Christmas is Officially Here

‘Twas the day ‘fore Christmas Eve that Christmas really arrived this year.

So today was, in fact, one of those days. Woke up late and felt like I was running late pretty much the whole day – if anyone wants to get snarky here, hush please. ;) On the menu today was fudge, as I felt last night’s second, yes, second, batch didn’t turn out just right, biscotti, as I was too lazy last night, and rostule at my grandma’s house with two of my cousins. Then a get-together with some “back-in-the-day”people. :) Somewhere in there I also had to go Christmas shopping and just run some general errands.

Well, it was clear that no foodstuffs were getting made before I headed over to my grandma’s as I woke up much later than planned. When I got to my grandma’s one of the first things I noticed was that she had put out the Hershy’s kisses. Christmas was officially here.

Next, I noticed she had all of the equipment and ingredients already laid out and ready to go. Nothing too unusual about that. Once my cousins arrived we were put to work and Grandma was going to leave us to it – or so she said.

We convened to make rostule, also known as hrstule or krostule. It’s basically fried dough with powdered sugar on it. How bad can that be, right? A little more specifically, it’s a Croatian fried pastry. You make a pretty sticky dough and then you’re supposed to roll it out to a paper-thin consistency, cut it into strips – usually with a pretty edge, and then fry the strips in Crisco. Once the rostule are golden brown and have a crispness to them, you take them out of the Crisco and let them cool slightly before dusting them with powdered sugar. They are very tasty, mind you. The first time I attempted them, I think two years ago, I was told they were too thick and not crispy enough – but still tasty. Apparently, it’s best to make them with others and to form a sort of assembly line.

Anyway, back to Grandma and cousins. First, Grandma delegated specific tasks to each of us (there were 3 of us today). Then we had to decide if we were going to use bourbon, as we did last year, or anise extract. Grandma was in favor of anise, so anise we used. Then we had her check the dough as we were rolling it out. Strips were too small, should be bigger. Okay. But we were kind of low on dough. Then we had to make sure they were thick enough because, you know, they’re just not as good if they’re too thin. Then once they were all out of the fryer Grandma suggested that maybe we should have cooked them a little longer because they could be a little crispier. Also, it was noted that there weren’t that many of them. Should we make more? We decided not after some deliberation. Finally, it was time to dust them with the powdered sugar. Grandma had a large cardboard box out and lined with wax paper to hold the finished rostule. We thought why not just put them in there and then add the powdered sugar. We thought wrong. If we did that, too much sugar would be at the bottom of the box, so we were told. So we moved to the cutting board. That was more acceptable. We ended our 2009 rostule-making-a-thon by moving them to a smaller container because, again, we didn’t have as many as last year. That’s what we get for making them thicker. Ah, well. Such is life.

After doing the dishes, we all retreated to the living room. And talked about alcohol. Grandma told us about Pink Ladies and Grasshoppers. And we learned that one of her favorites is Malibu and orange juice. One of my other cousins gave her that for the first time. We were all also very much in favor of mojitos. Oh Christmas!

As I left, I noticed you could easily smell the rostule in the air – and on my clothes. Just like last year.

Our effort:

I think I’d be remiss not to mention that Grandma also had a pot of freshly made spaghetti sauce cooling on the stove in one of her oldest pots, and I had some of my aunt’s burek, a meat pita, for lunch. Nice. And two additional batches of fudge were made. As it turns out, last night’s second batch may actually be a good batch… Whoops haha. Biscotti must wait for tomorrow, but it will definitely not be forgotten. It wouldn’t be Christmas without it.

Last night's second batch.

Chocolate for fudge-making today. :)

See, the whole fudge-making process just wasn’t going so well. :\ So then we had to have some eggnog. My recipe book also fell on the floor spilling recipes. :\

There’s eggnog in the mug, I swear! (That rum is also really tasty, at least imho.)

But the day overall was a success. I discovered yesterday’s fudge will more than do, had my first cup of the seasonal and requisite eggnog, my grandma put out the Hershey’s kisses, my clothes smell like rostule, cooking was criticized, lovingly, of course, and I sat around the living room exchanging drink recipes with my family; yes, Christmas is officially here.

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