Sesame Candy Recipe

Recipe for homemade sesame candy made with toasted sesame seeds, honey and sweet spices. Impressive appearance. An unexpected holiday food gift, easy to pack and ship. For years, my mom loved these verrrrry chewy sesame candies from Turkey, the Middle East and all around the Mediterranean. Where she found such exotica in small towns in the northern plains, who knows? How her dental work survived, who can guess! Fast forward 30 years to me fast-flipping through a tall stack of recipes glued onto 3x5 cards during my first years of cooking. Many recipes no longer appeal – there's that Midwestern reliance on cans of mushroom soup for every "hot dish" and a box of Jello for every "salad" – but a surprising number do. The recipe for this sesame candy appealed instantly, just a few ingredients, a simple technique – and the inner giggle that my mom would have rolled her eyes at the very idea of her daughter making homemade sesame candy. Sorry, Mom! Call m

Eggnog French Toast with
Apple Cranberry Compote

A special make-ahead breakfast for Christmas morning. Thick slices of panettone or another bread are soaked overnight in eggnog, then buttered and baked, sprinkled with powder sugar and then, spooned with a delicious apple and cranberry sauce. One year, an Italian fruit bread called panettone [pan-uh-TOH-nee] appeared beneath the Christmas tree. Ever since, it’s been an essential holiday ingredient. Panettone makes lovely toast, lightly textured and barely sweet. It has replaced lady fingers in our Christmas trifle. Last year, we made Eggnog French Toast on Christmas morning and this year, by popular demand, it will return, the new family tradition. Panettone comes in large festive boxes and is easy to find before Christmas, if you look. The Italian groceries on The Hill sell panettone and I’ve also seen it in local groceries and even stores like Home Goods, World Market and Trader Joe’s. UPDATE Use panettone to make Christmas Trifle too! APPLE CRANBERRY COMPOT

Cinnamon Apples

Festive-red cinnamon apples. Simple to make, easy to serve. Perfect for a light holiday dessert. How old is this recipe? Well, let’s just say it came from Gov, who next year will attend his 70th high class reunion. But then again, Gov got the recipe from Mae, his own mother! Here’s what Gov wrote when he shared the recipe. “The red cinnamon apples were a family favorite and Mom always had them at Christmas. My wife and I follow the tradition and often make them for our own family. Of course, they can be improved with a dollop of whipped cream on each apples. Sprinkles of red and green sugar also add a festive touch!” Thank you, Gov and Wilma! Your mother’s cinnamon apples are so simple to make and the color so festive. Let’s hope her tradition is passed onto many families, thanks to sharing her recipe! Cinnamon apples are as healthful as dessert can get. The apples are poached in a syrup of cinnamon candies, sugar (or a sugar substitute like Splenda) and water. But only a