Cookie, of course. But also Christmas, and (if you spell it right) Chanukkah.
The holiday season is here, and while we’ve dug out the seasonal music, strung up some garland, and started holiday shopping, it doesn’t feel real until I can taste it. Which means it’s time to start making delicious kitchen messes.
Last night I made toffee (eaaaaasy recipe below), which is usually the first Xmas treat of season. Fudge will follow, and gingersnaps (or gingerbread men), and very likely caramel popcorn or Chex Mix, and M & M cookies, which, according to the Dude’s family tradition, must be made with shortening, not butter. (I think “what the hell is the point, then?” but I understand the flavor is about nostalgia as much as taste). And raspberry-oat bars, I think… And sugar cookies. And biscotti.
When I go to spend time with my Mom, I’ll have delicately anise-flavored springerle, and delicious, crumbly walnut brandy balls, and buttery spritz cookies, and we will probably make a chocolate-caramel-and-nut-covered pretzel rods for the Dude, who slavers for them all year long.
Holy moly, my mouth is watering just thinking about it all. So, obviously, today’s FFT is about your winter holiday goodies, even if they’re not cookies. What do you always have? What can’t you wait to bake? Any great, easy recipes to share? Drop ‘em in comments!
Happy baking, and happier eating, friends!
PhDork’s Easy Holiday Toffee
2 sticks butter*
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
Combine in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Use a candy thermometer (or your trained eyeball) until “hard crack” stage (it will turn deep brown) and immediately poor onto a cookie sheet.
Sprinkle with 3/4 cup (6 oz) of chocolate chips/chunks. Let stand for 1 minute, then spread the melty goodness over all. Top with 1/2 cup chopped nuts (all kinds are good, I especially like pecans). Cool, break into pieces by hand, and store whatever you don’t eat right away in an airtight container. Send PhDork an email of gratitude, if you feel like it.
*You need good butter for this. Not crazy-expensive Irish butter or Plugra or whatever, but no crappy store brands, either. I used to think butter was butter was butter, until I used some sub-par generic in toffee, and both flavor and texture were seriously comprised.