Thursday, December 29, 2011

End of holiday baking: Eggnog fudge, buttered rum cookies and marshmallows

Christmas may be gone for the year, but looking back, I realize how much better it was than last year's. This year, I got to spend Christmas with family members absent of some pretty tough times. Last year, on the same day, my maternal grandmother died after living with Alzheimer's for years, and my paternal grandmother went to the hospital the same day. This year, I got to spend the holiday at my parents' house, not the hospital, with my stepsiblings in from Canada and my mom just visiting, not here for a funeral. And you know what? That makes Christmas pretty darn good.

I'm pretty much a holiday eggnog fanatic (see: eggnog cupcakes), so when it hits the shelves, I immediately buy some. This year has been a little different, though. I'm eating a lot healthier right now, and frankly, eggnog is terrible for you. So my compromise was this: make an eggnog dessert that tastes so much like the drink that I kill two birds with one stone. Enter eggnog fudge by Brown Eyed Baker. This will 100% become a new holiday tradition for me, because it tastes exactly how it should. It is so decadent, and as an added bonus, they made my apartment smell like yummy eggnog for hours.

My dad loves buttered rum, so I decided to try these buttered rum meltaways from Martha Stewart's Cookies book for his and my stepmom's holiday party a few days before Christmas. I made them far ahead of time and froze them into a roll of dough until just a few days before heading to Salina, so they were convenient in that sense. The jury's still out, though, on whether or not I'll make these again. They didn't taste too rummy or buttery, which I think they should considering their name. Hmm. Can't win them all, I guess.

Pretty sure I've inadvertently started a new holiday tradition for myself. Last year I gave my grandma's signature hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows to a few coworkers at my paper. This year, I did the same, only upping the ante to two flavors of marshmallows — vanilla (the green ones) and peppermint (the red ones) — and giving it to everyone at my office. So far, it seems to be a hit. That old Joy of Cooking marshmallow recipe sure is good. We'll see if I give the same gift next year!

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