We'll cut to the chase, because blogging takes away from holiday laziness opportunities. The morning dawned, as it always does, with me baking sticky buns. This year's orange pecan rolls were about the best ever. I started using the recipe for Rich Rum Sticky Buns from The New Basics Cookbook many years ago. I have modified it beyond recognition (for starters, I use no rum), and I'd guess that all dozen people who ate them this year were fairly content. Post-breakfast was then a long stretch of me doing nothing (except to eat a big bowl of white bean and kielbasa soup that I'd made a couple days earlier). I finally got the turkey in the oven about 3pm (I may have missed the hordes of people on this holiday, but I did not miss the day-long trudge through food prep). I threw some aromatics in the roasting pan, stuffed the bird loosely with the same (celery, garlic, herbs, citrus), smeared it with butter and roasted. Out by 6pm, it was moist, juicy, tender perfection. Mashed some potatoes, roasted some broccoli: done. Oh yeah, and rockin' gravy (no gizzards, no starting 19 days ahead: I'm that good). The Lebovitz apple cake was a huge disappointment (the east coast contingent of the family made it as well, and reports a similarly desultory result). Little fuss, plenty of leftovers: a great easy day.
And like magic, it's time for holiday baking. The first cookie of the season to come out of my oven this year (later tonight, if I get myself off the daybed into the kitchen) will be frosted cardamom cookies, a 2008 finalist in the Star Tribune holiday cookie contest. The Strib keeps a handy online index of all the cookies from the past seven years of the contest. The winners of this year's contest will be published Thursday; it's always fun to see what cookies make the cut, and which are worth adding to my baking lineup.
Here's hoping your holiday was similarly stress-free.
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