Feeling a lot like Christmas

gingerbread-houses2
The Florida gingerbread villiage.

The Christmas spirit visited me early this year. Sometimes it is more elusive; I have to go searching to find the spirit. One year, I found the spirit in August, which is just a tad to early since we still had plenty of summer and fall to appreciate.

My daughter and I head to Florida for Thanksgiving to visit my parents. With 70-degree days, and a beach in the front yard, you might think the Christmas spirit would be hard to find. But that was not the case. For several years now, we decorate gingerbread houses over the Thanksgiving break. It’s a great project with kids because it takes care of those witching hours: before you can get to the beach, or after the beach and before bed.

The houses stay in Florida. We give them away. This year, I bought several kits at TJ Maxx to make once we returned to Erie. It seemed a shame not to enjoy a project once we are home. By we, though, I mainly mean me. My daughter loses interest. She says it’s because I’m too intense when it comes to decorating. Whatever the reason, she finished her roof and went off to the high school play last night. This left me elbow deep in frosting and candies. I had a couple of hours to kill, so I finished hers.

She was a huge help earlier in the day putting the tree up. I measured our ceiling this year. No more shrimpy tree. I had at least 11 feet to work with (although the highest point is more like 14). The helpful folks at Mason Farms  sent us to the back lot where the church trees were. With help, we picked one, and had them tie it to the top of the car.

Once home, I realized 11 feet is 5 feet more of tree than we usually have. So I needed her help to get it up. We managed, without any significant swear words, to right the tree in the living room. It needs about 24 hours to settle down, so the gingerbread project kept me from obsessing about decorating the tree.

After that, she got a pass on Mom’s Christmas projects for the day. Today, we decorate the tree.

Hope this post find you in the Christmas spirit.

XOXOXO

marnie

marnie@marniemeadmedia.com

 

Print Recipe
Feeling a lot like Christmas
This is a very easy and very impressive dessert to serve. It can be made a day ahead of time and decorated at the last minute. Take it out of the fridge about 20 minutes before serving, so the chill comes off the chocolate.
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours or overnight
Servings
Ingredients
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours or overnight
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. To make small tarts, unroll the pie crusts and run a rolling pin over them until they are smoothed out. Take your tart pan and place on top of the crust. Use a small knife to cut around the outside.. Repeat. I got about 3 tarts per pie crust.
  2. You can also make a shortbread cookie recipe. Roll into a log and chill. Cut out 1 1/5 inch to 2-inch rounds and press into the bottom of the tart pans. Or use the prepared sugar cookie tubes from the refrigerated section.
  3. Press crust into the bottom and slightly up the side of the tart pan. You don't want it to go all the way to the top like a pie crust.
  4. Use a fork to piece the bottoms of the pie crust. Bake in a 350-degree oven until light brown. Bake for 15 minutes, check to see if brown. If not, bake another 10 minutes. You don't want soft and gooey here.
  5. Remove from oven.
  6. In the meantime, pour heavy cream into a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until it starts to boil (about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes in my microwave). Remove from microwave and stir in sugar, butter, and chocolate pieces. Stir until melted. If all the chocolate doesn't melt, return to microwave for about 30 seconds. Remove and stir.
  7. Stir in milk. The chocolate should be shiny.
  8. I used a soup ladle to evenly distribute the chocolate onto the crust in the tart pans. This works best if the tart pans are on a baking sheet. Because now you need to refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the chocolate to set.
  9. Before serving, sprinkle with sea salt (trust me on this). It shouldn't cover the whole top. Just a little bit of flaky sea salt so you get a taste with each bite of chocolate. Either serve that way or add sprinkles, crushed peppermint, or crushed nuts (hazelnuts or pistachios would be nice here).
Recipe Notes

This is adapted from Jamie Oliver.

Share this Recipe