As I write this, my family is sound asleep, as well as they should be, considering it's 4:30 a.m. four days before Christmas.
While I never bought the Mayans' prediction the world would end on Dec. 21 -- if they were so good at predicting the future, why aren't they still around? -- it's nice to know the world is still spinning.
Unfortunately, it also means business as usual, so here I sit, writing a column that was due days ago.
The Christmas outlook has improved since l last wrote. Of course, it's taken me a week of vacation to get this far. I've managed to whittle my shopping list to a few gift certificates. The presents -- at least the ones that aren't still in transit -- are wrapped and await ribbons and bows. One shipment from Amazon is due to arrive by today and another I have been assured will arrive "By the close of business on Monday, Dec. 24." Promises, promises
Our tree, thanks to our son's early return home from college, is standing in the corner of our living room, just waiting for someone (me) to put the garlands and ornaments on it. A recent guest to our house asked me if we were making a political or religious statement by having a "naked tree." I wish I had a good retort other than the fact I was running behind schedule and it was either decorate the tree or go grocery shopping.
The Christmas cookie swap at the Berkshire Eagle was tremendous, with about 14 people participating. The cookies themselves were unbelievable. (I use the past tense since they are pretty much history in our house. I have two men who love Christmas cookies.) We swapped copies of our recipes, which I will share at a later date.
Tonight I plan to make bourbon (or rum) balls my aunt, Marion Duprey, used to make every year. The first time I had them, she and my uncle were living in Springfield, and Mom and I went there to drop off our gifts a few days before Christmas. On our way out the door, Aunt Marion handed me a cookie tin, wrapped in aluminum foil, saying I was old enough to enjoy whatever was in the tin. (I was about 20 at the time.)
On the drive home, thinking the tin held common, everyday cookies, I asked Mom to open it so we could have a snack. She did and the car instantly was infused with the odor of a whiskey distillery. Not being a teetotaler, I popped a ball into my mouth. It burned a path done my throat and into my stomach. It was so good though, I popped another. These were definitely addictive.
Which was what I tried to convince the state trooper who pulled me over for a faulty tail light shortly after. The fumes from the cookies alone must have knocked him over when I rolled down the car window, not to mention the liquor smell on my breath. He did believe my story, but only after being shown the cookie tin and smelling the cookies. Can you really be charged with DUI for eating cookies? I vowed to never eat cookies and drive again, and he let me off with just a warning about the brake light. So be warned -- do not drive and eat these treats!
Mix well together:
3 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup chopped nuts
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
In a separate bowl, mix together:
2 tablespoons dark or light corn syrup
1 2 cup bourbon (rum or rye whiskey may be substituted)
Add the corn syrup/bourbon mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well. Form into balls the size of walnuts. Shake in a bag with powdered sugar (about 10 at a time). Let stand for 24 hours before packing or serving.
Margaret Button is the city editor of the North Adams Transcript. Send recipes for inclusion in future columns to the North Adams Transcript, 85 Main St., Suite 2, North Adams, Mass. 01247, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.