or, Why I Didn't Get My Christmas Cards Done Yet.
I don't go to such lengths every year, but I have always loved holiday baking. This is something that was passed on to me by my father, who used to take the two weeks of school holiday off from work every year, to be the Poppa In Charge while Mom kept working. We baked. We cleaned. We helped him get ready to host my Mother's annual Christmas Dinner for the extended family.
One of the things that Dad made on his own, without our help, was a persimmon fruitcake, baked in October and soaked in rum for two months. I never really understood why people DIDN'T like fruitcake until I left home... obviously, they had never eaten my dad's. He taught me all I knew about cooking before I left home, and really, it was mainly how to bake! We made breads as gifts, cookies to wolf down, and other goodies for the holiday meal. I have continued my own version of this tradition, in greater and lesser amounts, over the years. The year that DD was an infant, I was not working as Christmas approached and had little money for gifts. DD watched on in her infant seat as I made about a dozen pies; most of those on my gift list got a pie that year... persimmon pie for my Dad, pecan for my SIL, chocolate cream for lil' brother, pumpkin for my family, etc.
This year, I asked DD a few weeks ago if she wanted to come over and share a day-long baking extravaganza. She suggested that we make gingerbread people and invite our little friend who lives up the road and is almost four to join us. Everything was arranged during the week, and she arrived after a hectic day at the toy store where she is working, at the same time that a farmer from our community was delivering 15 pounds of persimmons for us.
It was downhill from there... we also made a batch of fudge last night and hid it in the fridge to harden.
This morning, my first task was making the gingerbread batter and letting it chill for a few hours before trying to roll it out.
Nikki is rolling balls of dough for Raspberry Fudge Thumbprint Cookies.. not so healthy, except that we used raspberry preserves that were "fruit only", then ate a bunch! These are the greatest.
We also made Peanut Butter Kisses... another family favorite, but put a few organic dark chocolate morsels in the middle of each one instead of unwrapping all of those Hersey Kisses.
Youngest Son decided to come up and join us, do his laundry and get in on the goods. He has always had an artistic bent, and painted these snowpeople, plus a tree and a cat extrapolated from the wreath cookiecutter.
DD made an equally stunning plate of decorated cookies and was disappointed when the head on her gingergirl started coming loose.
Our little grrlfriend had a great time too, playing with our toys between bouts of cutting out shapes, stirring and mixing, sprinkling colored sugar (and licking it off her fingers), and plucking mini M&Ms into her mouth as often as putting them on cookies to take home to big brother.
This much fun in my own kitchen is worth all the mess... I felt truly blest today, and really couldn't ask for more from life. It didn't hurt any that the sun was shining, and we were able to fit in a photo shoot for my gift to MIL and my aubergine Bejeweled (which will appear later this week). I hope your holiday preparations were as much fun!