I’m sure someone promised me a hover car, or something along those lines, by now!

I figured it was about time I got round to uploading photos and letting people know how the holidays went. I took far less photos this year, why take photos of decorations that I took photos of last year! We decorated the house up nicely though, we even made a hat for Gustav, the Germanic looking skull that we got at Halloween and decided should stay out all year round (he got a New Years party hat too).

Our big project was making Christmas presents. Using the new chocolate molds I had, and finally using the gorgeous chocolate book DmentD got me last Christmas!

We had good fun, we made three types of chocolates, taffy and peppermint sticks, and dog bones too! Two of the chocolates were molded, a caramel ganache and a cherry bounce cordial. The third (a white chocolate lemon) was piped out and had sugar crystals grown on it to form a shell, it’s a fascinating process and fun to watch, it also produces the prettiest most unique looking truffle.

The taffy was a work out, and since we were using a silicon mat due to a lack of marble (which we now have – Yay!) it was made a fair bit harder. The mat buckled and caught the spatulas (because I’m failing to remember what they’re called) and eventually tore causing a mad panic to rescue what we could! After all that we still had to pull it to aerate and stretch out!

The investment in a heat lamp was well worth it for the peppermint sticks.. though another one would be helpful. We used isomalt instead of sugar, it’s more stable and less hygroscopic it can also be cooked to much higher temperatures. The added bonus is it has a low glycemic index making it safe for diabetics! That was cooked to over 300F and then poured out onto my trusty silpat. Worked so it cooled evenly it was pulled a little to introduce air, turning it from clear to silvery (then as it cooled to white). Keeping it warm under the lights we then pulled a little at a time and twisted them together.. It’s definitely something we need practice at, they weren’t all that consistent but they looked entertaining.

I firmly believe I was thoroughly spoiled at Christmas. My stocking was full of English goodies, Walkers shortbread, Mr Kipling mince pies, Quality Streets, Malteasers and After Eights! Then some awesome gingerbread men cutters (Already been chewed!), a gorgeous book on Artisan chocolates, the Professional Pastry Chef and DmentD and I both managed to give each other Unseen Academicals!

Christmas Eve we had the now traditional Chinese meal. Christmas Day was spent at a friend’s house, we made ribbon cookies and pecan pies for dessert. The following Wednesday we went to see Sherlock Holmes (awesome) and then off to another friend’s house for New Years eve and a glow in the dark party. I attacked a t shirt with some florescent paint, and DmentD painted a skull on his face.

New Years Day called for the traditional meal at our place, stewed cabbage, black eye peas, ham and an English dish, this year mini Cornish Pasties.. I had intended to make larger ones, but failed to make enough pastry, mini ones worked out well, I believe most people ate them as an appetiser (and all the excess filling went into a Beef Bourgiugnon on Sunday). I also made gingerbread men with the new cutters.. having far too much fun piping on drips of blood! I used it as an opportunity to try out a new recipe as well, for a gingerbread apple upside down cake.. I don’t think we’ve had any cake go down so well in one sitting! I used a mix of granny smith and honeycrisp apples and it was moist and tasty and delicious!

This week saw me determined to finally get my Texas license, since I’ve been putting it off since September. I took the theory test on Monday and couldn’t believe the different between it and the English test (or the difference in costs). My practical test will be taken at some point in the future.. I know when.. I’m just not saying *grins*

  1. DmentiA » Let’s Play Catch Up! Said,

    […] We made many delicious things as Christmas gifts this year, and Sweets has a great write-up about it all HERE. […]

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