Thursday, December 21, 2006

Special Delivery

By the time I finish my holiday baking, I'm usually pretty well off sweets for a while. I love to bake the cookies (and the baklava), but I really only need a few to make me happy.

Besides, didn't you know I'm saving room for other sweet treats?

My Fabulous Aunt, the other frequent baker in the family, has her own sweet traditions come Christmas. Because of her efforts, I find I never have to bake Russian teacakes any more (though they're one of my favorites), and I can usually count on a few sugar cookies (also not on my list to make for myself).

But what I really anticipate every year is her selection of homemade candies. Her soft caramels, buttery and sweet and sometimes loaded with nuts, melt in your mouth (and yes, stick to your dental work, but whatever) and bring a blissful smile to every face. And her buckeyes, those rich fudgy peanut butter orbs coated in glossy semi-sweet chocolate, are the best ever.

So when My Fabulous Aunt called earlier in the week to let me know she had sent out a package to me (at the same time I sent out hers), I knew I could look forward to some sweet little nibbles later in the week. Here's just a sample:

The buckeyes, creamy and decadent as ever, and perfect little teacakes take up the foreground of the photo, and the individually wrapped caramels appear in the far right corner. The pile at the far left is what she called almond roca, and while I don't know what exactly it entails, this new recipe is out of this world. It has a delicate, buttery base (not quite shortbread), chocolate, and sliced almonds, and it packs a sweet but rapturous punch. The note she placed on the container said "You'll have to share these"... but I don't think so!

These candies will keep a long while, especially if I keep them in the refrigerator. Granted, I'll share a few of the caramels and buckeyes, but most of them I will enjoy one at a time, letting the sweetness of the holidays linger well into the winter.

Some of the best things DO come in small packages.


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