Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sweet Surrender

Oh, my. These past few days have been a flurry of dinner party-noshing, birthday party merry-making, cookie-baking, gift-packaging and baby-chasing. We're finally starting to wind down, looking forward to a quiet, slow solstice walk in our forest tomorrow (if the rain stays away) and then a hearty Christmas dinner with friends and family on Sunday.

We're doing things on a small scale, holiday-wise, around here. That's typically the route I take during the holidays. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with buying ipads and Kindles and chocolate diamonds, if that's what the season is about for you. For Hubs and I, though, it's about drawing inwards, to cook, to bake, to sip, and to savor the quiet days and nights of winter. It's about feeling so very thankful for the life we have been given, the almost staggering love we feel for each other and for Huxley, and for the phenomenal community of friends and family we get to share this journey with.

We packed up several boxes for loved ones today, all of which included a smattering of homemade items from our kitchen, gardens, and creatures we share the cove with. Hubs titled the honey-colored tan cubes above "Mishaps," as they were born out of a recipe for honey fudge gone awry. We discovered long ago that some of our best creations occur when we set about fixing a project that failed in its execution. In the case of the "Mishaps," the fudge was too thin and set in a strange way. To mend that issue, Hubs had the genius idea to sandwich peanut butter between two layers of fudge squares. The result is as good as it sounds-sweet, salty, toothsome. Delicious.

I wanted to share photos of some stollen I made last week. I pine for stollen all year, longing for it come Christmastime just like I clamor for pumpkin ale in autumn and drum my fingers waiting for the wineberries to ripen in summer. This year, I was determined to make my own loaf. First, I candied some orange peel, then baked it into the stollen the next day, using the recipe from this book. It's been pure heaven nibbling on a warm slice served alongside hot cardamom coffee this past week. I might just have to make another batch before the month is over. The recipe called for a mere 1/4 cup, so I had a good bit of candied peel left. Those strips were given the chocolate treatment, with a hearty dunk into melted chocolate for gift-giving.

My sweet tooth has been more than placated these past few weeks. From the cookie exchange onward, we've been sugarin' it up around here. Which suits me just fine. A bit of decadence every now and again only serves to make the sour times in life that much more manageable!

What about you? Got a sweet story to share? I'd love to know what sugary bliss you've been busy with, too!


joanna said...

What a sweet post! Chocolate peacan pie is one of my favorites this month. I always bake two at a time and take one to a neighbor. Wishing you and your family a peaceful season.

andrea devon said...

it seems like your holidays will be blissful and charming- and terribly delicious! i love making chocolate peppermint truffles to hand out as sweet treats to friends and loves. aloha from a warmer holiday!

Jen said...

I love the turning inward you speak of--you have a lovely life. Today I made gingerbread, and tomorrow I hope to make my favorite cranberry nut cookies with an orange glaze.

Meister @ The Nervous Cook said...


Every year I make sweet goodies to give with tips to favorite waiters, our dry cleaner, the mail man, etc. But this year I've neither had the time nor the emotional energy to bake a darned thing to give away. This post is lovely, but it fills me with regret!

There's always next year?

Onion said...

Holidays for us are always hectic and full of travel to our respective families- and we hate having to split up!! I try hard to make goodies for everyone but never make enough- This year, due to too many work projects, I only was able to make a gallon of basil infused vodka and a batch of salted caramels. I'll have to spread the booty and hope that we can make it up with an egg party once our pullets (!!!!) start laying this spring!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the stollen! I've been making the same recipe from 'The German Cookbook' for years now - but I've been thinking about mixing it up ever since I came across this recipe on youtube.

I'm curious how the cottage cheese changes the dough. Or maybe it's just because Omi reminds me of my late German grandmother. :)

Merry Christmas!

NicoleD said...

Your stollen looks great! Is there marzipan in the middle? I can imagine that it's fantastic with cardamom coffee!