As I write, the house has the aroma of the sliced oranges drying in the oven. I sprinkled cinnamon on one slice just for adding to the smell making its' way to the Study. Drying orange slices in the oven is a good way to heat the Kitchen on a cold day.
November seemed to pass by quickly without much of a notice, except for Thanksgiving preps and feasting on the day. When I was making my list for my monthly grocery shopping trip yesterday, it was difficult to believe it was time for another stock up shopping day.
There were quite a few shortages and limits at my main grocery store. I had to go to Kroger to purchase my favorite coffee K-cups (not to be found at my first stop) so while I was there, I bought one more can of chicken. I didn't have any canned meat at one time so I've slowly added a few cans to the pantry.
I'm not shopping for the pantry very much, with so many birthdays and then Christmas at this time of year all vying for their place in the budget. However, if I find something that was unavailable before (like the brand of canned chicken I like) or something seasonal like fresh cranberries, then I do purchase them.
Aldi had the meat I needed to buy that was unavailable at the other store. It always has unique Christmas items and I was happy to see they had some bags of their beautiful foil wrapped chocolates left. They have sold out before if I waited until December to buy them. I use them as "sort of" a centerpiece at Christmas Eve dinner.
This year, with sharp rise in COVID cases and hospitalizations in our area, we are being adaptable about our usual Christmas Eve plans. Our hospitalizations are among the highest in the nation and locally, the COVID patients are filling both hospitals. There have been more deaths this time around, too. We are being careful.
I will be making some Christmas cookies and candy for gifts as we get closer to the actual Holiday week. Partly because I don't have room for them in the basket in the deep freeze, partly because the sooner I make them... I can't resist them! Chocolate is my one weakness.
I thought you might like some of the recipes I make most years. I have shared them before but not for at least a year! ;)
Rachel Ray's Fudge... here. This is the easiest fudge recipe I have tried that is just as good as my more difficult recipes. No simmering "to the soft ball phase" required. It is the recipe I make almost every year and I've used it at other times besides the Holidays.
Pretzel Christmas "Candy"... here. I make this almost every year. There is a variation some friends make using a caramel on the pretzel and pressing in a pecan when it is melted. Then drizzling with melted chocolate chips. I make this instead because it is delicious and colorful.
Peanut Butter Easter Eggs... here. Shape into balls instead of eggs for Christmas!
Homemade Mounds Candy... here. This has quite a few variations in the recipe. You can turn it into an Almond Joy by adding a whole almond in the middle of the candy mixture.
Jewel Cookies (Instead of a link, the recipe follows.) I make these every year and everyone loves them.
- 2 Cups flour
- 1 Cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
- 1/2 Cup white sugar
- 2 Large egg yolks
Filling: Cherry, strawberry, or Apricot preserves. I have made them with no filling and reinforced the indent with the back of a measuring spoon while they are warm, then filled each cookie with lemon curd. If you add the lemon curd before baking, it turns brown.
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg yolks just until blended. Add flour, again just until blended. Break off walnut size piece and roll into a ball. Flatten each ball with thumb in middle, making an indentation. Fill with preserves.
Bake on greased cookie sheet 20 to 25 minutes.
I hope you like the recipes! If I think of more, I will add them in the next couple of weeks.
Image: This is the Pretzel Christmas Candy when I made it previously.