Hello my bibbles, and welcome back to Recipe of the Week. I apologize if I gave any of you a fright when I failed to show up last week, but I'm glad you are all so passionate about sharing delicious foods! It warms my heart in these trying times.
Last time (so, two weeks ago, now) we had a nice little toddy talk. The winner (brought to us by officious interloper) wasn't "technically" a toddy, but it was a delicious, warm beverage with booze, so I obviously will allow it.
I'm going to cheat a little and offer up a close cousin to the Toddy: the Wassail, which calls for cider in place of water.
I don't usually measure these kinds of things. Just put apple cider in a pot with sugar, cinnamon sticks, and any combination of cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger, plus cayenne or peppercorns if you're feeling it. I might throw in a couple of lemon slices, too. Then simmer for 30 minutes or however long it takes you to get bored. Strain the mix, add bourbon or rum and a splash of cranberry juice, if you have it. You can add a little maple syrup, too, if you're into that kind of thing.
So, I cheated a little bit here too, and used Trader Joe's Spiced Cider because:
A) My mom already had a bottle of it.
B) It's pretty damn good.
C) I didn't want to go anywhere.
I hope you forgive me for this shortcut.
ANYWAY. In addition to all the cinnamon, cloves, and allspice that were already in that beautiful bottle, I also added some strips of ginger and thinly-sliced lemon rounds. (Oh and WHISKEY, obviously.)
It was delicious, spicy, warming, and alcoholic; it was everything I need right now. (I bet you're wondering "What's on that mug there? Are those people?")
Yes, it is people. It is me and my sisters as #coolteens on a coffee mug. (Meredith has smiley face stickers around her belly button, just fyi.) I thought I'd share that with you because I didn't know this mug existed until now and I really enjoy it.
Officious interloper needs a trophy, and I'm going to go really obvious and basic here with "Warm Love" by Van Morrison. I may have used this one before, but it's a very nice song about warmth and love and lace and smiling faces.
Moving along to our next topic: let's bake some cookies. Every family has a traditional cookie (or candy) they make every year around this time, and I want to know yours. Bonus points if they're some regional thing I've never heard of before.
Now I know I usually cook/make the most up-voted recipe, but I thought it would be cool if you guys actually swapped some recipes, made each other's cookies (or candies!), and posted pics here next week. I'll obviously still make the most up-voted, but I'd thought it would be nice to have a virtual xoCookie Swap, because 'tis the season and all of that.
Oh, and just a quick disclaimer: I suck at decorating, so I hope the winning recipe doesn't depend on expert piping skills. Like, this gingerbread house is the absolute pinnacle of my skills of an artist.