My Christmas baking is finally finished! My only hindrance is that I delayed baking my fruitcakes so they aren’t quite ready yet since they have to sit for two full weeks after coming out of the oven.
You heard me correctly. I said fruitcakes.
For the last four years, I’ve been making Alton Brown’s recipe for free range fruitcakes. They are a bit of a time consuming project that I’ve blogged about in the past. We have a nice chunk of history now and I enjoy the tradition. I usually make a few mini loaves as well as a larger cake in my St. Nicholas pan that I brought back from Germany. Last year I also made some petit fruitcakes and, despite their size, they were a big hit. I made more this year so that I could team them up with a few other treats that I prepared for gifting.
I ended up with a nice variety of sweets. The selection for 2011 includes fruitcakes, mini pecan pies, buckeyes and Biscoff fudge. I always associate buckeyes with Christmas but this is the first year that I’ve made them. When I was in high school, a friend of mine had a mother who made tons of Christmas confections and her buckeyes were always very popular. They must be a southern thing because not many people up here have heard of them. That didn’t stop my coworkers from demolishing them today! As long as the intended recipient doesn’t have peanut allergies, you can’t go wrong with them!
I also prepared a few other edible gifts for a select group of friends that love to bake. To the left is vanilla sugar and there’s also some homemade vanilla extract. Remember back in the summer when I started it? Both are very easy to make. The extract took about half of a year but the sugar only takes 48 hours. Just split some vanilla pods, empty them out with the spoon and then use a fork to mix up the tiny beans with the sugar. Once you’re done with the pods, you can add them to your bottle of vanilla extract.
My Christmas cards and packages are mailed, my shopping is done and my gifts are almost wrapped. I’m proud of how many homemade presents I’m giving out this year. I don’t have too many things on my Christmas list. Sweaters, socks, some LUSH stuff and a membership to the Museum of Fine Arts here in Boston. I want to see the Degas exhibit before it’s gone!
Speaking of gone, we’re spending the holidays in New Jersey this year. We leave to drive down tomorrow morning. I’m excited to see my friends and family!