Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Christmas in February

If I was any good at prankery, I would try in earnest to convince you that today is in fact Christmas. It’s April Fools’ Day, after all. But if any truth could be said about me, it would have to be Homer Simpson’s famous line, “You couldn't fool your mother on the foolingest day of your life if you had an electrified fooling machine!”

Sadly, I don’t have anything like an electrified fooling machine (and what I really want is a waffle iron). I guess I’m kind of pranking you with the title “Christmas in February” but, to be honest, today totally feels like February. It’s a snow day, my office is closed, everything in town is shut down because we’re going to get at least 100 feet of snow, and we might not see any signs of spring until next Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, I was so busy during last Christmas that I didn’t get time to write about all of my Christmas makings and bakings during Christmas. Or after Christmas. Or after after Christmas, for that matter. Too many papers, too much work, too much... just much too much. That’s me: much too much. I’m all in, all the time. Why can’t I just be like normal people and not do anything for a change? No, I must make and do ALL of the things. All the cakes, all the crafts, all the cookies, all the fudge, and all of the masters degrees.

Seeing as how I don’t have anything scheduled for today, I decided to make some work for myself by writing one big post that covers my Christmas 2013 treats and post it right at the point when most people have totally forgotten about Christmas. Oh, you’re welcome.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I made a boatload full of food, including the pie and tarts that I showed you in my last post. FYI, a “boatload” of something is my favourite unit of measurement. I didn’t take photos of everything in the boatload, but I can show you the ones that I did.

Fudge: I forgot to get pictures of my “Everything” fudge (trail mix, cashews, peanuts, almonds, macadamia, pistachios, vanilla cream sandwich cookies, Smarties and M&Ms) and my butterscotch chocolate walnut fudge. But here are photos of my batches of rocky road fudge with mixed nuts and white chocolate candy cane Oreo fudge. 

I just love the look of those big ol' slabs of fudge before they're cut into pieces! By the way, next to “boatload,”  “slab” is my most favourite unit of measurement. The candy cane fudge is made using my favourite Eagle Brand cookies n' cream fudge recipe with candy cane sandwich cookies from Walmart that I call Oreos (or you can use the original Mint Oreos) with chopped candy canes on top.

Cookies: I made some melting snowman chocolate chip cookies and Rudolph oatmeal raisin cookies. 

The melting snowmen were decorated with royal icing to look like melted snow and scotch mints were used for their heads. The reindeers were made using a gingerbread man cookie cutter and decorated upside down. They're decorated with royal icing, chocolate chips for eyes, and a red Smartie for the noses.

Cake pops: After years of following Bakerella’s blog and poring over her books, I finally got over my anxiety and made cake pops for the first time. I made vanilla elves, Christmas trees, and snowmen. It was hard, messy work but totally worth it. After they were completely dry, I packaged them in small, clear cellophane bags secured with a silver twist tie. These photos were taken at night so the lighting is not the best.

I adore the snowmen in their jaunty candy berets! For some reason, the snowmen look very pleased with themselves, like they know they're cute and they’re happy to be here. Those are the kind of snowmen and people I like best: those who are just happy to be wherever they are.

Cupcakes: This year I decided not to do a big decorated cake for Christmas Eve like I usually do but I made cupcakes decorated as little snowy winter scenes instead. These are vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting and homemade marshmallow fondant shapes made by hand and using mini cookie cutters.  I made a variety of little fondant characters and shapes for the scenes including snowmen with scarves blowing in the wind, snowmen wearing hats, snow-covered trees, Christmas gifts, reindeer, and Santa hat-wearing gingerbread men.

In case you’re wondering what I did with this stuff, nearly all the treats were given away as gifts to relatives, my coworkers, my mother’s colleagues, and assorted friends and neighbours. The best part is that I got to sample everything I made.  

I keep saying that next year I’m not making anything, but I already know that I’m going to make another boatload of treats topped off with innumerable slabs of fudge. I'd better start planning.

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