All I Want for Christmas

As I sit here, next to my beautiful Christmas tree,

listening to the cat lap up water and to cars pass by at 7:15 on Christmas morning, I have the song All I Want for Christmas stuck in my head. Yesterday I had almost everything I need right under one roof. Adorable Granddaughter spent the night so she was crawling/toddling around the downstairs. Son #2 came in from Charleston by way of Charlotte, bringing Couper-Dog with him. Son #1 and EB came over to fetch Miss Adorable and stayed around to have some Maple View Farms eggnog and cookies. And for Miss Adorable to open her gifts. Not that she has any clue about what’s going on other than there are some bright lights on a tree and tissue paper to pull out of bags.

They are off to visit the other grandparents today.

Christmas is much calmer when your children are 30 and 25. And way quieter. So I am in my silent house (even the cat has gone back to sleep now) thinking about what I want for Christmas, the real list. In no particular order:

  • good health for my family, my friends and me
  • the satisfaction that comes from hard work and a job well done at the end of the day
  • kindness in this world
  • politicians who genuinely care about the people they represent, true civil servants
  • laughter
  • good books
  • an end to poverty, hunger and homelessness
  • more time with Mama Mildred and the SP gang
  • equity for everyone, regardless of their skin color, religion and geographic location
  • music to sing along with and dance to
  • delicious food and drink, shared with family and friends
  • travel
I know that I could add many more, but as we always told the Sons, Santa doesn’t like greedy children (or adults- especially adults).
On today’s menu, biscuits for breakfast. Or maybe French toast? Pancakes? (At least I already made the coffee.) For lunch, I will cook a roast beast (actually a beef tenderloin, I just like to call it that), gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans/haricots verts, if you want to get fancy, yeast rolls and an apple-cranberry crumble-type dish using a recipe passed on to me by the BFF (Miss Helen’s specialty). We will time this lunch so that it doesn’t interfere with the Boston Celtics basketball game later this afternoon. Son #2 is a huge fan and has started writing for a Celtics blog.
Time to get on with the biscuits– I hear the thundering paws of a white lab upstairs so the house is coming to life.
My final cookie creation from Christmas Eve–
 
Chocolate Peppermint Kiss Cookies
adapted from Sally McKenney’s Rainbow Kiss Cookies
 
makes 24
 
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp. table salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
2 Tbsp. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
24 peppermint kisses
  • Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Whisk together flour, cocoa and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Beat butter with an electric mixer until smooth, about 1 minute. Add sugar and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes, scraping down the bowl a couple of times. Add egg yolk, milk and vanilla; beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides and beat again as needed to fully combine. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed just until combined. You may need to switch over to a wooden spoon to finish adding the flour- this dough is thick.
  • At this point, I wish that I had refrigerated the dough for 30 minutes so that it would have been easy to roll. You may do this, if you wish.
  • Shape dough into balls. Place them 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
  • Bake cookies for 9-10 minutes, until set. When out of the oven, gently press an unwrapped peppermint kiss into the center of each cookie. Cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Be careful handling the cookies until completely cool. The kiss gets melty from the warm cookie. (I messed one up and had to eat the evidence.)
**Sally’s recipe calls for the balls of dough to be rolled in rainbow nonpareils or sprinkles before baking and then a chocolate kiss pressed into the center of each cookie when they come out of the oven. With all the different flavors of chocolate kisses out there, you could be quite creative.
Bon appétit, Joyeux Noël and Merry Christmas, if you celebrate. If not, I wish you a plain old wonderful day. I hope that you are warm, safe and well-fed. And with at least one person you love.

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