Sunday, November 9, 2014

Holiday Vanilla Wafer Fruit and Nut Roll

My grandmother always had an icebox fruit cake for Thanksgiving and Christmas. She had a mile high soaked in brandy and wrapped in cheesecloth fruit cake also. It was stored way in the back of the pantry in a dark cool spot. But my favorite was always the ice box fruit cake rolled in a log and perfect for nibbling by my cousin and myself. It was often made with graham crackers, but my Aunt Winnie would make it with vanilla wafers. Aunt Winnie didn't get married until she was over forty and always lived with my grandparents during my childhood years. She worked at the bank downtown and would always take me to the dime store shopping. We would always buy a paper doll book and a bag of the world's best popcorn. I remember that smell so vividly. I dearly loved my Aunt Winnie. She would let me use all of her bubble bath products and her big fluff of a bath powder mitt.

During our Thanksgiving and Christmas visits to South Georgia, we would get up early, have grits and eggs and then breakfast dessert. Breakfast dessert for my cousin and myself was this delicious Fruit and Nut log served with half milk and half coffee and lots of sugar. My parents always carried on with the breakfast dessert tradition for my children also. In later years, when my grandparents were gone and we visited my parents' home for the holidays, they would serve ice cream or a piece of cake to the kids after breakfast, and in the summer it was always fresh peaches with heavy whipping cream and lots of sugar. Breakfast dessert is definitely only a grandparent tradition. I never thought to say "no" to my parent's indulgences for the children. It was their right and privilege to spoil them.

I found this recipe written on an old yellowed piece of paper in her cookbook. I have tried to revise it a little.

Vanilla Wafer Ice Box Fruit Cake

1 box of vanilla wafers
2 cups chopped pecans
2 cups raisins or nowadays, I love craisins
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1 jar maraschino cherries - drained and chopped
1 14 oz  can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup confectioners sugar

In a bowl, combine all ingredients except confectioners sugar: mix well - remember that clean hands are the best mixing tool
Form mixture into 4 equal size logs
Place confectioners sugar in shallow dish and roll logs in sugar- coat completely
Wrap each log in plastic wrap and chill for several hours or overnight
Slice just before serving

The logs make great gifts and no cooking at all -

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