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Getting my Christmas on

I feel like a kid on break between college semesters this holiday season with an unprecedented two weeks off. One week was supposed to have been a trip to France in the fall (astronomical ticket prices axed that idea) and then my office is closed for a week, bless its sensible, cost-cutting heart. So here I am with lots of time on my hands, ready to get my Christmas on. What does turning Christmas into a verb really entail? It means seeing old friends, reading good books (currently this one, it’s so good) curled up in an armchair near the sparkling tree, shopping and consistently procrastinating the wrapping of gifts, making and consuming Christmas-y foods and drinks, and setting the ambience with some fir incense.

By now, lovely readers, you have probably deduced that our style is to keep it good and simple above all else, so I baked one kind of cookie this year, Noël Nut Balls. I was spurred on by a successful trial run earlier in the month for a cookie exchange and gave it another go when I got home earlier this week. Even my dad got involved, which was hilarious and surprisingly helpful. Recipe is below (via the lovely Gourmette NYC, with some small additions).

Cheers all & hope you got to do some Christmasing this week to actually enjoy the season (however you’re doing it, and if that’s even what you’re into when December rolls around!).

Burned some Paine’s Balsam Fir Incense (found at Zeb’s General Store in North Conway, N.H.) to get a seasonal smell going. The incense house is my version of a log cabin burner – a little Parisian townhouse.

Ingredients for the world’s simplest Christmas cookie, the Noël Nut Ball (confectioner’s sugar, walnuts/pecans, sifted flour, sticks upon sticks of salted butter mixed with bourbon, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg).

Baked to perfection! Now I’m cookied out.

Noël Nut Balls

1 cup salted butter, room temperature
4 tbsp powdered sugar, plus more for rolling
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp bourbon
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 cups flour, sifted
1 cup finely chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts or both)

Cream the butter, sugar, spices bourbon and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add flour and mix into a dough. Fold in the chopped nuts then refrigerate dough for an hour. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Shape the dough into small balls (otherwise they will crumble). Bake on a cookie sheet (don’t need to grease it) for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure the bottoms don’t burn. As soon as the nut balls come out of the oven, roll them in powdered sugar or sift the sugar over them, then set out to cool.

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