Holiday Time

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A MoonPie, a Pickle, a Horseshoe and More: Ringing in the New Year Southern-Style (December 2011)

Celebrate the Holidays New Orleans-Style with a Reveillon Dinner (December 2011)

"Treat" Yourself this Holiday Season with SavannahInns.com (November 2011)

Holiday Fun in the South After Thanksgiving (November 2011)

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Tours and Treats Along Virginia’s Inn to Inn Cookie Trail and Tour (November 2011)

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Published: November 2011
"Treat" Yourself this Holiday Season with SavannahInns.com  

Nothing says “happy holidays” better than the aroma of freshly-baked sweets. And in the spirit of the giving season, the innkeepers at the four SavannahInns.com share their favorite holiday recipes not only with their guests but with everyone.

Dresser Palmer House – Caramel Cranberry Bars

Innkeeper Shannon Romine admits she never liked cranberry and dates. Well, that is, until four years ago when she tried her honorary little sister’s family recipe, Caramel Cranberry Bars.

“I loved it,” she says. “The brown sugar and rolled oats makes the bars very yummy. “ She laughs, adding, “Of course, anything with butter and brown sugar is going to be good. The caramel adds to the flavor, too.”

As for the holidays at Dresser Palmer House, Romine says the property takes on a classic and elegant feel to it.

“I use a lot of white lights and gold ornaments to decorate with, as well as other setups.”

Located one block from Forsyth Park, she says the 1876 Italianate townhouse is “gorgeous.”

“The gardens are just to die for.”

“We’re located in a residential section,” says Romine. “It’s quieter, but we’re still close enough to all of the action.”

A prime destination for a couples' weekend or a girlfriends' getaway, the inn offers 16 rooms, eight with working fireplaces. Also of the rooms have recently renovated bathrooms.

Guests can enjoy a full southern gourmet breakfast every morning and an evening social, Monday -Saturday.

Caramel Cranberry Bars

1 c. fresh cranberries

2 tbsp. sugar

2 1/3 cup flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 c. regular oats

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. packed brown sugar

(1) 10 oz. pkg. chopped dates

1 c. butter (marg.) melted

3/4 c. chopped pecans

(1) 12 oz. jar caramel sauce

Stir together cranberries & sugar - set aside

Combine 2 c. flour and next 4 ingredients. Stir in melted butter. Reserve 1 c.of this flour mixture. Press remaining mixture into lightly greased 13x9 pan.

Bake 350 for 15 Min.

Then sprinkle with dates, pecans & cranberry mixture. Stir together caramel sauce and remaining 1/3 cup flour; spoon over cranberries. Sprinkle top with reserved 1 cup flour mixture. Bake 350 for 20 minutes or until brown.

Green Palm Inn – Chocolate Sundae Cookies

“I'm a hands-on innkeeper,” says Diane McCray, Green Palm Inn. “When guests come here, I treat them like family coming to my house. I call them all 'kids.'”

“I grew up in a large extended family. Every one is welcome.

And being part of McCray's “family” includes enjoying one or two of her Chocolate Sundae Cookies during the holidays.

“It's a nice cookie for both adults and children. It has a more cake-y feel to them than a cookie.”

She says she has made the recipe more her own throughout the years by adding little marshmallows to it and the cherry on top.

“People love the Chocolate Sundae Cookies. It's not too overly sweet. They'll grab one and go sit in the living room to enjoy it, or take it up to their room. It's a prelude to winding down for the evening.”

McCray says she has all kinds of decorating going on at the intimate inn.

“I'm setting up decorations for the holidays right now, in fact.”

You can take a peek at the inn decked out in holiday splendor for yourself during the Holiday Tour of Inns on December 11.

Located near Savannah Riverfront, “cozy” just may be the dominate word to describe the adult-only inn. With four rooms, you can create your own private escape. The property encourages reconnection and relaxation, as well as exploration of Savannah at your own pace. Green Palm Inn provides a hot gourmet breakfast each morning, as well as other goodies throughout the day.

“Savannah is a nice, friendly city,” says McCray. “The inn is an extension of that.”

Chocolate Sundae Cookies

1 1/2 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2/3 c. firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 c. shortening

1egg

1/4 c. Maraschino cherry juice

2 tbsp. milk

2 oz. melted unsweetened chocolate

1/2 c. chopped walnuts

1/2 c. chopped cherries

bag of large marshmallows

Butter cream icing: powdered sugar

1/4 c. cocoa

1 stick margarine

2 tbsp. milk

1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together flour, baking soda, and salt, set aside. With your mixer, mix brown sugar and shortening, blend in one egg. Beat well and then stir in 1/2 of the dry ingredients. Add Maraschino juice and milk. Then stir in the rest of dry ingredients and mix well. Now, blend in melted unsweetened chocolate (we sometimes use the kind that are already melted, or 6 tbsp. of cocoa and 2 tbsp. oil), chopped cherries and chopped walnuts. Drop by spoonfuls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. While they are baking cut large marshmallows in half. Place the cut side of the marshmallow down on hot cookies when they come out of the oven, so they will stick. Let them cool and then frost with your favorite Chocolate frosting, and put a nut on top.

Butter cream chocolate frosting: beat powdered sugar, cocoa, margarine, and milk well.

Azalea Inn & Gardens - My Mom’s Coffee Cake

“My mother has made Coffee Cake for as long as I remember,” says Teresa Jacobson, innkeeper, Azalea Inn & Gardens. “It was made in a regular size Bundt cake pan. When my siblings and I left home, she gave us the recipe and dated us to make it.”

“It continues to be a tradition.”

Jacobson says at the inn, they prepare a few for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“We make a few batches and then freeze them. When they thaw out, they're as moist as the first time.”

She says she uses small Bundt pans, and one of her sisters uses a muffin pan to bake the Coffee Cake.

“You're only limited by your imagination,” says Jacobson. “It's an amazing, simple, tasty recipe. People love it.”

An innkeeper by accident, her and husband actually honeymooned at Azalea Inn & Gardens and then purchased it when the property was up for sale some years later.

“It was never a dream to own an inn, it just fell into place.”

The holidays are a festive occasion at Azalea Inn & Gardens.

“It's a lot of fun,” says Jacobson. “It's great to see guests walking around, taking pictures of the tree and mantles while saying 'I can do this.'”

A special touch at the inn is their Christmas dinner for their guests.

“It's a wonderful way to spend the holiday with a family when you can't be with your own.”

Their menu features soup, salad, two meats (beef and non-beef), various sides and homemade yeast rolls. Of course, a meal isn't complete without desserts and with this special dinner there can be two to four choices.

Situated near Forsyth Park, the inn offers rooms in both the main house and Cottage Garden House. Each room's décor reflects a Savannah-related theme. A three-course gourmet southern breakfast is available each morning. Afterward, you can watch the world slowly go by as you relax in either the heritage garden or on the veranda porches.

Jacobson also currently serves as the president of SavannahInns.com .

“We all create wonderfully unique experience in our inns. We love what we do.”

My Mom's Coffee Cake

1/2 c. shortening

3/4 c. granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 eggs

2 c. sifted flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

½ pint sour cream (1 c.)

6 tbsp. butter or margarine, softened

1 c. brown sugar, packed

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 c. chopped nuts

Cream shortening, sugar, and vanilla thoroughly. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, blending after each addition.

Grease a 10-inch tube pan and line bottom with wax paper. Turn half the batter into pan. Cream softened butter with brown sugar and cinnamon. Add nuts and toss to cake batter and top with remaining nut mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched.

Zeigler House Inn – Fruit Cake Cookies

It's not really the holidays until someone brings out a fruit cake. Before anyone groans, Jackie Heinz, innkeeper, Zeigler House Inn says her Fruit Cake Cookies recipe can change many minds about this particular holiday staple.

“I haven't come across anyone who doesn't like them. It's a really good recipe, and the cookies are great with hot cocoa or coffee.”

Including her. Like many, she wanted nothing to do with anything fruit cake, but once she tried her mom's recipe, she liked it.

“It's nice and moist,” says Heinz. “It has all of the traditional flavors without being hard and dry. You can really pick up on the spices.”

When she wants to spice them up, she adds some bourbon or rum.

The recipe can make a lot of cookies, but she says they'll last for several weeks in a sealed container.

During the holidays, Heinz says she decorates the inn with traditional decorations along with a few modern touches.

“In the historic district, it's a beautiful time to be out. We all decorate.”

Tucked along Jones Street, one of Zeigler House Inn's distinctive features is their rooms. Seven in all, they are loft-like and offer kitchens or kitchenettes among other features. A homemade continental breakfast is available mornings in-room.

With the location of the inn, many of Savannah's popular areas are easily within walking distance.

Fruit Cake Cookies

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tbsp. water

1 c. butter – room temperature

½ c. sugar

3 c. flour

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground cloves

3 eggs

1 lb. raisins

1 lb. pecans, chopped

1 lb. dates, chopped

½ lb. candied cherries (1/4 lb. each of red and green)

Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Dissolve baking soda in water and set aside. Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and beat well. Add soda water. Sift dry ingredients and add to butter mixture. Stir in nuts and fruits. Drop by tsp. onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake till light brown, 12-15 minutes. Cookies should still be soft when done. Makes about 8 dozen.

photos courtesy of SavannahInns.com and Leigh Cort Publicity

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