Making Christmas candy and cookies is one of the many traditions that we do every year. Not sure if I could manage this huge task at 38 weeks pregnant this year I thought that it might need to be limited to a select favorites or forgone all together. However, I was on the phone with my sister the other day and I asked her what she wanted to do while she was here.
Her reply surprised me when she mentioned that she wanted to spend an entire day baking and making candy. Along with her request came the promise to do most of the "work" and most importantly the dishes.
This time of year is always heavily surrounded by homesickness for me. A few years ago Bret was trying to ease some of this for me by volunteering to help with some of the candy making. It goes without saying that Bret is not experienced in the kitchen but can usually follow directions. Although for the most part we made out pretty well there were two disasters that neither of us will ever forget.
The first was when Bret attempted to make English Toffee. Following my grandmothers handwritten recipe Bret stirred and stirred and stirred the mix until the candy thermometer showed that it was at the right stage (soft crack I think?). As he poured the mixture out into a greased cookie sheet we both immediately noticed tiny white flecks in the candy. It took only a few moments for both of us to realize what the white flecks were. Bret had used a plastic spoon to stir the toffee and it had melted most of the bottom of the spoon into the tiny white flecks. Of course it all had to be thrown out.
The second disaster was my fault. We made a batch of peanut brittle which has always been my dad's favorite. Following the directions to a tee everything seemed to be going fine as we were spreading the mixture onto a greased cookie sheet. Bret asked if it was supposed to be so thick and I nodded that I thought so. Bret went back to the recipe and at the very bottom in tiny letters to squeeze it on the recipe card it said "spread on 2 greased cookie sheets"...whoops! Needless to say it took a hammer and a lot of work to get the brittle broken up and one piece would last a person a week to eat...but it tasted good.
Even though we have had a few disasters we still manage to make quite a few favorites. Since Bret was an intern I have sent a large tin of cookies and candy to the clinic, labor floor, department, and resident lounge. Everyone seems to have their favorites and there are always requests for recipes. This is the third year and Bret has already gotten questioned as to when it was coming in this year. Later than usual it will have to wait until Monday since my sister and I will be working on it this weekend.