Monday, December 07, 2009

Christmas Traditions Day 7- St Nicolas Day

This time of the year seems to be as much about the smells as it is about the decorations and festivities. Its during this time of year we bake all those wonderful smelling goodies, the house seems to be filled with aromas of Christmas. Cloves and Cinnamon, pine trees and fireplaces. It starts to smell like Christmas as much as it looks and feels like Christmas. I noticed that some celebrate St. Nicolas Day, where kids would put their shoes outside to be filled with goodies. This was the beginnings of our Santa Claus. I noticed on Judy Coates Perez's blog she shares one of her traditions for St. Nicolas Day, you can check it out here. She talks about the smells of the cookies and shares her recipe!

I often set out candles and actual burn them during the holidays. There is something about lit candle that is warming to the soul. The flame dancing off of the glass ornaments and silver decorations is so festive. No table should be without them. Those along with the wonderful smells of Christmas baking fills the entire.

One of the things I loved to do during the holidays was to bake for friends. I often bake breads and cookies and candies. Some years I can wrap the jelly or preserves that I prepared during the fall or summer with bows and ribbons as gifts. During the year I collect small coffee cans in which to bake the breads. Check out the pumpkin bread recipe that follows for instructions. Once the bread has been baked they are slid out of the can to cool. When the bread is cool each loaf is wrapped in plastic. The cans are washed and wrapped in Christmas paper and ribbon and the baked bread is slid back into the can to be given as a gift to a friend. Its great to make or paint some nice gift labels to be attached to the breads. The candy or cookies, are often placed in a purchased tin to keep them fresh.

I love to have a cookie jar filled with cookies for when friends stop by to have hot chocolate or tea. Its also great fun for the grand kids who also love helping in the making of the cookies. Enjoy some of my favorite recipes. These recipes are over 30 years old so their original origin is lost except for the memory of the person who I received it from.

Pumpkin Bread
Grease and flour 3 coffee cans
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
3 C sugar
1 C. oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 C pumpkin
2 tsp soda
3 1/2 C flour
1 C chopped nuts

Mix first 6 ingredients then add remaining ingredients 1 at a time, beating after each. Fill coffee cans to 3/4 full bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Can be frozen Take bread out of cans and wash can and wrap with a Christmas paper. Once the bread has cooled wrap in plastic wrap and slide back into the wrapped can. Decorate with hand painted labels, Christmas bows, ribbons. I often attach the recipe to the can also.

Peanut Brittle
2 C sugar
1 C light corn syrup
1 C water
1/2 tsp salt
2 C raw Spanish peanuts
1 T butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda

Combine sugar, syrup, and water in heavy light, dark skillet. Cook stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Add salt and nuts. Cook, stirring occasionally until it reaches the hard crack stage. (294 degrees Fahrenheit) Remove from heat and add butter, vanilla, and soda stirring to blend, it will look like its foaming. Pour onto 2 buttered cookie sheets while hot and pull and spread to a thin layer on the cookie sheet about 1/4". When cool crack into small pieces and store in tins.


Joan said...

Nothing beats the smell of Christmas cookies in the oven!!! I haven't started mine yet!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Rmemember that I'm your friend too...ah zut, I'm too far, he he. cookies and candles..real Christmas spirit!

Desiree said...

I would love to have you both over! I do have a spare room with private bath!

mARTa said...

Hey, I'm not making my own peanut brittle, so you better have an extra big portion for me!!!

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