30 November 2008

this time of the year - part three

Alright, this year's annual cookie craze is over.

At least almost, that is. So far, we didn't really have the mood to glaze the two kinds of cookies that still need glazing, meaning that technically we aren't finished yet.

But, all things considered, it was a great and productive first Advent weekend.

Together with our friends, we made like a hundred batches of cookies, at least that's what it felt like.

We went into town for a stroll over the local christmas market, and kindly it was even snowing, making the excursion a whole lot nicer than it usually would have been.

We watched the Muppets Christmas Carol, and I experimented with duck in red wine marinade, which luckily the wife considered to be a success.
I attempted to make 'muffoccacias', which I found on the internet but sadly cannot remember where. Those on the other hand still require a lot of tweaking before they will become regulars in our household.

Oh, and I ripped out that vine that had been choking our back hedge the whole summer long and turned it into our Advent wreath, as you can see above. I really like the idea of having those annoying weeds serving a decorative purpose now. Yay, go me!

But, not all is peachy here.

The Pfefferkuchen somehow ended up less then perfect. Usually, they taste hardly bearable when they come fresh out of the oven, and four weeks later, they are lovely, harmonious, spicy treats. This year, it seems, of all the battling ingredients there has been a winner, and unfortunately it is the salt of hartshorn. The first bite tastes fine, but then there is this lingering, soapy chemical aftertaste that really ruins the whole thing for me. I have no idea why, but I am afraid I'll only be able to use them as decoration, threaded on a golden wire.

Also, one batch of cookies died in the oven. For no apparent reason, they melted into pathetically flat puddles instead of turning into neat little knobs of jelly filled cookie crispness. The mess tasted lovely, but apart from that it was completely unusable. The only explanation I can think of is that I must have taken either too much butter or too much lard, or nor enough flour, but I was reading all of it off the recipe, so what the hell...?!

I'll make another batch this week, just to see if it turns out different.

Saving my sanity, (apart from my wife, that is, naturally) was the Stollen. They turned out just as lovely as they promised to, fragrant and moist and succulent.

Also, as extensive testing has shown, I am onto some really good recipe for Feuerzangenbowle in single servings. So far, I am still working on the actual burning part, not having been able to make much more than mulled wine 'flambé'. But that already has been much, much better than anything that I have seen served on christmas markets all around. Or served anywhere so far, that is. Really, really good. Expect to see the recipe here as soon as I have finished testing.

Which reminds me - I have a few experiments to set aflame.^^

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