This will probably be the last of the crafting and baking posts for a very long time as we “do” Christmas tomorrow, and then it’s down to the real business of writing a dissertation, publishing articles, getting a job / post-doc, getting into the field to do more research, and packing the house for The Big Move that we will be making to follow Jason to his new academic home while he finishes a Master’s to compliment his JD.
One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the baking. i love to bake, but i don’t actually eat sweets. I just don’t have a sweet tooth – never did. I wasn’t one of those kids who would gorge on candies and goodies and complain of an aching stomach. I simply wasn’t drawn to it. However, i love to cook and bake for people, and the holidays always calls for massive baking. This year, i’ve pulled myself from the clutches of the ever-reliable Ms. Betty Crocker and have moved into the very grown up world of Epicurious.
This year, i’ve kept it simple (unlike previous years which required days’ worth of preparation) and made only two cookies. First, we made (Jason was a big help this year, keeping the kitchen clean and grinding and melting things as needed) the Cardamom Crescents. They’re not particularly lovely to look at, but they taste delicious – if you’re into cardamom. A perfectly simple and delicious crispy cookie that will go so well with a lovely cup of Earl Grey or at least a warming cup of Bewley’s.
We also made Chocolate Anise Cookies with Dried Cherries. These look absolutely beautiful when done and are completely divine. The final product is soft and gooey and not child-friendly (there is a ton of caffein in these cookies). They start out as funny little balls and develop into gorgeous cookie-like substances that, frankly, i now know why the recipe is so darn small – they’d be too easy to eat the whole batch… We used the Starbuck’s instant coffee packs, so i imagine with a different instant coffee, with less caffein, they’d be a little more child-friendly, but i think we’ll be keeping these away from the kids.
Also, most of the final packages to go out in the mail and for the next few days have some vegan chocolates that Katie and i made. We made three vegan truffles: cardamom and cayenne; coconut and cinnamon; and, kahlua and sea salt. They turned out amazingly! We made the recipes up by researching and reading as many different truffle recipes as we could over a few days and finally simply went for it, making it up as we went along.
And finally… we also made peppermint bark (which Katie has blogged about) and peppermint patties. All vegan. She took the most amazing pictures of the peppermint patties as they were setting, but she’s not yet blogged about them. That will have to come later. But here are the finished products.