More than a dozen friends punched through snow battered forest and ice laden streets to gather at my home on Christmas Eve. Once here, they were rewarded to partake in several Special K creations: Spiced Apple Toddies (homemade apple cider, whiskey, baked apples)
Spinach Artichoke Yogurt Foam and Cashew Cheese
Perhaps the most time consuming and novel endeavor involved making candied apple minicakes. The cake batter mirrors a spongy madeline-like texture, using, per 24
Mix together 1 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 salt
in another bowl, mix up 1/4 C applesauce with 3 tablespoons butter and 1/2 sugar and 2 tablespoons molasses….mix in beaten egg, 1 tsp vanilla. Fold wet into dry, and then add 1 granny apple, thinly sliced or spiraled
Bake for 15 minutes tops, let cool overnight….
Then, make a candy topping: Mix together 1 C. sugar 1/3 C. water, 1/4 C light corn syrup and a few drops of red food coloring (or more if you want it deeper red). Heat over a simmer for more than 20 minutes until nice and bubbly and the candy is at a hard cracking stage, or 150C.
so be careful! Then with tongs, plunge the cakes into the syrup and quickly move to a nearby pan to cool. Accept that you will burn yourself and that you’ll eat candy that drizzles and hardens in the pan.
I stuck my proud creations on skewers in covered oatmeal cans for a lovely presentation. And popping on in your mouth was delightful, the gooey apple giving way to a crunchy covering.
Breaking off the candy toppings and crunching and munching on them was super fun! After a very quiet first 30 minutes of the party…the people started pouring in, and soon, the kitchen expanded with fellowship and cheer.
The Toddies helped….do did Cranium’s Hum-Dingers, and the kids checking Santa on Norad, and being roused by all the excitement.
Each guest received a handmade ornament, a Christmas CD and Belgian chocolates.
There were moments in the night where I felt incredibly empty…
and then whooosh….the glasses would need to be filled,
someone needed a pan cleaned, or to locate a knife
Charlie Brown needed to be located on the computer….
and it was in these mere tasks, absent if not for the community of others, that made Christmas holy.
It is about taking whatever smallness of light and warmth and sharing it.
And candy coating always helps, too.