abbreviated christmas goodie making

the naughty baker
I've been going down to Ma's to whip up a metric ton of chocolate for the Annual Christmas Goodies since 2006, and on every occasion we've either changed or increased the number of individual varieties until we were cranking out nine different types for the last two years.

Then most of the goodies ended up in little white Chinese takeaway containers, dressed with ribbon and bound for the desks of my co-workers.

However given that I don't have to take over 100 of the goodies for my purposes, Ma and I decided to take it easy this year.

And because I was never really a fan of the majority of the varieties we made (I'd eat them if I had them in the fridge, but wasn't bothered otherwise), we figured we'd keep it mostly to ones we actually liked... with a couple of favourites of other family members thrown in for good measure.

The result of all of that was an incredibly relaxed day... I mean I got to Ma's place around 8, but I managed to leave at about 4... and that without rushing around like crazy all day. In fact we were essentially finished by around 1:30.

When I got to Ma's place she had a batch of Ham Hearts (and I finally found the original Delia Smith recipe they're based on, although it turns out that we've been making them in our own unique way for years and years and years) fresh out of the oven for breakfast, which is always nice. We chatted a bit about this, that and the other, I caught her up on the ongoing housing drama and we got down to work.

As always, first up was my home-made Rocky Road. I think I used a little too much Turkish Delight this time around, the finished pieces seem to be much gooier than in previous years. Not that that's necessarily a problem, but I have a feeling a lot of pieces are going to end up stuck together.

Then while Ma was putting together the Chocolate Balls I started putting the Peanut Butter Balls that were our new addition from last year, but I think perhaps there was a little bit too much butter in this batch (it's always something) or something. And I remembered them as being a little more orgasmicly tasty even at the mixture stage than they seemed to be this time... the mix was good, don't get me wrong, but I remembered it differently.

I also mixed up a tub of vanilla ice cream with a jar of Robinson's Fruit Mince for dessert on Christmas Day... and proceeded to ALMOST drop the whole thing on the floor a little later. But it should be interesting.

I think Ma was still working on the Chocolate Balls (the mixture needs to cool before it can be rolled, so there's the stove-top portion and then a delay before the ball portion) at that stage, while I started working on the horrific Brandy Apricot Truffles. Urgh, white chocolate, it's a travesty... plus the truffles aren't one of the easiest recipes. But people in the family like it, they may be out of luck in the future though, as I'd much rather make some of the Rum Balls or Sherry Truffles instead.

Usually I have an ongoing relationship with Ma's food processor for the majority of the morning, but all I had to do today was chop the macadamia nuts... it was almost not even worth getting it out. But at least I only had to wash it the once.

Once the mixture was done and in the fridge we were actually ready to coat the Peanut Butter Balls in chocolate... which, given that it was still before noon, is frankly unheard of when it comes to the way the day usually runs.

I ended up coating all the balls myself, the truffle scoop I usually try using (and then give up and go back to chopsticks) was actually working pretty damn well this time around, so I got into a groove and coated the balls and added the sprinkle of salt (actually I may have gotten a little over excited with salt on a couple of them, but they're mostly for Ma and I with a few others for other people, so they can deal with it).

We'd intended to go straight from there to coating the Brandy Apricot Truffles, but when Ma went to roll them up the mixture was still too runny... and I don't know why but it never really improved, I ended up having to add a whole lot more coconut (probably twice what the recipe originally called for) until the mixture firmed up enough.

In the past we've used some little silver nonpareils to decorate them, but this year we found some little golden stars at the supermarket and with the white chocolate, they actually look quite pretty... we did end up using almost the whole tube so we'll have to grab some more after Christmas.

And at that point we were essentially done! So we had some lunch, chilled out for a bit, tidied up and started to pack the goodies up into tins... which also involved me chopping the Rocky Road into small pieces, which is always a major workout.

Once we were all finished with that I had to take the final beauty shot of the goodies.

portrait of christmas goodies as a two by two grid, 2013
Portrait of Christmas goodies as a two by two grid, 2013

Clockwise, from the top left... Brandy Apricot Truffles, Chocolate Balls, Peanut Butter Balls and my Rocky Road.

This also has to be the year where I've eaten the least amount of chocolate... granted half of the chocolate was white, but I did have a piece of Rocky Road and shared one of the Peanut Butter Balls with Ma. That was seriously it though.

I also made use of the leftover chocolate from the Peanut Butter Balls and spread it out thinly on a bit of baking paper, then when it was set, broke it into shards to add to the Fruit Mince Ice Cream on Wednesday.

I probably could have left Ma's place by around 3, but as always seems to happen, the bottom of my feet were completely black from Ma's floors (I don't know why, but it always seems to happen... even when Ma's mopped the floors the day before, it's weird) so she made me soak my feet while we watched the beginning of The Holiday. Once the water was black, my feet were pink again and Cameron Diaz had had sex with a drunk Jude Law, I called it a day.

So a decidedly simpler day than we're used to... and I very much enjoyed the reduced line-up (although the apricot ones have to go) plus the fact I didn't overdose on chocolate.

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