The off-beat creative bug had me itching to make something unusual for our annual pilgrimage to the Aunties’ house for Xmas this year. In addition to my usual concoctions of macaroni and cheese and homemade bread rolls shaped in a wreath, I was bent on making masses of sweeties. I was hearing my great Aunt whispering in my ear, coaxing me to make spritz cookies like she did all her life. So I added some real orange extract, sprinkled a variety of sanding sugar colors including black, and voila- delicate and delicious bouquet of flowers. I moved on to toffee, and peanut brittle, pretzels dipped in chocolate and rolled in peanuts, and creamsicle blondies, which I am still craving. Then came the gingerbread cookies. I found a fabulous recipe, wherein the cookies actually taste good and are not for calcifying on your tree. Sorting through the abundance of cutting shapes, I was drawn to my Halloween forms and knew I had to bring on the Yule-ness to the table at this get together. I grabbed the skulls, the owls, the brooms. And of course the witch hats. I did toss in a few trees, swans, doves, stars and moons, some trains and candy canes for the kids. My oldest son figured out how to make a pentacle, and he was delighted with his creation.
I decided Day of the Dead decorations on the skulls would be perfect, and the gingerbread lasses would have to be witches. Out came the neon variety of food coloring, which has the best tints, and royal icing became a wild palette of utterly non-traditional hues. We were up for hours decorating after the baking was finally done. I was cackling at the irreverence of it all, at the delightful mix of weirdness. Certainly a season to remember for us at home. However, not one person at the gathering on the 25th said one single word about the unusual offerings, except that they actually tasted good. Were they whispering behind me back? Don’t know. Don’t care. We have a new tradition :D