Wednesday, December 04, 2013

dancing gingerly

I often think of that snow dance scene in Tim Burton's movie, "Edward Scissorhands", when Edward creates a flurry of snowflakes as he makes an ice sculpture for the girl he loves.  She freely dances in the gently falling snow, eyes closed and arms wide, without a care in the world.  During the Christmas holidays last year, it was the first time our kids saw this movie.  They were immediately entranced and loved how innocent an adult like "Edward" can be.


For me, the fresh snow is a whimsical reminder of all the winter and Christmas holidays of years past.  The fondest memories are when we were young children.  The glorious days when you tried to sleep (but couldn't) on Christmas Eve...wondering if you could wake up at midnight to catch the presents being placed under the tree. The innocence of waking up earlier than ever and sneaking downstairs to gingerly shake the mystery presents.  The crackling sound of wrapping paper being torn, then playing with your new treasures as the smell of turkey wafts through the house.

I love experiencing Christmas or any holiday through the eyes of a child.  But as each year passes, I grasp at finding ways to keep that magic in their eyes, creating as many magical holiday memories for them so they too, can look back fondly at Christmas as a time of happiness and security.  I don't think I'm ready for them to grow into that age where they only want cash for gifts.  I think deep down inside of me, I still want them to open toys...something.  Not because it's about the gift, but it's about how they feel at that very moment when the wrapping paper is finally torn off to reveal the treasure inside. Because I love to watch their faces light up with pure excitement and exhilaration.  And as we get older there are fewer and fewer opportunities to have that singular moment of pure and innocent joy.

I guess I want them to continue to see the magic of Christmas because I enjoy re-living it again and again through my kids.  And as much as I want them to be independent, amazing, world changing adults when they grow up, maybe I'm not ready for that "grown up" part yet, and I want to be able to enjoy this young moment just a little bit longer so I can remember how it feels to be a kid.

Soon they'll pass that stage when they will no longer want to decorate gingerbread houses or leave cookies and milk for Santa, and maybe I too, will no longer want to do those things.  But until then, I will savour watching them consume all things gingerbread and cookies.

Or maybe I will too, just freely dance in the snow with them...enjoying the moment.

Caramel Gingerbread Cookie Square
Adapted from "Caramel Shortbread" square from Allrecipes 

Bottom Layer
  • 1 (3.5 ounce) package cook and serve
  • butterscotch pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 9x9 square pan with parchment paper. 
  • In a medium bowl, cream together the dry butterscotch pudding mix, butter, and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the egg. Combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon; stir into the pudding mixture. 
  • Press onto a baking pan, approximately 1/2 inch thick.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm but still slightly soft.
  • Let cool.

Top Layer

  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup.
  • Combine all 4 ingredients in a large saucepan.  
  • Bring to boil on medium.  Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat and stir for 1 minute.
  • Pour over gingerbread layer.  Spread evenly.
  • Let stand in pan for about 4 hours until cooled completely.
Cuts into 24 squares.

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