Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

These days I think Christmas Eve is even better than Christmas Day.  That is, if the shopping is done and no crazy mood strikes, whispering in my ear telling me to go to the mall.  Son #1 just left to finish his shopping.  But me, I am happily at home for the day.  We will go to a Moravian Love Feast this evening at Christ the King Moravian Church and then drive around looking at lights before coming home to the Ex-Ex family's traditional Christmas Eve dinner of hamburgers, French fries, and chocolate milkshakes.  We then open gifts.  It was early to bed to wait for Santa when the boys were little, now it's early to bed for mom and dad!  Santa still puts in an appearance, of course.
I chose to begin this Christmas Eve by making one of Mama Mildred's easy treats from the past.  Monkey Bread or Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread.  Whatever you want to call it.  A lot of American moms have probably made this one, thanks to Pillsbury. 

The Ex-Ex likes something warm from the oven to go with his coffee and morning paper.  However, after this was in the oven for a few minutes, I smelled smoke.  Uh-oh.  Well, it didn't take me long to figure out that I had used the wrong pan.  The tube pan I chose to fill with biscuits, cinnamon, brown sugar and three-fourths cup of melted butter has a removable bottom that allowed the butter to escape.  (Note to self:  When the recipe says to use a fluted pan, use a fluted pan.)  So, I stuck a cookie sheet under the mess, let it finish baking, cracked a few windows, and turned on the fan.  (Now the oven is self-cleaning and the fan is still going. And I think I need to change the batteries in the smoke detectors.  They didn't make a peep.)
When Son #1 was two years old, he really, really, really wanted an Ernie doll.  As you can see from the first photo, we found one and he still has it, 22 years later.  He loved Ernie.  He even had a striped turtleneck shirt much like Ernie's that he wore all the time.  I am not sure how many times we watched Sesame Street's Christmas Special.  A thousand might not be an exaggeration. We taped it (back in the VCR days) and now every time I hear Jose Feliciano sing Feliz Navidad I think of Big Bird ice skating. 

Monkey Bread

1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cans (16.3 oz each) Pillsbury Grands Homestyle Buttermilk refigerated biscuits
1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
1/2 c. raisins, optional
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 c. melted butter

1.  Heat oven to 350˚F.  Lightly grease a 12-cup fluted pan.  In large plastic food storage bag, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.
2.  Separate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each into quarters.  Shake in bag to coat.  Arrange in pan, adding nuts and raisins among biscuit pieces, if desired. 
3.  In small bowl, mix brown sugar, and melted butter; pour over biscuits pieces.  Bake 28-32 minutes until golden brown and no longer doughy in center.  Cool in pan 10 minutes.  Turn upside down onto a serving plate.  Pull apart to serve.  Serve warm.

Bon appétit, Christmas Eve and Ernie!

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