19 December 2010

Christmas Traditions

There are some mighty big snowflakes falling on Paris at this moment.  It literally looks as if a celestial pillowfight has happened, and the pillows busted, spewing feathers everywhere.  Most Parisians claim that it never snows in Paris, but this year, it has snowed already three times!  As if Paris wasn't pretty enough, a fresh blanket of snow really makes it just sublime.  Paired with the Christmas spirit, and the city is downright magical..

The NY Times often produces recipes that tempt me.  I send myself the link, and then…nothing.  I very rarely make them.  Sometimes it is a question of time, other times I lack the American ingredients.  But this past week, they published a recipe for egg nog, and my brain perked up.  I normally don't like egg nog back in the States, but that is because it is generally premade and in a plastic bottle at Kroger.  It also generally does not have the best alcohol flavouring either.  So I figured that egg nog, like so many other things you can make with love and fresh ingredients, was probably better when homemade.  Plus, the cream, milk, and eggs that you get here in France.  Sold!

One of my favorite things to do is to introduce Fab to American holiday traditions, so egg nog soon became a part of my weekend agenda, along with a baking-palooza of Christmas cookies I usually make with my Mom.  I started baking earlier in the week and my spirits were crushed as I had baking FAIL.  Not only was it a fail…it was a double fail.  I made chocolate chip cookies (something I have been making since I was 8 years old) and buckeyes.  Even though measured precisely, my cookies immediately melted and became flat interconnected pieces on the baking sheet.  This can often be attributed to the fact that flour in France is just different because it is finer.  Their "all-purpose" flour is like our "cake" flour back in the States.  Type 65 tends to work wellLater on, I added more flour and it was saved.  But still!  So disappointed in myself.  The buckeyes were just too moist to form into balls and dip into melted dark chocolate.  An addition of Corn Pops (Miel Pops en français) saved the day.  I figured I got all of my bad cooking karma out of the way before Fab got here on Friday, so I had my cooking productivity back to make a batch of golden snickerdoodles and double chocolate cherry cookies.
Thanks to all the fresh cream and eggs available at the dairy shop just around the corner, the egg nog turned out to be a creamy, nutmeg-y success.  The thought of drinking that many raw eggs gives anyone pause, especially Americans (our eggs tend to not be that fresh on the date of purchase), but you could barely taste any sort of egg flavor.  It was rich, and the egg whites gave it a lighter consistency.  Fab and I immediately fell in love with it, and I think it will become a part of our Christmas traditions for years to come.

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