1) Barfing like mad on Christmas.
2) Ending up in the ER for one reason or another on Christmas Eve/Day (take your pick!).
But this year was different.
Yes, indeedy, my friends. This year was one for the ages, because for the first time in SIX YEARS (no lie!), we had a healthy Christmas. It. Was. EXTRAORDINARY. And miraculous. And to celebrate, I give you...
Christmas Afterthoughts, or The Christmas Caramels That Will Change Your Life And Render You Speechless Each And Every Time You Sink Your Teeth Into Them.
Because I am so incredibly organized (bwahaha), I am posting a Christmas treat recipe now rather than the weeks leading up to Christmas. I'm just THAT GOOD. But lest you think you have grown weary of Christmassy treats, let me just stop you right. there. These caramels...Oh, these caramels. I can barely speak of it. But I must. The world must know!!! Let me tell you a few things about these caramels.
I had all sorts of grandiose plans before Christmas to make all sorts of cookies, even after partaking in two cookie exchanges. There can never be enough cookies, right? And then...AND THEN I stumbled across these caramels from one of my favorite food blogs, Not Without Salt. Mmm...Caramels...I thought dreamily to myself as I was transported back to my childhood, back to that One Christmas when my Grandma Jeanne stayed with us for for about a week, and I remember being nine and having dreadful glasses, but what did that matter when mom and grandma were making FUDGE and CARAMELS?? It didn't matter at all, even though I was also wearing stirrup pants and tunic sweaters as well. I don't even know how I had the chutzpah to leave the house. But as I said, it didn't matter, because glorious things were happening in the kitchen. The fudge was wonderful; dense, chocolatey, perfect texture and consistency. I really liked the fudge. BUT THE CARAMELS....oh, the caramels. I fell madly and violently in love, and I simply couldn't get enough of them. SO, when I saw this caramel recipe, I knew my time had come. It was a rite of passage. It was my turn to make the caramels now. And make them I did. It was all I made in the weeks before Christmas. Any notion of making cookies flew out of my mind at an alarming rate of speed. Forget cookies. There were caramels to be made. The process was surprisingly simple- turns out I can boil butter and sugar just fine. All you need is a few simple ingredients, a candy thermometer, a prepared pan/workspace (there is to be NO checking of the Facebook whatsoever whilst making caramels; are we clear?), and a little bit of patience. Here we are in the "freshly poured into the pan" stage (allow about 8 hours to set. As I said, a bit of patience!)
Here we are in the gifting stage. So. Much. Fun.
These caramels. They are the most exquisite blend of sweetness, creaminess, a bite of salt (yes, I said "bite"), and the most wonderful and unexpected hint of sweet spices. They are my favorite forever. These are the caramels you need to drop everything for and make them at once, even if it's 2:30 in the afternoon and your kitchen smells like a yeast factory because you, once again, haven't quite finished all of the breakfast dishes, and there is cereal fermenting somewhere in your sink (not that I have EVER experienced THAT- hahaha...ho boy). Heed not the fermenting cereal, and make thyself these caramels! Thou shalt not regret it. Here is the link to the blog post and recipe for the caramels. Let's hear it for the Christmas Afterthought! Better late than never, I suppose. Enjoy, my friends!