If you haven’t noticed, I took last week off. Not intentionally, and with no good reason, other than I kept intending to get to the computer and blog, but life and the holidays kept luring me away. I don’t know about you, but I am so easily distracted this time of year. Write? Are you kidding? When there are Christmas cookies to bake, presents to knit, hunt down and then wrap like a contented Christmas Diva (especially if I’ve found it on sale and used a coupon)?
Goodness, I hope my editor isn’t reading this. But honestly? I never plan on writing much in December. January is my workhorse month. Well, not the first week of January, because that’s my birthday week, but we’ll worry about that after Christmas. So last week was devoted to baking goodies for the prize winners, families, friends and anyone who passes by and has their mouth open. Watch out, or you’ll find it filled with something about as low-cal as a Big Mac.
I also spent a good amount of time trying to track down my grandmother’s recipe for Russian Tea Cakes. Those have to be one of my favorite Christmas cookies, and I thought I had dug it up out of her recipe box, which I inherited. (Believe me, this recipe box is a treasure trove of old fashioned goodness.) But grandma wasn’t so good with the filing, so you really have to dig to find the recipes you want. But there it was, with all the right ingredients, with a heading, “Alice Hungate’s Butter Pecan Cookies.” I’m not sure where Alice fits on the family tree, but believe me, she is the genius with the recipes, so whenever I see her name next to a recipe, I sit up and take notice.
Convinced that these, Alice Hungate’s Butter Pecan Cookies were the tea cakes I was searching for, I mixed them up, rolled them into balls and smugly shoved them into the oven, thinking I had finally found the right recipe. And then they came out of the oven.
Yes, those babies are flat as boards. FLAT. Not round, not buttery bites that you roll in powdered sugar, not once, but twice. No, these are just flat, butter pecan cookies. Which by the way, are really delicious, but not what I was looking for. As luck would have it, my mom called in the middle of my flat cookie disaster, and laughed, as only a mother can. Then she laughed again and asked me why I hadn’t called her. She had Grandma’s tea cake recipe. Did I want her to dig it out and read it to me, so I could have my round cookies? So much for being the sacred keeper of Grandma’s recipes.
Now I had better luck with the chocolate cookies you see in the background up in the first photo. That was a recipe I used to make every year for Christmas, but the year we moved six times, I lost the recipe in all the shuffling. This year I was again determined to track it down and bake them, because they are my husband’s favorites. I had much better luck with Google than I did Grandma.
And in about two clicks of mouse, I had my recipe for Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies. That was until I went to make them. I had all the ingredients, at least they were all lined up on the counter and ready to go until I got to the sweetened condensed milk, which I have to confess had been on the shelf for a bit, but I mean it’s canned, how bad can it get? Oh, pretty bad, apparently. Because after I got the can open, it came out sort of a green color. Now if you’ve never cooked with sweetened condensed milk, let me pass along a little cooking tip: it shouldn’t come green. That, as it turns out, is a good indication that it was time to carry it directly out to the trash and then make an emergency run to the grocery store for new sweetened condensed milk. I am sure Alice Hungate would have been horrified. (I’m sure everyone who is waiting for their prize packages is wondering what is coming in their boxes–I promise, I used only new and fresh ingrediants for you. I promise.)
What are you doing to get ready for Christmas? Any disasters? Wonderful tales of holiday fun? ‘Tis the season for sharing, so please share!