Monday, December 21, 2009
The snow is piled up outside. The tree is trimmed with favorite ornaments. Fairies, mushrooms, nesting birds and woodland critters adorn it's branches. Oh, and the red lights are twinkling, I do love my red lights. The Christmas music is playing. It's time to get baking. As a child of the 70's (not the healthy hippie 70's) I was raised on a lot of packaged food. Potatoes and cakes came from boxes and vegetables came out of cans. But, come Christmas time my mom would bake cookies from scratch and she did it very well. As far back as I can remember Christmas we had the green acorn cookies. Mom would make the dough with the big wooden spoon, no mixers here. Then she molded each little acorn by hand. After baked and cooled she dipped each one in melted chocolate to make the acorn cap. They are buttery, kind of like shortbread, but flavored with almond extract. When I got married I started making them our tradition too. This year I also made a batch of sugar cookies that we have yet to decorate. They are from my late Grandma Jean's 1963 "Cooky Book". They are called wonderland cookies and we cut them out in fun animal shapes: pigs, owls, chicks, rabbits plus hearts and diamonds. It's just not Christmas though without the green acorn cookies. That big, gorgeous brown glass acorn ornament is a new gift from a special friend who really knows what I like.
Each Christmas I make a birthday cake for Jesus. I also like to make a buche de noel. It's a french roll cake filled with whipped cream. It's a less sweet alternative to the buttercream iced birthday cake. I decorate it with merengue mushrooms and strawberries. Of course I take any excuse to put cute little mushrooms on my table!
When serving this cake to company, one friend was notably disgusted to be eating mushrooms with his cake! I took this as a mighty big compliment at the realism of the little shrooms.