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Christmas Bakes
The season marches forward with Christmas bakes, and I try a few experiments on some old favorites
December 25, 2019

Everyone is in the Christmas spirit this year, and what a quick season it is! With Thanksgiving so close to Christmas, all the usual cheer seems to have been compressed. My mother came to spend the day with us on baking day, which threw a different dynamic on the day. I had planned to spread the baking over two days, letting the dough chill for a day, but my mother didn’t want to content herself with Christmas cookie dough. So, I began baking in assembly line fashion, while my daughter and mother played Christmas songs on the TV — a slight imbalance of Christmas duties.
I have found over the years that chilling the dough makes it easier to work with, and the results turn out much better. However, soon I found myself blasting through all my old favorites: gingerbreads, Russian teacakes, raisin-filled cookies, coconut macaroons, and sugar cookies shaped like our sheep. Only the raisin and pecan jumbo cookies were omitted this year. There were simply too many bakes to eat in such a short time. Without the chilling process, I really had to call upon every skill I possess as a baker. Some extra flour, working the dough as little as possible, using spatulas, and working quickly, were sufficient for most of the batches, though the gingerbread gave me some fits, and the raisin-filled cookies weren’t as neat as they usually are. Still, the sights and smells must have gotten to my son, because soon after the first batch of sugar cookie sheep were laid on the farm table, he was heard sawing away a jig on his violin. If he gets very excited, he’ll cycle through every instrument in the house!
I also tried a couple of new shapes this year, opting to flatten the Russian tea cakes, rather than make tiny spheres. Having a sweet tooth, I have never liked that the little balls of confection have only a light dusting of powdered sugar on the outside. Flattening them, I believed, meant more sugar to enjoy. Unfortunately, the flattened tea cakes were met with some opposition by my daughter, who doesn’t have a sweet tooth. She returned the favor by using one batch of my gingerbreads to press into the springerle mold. The results were lovely, very striking, so much that I may repeat a batch next year in the same shapes, but she didn’t heed my warning and take them out when I advised her. The results, far from just looking like tile could have been used as tile. Even milk was insufficient to soften them!
I’ll have another smaller bake day closer to Christmas, when I make the pecan tarts. Because the mixture calls for egg yolks, I don’t want to risk spoilage by baking them too early. With that done, however, all the baking will have been completed, the shopping finished, and all packages placed under the tree. Unfortunately, Harry can’t leave the packages alone and they all have bows missing. Oh well, puppy dogs love Christmas packages too. Merry Christmas!

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The season marches forward with Christmas bakes, and I try a few experiments on some old favorites

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With Christmas on its way, I take a look at the 400+ seedlings in the basement, and Harry helps . . . or so he thinks.

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I substitute an old favorite in our rarely altered traditional meal, and my family and I head to the tree farm again

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November 17, 2019

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I get my husband to make a late season alteration to our coop, which will hopefully help my bones this winter

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I make some last minute adjustments to the yard, just in time to catch the last of the warm weather

October 20, 2019

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June 5, 2019

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June 2, 2019

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May 31, 2019

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