From cranberry cocktails to simple baked French toast, this make-ahead holiday menu will have you sailing out of the kitchen in no time.
Cook: 45 minutes
Cool: 30 minutes
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup whole milk
1. Beat butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in sugar 1 minute or until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition to make a thick, creamy batter. Beat in almond extract.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Add about one-third flour mixture to butter mixture, and beat until incorporated. Add a little milk, and beat again. Repeat until all of the flour mixture and milk have been added.
3. Pour batter into a greased 9- x 5-inch loaf pan, tapping pan to settle batter and smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove pan to a wire rack, and let cool at least 30 minutes. Run a knife along inside of pan; gently turn cake out into 1 hand, and place on a cake plate. Serve with Kumquat Syrup. Makes 8 servings.
Bring 2 cups water and 1 cup sugar to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until a light syrup forms. Reduce heat to medium, and add ¾ pound fresh kumquats, sliced and seeds removed. Simmer 10 minutes or until skins are translucent. Remove pan from heat, and let cool. Cover and chill until ready to use; bring to room temperature before serving. Makes 2 cups.
Reprinted with permission from Gather: Memorable Menus for Entertaining Throughout the Seasons (Sasquatch Books, 2009)