The Christmas food season started for me this year on the first weekend in December. It was time to make fudge. Fudge is usually the first Christmas culinary treat to come out of the gate. It keeps pretty well, too, so that’s probably helped it move into first place. I excitedly got out my recipe and some, if not all, of the ingredients. I then did what I usually do when making fudge – I jumped the gun a bit and became a little too overconfident. I know I’ve made successful fudge in the past, so sometimes I don’t pay as good attention to it as I should. This year I followed that pattern – and it showed. I let the sugar and marshmallow crème mixture cook a little too long resulting in a more caramely flavor. Not untasty, but not what Christmas fudge is all about either. I could tell it wasn’t right just by its scent. On to Batch #2. This batch I watched like a hawk, kept meticulous track of the time, and constantly stirred – as you’re supposed to do anyway. The second batch turned out as perfect as I could have wanted it. Well, of course, I wasn’t totally sure of that until the next morning and I saw that it had set beautifully, but still.
Once my dad and I finally got our tree we decorated it to A Very Special Christmas, as I’ve insisted upon for the past few years, and looks just like it always does. I also made sure to have a bite of fudge as I was decorating and listening to Christmas music. It’s what you do at a tree-trimming party. As I bit into the fudge, again, I was struck at how tasty it was. Every day I’ve had fudge, it never ceases to amaze me how tasty it is. And I never cease to think of my mama. :) My dad also had all the strudel ingredients sprawled across the counter. It’ just like seeing all the pie ingredients out for Thanksgiving. I’ve still yet to make strudel. One can only hope that will be amended soon. :)
Fast forward to the Tuesday before Christmas. ‘Twas time to make more fudge, as the first batch only had about, oh, a piece or so left of it. I was a little worried I had cooked the sugar and marshmallow mixture too long again, but I was mostly concerned that it was too soft. I tasted it that night and it didn’t taste just right. I had ruined yet another batch of fudge in the meantime – but I was smart and hadn’t added the chocolate because I could tell the sugar and marshmallow mixture was too caramelized. So onto a third batch for two nights. I was more confident in this batch – until I poured into a dish to set up. Did I overcook it again?! Well, the next morning would hold the truth. The next morning came and I decided that that first batch from Tuesday night – a big batch – was, in fact, probably the best of the three and the best of the two that had had the privilege of setting up. So there you have it – that second batch was the winner. And I’ve even gotten into to it today, a few days later, and been just as pleased with it as I was my very first batch. Who’d a thunk?
Then the Wednesday before Christmas was the infamous rostule day. :)
Come Christmas Eve, while I finally had the fudge under control, I had yet to do the biscotti or chocolate gingerbread. And I still kind of wanted to do the cranberry tart like I had last year.
Christmas Eve proved rather busy but productive for me. For one, I had to do my Christmas shopping. :\ Following that, lunch was to be had, and then off to my aunt and uncle’s house with my grandma in tow. This didn’t include the aforementioned cooking or the present-wrapping. As it turned out, come time to get ready for Christmas Eve at my aunt’s and uncle’s the cooking, er, baking wasn’t quite done. Not quite ideal. However, the biscotti were well on their way – they had even gone through their first bake. I feel like maybe I say this too much, but it really isn’t Christmas without…what’s it going to be this time, people? ;) It really isn’t Christmas without the biscotti. Also, fun fact: a 325 degree oven is H-O-T! Burned the top of my middle finger whilst taking the biscotti out of the oven Useful tip: take note of how close the top rack in the oven is to the top of the oven. Just saying is all.
Making fudge, biscotti, rostule, and watching my dad make apple strudel (and usually bacalar – this year my aunt made it) truly signify the beginning of the season for me. It really just wouldn’t be Christmas without those things. Clearly I’m not giving these Christmas traditions enough of the spotlight. I must stop expecting to be able to cram them all into one post, so look for the true spotlights of each Christmas culinary concoction (Yay for alliteration! It’s late, I’m tired, deal with it. :P)