased and floured pan. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mixture over batter concentrating mixture in center of batter. Spoon remaining batter over filling.

4. Bake at 350° F. for 55 to 60 minutes or until tooth pick inserted one inch from edge comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool about one hour or until completely cooled.

15 serving

Easy Chocolate Chip Blondies

Easy Chocolate Chip Blondies

2 (7.4 oz. pkg.) Martha White® Chocolate Chip Muffin Mix
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup chopped pecans


1. Heat oven to 350° F. (325° F. for dark nonstick pan). Grease bottom of 8-inch square baking pan. In large bowl, combine muffin mix and brown sugar; stir to blend evenly. Add butter, egg and vanilla. Stir until well blended. Stir in pecans.

2. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Bake at 350° F. for 25 to 30 minutes or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool; cut into bars.

12 bars

Crisco is a registered trademark of The J.M. Smucker Company.

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