Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Get the Christmas Spirits

'Tis the season - if you hadn't figured it out already from the Christmas crapola lining the store shelves since just after Halloween. I went to my first holiday party last Friday night; I've got one to go to this Saturday and then another next Saturday. I can hardly pack it all in: the multiple parties, the skiing, the beer-drinking after the skiing, the television-watching and matinee-going. I'm very busy, y'all.

Over the last few years I've made lots of Christmas treats for friends and family - infused vodkas, sugared- and spiced- nuts, homemade dog biscuits - I just don't know if I'll be able to do any of it this year, which is kind of sad. So, to alleviate my seasonal guilt just a bit, I thought I'd share some holiday recipes. That way YOU can make the sugarplums in case I don't get around to them.

Wassail - if you know the words, you really should sing them. Personally, I get lost after the first verse and a half.

1 gallon hard (or sweet) cider
10 cinnamon stick
1 Tbsp. allspice
1 bottle Calvados or Applejack
1/2 c. lemon juice
2 c. sugar (or less)

Combine all ingredients except for the Calvados and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes; add the Calvados and serve hot.

Hot Buttered Rum - it's a drink! it's a dessert! it's the most amazing thing ever! [N.B. This recipe makes a really lot so share with your friends or you'll be drinking it 'til Memorial Day.]

1 lb. butter, softened
1 lb. light brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnimon
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 qt. soft vanilla ice cream

cinnamon sticks/whipped cream/2 tsp. nutmeg

Cream the butter, sugars and spices until light and fluffy. Add the ice cream and stir until well blended. Spoon mixture into 2 qt. freezer container and freeze until ready to use (thaw slightly to serve).

Place 3 Tbsp. of the mixture and a shot of dark rum (or more or less to taste) into a large mug. Fill with boiling water and stir. Garnish with cinnamon stick, whipped ccream and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Rum Balls - I got this recipe from a dear college friend from New Orleans who used to throw the most fabulous Christmas parties. He got this recipe from his mom, I think. I almost always make these; you just don't want to snack and drive with these cookies on your breath.

1/2 lb. vanilla wafers, ground or crushed.
1 c. powdered sugar, plus another cup set aside in a bowl
2 Tbsp. cocoa
1 c. chopped pecans
1/2 light corn syrup
1/4 c. rum (bourbon would work too, but then you can't really call them "rum balls")

Combine the dry ingredients; add the pecans. Mix the wet ingredients separately [according to my friend, the amount of rum can be doubled and usually is!]. Combine the wet and dry ingredients; stir until stiff. Coat clean and dry hands with powdered sugar and roll the dough out into little balls, then roll in the held-aside powdered sugar. Let stand until the sugar is absorbed by the rum balls, then roll in the powdered sugar again.

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