In the Days Following…

The Tree at Rockefeller Center, during one of its last days on display

The Tree at Rockefeller Center, during one of its last days on display

Yes, I know.
Christmas is over now.
I have pushed it as far as I can — all twelve days.
There are those awesome folk in Norway who keep it going through tonight
and I LOVE That!
But here, I expect that the full twelve days through January 6th is about as far as one can expect to take it.
And I have enjoyed the Full Ride.

Our Contemporary Culture seems dismissive of those of us who Celebrate Fully.
Christmas Day is a Day, and Get on with your Life!
And to that I say, “What Life?”
The Celebration of Kindness, Peace and Joy is my Life!
Acknowledgement of the presence of Angels is My Life!
I’ve no desire to toss all of that aside quickly to get back to working and winter and Non-Festive Things!
I have enough days of Non-Festive Things!

And so I have reluctantly taken down most of the decorations and garlands…

Taking it Down

Taking it Down

pretty much everything but the Tree.

Taking it All Down

Taking it All Down

The Tree is still up.
This is less of a vast political statement and more an effect of it taking twelve hours thus far to get everything else down.

I could leave it up another day or two.
And so I started baking…
That’s Festive!


Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Cookies (with a miniature Peanut Butter Cup in the middle!)

And Giving!
And Fun!

I made the same Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Cookies I made last year:

Unbaked, on the Cookie Sheet

Unbaked, on the Cookie Sheet

But this time, in Step Four, where it says to Smoosh the two balls of dough together, I put an unwrapped miniature Peanut Butter Cup in between the two balls of dough and baked it inside.
Might just be the Best Peanut Butter Cookie Ever!

Salted Brownie Cookies

Salted Brownie Cookies

I discovered a Wonderful Brownie Cookie while researching for the TreeHouse Kitchen this year, and it just happens to be Gluten Free.
Cacao is used in place of Flour for this recipe.
I recommend using a really High Quality Cacao!
I used Valrhona Cacao for this batch, and they came out exceptionally well!
I must confess that I used too much salt for my own taste — slightly less might have been better — just a pinch, an accent.

Caramel... Yum!

Caramel… Yum!

For some of them, I wrapped the dough around a chunk of caramel which melted into a large caramel dot in the middle of the cookie, and here the salty-sweet balance was just perfect!

Caramel Centers in a Salty Chocolate Cookie

Caramel Centers in a Salty Chocolate Cookie

However you make them, they are truly a find, because they are a Delicious Brownie Cookie — not gluten free via substitutions,
but rather because the recipe in its Deliciousness just happens to be Gluten Free!

And finally,

Reverse Chocolate Chunk Cookies...YUM!

Reverse Chocolate Chunk Cookies…YUM!

Reverse Chunk Chocolate Chip Cookies!
Take whatever Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe you are using, add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of good quality Cacao to the dry ingredients in the batter (You can reduce the flour if you like, but for most recipes, I have not found it necessary), and instead of chocolate chips, use double the amount of fine quality White Chocolate, chopped into chunks — I recommend Callebaut!
Always a Great and Delicious Twist!

I Love to Bake!
I know.
It’s another one of those things for which it is all too easy to believe that there is never time, anymore.
Remember, it’s a kind of Yoga!
And you can really make someone’s day by sending them a batch of fresh-baked, homemade Cookies!

It is all about Giving
And Love
And God With Us
And Twinkling Lights in the midst of the Darkest Days of Winter.
It is about Festivity
And Laughter
And Fun!
It is about making time for one another
And Enjoying all that Life has to Offer!
It is about Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Everyone!

There is no reason for any of that to stop on December 26th
Or January 7th
Or Ever!
Our Lifetimes can be Exuberant Expressions of Good Will!
We can bake Cookies any day in the Calendar Year
And Give them Away!
We can Laugh and Create a Vibration of JOY in our Lives!
And we can hang a string of Lights any time of year
(or never take them down!)

Star Lights add a dimension of Magic any time of year

Star Lights add a dimension of Magic any time of year

It is up to us to make our own JOY!
If you chose not to pause and Celebrate Christmas, it is not too Late!
In these wintry days of January, it is a perfect time to observe Love and Kindness
And extend the JOY FULLness of Christmas to everyone you meet!
That’s the Secret of Christmas…

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Leave a comment


  1. Stop, Arnold! I am drooling on my keyboard. And I am wishing you lived in my neighbourhood. Since you live a continent away, I’m just glad you make our world so much brighter.


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