Monday, December 12, 2005

Bakin' up some Christmas
I confess: I am a terrible Christmas baker, especially compared with those people who might bake up 21 different kinds of Christmas cookies and then share them with family and friends, or who make a dozen different kinds of candy, like Jayme's family, that turns out looking beautiful and smelling delicious. At these tasks, I fail miserably. When I was a kid, my mom would make (and let us help decorate) real, rolled-out, cut-out sugar cookies with decadent confectioner's-sugar frosting, topped with all kinds of decorations like red or green sugar, silver, gold or red buttons, or confetti-stuff. Again, I fail.

But the call to produce SOME kind of Christmas goodies is strong. So I concocted a small plan that would allow me to have a few things for family and guests. Cheating was strong in the plan.

After a hectic couple of weeks, last weekend was actually not too busy, so some "baking" as accomplished. Here's how a lazy baker bakes up Christmas:

1. Chocolate caramel candy/pretzel sandwiches. Jaretta made these for us the other day. You take basket-weave pretzels, melt either Rollos or Hersey caramel kisses on them in the microwave (just takes a sec), then top them with another pretzel. Takes them an hour or so to set back up, then Wah-la! Chewy crunchy treats.

2) Found a recipe for a Jewish cookie in a cookbook. It's a simple base--flour, eggs, sugar--then shape into a triangle, and make a depression with your finger. Fill with your jam of choice, I used strawberry and raspberry. Not real sweet--a good breakfast cookie. Made a couple dozen.

3) Angela gave me a mason jar of pre-mixed three-chip cookie base as a gift (the little Cub Scouts had made them, and she had extra); I just had to add butter, eggs, vanila, and mix! Another couple dozen.

4) Mint meringue cookies: tricky but really good. I'm still practicing. Very light! Egg whites, peppermint flavoring, mini-chips. I ruined one batch, the second was edible, so I'm hoping the third time's a charm. We'll see!

5) Good ole sugar cookies in a tube (Christmas tree in the center) topped by ready-made whipped white frosting. The ultimate cheat! Decorated with the same pretty things as mentioned previously.

So there you have it. Spent most of yesterday standing in the kitchen--it was WARM there! Woo-hoo! Also got a couple of other little chores done.

I also must mention, Greg got an early Christmas present...a new snowblower! The record snowfall of Friday (over 8 inches!) and the fact that our neighbor's snowblower (which he graciously lets us use) was waiting for some repairs put Greg over the edge. Saturday night he and Tony did some serious shopping (for guys) and found a good model (read: self-propelled) at, where else, Wal-mart! So, our walks are safe for...walking.

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