You are what you eat header image 2

Ready for Christmas baking

December 14th, 2007 · 3 Comments · General, recipes

Went to the store today with two things on my mind:

  1. Buying necessities before the predicted snowstorm.
  2. Buying extravagances for Christmas baking.

I went at about 2 p.m., one of the luxuries that self-employment allows, and was startled to find the store full of other people shopping. The nerve!

Anyway, the trip was a success, as such trips usually are in the United States. Now, in addition to the joys of brushing my teeth with toothpaste and having milk for my cereal, I also have plenty of the raw materials for Christmas cookies:

  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Baking chocolate
  • Cocoa

I add those to my already-plentiful supply of vanilla, pecans and eggs. At least I hope I have enough eggs.

One thing I did not buy was raw peanuts for my annual production of peanut brittle. Still love to make it, but it’s kind of tricky as a one-person operation. I make it the old-fashioned way, on the stove, and stretch it thin after the cooking. It’s getting the searingly hot candy from the pan onto the buttered baking sheets for stretching that’s the challenge. I also forgot to get cranberries, so I may have to skip the cranberry bread this year. We’ll see.

There are plenty of other treats to make. Although I’m not a sweets hound, I do savor some special treats at holidays, in no small part because of the memories they conjure of friends and relatives. Plus, they make wonderful presents for people who don’t need anything, which is most of us. Here’s a probable lineup and associated persons:

Candied pecans. They make me think of Don, who gave me the cookbook where I got the recipe, and Dave, my ex sweetheart and still good friend, who could eat these by the pound.

Nutmeg logs. My mother got this recipe from a flier in a Pillsbury flour sack, and it evidently was the winner of the Pillsbury Bake-Off way back when. In any case, she made them most years, and so making them makes me think of her. Plus the cookies, essentially a rum- and nutmeg-enhanced shortbread cookie, are wonderful.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. I’m too lazy to get up and go pull the recipe right now, but the link here goes to one that seems similar and is probably good. Say what you will about industrial food producers, their test kitchens are second to none. Anyway, these cookies make me think of my grandmother, who introduced them to our family.

Russian Tea Cakes. Another shortbread-type cookie, this one is covered with powdered sugar and jammed with chopped nuts, pecans at my house. Mom made this one, too, as did a new friend in Phoenix when I first moved there and spent the holiday away from family.

Toffee. This is one that I can eat too much of, but it’s hard to go wrong when you’re talking, essentially, about cooked butter and sugar with chocolate on top. I’ll debate the recipe on this one: My aunt’s, or Dave’s grandmother’s? Both fabulous, and both distinctly vague in the critical instruction of how to know when it’s done cooking. I’ve had success and less-success with both recipes, but the discussion at 101cookbooks makes me feel a little better about my toffee failures. And, I might add, even the failures tasted great, they just sometimes lacked something in the texture department.

So, that’s the lineup. I’ll let you know how things proceed and try to fit in some picture-taking along the way. Oh, the house is going to smell so good!


3 Comments so far ↓