Thursday, December 23, 2004

The night before the night before

This isn't our party, because I was having such a good time I forgot to use the camera. But maybe we looked like this, only in color.

A sort of peace has settled in...or is is exhaustion?

The holiday caroling party was fun, despite various friends unable to attend due to someone ill in the family, other commitments, or just general holiday overload. Still, we had a grand time and the neighbors didn't seem too terrorized by our singing at them.

One neighbor, who smiled broadly at us as we sang, said after we finished, "You should go around the corner to the Conways' house. They'll love you...they're GOOD singers." As if we weren't?!

The kids, of course, had a grand time. They were an all-girl group this year -- Lani, Claire, Caroline, Sarah, and Madeline. They were very orderly about taking turns to ring doorbells, but they jingled their jinglebells with great vigor. And we had some exuberant-voiced adults! Maria has a great, strong voice (see what you find out about your friends even when you think you know them well?) . Pat and Len brought Janet with them, who thought that the party involved coming and being sung TO. She was a good sport when she learned that in fact she coming along to do the singing. Laura brought Libby, wearing a jingle-bell collar...and Libby was quite well-behaved despite the number of dogs who rushed out of their houses to sniff us all out. At one house, a small yorkshire terrier (by the name of Murphy Brown) barked furiously at us the whole time. Defending the house, or singing along? Hard to tell.

Anyway, much champagne and cider was consumed. We still seem to have a mountain of cookies left, but that'll see us through Christmas dessert, and the days after. Nothing like eating Christmas cookies for breakfast on December 26.

Here's my newest Christmas cookies to add to the "must bake" recipe collection:

Coconut jam thumbprints

3/4 pound (3 sticks) butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tb. water, for egg wash
7 ounces flaked coconut
Raspberry and/or apricot jam

Preheat oven to 350. With mixer, cream together butter and sugar until just combined, then add vanilla. Separately, sift together flour and salt. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to butter and sugar. Mix until dough starts to come together. Dump on floured board, roll together into a flat disk, then wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll dough into 1/4 inch balls. Dip each ball into egg wash, roll in coconut, and place on ungreased cookie sheet. With finger, press a light indentation into each ball. Drop 1/4 tsp jam into each indentation. Bake 20-25 minutes until coconut is golden brown.

This is from my neighbor Julie Bell, originally from the Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook.

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