Monday, December 26, 2016


I hope that your Christmas was filled with joy, and that the time didn't fly by quite so quickly as it seemed to here.

The time with our daughter here at home just flew by. It didn't help that her flight was cancelled, so she arrived the next morning, which meant less time together. Still, we had fun decorating the tree together, much to Sweetie's amusement. Some years we go with a color theme and this year we agreed on red and gold, so the multi-colored lights and ornaments we have used in recent years were left in the attic, but we still had plenty of lovely ornaments, strings of tiny white lights, and barely enough non-breakable decorations for the bottom branches where the lethal black lab tail of Pi would wreck havoc with breakable ornaments.

We listened to Christmas music,  and moved things around until everything looked balanced (and this process was greatly amusing to Sweetie who is still mystified as to why this ritual is so enjoyable for us. He does, however, enjoy the finished product and told us so a number of times). The photo at the top of the post is the finished tree. See the new French baguette ornament I got to remind us of our trip? Notice the gorgeous hot air balloon ornament from Kate? Hot air balloons are very Sonoma County. It's fun to add an ornament or two each year.

Then we moved on to getting ready for the tea!

Christmas Eve was peaceful and we enjoyed a relatively fancy dinner of coq au vin, mashed potatoes and peas. I also baked a goodie for Christmas morning.

Christmas was even more laid back. Coffee and tea first, of course. Then we gently reheated my version of the Kringle recipe that is this month's #bakealong recipe at King Arthur Flour. Theirs was a pecan and caramel Kringle. I went with almond and raspberry, including putting a thin rope of almond paste between the bottom and top layers which was not in the recipe at all. The Kringle was moist and almondy and perfect! Looks like I have found our 'new tradition' recipe for Christmas morning. We also had fruit salad that Sweetie made, mimosas that Kate made and some delicious ham.

In the afternoon we had some friends and neighbors drop by. The table had been set up with an array for foods that can sit out as a buffet, like roasted peppers, kale salad, bean and corn salad, bread and cheese and a tray of mixed dried fruits. When they arrived I added things from the fridge, including potato salad, hummus and chips, and an assortment of salamis. The two couples each went home with a plate of Christmas cookies, too.

It was nice to just have a few folks over. We'll do the Boxing Day Bash next year and have lots of people to visit with. It would have been too much this year.

So Kate flew home today, I visited with Straight Shooter (since when he arrived in the late afternoon Christmas Day we were already visiting with those who had dropped by), had tea with a friend who brought a new, gorgeous doggie bed for Pi (thank you Paula...he loves it!), and took a nap. Did some laundry, ran the dishwasher, helped take out the trash...that sort of thing.

It would have been hard to have a better Christmas (except for having Kate and Straight Shooter here for another day or two).

Tomorrow or the next day I'll have a guest post for you...with a recipe that I would never make, but one that looks delicious!

Here is the recipe for the Kringle as tinkered with by me:

Almond Raspberry Kringle
Based on a recipe from King Arthur Flour

  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) non-dairy margarine, cut into pats
  • 1 cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 4 oz. almond paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) non-dairy margarine
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  •  3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • about 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 2-3 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 1 cup confectioners'  sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy milk, enough to make a thick but pourable glaze
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • pinch of salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) a baking sheet that's at least 18" x 13"; or a 14" round pizza pan.
  2. To make the base: Combine the margarine, flour, sugar and salt, mixing until crumbly. I used a pastry blender to cut the fat into the flour mixture. Add the water, and stir to make a soft, sticky dough. I used a fork and added the water slowly as I do for pie crust.
  3. Wet your hands, pick up the dough, and shape it into a 12" x 8" oval ring on the sheet pan; or a 10" ring in the pizza pan. This will be messy going, but just keep wetting your fingers and pushing it into a ring. An easy way to approach this is to first divide the dough into four pieces; roll each piece into a 9" rope, then connect the ropes and shape them into a ring.
  4. Once you've made the ring, flatten the dough so it's about 1 1/2" wide; basically, it'll look like a train or NASCAR track. Make a thin rope out of the almond paste and put it over the dough, connecting the ends so that the whole 'track' has a ring of almond paste in the middle of the track.
  5. To make the pastry topping: Place the water, margarine, and salt in a saucepan, and heat over medium heat until the margarine is melted and the mixture is boiling.
  6. Immediately add the flour, stirring with a spatula until the mixture is cohesive and starts to form a ball.
  7. Transfer the batter to a mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Add the almond extract at the end.
  8. Spread the pastry along the ring, covering it and the almond paste completely; you'll now have a much wider ring, though it won't be completely closed in the center; it should still look like a ring.
  9. Bake the kringle for 50 to 60 minutes, until it's a deep golden brown. When the kringle is done, remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool completely on the pan.
  10. To add the filling: First, have the sliced almonds all ready beside the pan of kringle; you'll be sprinkling them atop the jam as soon as you put it on.
  11. Stir the jam with a fork to break it up and then spread it over the kringle in a thin, even layer, mostly in the middle. Sprinkle sliced almonds atop the raspberry jam, pressing them in gently. Allow the kringle to cool completely.
  12. To make the glaze: Stir together the confectioners' sugar, salt, flavor almond extract and enough soy milk to make a pourable glaze. Drizzle it over the kringle.
  13. To serve, cut the kringle in 2" slices.

If you prefer, you can bake the base, almond paste and cooked dough topping the day before serving, then wrap well and let sit on the counter overnight. In the morning add the jam and glaze. 

I baked mine and did the jam and glaze on Christmas Eve, then put it in the microwave overnight (out of sight, out of mind, so no one is tempted to try it early), then reheated it gently in the microwave before serving on Christmas morning.

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