We had a really good weekend, which is nice after experiencing a bad week at work. Saturday night we had dinner with our friends Brian and Tiana, then we all hopped in the car to make a Starbucks run so we could drink coffee while driving around looking at Christmas lights. The houses around here are so beautiful! I should've taken some pictures, but regretfully did not. You must use your imagination, however, I do not have the energy to even give you any details to help that imagination of yours. Then we came back to our home and watched Sum of All Fears...back in Ben Affleck's good ol' days.
Sunday was church, then the rest of the day was spent baking, baking, baking! We made pizzelles...an Italian holiday cookie that is becoming a family tradition. For those who do not know what a pizzelle is, it is a very thin, round, delicate cookie with various designs. The Italian version is anise flavored, however, I'm not fond of that licorice taste...so I made three other flavors instead. Vanilla, Orange, and of course... Chocolate! yum yum!
Here's the background: My grandmother has a pizzelle maker from the late 70s or early 80s made by Vitantonio. It's a vintage now since Vitantonio no longer exists (Villaware is the new name). She is letting my mom borrow it right now. So when I was home for Thanksgiving, my mom and I made some pizzelles and I fell in love with the pizzelle maker machine thingy. Right when I got back to Wheaton, I decided to try to find that pizzelle maker and buy one for myself. Little did I know that this Vitantonio brand is no longer around. I also found out from my research that this brand was the best pizzelle maker made! They were selling on Ebay for no less than $100, so I decided to research other brands...like Villaware (which is really Vitantonio...but not as good) and were half the price. I didn't find ones that I liked as much as the Vitantonio. Then a bright light went off in my head! There is a website called Craigslist.org that is a free online classifieds and pretty popular. So, with little expectations, I posted a "want" ad for the Vitantonio pizzelle maker model #300. A few days later I received an email from a guy in Naperville (nearby town) who had one and would sell it to me for $40! yay! So Ben and I met him at a strip mall that week to do our exchange.
Anyway, all that leads up to the day we spent baking cookies. We also made Florentine Cookies which I made of honey and pecans, with a layer of semi-sweet chocolate on one side. I was inspired to try making these cookies after my trip to the Gas Light Village in East Grand Rapids, Michigan. My family and I stopped at a bakery where I tried my first Florentine cookie. Ooooh boy was it fantastic! So, again, I used the most useful resource (the Internet) and found a convincingly good recipe. This recipe has proven itself indeed.
And, lastly, we made Gingerbread Boys. This has been and always will be a tradition for the Gladds. Ben's favorite baking memory (and probably only one) is making Gingerbread Boys every Christmas. Of course, he had to mention that when he was just a young tad, he and his two brothers would sneakily use the frosting to make the Gingerbread Boys anatomically correct. haha! Boys will be boys I guess!
And to top off our Christmas themed weekend...we bought our stockings for this year. Actually, I like these so much that I believe we'll keep them until our family grows. They're more decorative than Christmasy, but Ben even really likes them, too....so they are keepers. They also have this Italian feel to them... Check out the pic and see for yourself. :)
This posting became a bit longer than I proposed it would be in the beginning. Goes to prove that blogs (or "blobs" as my mom would say) are quite addictive.
May your Christmas be full of yummy cookies, beautiful stockings, and anatomically correct gingerbread boys.