Cardamom Print Wafers

Cardamom Print Wafers2

I’ve only done actual Christmas caroling a handful of times in my life- but I remember that I loved it. One of the times I can clearly remember is when I was still in elementary school and the children’s choir went caroling to the governor’s mansion. It was a quiet, slightly snowy night and after we sang a few songs, I can remember being invited inside to a big beautiful ‘house’ where we got served hot chocolate, cookies and candy in a ‘study’ type of room with bright golden lights. As long as you don’t take yourself too seriously, don’t mind if 1 or 2 of the people in your group are off-key and love to laugh, then caroling is a blast. Plus, people usually give you free food as a way to say ‘thank you’.

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Everyone ‘s got their own favorite Christmas carols, and I’m no exception. However, my favorites have shifted throughout the years. Now I’m willing to admit that I just can’t pick one as my favorite. I’ve got several. Okay, more than that.

The Holiday┬áPlaylist on my ipod’s got over 100 songs. Yeah. I really love Christmas songs.’

When I was very young, around 5 or 6, my favorite Christmas carol was The First Noel. I loved the melody and would always hum the last part to myself, “Born is the King of Israel,” over and over again.

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Then when I was around 8 or 9, it was Silver Bells- but that was because at the time (mid 90’s), there was a commercial that would constantly come on at Christmas time with the Silver Bells melody playing in the background that I really liked. After that, I think it was Angels We Have Heard on High- although to be honest, I went YEARS without even knowing what some of the lyrics were because I was too young to understand that some of the lyrics were in Latin (“in excelsis deo IS Latin, right? Right??).

Christmastime is Here was my favorite Christmas Carol in middle school; I heard it played once on the piano at a holiday party and just fell in love with it. That one’s still remained one of my favorites over the years, and I have a few versions of it on my playlist, including the Vince Guaraldi classic from A Charlie Brown Christmas.

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Honorable mentions should also go out to Give Love on Christmas Day, The Christmas Song, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Christmas Tree, O What a Merry Christmas Day, All I Want for Christmas Is You, and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Carol of the Bells.

As many of them as I like, there are also other carols that I don’t really care for: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, Little Drummer Boy, Silent Night, Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and Away in a Manger. I guess I just don’t really like the ‘story’ Christmas carols all that much.

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Today’s recipe is super, super easy to put together, but still packs a great punch. These cookies are thin, slightly crisp but still somewhat chewy in the centeer. The cardamom gives it a very unique spicy bite that combined with the cinnamon really reminds me of a delicious Speculoos biscuit. Hands down, these are meant to be enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea. I decided to leave them plain and just let the design from the cookie stamps speak for themselves- these are honestly good enough to stand without icing or sprinkles.

If you still need to catch up on the 12 Days of Christmas Series we’re doing, I’m still including a list of the past recipes and posts below ­čÖé

12 Days of Christmas Banner

Day 1: Cranberry-Clementine Toaster Tarts

Day 2: Honey Roasted Peanut Popcorn Balls

Day 3: Mexican Chocolate Popcorn Balls

Day 4: Giant Molasses Cookies

Day 5: Crustless Cranberry Pie

Day 6: St. Lucia Buns

Day 7: Brown Sugar Cookies

Day 8: Raspberry Linzer Cookies

Day 9: Biscochitos

Day 10: Cardamom Print Wafers

Cardamom Print Wafers

Recipe Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens Cookies for Christmas

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Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp, ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

 Directions

1. Stir together flour, cardamom, cinnamon and salt.

2. In a small mixer bowl, beat til fluffy, Add egg and vanilla and beat well.

3. Stir in flour mixture till well mixed. Cover and chill about 2 hours, or preferably overnight.

4. Shape into 3/4 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten firmly with a floured cookie stamp or the bottom of a glass with a design in it.

5. Bake in a 350┬░ oven about 8 minutes. Remove and cool.

My Grandma’s Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle2

12 Days of Christmas Treats

Christmas Facts Continue:

1.┬áDid you know if Santa Claus was alive today he would be 1739 yrs old? (The kid in me wants to say: “But he IS still alive…isn’t he?” lol)

2.Did you know originally the 9th reindeer that Santa had was actually called “Rollo”? (Rollo the Red Nose Reindeer…doesn’t really have that much of a ring to it, does it?)

3.┬áDid you know in Morocco, Santa Claus is called “Black Peter”? (Umm….I don’t get it. Why?)

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Peanut Brittle1

This another one of those recipes that I’m extremely proud of myself for pulling off. To be honest, I wasn’t sure that I was gonna be able to. Peanut brittle is literally candy, and there’s always been something about making candy from scratch that’s scared the living bejeesus out of me. There’s so much to worry about; temperature, stirring, burning, cooling, consistency- ugh.

In this case however, I was prepared to roll up my sleeves, suck it up, and make an exception. My grandma’s peanut brittle is worth it. More than worth it. It’s been a Christmas institution in my family for literally as long as I can remember. My grandma always made it since my grandpa’s a huge fan of nuts. Being a ‘grandpa’s girl’, I wanted to eat whatever it was that he was eating. The best part was, I didn’t even have to pretend that I liked it just because he did. From the very first time that I sampled peanut brittle, I loved it. The saltiness of the peanuts works so well with the rich caramel flavor of the brittle. It’s seriously addictive.

Peanut Brittle3

As you can see, the peanut brittle fortunately turned out pretty well. Luck? I don’t think so. In fact, I know so. In retrospect, I can see several essential factors that played into this recipe’s success:

1. A Candy thermomemeter. I can’t emphasize the necessity of having this on hand when making peanut brittle enough. i’m pretty positive that if I hadn’t had one of these suckers, I would’ve messed up the whole thing. If you’re not experienced with making candy, then you must have a candy thermometer. I repeat: you MUST have a candy thermometer. Also if possible, try to use a candy thermometer that gives the numbers, as well as the various ‘candy stages’ ┬á(Soft Ball, Hard Ball, Soft Crack, Hard Crack, etc), and one that clips onto the saucepan so you don’t have to keep pulling ┬áit out of the caramel.

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2. Stirring. The recipe will tell you to stir the caramel constantly as it cooks, but I’m gonna place a particular emphasis on it here too. Just so you know that it’s serious. Stir. Stir. Stir. I’m not saying that you have to be glued to the stove top, but don’t wander off to do laundry, take a shower or anything that keeps your eyes off the saucepan for longer than 1-2 minutes. You’d be surprised how easily this stuff can stick to the bottom of the pan and burn, especially nearing the end when it’s almost done. You don’t want it to happen to you. At all. Once it does, the burnt flavor will get into the entire caramel and the batch will be ruined.

3. Butter your sheet pan thoroughly. When the caramel is done cooking and is ready to spread out, it’s gonna be very hot, but it’s also gonna be VERY sticky. Making sure the sheet pan is nice and oiled up with butter ensures that the brittle will spread as quickly as possible, and will also come off easily when it’s fully hardened.

I know it may sound intimidating, but if you just follow the directions, and my tips, this peanut brittle really isn’t so hard at all. And it’s definitely worth it!

I don’t think this movie needs much of an introduction, or defense. If you’re looking for feel-good movie at Christmas (or come to think of it, any time of year) then Love Actually is a must see. It’s a romantic comedy that takes place in the UK, featuring a stellar cast each with their own personal stories and challenges that interweave with one another that all center around…love actually. I’ve watched this movie twice already and I just may try to sneak it in one more time before Christmas. Because all I really need this time of year is my family and love…actually.

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My Grandma’s Peanut Brittle

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Ingredients

*2 tbsp butter

* 2 tsp baking soda

* 1 tsp vanilla extract

*2 cups raw peanuts

*2 cups sugar

* 1 cup white corn syrup

*1/2 cup water

Directions

1. Bring 1/2 cup water to boil. Add 2 cups sugar and 1 cup white syrup.

2. Now add 2 cups raw peanuts and cook slowly over a low fire until hard crack stage (300┬░-310┬║), stirring constantly.

3. Take from heat and add 2 tbsp butter, 2 tsp baling soda and 1 vanilla extract. Stir quickly.

4. Spread on large, well buttered cookies sheet. Place in refrigerator until completely hardened and shiny. Use a knife to break up the pieces of peanut brittle into shards. It should crack easily.

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