Friday, December 30, 2011

Is This Fudge Still Good?

Today and yesterday have been purging days. What are we purging? We are purging Christmas from the house. It has been a bittersweet process, since it is always sad to see the sparkly and shine go down, but since this year just did not feel like Christmas to me, it wasn't too bad. And it was nice to be able to see the living room again, now that the seven trees are down (yeah, you read that right, we had 7 Christmas trees).

And in the midst of taking down my tree and packing up my decorations, I also started throwing out the Christmas goodies that have been picked over and left to go stale. We got a good haul, everything from fudge to some kind of relish to sugar cookies to a box of fancy nuts. A good portion of the stuff eaten (and thrown away) was stuff I made, since December seems to signal to my inner baker that it's time to have fun. So I did. Ho boy, did I have a billion calories worth of fun.

First up were chocolate cake batter cookies, my first attempt and it was a glorious success. Fabulous. I added in Andes mint chocolate chips to make them festive, and those cookies were polished off in no time. I didn't even have to take any to work, I was so impressed.

Next up were molasses cookies. Easy peasy, no odd instructions or anything. About halfway through sifting together the dry ingredients, I realized something . . . We didn't have molasses. *Facepalm* I KNOW I bought molasses, at least within the past couple years, and honestly, how many recipes call for molasses? But not a drop was to be found anywhere, so I substituted what Google told me to substitute. And bought molasses on my next trip to the grocery store.

On that same trip to the store, I remembered that I had several recipes that called for chocolate chips, and recently had noticed that we were out of chocolate chips (that was a bad day). Normally I always have a stash of two bags of chocolate chips in one fridge or the other, so being out was incredibly disturbing to me. So I bought four bags to compensate.

Upon arriving home, I put groceries away, and when I opened the drawer in the fridge to toss in the chocolate chips, I burst out laughing. Apparently on my trips to the store that I had taken in the week or two before that, I had remembered to buy chocolate chips then as well. With my new addition of chocolate chips, I had a total of nine bags of chocolate chips in my fridge, 6 Hershey's, 2 Nestle, and one Andes mint. Suffice it to say, we are set on chocolate chips.

Upon acquiring my precious chocolate chips, I also added to my cart that day rice Chex and powdered sugar. Oh yes, my friends. Muddy Buddies. The reason Chex cereal is still in business, in my opinion. Sure, Chex Mix is good, but Muddy Buddies . . . heaven. I made three batches this year, and probably consumed at least one full batch all on my own. I love those things. And my shirt loved them too, because by the time I was done, my nice black shirt had powdered sugar streaked and puffed all over it, with a really nice chocolate peanut butter smudge all over my stomach. I need to stop leaning over the bowl.

With the list of clothing I dirtied up while baking, we can also add another shirt generously sprinkled with oatmeal bits from making No-Bake cookies. And a pair of pants dripped with batter from maple bars (too dry, couldn't figure out why). And I got the toe of one of my white tennies when I dropped a little chunk of warm, gooey, and green colored Rice Krispie treat mix on them.

Like I said, I went a little bonkers. I think the most popular were the Muddy Buddies (duh, I mean really) and the chocolate mint cake batter cookies. For some reason, the maple bars didn't get touched except by me, and the green Rice Krispies ended up in the garbage because they dried out too fast. It was a shame, really. But all in all, I made a whole lot of delumptious holiday treats, and I've got the chocolate still under my fingernails to prove it. And the powdered sugar all over the counter. And the Pam spray on the floor. And the flour in my hair. And the chocolate chips under the edge of the cupboards on the floor.

Now it's New Years, and despite still being in an insane sugar coma from all the treat-bingeing I've been doing over Christmas, I can't wait to tackle the traditional New Years food. Little smokies in their special sauce. A cheese ball with crackers. Shrimp cocktails in that sharp red sauce. The classic vegetable tray. Who knows what else! All I know is my holidays are planned around food, and in a whole lot of ways, dishes and mess notwithstanding, that often makes it feel the most festive of anything.

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