Don’t forget to leave out your stockings or your shoes as tonight’s the night St. Nicholas comes…
As children we always celebrated St. Nicholas Day – just sometimes it was on December 5 and sometimes December 6 – my mom could never remember which day it was! So on the eve of which ever day she thought it was that year, we’d leave out our shoes and in the morning, they’d be on our chair at breakfast filled with nuts, coins and candy.
Here’s a little history of this religious holiday… Traditional celebrations of St. Nicholas Day in Northern Europe included gifts left in children’s shoes (the origin of our American Christmas Stockings). Good children receive treats – candies, cookies, fruit, nuts, while naughty children receive lumps of coal. Sometimes coins were left in shoes, reminiscent of the life-saving dowries he once provided. Today, especially in families of German descent, children still put a shoe outside their bedroom doors on the eve of St. Nicholas Day, and expect to find candy and coins in the morning.
To learn all about St. Nicholas click here.
It has become expected that I will arrive with no less than the Buche de Noel at Christmas dinner as I made the arduous mistake of taking on the challenge a couple of years ago. Now I must admit, this is a fun recipe, it just takes a little bit of time (and several mixing bowls) as there are so many parts to the log. So settle into the kitchen with a glass of wine and have fun!
Buche de Noel
5 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for parchment and pan
2/3 cup sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1/3 cup sifted cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
Pinch of baking soda
6 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz semisweet chocolate
4 tbsp unsalted butter
4 large eggs, separated
Pinch of cream tartar
1/2 cup heavy cream
Chocolate Ganache (for icing)
6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
Meringue Mushrooms (garnish)
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
3 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
Sugared Rosemary Branches (garnish)
1 egg white
3/4 cup sugar
This past weekend we went to Butler’s Orchard up in Germantown to get our Christmas Tree. We have a tradition of making the trek up there to pick out and cut down our own tree. Their land is beautiful and they have a variety of pick your own crops throughout the year – they are my favorite place for picking blueberries during the summer months.
For Christmas trees, you drive out to the field and they give you a saw to pick out and cut down your perfect tree…
This past weekend, they had Newfoundland dogs on site to help pull your tree from the field to your car…
For more about Butler’s click below…