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Seasonal parties demand variety of informal treats

This week's recipes include mini fruit cakes, marmalade nut bread, and cheese popcorn
From the Kitchen by Joyce Walter

The many seasonal parties and dinners going on this month offer the opportunity to try some new recipes for desserts, loaves and treats that lend themselves to informal events.

This week’s recipes again come from Christmas Gifts From the Kitchen, an Ideals publication.

• • •

Mini Fruit Cakes

3 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsps. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup brandy or water
1 cup salad oil
4 eggs
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup dark seedless raisins
2 cups diced dried apricots
2 cups mixed candied fruit
2 cups pecan halves
1/3 cup light corn syrup

In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except fruit, nuts and last amount of corn syrup. Blend for 1/2 minute on low speed, scraping bowl constantly.

Beat 3 minutes on high speed. Stir in fruits and nuts.

Spoon batter into 3 dozen 2 1/2 inch muffin pans lined with paper baking cups. Bake at 275 F for 65-70 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in pans for 5 minutes then remove to cooling rack. Cool thoroughly.

Heat corn syrup in pan and brush over tops of cakes. Place cupcakes in container. Cover with cheesecloth soaked in brandy. Cover tightly and store in cool place for up to two weeks. May be frozen. Makes about 3 dozen.

• • •

Marmalade Nut Bread

2 1/2 cups unsifted flour, stirred before mixing
1/3 cup sugar
3 1/2 tsps. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 egg
1 cup sweet orange marmalade
1 cup orange juice
3 tbsps. vegetable oil

In large mixing bowl, thoroughly stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add walnuts. Toss to coat evenly.

In medium bowl, beat egg slightly. Stir in marmalade, orange juice and vegetable oil. 

Add to flour mixture and stir only until dry ingredients are moistened. Divide batter evenly between two well-greased loaf pans.

Bake in preheated 350 degrees F oven for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool thoroughly on rack. Wrap tightly in foil. Allow flavours to mellow overnight before slicing.

• • •

Cheese Popcorn

vegetable oil
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt or onion salt
1/3 cup dry grated cheese

Pour oil to depth of about 1/8 inch in pan. Pour in enough popcorn to cover bottom of pan, 1 kernel deep. Cover tightly and place over high heat. Shake continuously until corn stops popping.

Combine paprika, salt and grated cheese. Sprinkle over hot corn, mixing so all kernels are coated.

Joyce Walter can be reached at

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