It's been said before and definitely bears repeating - the holidays really are all about the food in this family. So for the 2015 version of Gothidays, the insomniac would like to share (and re-share) a few of her favourite recipes for the holiday season.
Right after her birthday mid-November, preparations for the holiday fruitcake and mincemeat begin (click here for that post and those recipes). Although one has been threatening to make her own candied peel for years, this year - as she was standing in the grocery aisle wondering why the peel was marked at 50% off, assumed it had been reduced in price as it was approaching its Best Before Date, searched the packaging for an expiry date and found none, watched as the slimy contents of indeterminate colour turned over and over inside their somewhat grubby plastic container whilst she pondered the ages old question of how long does candied peel actually last before it has to be marked down to half price - at that moment, she decided 2015 would be the year she'd make good on that threat.
There are plenty of excellent sites (Martha Stewart's comes to mind) that show exactly how to make your own peel, so there's no need to go into much detail here - other than to say it's fiddly work but not terribly difficult.
|The insomniac used three lemons and three oranges, and it |
was exactly the right amount for three dark fruitcakes and a half batch of
Grandma Smith's mincemeat recipe ...
|Truthfully, the peel doesn't look that much more |
appetizing than the stuff in the grocery store.
But it certainly tasted a lot better.
Now if you think fruitcake is difficult to get rid of at Christmas time, mincemeat is twice as hard to unload on unsuspecting friends and family:
Insomniac: So ... I'm making homemade mincemeat this year. Would you like a jar? I've made my own candied peel, too. I'm pretty excited about that!
Friends: What's in mincemeat again?
Insomniac: Raisins, apples, almonds, candied peel, spices and a bit of suet.
Friends: What's suet?
Insomniac: Oh, it's just raw beef fat taken from around the joints and kidneys.
Friends - every last one of them: Thanks for the offer. Terribly generous of you. I think we'll be out of town for Christmas though, so there's really no need. But thanks awfully for thinking of us. Much appreciated ... **spoken in hurried tones while backing out of room**
|This is half of the mincemeat recipe ... it's hard to tell, but it's a very large bowl.|
Should you be the only one who loves mincemeat in your family, you could probably
quarter the recipe so you're not eating tarts right up until Valentine's.
Back when the offspring were little, the baking continued from mid-November right up until Christmas Eve. By Christmas Day, there were at least fourteen different varieties of cookies in the freezer, two or three kinds of spiced nuts and at least five types of candy. A few years ago, the insomniac decided to cut back slightly on her baking - for the sake of her waistline. And when she asked her family which cookie they absolutely could not live without, their unanimous response was Moon Cookies.
Although the recipe is called Rose's Crescents and comes from the book “Rose's Christmas Cookies” by Rose Levy Beranbaum, the offspring always called them Moon Cookies and they have been on the baking repertoire every year without fail since they were old enough to eat cookies - which was around three months old, if one remembers correctly. Little chips off the ol' block of suet, those two.
|The book falls open to the page automatically. |
You can click the picture twice to enlarge the recipe. Should you have difficulty
reading it, the insomniac would be more than happy to scan a copy for you.
|This is all the recipe makes ... |
Not very many for a family of four, really.
You'll notice by the shapes of the uncooked cookies on the left that it doesn't really matter if they're perfect little crescents or not, as by the time they've finished baking they've puffed up nicely and all those little defects are unnoticeable. Rest assured, your family will not be scrutinizing the cookies and saying, “Oh, look. That one's not quite perfect. Shame.” Rather, they'll be doing a few quick calculations in their head as to how many cookies are left and how many they can stash in their pockets before anyone else notices. Well, they might be saying, “Oh, look. That one's bigger than all the rest.” as they furtively grab it before anyone else can get their mitts on it. There's no spirit of Christmas generosity in this house when it comes to Moon Cookies - it's every man or woman for him or herself.
The reject cookies that aren't quite perfect are placed on a plate, and everyone who happens to be here on the day they're made gets two, plus a mug of hot chocolate - equal parts milk and cream, plus one tablespoon each of sugar and cocoa per cup. The youngest prefers her hot chocolate without cream, as she says it's too rich for her stomach. We believe she's a changeling, switched at birth. Nobody in this household has ever said anything was too rich or too sweet for their stomachs. Not ever.
This is probably the only day of the year the eldest seriously regrets not living at home anymore.
|You might want to get that tin into the freezer as quickly as possible. |
Before your family discovers how good they are,
and you have to make another batch the following day.
In the spirit of the holiday season, one would like to offer a couple of giveaways for her first Gothidays' post. Firstly, for an apron in a festive black twill with purple skulls and crosses ... the perfect attire for whoever does the Christmas baking in your household. It comes covered in Martha Stewart Coarse Crystal Glitter, because along with the baking for Gothidays, there has also been a bit of crafting happening in the Little Gothic Cottage this week.
In hindsight, it might have been smarter to save the baking for a day other than the one also spent mounting taxidermy crows on their stumps, replacing all the red glitter that had fallen off last year's dollar store candle, or hot gluing broken necklaces onto bottle brush trees.
And to those who receive a tin of baking from the insomniac every year for Christmas ... check those Moon Cookies carefully before inhaling them, so you can flick off any red glitter that may have made its way into your batch.
|Those little specks on the apron are glitter - it's all over the cottage.|
Secondly, for a set of Gothic Font star ornaments, which look nice on a plate or something as a decoration and really have nothing whatsoever to do with baking Moon Cookies except - you know - stars, moon. It certainly sounded better in one's head at 2:00 a.m. when trying to come up with giveaway items than it does now. But they're purple. They match the apron.
|This glitter is the kind that actually stays on a project,|
so no worries there should you win them ...
To enter, simply comment on this post as to which (or both) of these terribly special prizes you're interested in. Winners will be announced Monday, December 14th as an addendum to the insomniac's final Gothidays blog post on Sunday, December 13th. That post will also have prizes - none of which have much to do with anything she's writing about, but sort of fit the Dark Holiday theme. Kind of.
The Gothidays 2015 week-long blogging event runs until December 13th - please be sure to check out the rest of the participants for a little peek into how they celebrate their holidays!
Until next time, the insomniac wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.