We Make Food Gifts For Christmas And For Christmas Day...

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    Dec 25, 2017 12:03 AM GMT
    ...And to quote the old TV commercial for Shake 'n Bake: "And ah helped!" Done in a kid's pseudo Southern accent, I guess to overcome resistance in the South to something so nontraditional as a plastic shake bag to prepare chicken, one of their regional specialties.

    Well, I actually did help. He's kind enough to dub me the sous chef, which of course I'm really not. But he is indeed the chef.

    Today I peeled, cored and sliced over 2 dozen apples for 2 pies he's preparing right now. But I just use a Kitchen Aid stand mixer attachment I got last year, so it only takes me a few minutes.

    He also made his chocolate bark candy, in dark and white versions, almost all given away now. The white bark includes broken candy cane pieces, of a size & shape I make so they're visible in the thin chocolate sheets as they harden, to give them a holiday look & taste.

    Another holiday treat are his Italian pizzelle cookies. Baked in a double-sided iron, just like waffles are made. Except the cookies are much, much thinner, and usually hard and brittle. They can also be wrapped around a forming dowel when soft from the press, hardening to become connoli, then in turn filled with a fluffy cream, and even soft ice cream or gelato (he makes both at home) like a thin sugar cone. A distinguishing feature is their snowflake patterns.

    An ingredient he adds for cookies is oil of anise (aka anise oil), that has a licorice flavor. Only sold in pharmacies in much of the US, this year I paid $35 per 1-ounce bottle! I also bought him a new electric pizzelle press, as the 30-year-old one he had was barely functioning. He loves to make pizzelles, a family tradition since when he was a child, most of his given away as presents in round Christmas tins.

    And finally, his bundt cakes, in full and mini-size. He always makes them with rum, kahlua, or creme de menthe, in angel cake, chocolate, or mint cake respectively. He has every kind of mold pattern. When I print the labels for the minis, that go into clear plastic boxes for gifts, or charity sales, I always specify "Contains alcohol", to warn little kids and non-alcohol-drinking adults. People claim they've gotten drunk on them.

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    Dec 25, 2017 11:45 AM GMT
    I woke up around 5:30 AM (and Merry Christmas), just like when I was a kid. And found he'd already been up and then went back to bed and sleep, which may be what actually had awoken me. He took the apple pies out of the fridge to warm before baking them later this morning, prior to bringing them to the lunch with friends.

    I've stayed awake to put out his presents, and card. I see I now have some from him, too. But unlike when I was a kid, I'll wait until he's awake again when we can open our presents together.
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    Dec 25, 2017 11:27 PM GMT
    Seems to be something Carmine does throughout the year, giving food away.