It's the holidays! And I know that I said that Thanksgiving makes me like a kid in a candy store, but so do the holidays. Or anytime of the year that involves food, entertaining, and decor I'm in! This year we had a Christmas 'open house' tea party. It spanned four hours, from 2–6pm and everyone came in and out. The guest list was large, which is why a tea worked fabulously as everything is served room temperature (sans the tea) and you get to put your feet up and enjoy.
Every half hour I'd go into the kitchen, boil another pot of tea and leave it out on the table.
If you plan ahead, it all can be done. But planning is key, and my friend Denise gets ALL the credit for my ability to entertain without panicking last minute.
We organized this party last minute, and invited everyone a week in advance too, but with that planning (and my husbands help!) we managed to get it all done in time ;-)
The menu went as:
Orange cranberry scones + Chocolate scones, served with clotted butter
Pumpkin cranberry bread
Cheesecake (store bought)
Madeleines (store bought)
Cupcakes (store bought)
Cucumber cream cheese sandwiches
Smoked salmon spread, served with toast
The recipe I'm highlighting in this post is the bread.
And that is because I make it every year, and it felt like a must on any Christmas menu I come up with.
This makes a large batch and my friend Denise shared this recipe with me and with her little secret of baking it in 5 small loaf pans instead of 2 large, and gifting it. For the party I used 2 large loaf pans as it made it easier to serve.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Butter and flour (or use Pam Baking) and prep 2 loaf pans (or 5 small 4-1/4" x 1-1/8" x 1-1/4" h disposable baking pans)
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl:
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
(or 2 tsp of cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder and ginger powder)
- 1/2 tsp salt
Mix the wet ingredients in another large bowl:
- 1 15oz can pumpkin puree (Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin)
- 1 14oz whole berry Cranberry sauce (Ocean Spray Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce)
- 4 eggs (room temperature)
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup nuts (optional)
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until blended.
- Pour into 2 loaf pans.
- Bake for 60 minutes or until done.