Christmas Essentials {Desserts and Cocktails- and special traditions}

Christmas Essentials {Desserts and Cocktails- and special traditions}

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It’s here! Christmas is here! We will soon be borderline diabetic, constantly drunk, and surrounded by people we love, or those we love to hate. What a glorious time of year. I have finished shopping, completed all food preparations, and am even getting things arranged for Shelby’s birthday party- her birthday is 12/26. Whew! What a busy time.

Christmas Eve Dessert. It is necessary, essential, important, mandatory. You get the picture. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post about cookies, I am not much of a baker. I can follow a recipe, but I don’t like to. Cooking comes from my heart and measuring is such a challenge for me. And the tedious aspect of cookie decorating- I’ll leave that to my friend, Sara. But, I love to bring desserts to family gatherings because it is something sweet that everyone loves. So, through the years, I have found a few fool-proof dessert recipes that are always a sure thing, and that even I cannot screw up.

This recipe for almond torte is courtesy of my mom. My mom made this sweet treat for Christmas one year and my husband has been obsessed ever since! He’s not even a dessert eater! He asks for it for every family function. This recipe is VERY simple. Coming from me, that means a lot. Everything mixes in one bowl and it doesn’t make a mess. The ingredients are probably things you have on hand. All I had to go out and buy were the almond slices and the almond extract. Oh, and by the way, it is so delicious. It would be great to serve after dinner with coffee, champagne, red wine, or a glass of Frangelico on the rocks.

Almond Torte

1 1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup melted butter

2 eggs

1 tsp almond extract

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt ( optional)

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

3 Tb sliced almonds (for topping)

1 Tb sugar ( for topping)

Preheat oven 350*  Grease & flour 9″ round cake pan.  In bowl whisk sugar & melted butter together .  Beat in eggs.  Stir in almond & vanilla extracts.  Add salt & flour.  Stir well.  Spread batter in prepared pan.  Sprinkle almonds & sugar over the top.  Bake in 350* oven for 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Cole slightly on wire rack.  Carefully run a knife around edges to loosen and turn out onto rack.  Invert onto serving plate almond side up.

NOTE: Ok so before, I said that this recipe was something I could not screw up. Well, I found a way!! Despite how much I cook, I don’t have fancy cook wear. I used an old cake pan and the torte stuck to the bottom of the pan. When I tried to take it out, it was stuck and crumbled. Hot mess. And typical of me when baking. So, I made another torte, and lined the pan with aluminum foil, going up the sides. That way, I was able to pop the torte out by pulling the foil.

Now, let’s talk cocktails. Last post we talked about hot grog- a festive, delicious beverage that can simmer on the stove for your Christmas open house. In addition to this, I always recommend having the following items on hand for a Christmas gathering:

Wine:

1 red and 1 white. I always buy 1 cab and 1 chardonnay, but occasionally add a pinot grigio for other white wine drinkers who like something lighter and more crisp than chardonnay. Also, chilled champagne is a must. Buy a brut champagne- I love Korbel. Recommendations for cab are Josh, 19 Crimes, True Myth, and La Crema. Suggestions for chardonnay are La Crema, Chateau St. Michelle, Edna Valley, True Myth. In addition to wine, a fun beer assortment is good- my husband loves the Abita Christmas Ale.

Liquor wise, I think a good vodka (Tito’s) is good and bloody mary accouterment. A bloody mary bar would be great for Christmas Day! I’d also consider buying Crown, soda, ginger ale, etc so people can have a few options.

My favorite liquor during the holidays is Frangelico. It is a hazelnut liquor and it is just heavenly! It tastes great straight, on the rocks, and is also delicious when adding a splash to champagne. Frangelico makes a great hostess gift, too!

Growing up, Christmas Eve was always a night where my dad would cook gumbo and my mom hosted open house. She’d prepare drinks and snacks and people come come and go as they pleased. We always went to mass on Christmas Eve. One year, we went to mass and came home to find that Santa passed early and brought a huge entertainment center complete with a big screen TV, a Nintendo 64 (it was the 90’s after all), a 6 CD changer, a VHS player, and tons of movies. My brother and I were SO pumped!!! We stayed up all night playing video games and watching movies. My brother and I slept in the den on the sofa bed that night. Those childhood memories are what make me love Christmas so much. Parents go above and beyond to make it special for their kids, and I love being able to pass down traditions of my own to my kids.

For Christmas Eve, it is tradition that my inlaws all go to Paw Paw Russell’s house. Every year, after 4:00 mass, everyone shows up to eat Paw Paw’s delicious food, open presents, and hang out. Well, this year the tradition has been moved to Terrent’s Uncle Shane’s house. I am so looking forward to being with my inlaws. I am so blessed to have a second family.

Cocktails are fun. Know what else is fun? Being SAFE! Don’t drink and drive, people!

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas Eve full of food, dessert, drinks, and family. Don’t let Christmas stress you out. Christmas is about peace, family, presents, food, and Jesus! Spread the love of Christmas, and Jesus, everywhere you go!!

God bless

xoxo- Cajun Queen

 

 

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