I may have led you astray yesterday by telling you today was National Roast Suckling Pig Day. It really is Roast Suckling Pig Day and I would have loved to have roasted the hell out of a suckling pig for the sake of celebration. However, they’re not the easiest to find and the ones I found online were in the $250 range. That’s a little pricey for my budget, not to mention all the time it takes to actually roast one (low and slow). Plus, if I told you exactly what a suckling pig was, I might just spoil your appetite for swine. No, today’s celebration would not find Peppa Pig in our oven with an apple in her mouth. I’d have to celebrate something else.
I did find on my back-up holiday website that today was National Bake Cookies Day. If you are thinking that I have celebrated this before, you are either recalling National Homemade Cookie Day or National Cookie Day. They are all the same essentially, but because there is no authority on these holiday matters, sometimes chaos ensues. Plus, now is the time of year for cookies and everybody is busy making sweets for their parties and gift exchanges. It actually makes sense to celebrate cookies multiple times over the month.
I went to one of my favorite blogs for recipes, AverieCooks.com, and she was featuring a Peppermint Patty Chocolate Cookie on her page. I’m a fan of Peppermint Patties and of chocolate plus I’ve made her cookies before and they are usually awesome, so I thought this would be perfect. I had everything I needed on hand with the exception of the Peppermint Patties, so I made a quick trip up the street and then came home and got to work making the dough. Super easy and it came together in no time. A quick taste of the finished batter and I knew these cookies would be good. I scooped out the dough into little balls, placed them on a platter, and then put them in the fridge to chill for a few hours. Chilling the dough on these cookie recipes is really a big factor in their deliciousness. I’m not sure of the chemistry involved, but it really adds to how the cookie cooks and tastes, so when the instructions say chill your dough, do it!
At about 3 PM, I preheated the oven, and then took out the dough balls from the fridge. You kind of smash the dough ball down onto the cookie sheet just to flatten it out a little, and then you add the Peppermint Patties on top. I was using York Peppermint Pattie Minis, as suggested, and you would cut them in half and add three halves to the top of each cookie. You had to make sure they wedged in the dough while trying not to smush them. It was a delicate maneuver, but I got that hang of it. The cookies cooked for about ten minutes and I cooled them right on the cookie sheet until they were firm enough to pick up. They came out looking pretty good, although the peppermint seemed to have melted over the cookie, more so than it did on the pictures on the blog. That ended up being ok though.
When I wasn’t making cookies today, I was working with Lola to give a quick clean of the house. We were having a what is turning out to be annual caroling party tonight and some of Lola’s sisters and families were coming over. Last year, we had a Christmas gathering so we could have some fun with the kids (I even busted out my Santa Claus outfit which proved to not fool any of the kiddies and hence Danta Claus was born). In any case, somehow at that party, the spirit of Christmas overtook us and we decided it would be fun to go caroling in our neighborhood. So we marched as a rag tag group of revelers across the street and surprised our neighbor Jenny with some happy holiday music. We tried it at our next door neighbors too. It was all very spontaneous and all very embarrassing in that fun holiday way. When we were retelling that story months later to Becky who was not there, she was dying at the thought of the whole thing. She thought it was hilarious but she was also mortified about the whole thing. Naturally, this year we wanted Becky to join the singing posse. But she would not. She wanted no part of it. She’d be there for the cheer and drinks part if needed, but wanted no part of the singing. This is where the plot began.
We wanted to have our caroling party again this year, but we wanted to make it a little less random and not attack unsuspecting neighbors (we’re still sorry Jenny). That’s when we had the idea to carol at Becky’s which would also be an official welcome back to Portsmouth for us. So the gang came over at around 5 PM. Cherie, Pete and the kids, Dave, Jeanie and Mae, and Katie, Gary and their kids (including Ronnie home from college). We had some pizza and they got to try my Peppermint Pattie Chocolate Cookies, but then we got to the business at hand. I had printed out some song sheets and we practiced our carols around the kitchen table. Some were better than others, but we were actually sounding better with each song we attempted. Cherie had brought over some instruments which added to the atmosphere and Waverly played perfect accompaniment on her recorder. Cherie, who had lost her voice, was a particularly enthusiastic percussionist too. We drew a map of Becky’s house and discussed the plan. We knew where to park to stay hidden and even knew our danger spots where Jeff might pick us up if he was outside on his back deck. Watches were synchronized, the plan was laid out, and we were ready to roll. We wall jumped in to our cars and headed over in the cover of night.
We parked in front of the neighbors house so we could stay undetected. We had plans to walk up with candles to light our way, but it ended up being too windy, so our phone lights were all clicked on. We came up the driveway with the song “Dominick the Donkey” playing over the megaphone (a Becky favorite). When we assembled on the lawn in front of their door, we broke out into our first song: “Here Comes Santa Claus.” I should mention that Becky was hosting a party for her neighbors. We knew this and somehow figured that would be perfect timing. So while we were singing, we could see into their living room and could see everyone chatting with each other in the coziness of their house. We are not sure when they noticed what was happening. We sent out a scout to knock on the door and even tried to sing a little louder. Then suddenly we were discovered, and we started singing with a little more glee. Becky was dying. Double knee slapping hunched over kind of laughter that makes you laugh too. Her neighbors looked like they were enjoying too, although they must have thought what the hell is happening. Jeff was trying to contain the dogs excitement too.
Our second song featured our soloist Pete who was wearing a Captain’s hat for some reason. He belted out his falsetto version of “O Holy Night” accompanied by Katie on the six string guitar. If ever a song transcended across a cold winter night, it was this. Pete was having a moment and it felt like his soul was filled with the Lord. I think I saw a tear on his cheek. When the applause stopped for Pete, we all launched into an exuberant rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Kids were running amok across the lawn throughout our songs, but the adults stayed together, swaying in the cold air beneath the starry sky, the Breslin porch filled with laughs and smiles. Our cheer was spread. Then we skedaddled. Becky of course told us to come in, but we made sure everyone knew the plan was to go in and out. But it was a rousing success and once again, we caroled this Christmas.
The Peppermint Pattie Chocolate Cookies were delicious. They were chocolatey and soft. The chocolate chips inside gave a great little extra crunch to every bite and the peppermint spread perfectly over the cookie so it was well balanced. That’s how I celebrated National Bake Cookies Day. And the best part of baking those cookies was being able to share them with friends and family in the spirit of Christmas. I think the beer and wine we had all imbibed in may have have been the true factor behind our caroling enthusiasm, but eating a warm cookie before spreading holiday cheer always gives you that festive spirit. It was just a happy holiday memory, which is what this is all about. So we’ll keep the cookies and the songs coming. You never know, you might just have a group of really happy but bad singers appear on your lawn someday soon.
Next Up: National Oatmeal Muffin Day