Archive for December, 2011

Here Cookie, Here Cookie, Cookie Cookie Cookie

Or, to put it another way: Stop her before she bakes again.

home made christmas cookies

The decorated dark ones are gingerbread; pale stars are sugar cookies. Little round coconut covered jobs are rum balls; crescents are vanilla crescents (known as Moth cookies in our family). Round ones in the back are two kinds of jumbles and the dark rounds in the middle are Mexican chocolate chocolate chip.

I expect to discuss the Christmas Ham in the very near future, and may also pony up a picture of The Tree.

But first, even without cues from the weather, little miss knee jerk has responded to the usual stimulae in the usual fashion. Five or six pounds of butter, along with a similar weight of nuts but vastly less sugar  –  one of the reasons home made cookies taste so much better than store bought –  have already been put to use and I can tell there’s more to come.

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Eric’s Pet Plant: Buttercup winter hazel (Corylopsis pauciflora)

Winter is finally upon us. Not counting the stubborn grass and a few stalwart edibles, everything green is common evergreen: juniper, arbor vitae, boxwood, rhododendron…

And almost everything deciduous is down to the bare branches, many of them in need of shaping. What all this is reminding me is that I definitely need some snazzy new material for the string of garden beds that will (next spring) finally be unified into a single sweep of Things That Look Good From Inside The House When Inside Is Where We Are Most Of The Time.

Enter Eric’s excellent suggestion:

Corylopsis pauciflora – earlier than forsythia, far more delicate and FAR more fragrant, to say nothing of better behaved.

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Bourbon (or Rum or Brandy) Balls – A Nifty Cookie That Needs a New Name

bourbon balls with chocolate and coconut

Holiday chocolate cookie-candies, everything easy except what to call them.

These classic holiday goodies are almost perfect: Only one (processor) bowl to wash; no cooking; deeply chocolate flavored without calling for obscene amounts of expensive high-end chocolate. Very simple to form and they keep for a long time. Just one small problem: their name.

You can’t really call them Hooch-soaked Crumbs with Chocolate and Nuts, but Bourbon, Rum or Brandy Balls doesn’t exactly do the job either. Maybe they should be called Poor Man’s Truffles. Please consider this an invitation, all suggestions cheerfully considered.

What we need is something that says Small, Rich, Alcoholic* and Chocolate, without getting any more specific. After deliciousness, lack of specificity is the distinguishing merit of let’s temporarily call them SRAC’s; they’re the pasta casserole of cookies. You can make them out of almost any dry sweet you happen to have around.

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Last Call Fall Bulbs – in case you share my “can’t say no” problem

Allium christophii, aka Star of Persia

Allium christophii, aka A. albopilosum, aka Star of Persia. A prolific self-sower, among its other virtues, though succeeding generations are smaller than the originals. Also a bit less intensely purple than my camera wants you to believe.

Pop Quiz

1) How many spring-blooming bulbs is too many?

2) How many spring-blooming bulbs is there room for?

3) How many spring-blooming bulbs must be planted before there are enough to cut for the house without diminishing the outdoor show?

Around here, the answer to all three questions is “Who knows?” Several thousand into it I’m not there yet, and that’s not counting the little guys (crocus, muscarii, scilla and the like don’t even show up until there are thousands – unless you force them, which I heartily recommend).

Reason for mentioning it now, when even procrastinators – no names please – have usually gotten all of them in: CLEARANCE SALES!!

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