Sunday, December 11, 2011

Grandma's Nut roll (Not a fruitcake!)

This is a fun project to do with your friends or kids, although you may not be able to keep them from snacking along the way.

One of  the delicious treats my mother -in-law prepared each year was her exceptionally rich nut roll, a concoction that combined the tastes of nuts, candy, and two sweet dried fruits.  We started making this roll ourselves twenty years ago as a Christmas treat for family and friends.  Strangely, we have never experimented with different ingredients, but I imagine that dried pineapple, mango, or papaya would work equally as well as dates and raisins.

The recipe is simplicity itself: Graham crackers, Walnuts, Pecans, Dates, Raisins, and Gum or Spice Drops, and Marshmallows.  That's seven pounds of ingredients, folks!

Tear off six or seven pieces of waxed paper about  twenty inches long.  You will use these to shape and hold the rolls later.

Measurement of the ingredients is simple since all of them come in (about) one pound packages that can simply be dumped into a large bowl for mixing after they have been chopped.  The graham crackers provide structure for the roll and so should be crushed into small pieces.  The most tedious task is cutting the gum drops into small pieces since their original size is out of scale for the other ingredients.

After you have everything except the marshmallows thoroughly mixed in the large bowl you need to melt the marshmallows with a cup of milk over low heat until the mixture is smooth. At this point you mix the other ingredients while stirring to coat everything with the melted marshmallows.  It never seems like there is enough, but persistence pays.

This next step cannot be done by one person since the mixture is extremely sticky.  One person should quickly place handfuls (about a pound) of the gooey mixture onto each sheet of the waxed paper.  The other person, who has clean hands, should immediately press it into a loaf shape.  Wrap the rolls tightly and refrigerate until cool (and solid).  Rewrap each loaf in fresh wax paper as soon as possible since the original wrapping with adhere tightly if left too long.

We generally cut quarter inch slices, since thinner slices tend to fall apart.  

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