merry christmas darlings

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I could swear that about ten years ago the holiday fireplace channel on TV was much better than it is today.

As far as I can remember, it wasn’t on a loop. Or at least it was a really long one. I have memories of drinking rum and eggnogs at my ex-boyfriend’s house and watching it for hours, trying to spot the seam where the loop happened. We also tried to closely watch the arm stoking the fire to see if the arm made exactly the same movements twice.

That was a bit difficult after all the rum.

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Side note: who watches hours on end of the holiday fireplace? It’s no surprise we’re not together anymore.

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But last week I had friends over for Christmas dinner and we put the holiday fireplace on, and every hour, exactly on the hour, it would go black and silent for about 5 seconds and restart, to the point where we would stop our conversations to wait for it to get going again.

Budget cuts, maybe? I’ll admit I was pretty disappointed.

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Other people probably have much more interesting fond “remember when” memories than I do.

Still, I made up for my disappointment with Christmas cookies. Lots and lots of Christmas cookies.

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May your Christmas be as cookie- and friend-filled and less holiday-fireplace-filled than mine.

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Speculaas

I’m sorry, I know most North Americans don’t like scales at the best of times, and these are finicky. My scale decided after the cinnamon that it no longer wanted to measure anything, so I just tried to eyeball relative amounts. This is fun, not science.

(Okay, that was sortof a lie. Science is super fun.)

Ingredients – Spice Mix

4 grams cinnamon
1 gram ground cloves
1.5 grams nutmeg
0.5 gram white pepper
0.5 gram aniseed
1.5 grams ginger
0.5 gram cardamom

Ingredients – Cookies

half cup butter, room temperature
two thirds cup brown sugar
two tablespoons milk
two teaspoons baking powder
half teaspoon baking soda
one cup all purpose flour
spices (above)
half teaspoon salt

Directions

In the bowl of a standmixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the milk and beat until combined.
Sift in all remaining ingredients and stir until just mixed. Throw it in the fridge for at least an hour, but preferably overnight.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two or so baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Roll out the cookie dough to about a quarter of an inch thick, and cut out shapes using your favourite cookie cutters.
Bake until the centre of the cookie looks dry (time will depend on the size of your cookie cutters; mine took about 16 minutes).

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Other pictured recipes:

Chocolate chip meringues (I omitted the walnuts. I also highly recommend using mint chocolate chips if your grocery store isn’t sold out of them like mine was.)
Marshmallow, pretzel, and candycane fudge
Soft ginger cookies (I rolled mine in coconut sugar)

Footnotes:

I’m off to Vietnam for the next few weeks (I’m long overdue for an on the road, wouldn’t you say?) and I won’t be posting until I’m back. Wishing all of you a most cuddly Christmas (or other December festivity) and a very sparkly New Year!

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