I’m filled with an eager excitement thinking on all the things I want to do, see and accomplish this time of year: Twinkling lights of red, green, blue and yellow to be seen while drinking hot chocolate. Gifts to be bought and gifts to be made. Cookies to be enjoyed and vegetables eaten to balance it all. Then there’s the great responsibility and joy of trying to teach the kids that even though there are lists to be made and there will be gifts for them that that is not really what this time of year is about. So we bring cookies to the neighbors, read stories, build tradition and try the best we can.
All of this in the midst of teaching classes, creating cookie recipes, and putting dinner on the table. It’s busy – particularly last week, which is why you didn’t see much of me around here.
In the midst of all the chaos there have been little pockets of quiet and rest – moments that mark this season as my favorite. Nestled next to a blazing fire, a towering pine scented tree casts a gentle shadow on the book I’m reading (Jane Eyre – so perfect for this season). I sit across from a dear friend as she pushes fabric through the sewing machine casting perfectly lined up stitches as she works on a present for a friend. I put my book down and cut out a stocking pattern from soft flannel in red, black and gold lines intersecting throughout. We each take warming sips of Hot Buttered Rum in between stitches and cuts.
Before we set out to work on our projects she creamed butter and brown sugar together along with a few spices that are no stranger to this time of year. I tried not to notice the amount of butter and sugar actually going into the recipe. This was my first Hot Buttered Rum and nothing was going to spoil it.
Once combined a spoonful of the mixture went into our mugs. Rum covered, then hot water poured on top releasing the scent of cinnamon and nutmeg under its heat. The butter melted and the sugar dissolved as we stirred briskly.
Since then there have been more Hot Buttered Rum, in fact in my freezer there is a roll of the butter, sugar and spice mixture should the craving suddenly hit for this comforting cocktail – after an evening of viewing Christmas lights, perhaps? Or while wrapping gifts, opening up another window on the advent calendar or while eagerly anticipating the season’s first snow. I’m sure I’ll manage to think of many more reasons to pull out that sweet, spiced butter and start the kettle boiling throughout the season.
Hot Buttered Rum
adapted from Emeril Lagasse
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, soft
2 cup dark brown sugar
Cream together the butter, spices and sugar. At this point you can roll up the mixture with parchment into a log. Cover well and refrigerate or freeze for later use. In the fridge the mixture will keep for two weeks, in the freezer a couple of months.
In a mug add a tablespoon of the butter and sugar mixture (the original recipe called for 2 tablespoons but we found 1 was great). Top with a couple ounces of rum and roughly 1/2 cup of hot water. The ratio of the ingredients is really preference.
If possible, enjoy this cocktail near an open fire.