More holiday food things

I realized yesterday that in my flurry of holiday baking last weekend, I forgot to set aside some stuff for our mail carrier, as I had planned to do. We give something to her every year, since it was always so neat when my stepdad Bill got presents and baked things from his customers at Christmas and I like passing that on. I baked some extra cheese wafers today (and wondered what I ever did before I got a Silpat this summer), then put a dozen of those and the recipe down in a cute holiday bag. They're now sitting in our mailbox awaiting her Christmas Eve visit.

I've been going peppermint crazy this Christmas, ordering peppermint mochas every time I'm within shouting range of a coffeeshop and enjoying peppermint bark and candy canes more than usual. I used to not care much one way or the other about peppermint, partly because it sort of burned my tongue, but this year, I'm not sure what happened — I've just been seeking it out everywhere. I'm not normally into the froofie coffee drinks, either, but peppermint mochas just sing to me. After a few unsuccessful grocery store hunts for bottled peppermint syrup, it dawned on me: Google. Duh. I found this recipe and made some tonight, put in a drop of red food coloring so I won't forget what it is, then distributed it among four old baby food jars. I figure they're easier to pour from than a big mason jar, and I don't have any other airtight containers suitable for liquids.

I knew I was keeping those jars around for something. I'm becoming more like my mother each day. When I was a kid (and a snotty teenager/college student, and probably even more recently than that), I used to roll my eyes at all the stuff she saved that she thought she might someday be able to use, or that someone else might someday be able to use. Freecycle has become like a godsend for her, because through the magic of the internet, she now has a quick way to get that stuff she saves to people who need it. If you told my teenaged self this, that Erica wouldn't believe you, but I appreciate this awesome resourcefulness now. I just have to make sure I have a place to keep the futurely useful things, and if I don't have a place, I don't keep them.

Anyway, I'll let you know how my homemade peppermint mocha that I plan to make tomorrow morning turns out.

I realize that I've mentioned the cheese wafers twice recently, so here's the recipe, slightly adjusted from my grandmother's recipe that she got from I'm-not-sure-who before her. Note: cayenne can be adjusted to taste. The original recipe calls for a "dash" but I've used as much as 1/4 tsp, and it's got a kick but it's not overpowering.

Cheese WafersMix together butter and cheese. Sift together other ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to butter mixture and mix until well combined (hands work best for this mixing). Shape into 1" balls, place on a Silpat (or, okay, a lightly greased cookie sheet), then flatten with the palm of your hand or the bottom of a glass. Bake at 350 F for 15 to 18 minutes, until they begin to brown on the edges.

The original recipe calls for rolling the dough into logs, refrigerating it, then slicing it, but mine is always too crumbly for that, so I find that just using my hands works much better. These little crispy things are so good, and they keep for months. We found this out by accident when we once forgot about a batch my grandmother made us, then found them a couple of months later and finished off the whole container.

Yumminess to all, and to all a good night!

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