Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Just Call Me Betty Crocker

I don't bake. At all. Anymore. K and I certainly don't need to eat the stuff--we both need to lose way too much weight--and I just don't feel like spending the time doing it. But this wasn't always the case.

The years we gave Christmas gifts to every person we know (and some that I'm sure we DIDN'T know), I would bake and give the baked goods as gifts. And I was totally crazy in the amount of stuff I would bake. This is my list from years gone by:

  • Nisu-12 loaves (this is Finnish cardomon sweet bread)
  • Cranberry bread-6 loaves
  • M&M cookies-2 batches
  • Sugar cookies-1 batch
  • Peanut butter kiss cookies-2 double batches
  • Spritz cookies-1 batch each of three flavors
  • Caramel corn-4 batches
  • Chex party mix-8 batches
  • Fudge-4 batches
  • Peanut brittle-2 batches
I just get tired writing that list. A bit nuts, right? And I did it every year for way too long. If I didn't have at least 10 dozen of each of the various cookies I made in the freezer by the second week of December, I was way behind. As it was, I didn't finish up my baking until a half hour before the last gift had to be delivered on Christmas Eve.

And all of that is over. This year I made my mustard sauce, Oreo truffles, ham & cheese crescents, cowboy caviar, mulled apple cider and ham & pineapple cracker spread. Period. I really like this minimalist attitude I have developed.

As is the way it is supposed to be, my Christmas baking tradition has been passed down to the next generation. While both of my girls do a lot of baking, I only get to sample what The Youngest does. Her 'big' gift to us every year is a basket of baked goods. And I must say, she does me proud. This year we got: 3 different kinds of cookies, caramel corn, Chex mix, nisu, cranberry bread, and prune AND apricot pinwheel tarts. I am so impressed with her: She makes pinwheel tarts and I have never made any in my life. And this is despite the fact that they are a big Finnish tradition here.

Piwheel prune tarts are one of the things that most of us just can't wait for at Christmastime. You start with a sweetened pastry dough and cut out squares. You then cut the squares so that you can fashion piwheels out of the pastry. Before folding the edges in, you put a spoonful of a prune mixture in the middle of the pastry square. (To make the mixture, you boil prunes till soft. Then you add a bit of lemon juice and sugar and mash. Also, some people prefer apricots instead of prunes, so a lot of people make both kinds.) You then fold in the edges to make a small pinwheel-shaped pastry and bake. (All of this prep has been made much easier with the manufactured tart cutters that are now available.) After baking, some people drizzle a bit of a glaze on top--as my mother-in-law did. These are the greatest things in the world to eat--if they are made correctly. And The Youngest makes them correctly. I am absolutely in awe of her skills. And I ate more than half of the tarts--both prune AND apricot.

And now for too much information: My body is not liking what I did to it, still. That is the one thing I DON'T like about these--I eat WAY too many, WAY too fast. And I pay the price for many days after. But that is what the holidays bring--too much indulgence. And that isn't too bad a thing, as long as it ends in a reasonable amount of time. ;)

cookie love


Ranger Tom said...

I just went into a diabetic coma for a few minutes just reading the list...

The extent of my baking is some cornbread once in a while to go with my chili...

cmk said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! It is a wonder our health isn't worse than it actually is! But, times sure change--and we have had to change along. Granted, we have kicked and screamed our way to change, but we have had to. And we aren't anywhere near where we need to be. But who of us are, hey?

meleah rebeccah said...

wow. Ive never been able to bake. I dont have the patience for that! Im glad your Christmas baking tradition has been passed down to your children. That's nice.

And Oreo Truffles sound friggen delicious!

Wishing You A Safe & Happy New Year!

cmk said...

I was too busy eating tarts to even taste the truffles this year! But, I only made them because they were requested--and I didn't make them last year because I was sick. I think The Youngest and her husband finally forgave me. ;)

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is a LOT of baking you did! I don't blame you for stuffing yourself with goodies, that's what the holidays are for!

cmk said...

I STILL can't believe I did all that! At the same time, I was being Super Mom, Suzy Homemaker, volunteering, decorating the house to within an inch of its life, etc, etc. I just don't have the energy these days. :D