Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Ashlee as a shepherd
I'll start off by dedicating this post to my moronic brother-in-law Jon who thinks that ALL I do all holiday season is dip chocolates. He is an idiot. Chocolate dipping in my family has been a tradition for over 40 years. Every year, my mom starts the process early in December. She makes peanut brittle, English toffee, Almond Roca, etc. She also starts making the fondant which is what the centers on most of the chocolates are made from. As a child, I remember Mom making the fondant and letting it cool on the round pizza tins and then watching her and dad pull and pull and pull the fondant like taffy until it turned into a fudge-like consistency. They would do this numerous times. Mom would get us kids to help as well which was always fun. On chocolate dipping day, there are a few major necessities as follows:
*Dress Warm - The house has to be rather cold on chocolate day so the chocolates will set up. It can't be too cold or the chocolate cools off too quickly and turns white. We usually do a lot of layering in our clothes and feel somewhat sorry for those not dipping who are shivering most of the day.
*Christmas Music - There always has to be a wide arrangement of Christmas music going. In particular, we have to have the Ray Conniff singers on for some of it. With hits like "The Real Meaning of Christmas", "Go Tell it on the Mountain", etc. you can't go wrong. Just think Lawrence Welk singers...on uppers. It is amazing how they can turn ANY song into either a polka or a cha-cha. And more key changes than you can count. There is a lot of singing and dancing with Ray Conniff on.
*Marble Slabs - This is what we pour the chocolate on to dip.
*Electric Frying Pan/Fondue Pot - We've used both of these for years to heat up the chocolate. It has to be just the right temperature for dipping.
Those are just a few of the essentials for dipping. When we arrive, we start flavoring and coloring the fondant and then rolling it into balls. The usuals include mint, orange, lemon, and raspberry. Mom always insists on a batch of cherry nut as well. In addition, we do almond joys, caramels, raisin, almond, and peanut clusters as well. We also do white chocolate dipped pretzels and this year I threw in some white chocolate dipped oreos. It is a lot of work, but a tradition that I cherish and look forward to every year....and a yummy tradition for sure!
Sadie also thought every box and package was her own personal stepping stool and chair
Ashlee and McKell hanging up their stockings
They were all so cute!