Daily Archives: 27 December 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas

As with every year, Christmas provides a chance to make all manner of things to suit the season. This involves lots of big flavours – spices, honey, chocolate and citrus.

Last year, I got the baking bug early and made rather a lot. This year, I probably got too cocky. It started in a bar, when the gauntlet was thrown down – would I be able to do a “Twelve Days of Christmas” series? My response was a resounding yes. This was back in early November when I had what seemed like lots and lots of time to do it.

Well, if you’ve been a regular reader, you’ll notice that it was only on Christmas Eve, with just hours to spare, that I completed my challenge with my twelfth and final post in the series. I certainly hope you’ve enjoyed them – I’ve tried to have a mixture of flavours and cultures in there, and it certainly has been good fun to try a few new things.

In case you are wondering, here are the original lyrics, with each of my recipes next to them. There were a couple of coincidences, see if you can spot them!

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:

…twelve Drummers Drumming (Spiced Chocolate Truffles)…
…eleven Pipers Piping (Mother Monsen’s Cake)…
…ten Lords-a-Leaping (Loftkökur)…
…nine Ladies Dancing (Kerstkransjes)…
…eight Maids-a-Milking (Stollen)…
…seven Swans-a-Swimming (Sugar Plums)…
…six Geese-a-Laying (Honninghjerter)…
…five Gold Rings (Lussekatter)…
…four Colly Birds (Speculaas)…
…three French Hens (Red Peppercorn Pfeffernüsse)…
…two Turtle Doves (Speculaaskruiden)…
…and a Partridge in a Pear Tree (Aachener Printen)!

In case you’re curious, the “little coincidences” were 12 of the spiced truffles (like the drummers), the gold rings were represented by bright yellow saffron buns, and one of the speculaas cookies was in the shape of something that looked not unlike a colly bird. OK, maybe stretching it on that last one just a little bit, but it made me smile…

So will I be doing this again next year?

My first instinct was “no” – I did not quite anticipate the volume of baked goods that would be coming out of the kitchen, and on a less obvious level, it’s rather difficult to take decent photographs in the British winter – I much prefer daylight for taking shots, and that’s a little tricky if you work and it gets dark at four in the afternoon. There is also a limit to just how much dried fruit, nuts and spice that someone can eat in a short period of time. All these pragmatic things that never crossed my mind when I proudly took on the challenge!

However, all these recipes have also been fun – I’ve used this as an excuse to try some new ideas, revisit some old ones, and bake using unusual ingredients or employ techniques that I was unfamiliar with. It might be going a bit far to say that I have “pushed” myself, but I’ve certainly made things that I’m not familiar with, so that has been interesting. And heck – if nothing else, I have finally mastered the art of tempering chocolate! So I leave this project with a “maybe”. We’ll see how I’m feeling in November 2012.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these posts – but if you have any feedback, I’ve love to hear. Questions, suggestions and – gasp – even ideas for next year!

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