Welcome to the Best-Ever Family Christmas. For the next twelve days we’ll be trying to delight you in many different ways. Join in the festivities by commenting (bottom of page) or sending something to include in a future post.
Let’s get this party started:
Where We Are … (Hannah)
To celebrate the end of this most-unusual year, we’re embarking on a 12-day world tour on a private jet. It’s all-expenses-paid, COVID-free, and best of all, there’s no jet lag!
Our first stop is as close to the North Pole as we’ll get: Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Lapland, the northernmost region in Finland. Here, we’ll stay in individual glass igloos so we can watch the Northern Lights as we fall asleep. Enjoy the sauna and sleep well, my friends, for new adventures wait for us tomorrow!
What We Eat … (Sandy)
GINGERBREAD … THE SWEETEST SMELL OF CHRISTMAS
The comforting scents of Chrismas – a freshly cut tree, smoldering logs in the fireplace, hot chocolate warming on the stove, and the enveloping aroma of gingerbread baking in the oven.
After experimenting with several recipes through the years, I adopted Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s classic for a moist, dark, and spicy gingerbread that is not too sweet. The addition of black pepper to enhance other spices is a historic hook that works.
- 2 cups minus 2 tbls unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 generous tsp baking soda
- ½ generous tsp salt
- 1 tbls ground ginger
- ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp fresh-ground black pepper
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ cup mild or dark molasses
- ¾ cup very hot water (190’F)
- 1/3 tight-packed cup dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- whipped cream for serving
- crushed candy canes (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter and flour an 8-inch square, metal pan.
In a medium bow, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, molasses, hot water, and brown sugar. When the mixture is almost frothy, beat in the egg, and gradually add the flour mixture. Stir until thoroughly blended, but no more.
Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
For a moist gingerbread, cool it in the pan on a wire rack. For a drier consistency, cool the gingerbread in the pan for 10 minutes; then turn it out of the pan and set it on the rack to cool.
Serve warm if possible, with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream. At Christmas time, I sprinkle crushed candy canes over the whipped cream for a festive look and flavor.
Don’t forget to eat this for breakfast. Gingerbread is even better the day after it is baked.
What We Listen To … (Jacob)
Paul Revere and the Raiders – Rain Sleet or Snow
A Morris family Christmas classic written about the US Postal Service. Thank you USPS!
What Makes us Laugh … (Patrick)
Jake and I used to do this all the time when Mom was gone. (Riley … you should give it a try!)
What Amuses Us (Whitney)
To kick off the holiday season, there’s no better blast from the past than “A Claymation Christmas Celebration” starring the California Raisins and hosted by a pair of dinosaurs named Rex and Herb. Premiering in 1987 alongside “A Garfield Christmas,” the TV special featured impressive stop motion animation.
My family had a home-recorded VHS tape of this program I must’ve worn out re-watching. Now that it’s on YouTube, it’s one of the first things I put on to get me into the Christmas spirit.
Two more Claymations will be shown on New Year’s Day.
What Makes Us Family (Stephen)
Christmas 2018 found Sandy in Rome. Every church has its own creche display, each one unique and dazzling. We saw over 100! Before Christmas the cradle is empty, and the scene is incomplete. Then, at midnight on Christmas Eve, the high priest comes down and puts the little guy. The bells beal and the result is a delightful cacaphony. On the eve we were there, a few desultory snowflakes drifted down, adding to the magic.
The only places more festive than the churches were the bakeries, and we visited plenty of them, too!