This holiday season I have been shamelessly baking away most of my days off. And knitting and making holiday cards. But mostly baking. Mr. S has joined me in all of these activities, creaming butter and sugar, rolling out dough, eating the creamed butter and sugar, spilling tea on my knitting pattern.
In year's past, I would have purchased some small gift item for my co-workers, some little something they would have appreciated at the time but forgotten a month from now. So this year I thought I'd make them each gift bags filled with sugary sweetness. Everyone loves treats!
I made two batches of peanut butter fudge, some of which I dipped in white chocolate and covered in pecans, some of which I dipped in dark chocolate and covered in pecans and some of which I just left plain...my personal favorite way to eat fudge.
I also made the Splendid Table's Supernatural Brownies and big old batch of Norwegian Pepper Cookies. The pepper cookies are my absolute favorite baked good this year, since I've been craving them since Birdro made them for the Circulation staff of the Johnson City Public Library a few years ago. They're a complicated little shortbread cookie flavored with black pepper and cardamon, and they have the most amazing chewy texture. I used this recipe, the official pepper cookie recipe from the Norwegian Embassy.
Anyhow, I wrapped all of these items up in wax paper and packaged them in brown paper bags, tied with alpaca yarn and jingle bells. If you were on my train going to work yesterday morning you would have heard me jingling all the way into Manhattan.
My Library knitting circle and my Circulation staff loved the treats, and it made our work day just that much more fun.
But the baking wasn't over...tonight I made an egg nog cake using Life Current's recipe. I made mine in a bundt pan and topped it with pecan toffee. This will be going to a Library holiday party with me tomorrow.
I've not set foot in a store since before Thanksgiving. T and I have purchased most of our holiday gifts online, and many of them we've made. All of our holiday preparations have taken place in our home with our Christmas lights on and Pandora Radio playing the Perry Como Holiday Station. I've had so much fun knitting for friends and family and baking, and I'm not done. For my Tennessee friends and family there's still more baking (and knitting) to do.
For the first time since I was a kid, this holiday month feels like magic.