I am really excited about Thanksgiving this year.
I will driving up to my friend Melinda's house in Los Angeles, to celebrate with her and her family.
Her enthusiasm spilled over and infected me.
Thanksgiving is her favorite day of the year--she has been planning the meal for months now. She longs for Fall and this day...the crisp air, the coming together of good food, good feelings, good repartee. This is the first time in as long as I can remember when I even really celebrated the day. It feels like the turning of a new leaf, a new attitude, a new beginning. Actually, I feel a change coming, and it's going to be good. (how many times can I use good in this paragraph?)
I asked Mel if I could make an apple pie or onion rolls (best recipe ever in Victory Garden cookbook!), or bring wine or....
She said she had it all under control, but the sweet tooths might appreciate some candy.
Well, heaven forbid I rush out to See's, no, I wanted to add a traditional touch and make my own. So many choices...
I settled on Chocolate Covered Cherries. Normally I am not a fan, but I made these a few years ago for my brother who loves them, and they are really really good. They used to be linked on Cooks.com, but no longer, so here it is:
Chocolate Covered Liqueur Cherries
Preferably 2 months or more in advance:
Drain liquid from 1 16-oz jar plus 1 10-oz jar maraschino cherries with stems. Cover cherries with brandy, rum or as desired. Store in refrig for two months or longer. There is no "shelf-life", these last forever.
*note: I skipped this part. They're still delicious.
Drain about 50 cherries; pat cherries dry on absorbent paper towels and set aside. Reserve remaining cherries for other uses.
To make a fondant:
Combine, stirring well:
3 Tablespoons butter, softened
3 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
Stir in, and knead until smooth:
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
Shape 1/2 teaspoon fondant around each cherry. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheet; chill about 2 hours or until firm.
Melt (in top of double boiler over simmering water):
1 12-oz package semisweet chocolate morsels or preferred chocolate and
1 Tablespoon shortening
Dip each cherry by the stem into chocolate. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Chill until firm.
Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.
*note: it takes about 2 weeks to liquefy the sugar mixture. In other words, these just get better with time. They taste much better chilled too. They would be pretty with another color chocolate drizzled over the top in a zig-zag pattern.
I also made Macadamia brittle (well, actually I burned that one),
and a rocky road bark that I will post about later. I ran out of time, or I would have tried mints.
First though, my own little tradition is to get up Thanksgiving morning and cook myself a killer breakfast, then settle in comfortably under a blanket (not necessary this year--it's a beautiful sunny day), and watch the Macy's Parade. I love the parade. It's so innocent, traditional, old-fashioned fun...and down-home-Americana.
Have a great day.