|A krumkake iron|
After the fabulous recipes shared by Day and Noa, I was seriously intimidated. I lay no claims to domestic goddesshood in any form, but as a person who loves food, I’ve been obliged to acquire some basic skills in producing it. And I have several delicious recipes that get dragged out every year. The oldest tradition is the sugar cookies that we decorate with fantastic creativity every year (it takes me, my mother, my sister, and my daughter literally hours to frost these cookies every year). But everyone’s got a sugar cookie recipe, so I figured I’d go with something more unusual. I considered sharing the recipe for Krumkake (pronounced croom-kah-keh), a delicious Norwegian holiday cookie my father’s family has been making since arriving on the boat generations ago, but since it requires a very special waffle-like iron that nobody has and that you have to send away to Minnesota (or Norway) to get, I figured that wouldn’t be really useful to the vast majority of you. I then thought about sharing my grandmother’s recipe for Rum Cake, which we always have for dessert on Christmas Day, but since that won’t get made for another week, I wouldn’t have any pictures of the process to liven things up. So I settled on a more recent tradition. Like those old commercials for Rice Krispy Treats, no awe-inspiring skills are required to produce fantastically impressive-tasting results. Like Clark Kent, these unassuming candies have a boring name for everyday use, a decent name: Chow Mein Noodle Candy. But in my household, for better or for worse, they have acquired a moniker both more seasonal, and more regrettable. No matter what the cookbook calls them, we always think of them as:
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 cups miniature marshmallows
- approx. 6 oz. chow mein noodles
(The great thing about this recipe is that it’s almost infinitely variable. There are so many flavors of chocolate chips out there now, you can invent flavor combinations all day long!)
1. Dump all the chocolate chips and the peanut butter together into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes. For those of you without a microwave, melt the chips and peanut butter in a double boiler, and then remove from heat. Stir the peanut butter and chocolate together thoroughly.
2. Add the noodles a handful at a time, stirring to coat them with the chocolate mixture. Add noodles until most of the chocolate mixture is coating the noodles. Don’t get too carried away with the noodles, though, or there won’t be enough chocolate goop to coat the marshmallows! Allow chocolate-noodle mixture to cool slightly.
3. Add the marshmallows to the chocolate-noodle mix. Stir to distribute and coat the marshmallows evenly. The resulting mixture should resemble the picture at left.
4. Drop generous tablespoon-sized dollops of the resulting mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. This recipe makes approximately 30 reindeer droppings, or two full cookie sheets. After all the mixture has been turned into these strange-looking treats, refrigerate the candies to cool and harden them. After they’ve set, you can remove them from the cookie sheets, but I strongly recommend storing them in the fridge. They get a bit runny at room temperature, and they taste better cold, too.
Although I haven’t yet dared to actually shock my family with any experimental reindeer turds, my fertile brain has come up with lots of exciting variations on this theme. One I’m keen to try is using mint chocolate chips, and leaving out the peanut butter. Of course, the amount of noodles would need to be decreased, or the amount of chips increased. Another possibility is white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. I’ve also considered substituting almond butter for peanut butter, and it seems like Nutella is just begging to get worked in here somewhere. The possibilities are endless!
Like Day, I adore listening to audiobooks while I cook (and lots of other times, too, but particularly while slaving over a hot stove). While I’ve been cranking out seasonal delicacies this month, I’ve had Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress books on tap on my iPod. So far, all of Ms. Frost’s books have been released in unabridged format with the exception of the fourth Night Huntress novel, Destined for an Early Grave, which is due to be released on audio on January 4th. The entire series, including the two spin-off novels First Drop of Crimson and Eternal Kiss of Darkness are expertly narrated by Tavia Gilbert. She does, in my opinion, a very credible job producing different voices, and more importantly, different accents for the different humans and vampires, male and female, in the Night Huntress world. As Doll Kitt will agree, I’m sure, giving Bones a cheeky guttersnipe English accent is absolutely essential! If you’ve already read Ms. Frost’s lovely, sexy vampire stories, listening to them on audio is a sinful treat. If you haven’t, it’s a great way to get to meet some of the toughest, sexiest vampires being written today. Whether you’re a longtime fan or new to these books, listening to them on audio is a great way to get up to speed for the upcoming fifth book in the original series, This Side of the Grave, due for release February 22, 2011. A word of caution, though; if you haven’t read all of the first four Night Huntress novels, don’t read or listen to either of the spin-off novels. There be spoilers aplenty! But this Doll gives both the series and the narration two thumbs up!
Happy Holidays, and I hope you get all the books on your wishlists, awesome readers! Thanks for letting me share with you!