Before Christmas I posted my long list of baking desires: snowballs, glittering lemon cookies, cinnamon rolls. There was more than this on my list, for sure. But with all of the running around for last-minute Christmas shopping and groceries, impromptu luncheons with good friends, cleaning for company, Christmas Eve traditions, and prepping for Christmas dinner, I just wasn't sure that I was going to get any of the "fun" stuff on my list completed. But somehow I made it happen.
I know most of you don't come here for photos of food or recipes and yet I feel compelled to share them with you. I feel like food—and even the process of baking or cooking—has a special power to join those I love in one place. Over meals we recollect. We celebrate. We plan for the future. We laugh—sometimes until we cry—and we talk more than we might otherwise. We linger (but that just might be because we're all waiting for someone else to clear the dishes).
Such was the case this Christmas. Whether it were the fajitas at a nondescript Chili's to which we drove an hour in slippery snow to meet friends for lunch, or the soup at a local family restaurant where we met for our traditional Christmas Eve celebration with my aunt's family, or the Sauerbraten on the candle-lit table at my mother's house which we'd collectively labored over on our quiet Christmas afternoon, food was at the center of our holiday. I'll always remember those fajitas, that soup, that Christmas dinner. Not only do we recollect the past while breaking bread but we also create new memories while joyfully communing. It's pretty amazing how food can trigger m
To me it's fascinating how food also has the ability to trigger memories. Do you ever smell something cooking and find yourself smiling because you're suddenly remembering a special moment in the past or realize that a seemingly out-of-the-blue memory is triggered by food? For instance, when my mom makes rolatin, I am often brought back to a particular Christmas dinner when I was only 12 or 13. I remember the people and the plates and the gifts. I can vividly recall the snapshots of my cousin smiling and I wearing our new matching sweaters. I can even hear the laughter and the clattering of silverware.
Like I said—I know you don't come here for the recipes or the photos of food. So, pardon me if you find me posting about food and sharing stories of the sweet and the savory here nonetheless.
Back from my digression.
I know this is late—but better late than never, right? Right. Hope you're still with me.
Early on Christmas Eve morning, after I'd done all of the shopping and Christmas dinner prep the night before, I woke myself up and headed down to our kitchen while it was still dark out. I thought I'd tackle at least a cookie recipe or two before driving out to meet some friends for lunch. After all, what would Christmas be without cookies? (OK, here's where I remind you that my family has a bakery and we're never without cookies if we want them, so really . . . my logic was not exactly spot-on.)
Before going to bed the night before, I took some butter out of the refrigerator and left it on the counter to come to room temperature—just in case.
I also made sure my sugar container was full.
When I came downstairs, the butter was all nice and soft. Ready to go. (This really was a success because as you probably already know, I am quite impatient—especially when it comes to waiting for butter to soften.)
I measured and poured, sifted and stirred. Before I knew it, the sun was rising and before me I had two big containers of cookie dough, some lemon filling for the glittering lemon cookies, a bowl of cinnamon roll dough, a circle of almond pate brise, a container of almond paste, and a stack of empty butter wrappers.
I quickly cleaned up my mess (and, I am really talking a mess—egg shells, flour, mixing bowls, whisks, spatulas, 2 food processor bowls . . .) and put everything in the refrigerator. It was time to get ready for our lunch date.
Several hours later, after returning from lunch and dinner, Chris and I arrived home—tired and cold but happy. As Chris went off to wrap presents and make something special (more on that later) for me, I pulled out the cookie sheets and got to baking.
The next day, we served these at my mom's. Scrumptious.
these cinnamon rolls on Sunday morning just as a little treat for my cinnamon roll-loving husband. Little did I know (maybe I should've read all the way through Ree's directions—patience, it gets me every time) that I'd have 42 cinnamon rolls when all was said and done.
I am a little bummed to say that I have no photos to share of my lovely almond and pear French tart. We can blame that on my camera—something is wrong with the mount for my lenses. Sending up a little prayer that it will fix itself.
I feel like I should also share a bit about those Glittering Lemon Cookies and maybe some photos of our Christmas dinner and tell you a bit about the recipe for that. But, I think it would be pressing my luck to expect you to read any further. And, with that, I say goodnight.