Advent Day 19 – December 19, 2021

by Roy Beckemeyer

Day 19 – Winter Wonderland California Chardonnay and White Cheddar

Interesting fact for those inclined toward numerology or those tracking their Advent tastings of wine and cheese. On Day 19 we repeat the pairing of Day 9: Chardonnay and white cheddar. Fortuitous? Yes! If one had to be repeated, this was a wise choice! Significance of the 10-day spacing? The base of our numbering system? So glad we don’t use the hexadecimal system, as we would never have gotten back to this combination (any programmers out there who can recall making their way through dumps of hexadecimal numbers trying to debug a piece of code?). Enough of this hocus pocus hiddeley-piddeley wandering. It was great to repeat this pairing.

Especially after we went through the long and lovingly but almost endlessly detailed assembly of our batch of 2021 Lebkuchen. We have been making these cookies every year for over 30 years now. The dough is made by bringing molasses or dark syrup almost to a boil, dissolving brown sugar in it, then mixing in a whipped egg and lemon zest and then combining it into flour and cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves, then letting that dough age in the fridge overnight or a couple of days. The dough gets cold and stiff and needs to be that way to keep from flattening out as the cookies bake. So we pry a quarter of the dough from the bowl at a time, put the rest back, roll out a circle a quarter-inch thick, then cut rounds. Back they go into the fridge until we are ready to place them on a cool cookie sheet, adorn them with candied cherry halves and five blanched almonds each, turning them into little Christmas flowers, then bake them to a turn Then they cool on the sheet and rest 5-10 minutes until they can be lifted safely from the sheet. They cool some more, then we mix the glaze: Powdered sugar and white rum. Carefully glaze the top. Let it dry. Turn them over. Glaze the bottom. Let them dry. place them carefully into a tightly sealed container and then they go out to the breezeway where they can stay cool and protected from us until closer to Christmas Eve. An entire evening for two-dozen cookies. But Oh, So Worth It!

Pat turning dough rounds into flowers, Lebkuchen preparation 2021.

~Roy Beckemeyer, December 19, 2021.