Strangely, Patrick and I don't have any food-related Christmas traditions. We do for Thanksgiving: I have been making the same apple pie every year since we first started dating (the best apple pie ever), we always make my mother-in-law's sweet potato souffle, and, of course, there's turkey. For Christmas, we make something different every single year because we haven't found a Christmas recipe that has completely wowed us (though this spiced hot chocolate came awful close).
We have other Christmas traditions, though. On Christmas Eve Eve, we watch Love Actually. I know all the scenes, practically all the words, and the way the story ebbs and flows throughout the different characters. Last night, we finished watching it and I turned to Patrick, sighed, and said, as I do every year, "Love actually is everywhere." Tonight, on Christmas Eve, we'll watch It's A Wonderful Life, one of my all-time favorite movies and one of the few movies that, without fail, makes me cry every single time I watch it. Tomorrow, we'll open presents and cook.
We're trying a whole bunch of new recipes tomorrow: a mushroom stilton galette, sticky toffee pudding, and cornish hen. My grand plan for Christmas morning is that we're going to get out of bed in our silk pajamas, sit in front of a roaring fire, eat gingerbread muffins and pomegranate yogurt parfaits, and decorously open our presents. I suspect our morning is going to be something more like: wake up in our holey t-shirts and shorts, rip apart our presents, leaving scraps of wrapping paper everywhere, dog toys covering the floor, and expensive human toys in our hands.
However, there will be gingerbread muffins and pomegranate yogurt parfaits, not because I plan to make them in the morning but because I made tomorrow's breakfast today. The verdict on the gingerbread muffins is mixed: the copious amounts of ginger and cinnamon warmed us up and we liked them, but they were dense and missing a little zing. I made them in paper baking cups and they stuck like crazy so, please, if you make this recipe, use a well-greased muffin tin. We both thought they needed something a little extra . . . maybe raisins or cranberries. They were good but won't be hitting our holiday table next year. We are still on the search for the perfect Christmas traditional food.
We hope that you and yours have joyful holidays, full of old traditions and new. Merry Christmas!
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup unsulphured molasses
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a muffin tin. (DO NOT use paper baking cups - we had a major problem with the muffins sticking to the paper.)
2. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg and mix in the molasses.
3. In a bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and then blend into the liquid mixture. Add the hot water and beat until the batter is creamy. Pour into prepared pan.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan before removing and serving.