My mother loved Christmas. For years, she made what she called “maple creams,” chocolates with maple flavored cream filling. When she started making them, she made a bunch of different flavors, but the family favorite was maple, so eventually that was all she made. Those candies were what everyone looked for every year – totally decadent, totally sinful, totally delicious. Damn the migraine that invariably ensued from eating more than one, maybe two, it was worth the pain. And the diet after New Year’s when they were all a sweet memory.
My mother died almost 20 years ago. She died in October, making Christmas that year a very difficult holiday. I was in NY, still working on my Masters degree, making trips to PA to be with my Bear – who held the pieces of my heart together and kept me on this earth when I was very close to flying off the edge.
It took a long time for me to do a lot of the things she did at Christmas. We had a tree because of the grandchildren. I made cookies because of other people. I bought gifts because I love to give gifts, and that part of Christmas was never a sadness for me.
I’ve never been able to make the candies.
This year, I decided it was time. I gathered ingredients – do you know how hard it is to find paraffin wax? (It’s in the chocolate coating – makes it firmer) Or confectionery sugar? (Thanks, Brandon.)
I only know two people who like maple flavoring. Off I went to the store in search of extracts that people might like. My dear neighbor gave me a bottle of coconut, telling me I just needed to make sure she gets some candy. (She would have anyway) I bought cherry flavoring at the request of my middle granddaughter. I did get maple, because Mother would haunt me if I didn’t make at least SOME maples! I got peppermint because that’s a favorite here – and I’m going to break tradition and coat some of those with mint chocolate – and rum because, well, rum.
Today I spent an hour melting the damned chocolate over a double boiler. The first batch was scooped into balls yesterday, and waiting in the freezer. And finally, they were dipped. Well., that wasn’t so hard, so I did another batch! Coconut and cherry are now complete. Rum is in the freezer, and may be dipped later. Tomorrow till be the peppermints and maples.
Did I shed a few tears while doing this? Yeah, a few. And I had a long talk with my mother while I was dipping. And melting. And trying to figure out her less than precise directions. (Well, she knew what to do, and saw no reason to write down every little step!)
And Christmas is starting to feel like Christmas round here. Presents await wrapping, the ham will be brought up from the freezer tomorrow, excited messages are being received from the grandchildren, and the Bear is being his usual grumpy self – while trying not to smile when I tease him about his grinchyness.
All that’s left is to find a gift for Maverick. Oh, and I got the coolest thing for Peachy! 🙂