Like my waiting for Santa days, Christmas is mostly about the anticipation. Only, as an adult, that anticipation includes shopping, wrapping, baking and packing for our visit with family in Indiana.
I bake scads of things to give away in goodie bags to friends and teachers. I have standard things like Chex party mix and decorated sugar cookies, and each year I try some experimenting too. This year, I'm making Muddy Buddies with store-brand Frosted Mini-Wheats instead of Chex cereal. I found a rum-spiced banana bread recipe to try and a killer fall-spiced caramel corn mix recipe that is as follows:
Caramel Corn Party MixPreheat oven, 300 degrees
Put in roasting pan:
-4c. popped popcorn (kernels removed)
-2c. Wheat Chex cereal
-1 1/2c. small pretzels
-1 1/2c. pecans
Mix in sauce pan:
-4T light corn syrup
Heat until boiling. Reduce heat to med/low for five minutes without stirring.
Remove mixture from heat and add:
-2t. pumpkin pie spice
1t. baking soda
Pour over popcorn mixture and stir. Bake 15 min. Stir. Bake five more minutes. Spread out on foil to cool.
Yes, we have a tree and other decorations, but I want to continue with the baking theme by sharing pictures of our annual Gingerbread House Decorating Party.
It starts with four batches of gingerbread (7 cups of flour each). Around six hours later, I've rolled out and baked all the pieces for the houses:
Then, another four hours later, the assembly is done:
Add kids, icing and a whole lot of candy and you get:
It's such a mess but so much fun. Last night, some of the girls were even reminiscing about gingerbread parties of the past. Those kinds of traditions, connections and memories are the heart of Christmas for me.