I don’t know about you, but I grew up in a Christmas wonderland. Not only was the house decorated from tip to tail but my mom also baked every imaginable Christmas cookie on the planet. Butter tarts, sugar cookies, wreaths, snowballs, double chocolate chip cookies, Christmas trees (really, it went on and on). You get it. Those were the days when Christmas baking really was a THING. Now, for the most part we lament that the Christmas baking goes uneaten in the freezer, OR shouldn’t be eaten and is just laden with guilt. I love to bake, but I feel the same pressure to dial things back and break from tradition a little. Over the past few years, I have come up with a plan. Each person in our house picks their favourite. I make it. That is the end of that. So because there are five of us in the house, we have a few varieties and all have our favourites when Christmas Eve rolls around.
This is our typical list:
Dad – Davey Crockett
Mom – Sugar Cookies
Eldest – Butter Tarts
Middle – Gingerbread
Baby – she changes her mind every year! 🙂
Christmas in our house is about tradition and as much as I want to think MY traditions are easier to uphold (because of familiarity), I have always really tried to incorporate special traditions my hubby holds dear. One of said traditions is the making of the DAVEY CROCKETT. The Davey Crockett is FAMOUS in my husband’s family. There are story after story about these famous Christmas treats. I started making them the first year we were married. I scribbled the recipe down on a post it note either from my sister in law or my mother in law and twenty years later, I would not DARE have a Christmas without them.
Now, the Davey Crockett is never made at any other time of year, nor are they kept (once made) anywhere else but the freezer – these are the cardinal rules! If you are smart, you will hide a bag for Christmas Eve, and create another bummer bag (in full view) for when your family steals them out of the freezer prior to Christmas. This ensures you have a stash saved for the Christmas season.
Personally, the most positive thing I can say about the Davey Crockett is that it is GLUTEN FREE.
They are not my cup of tea. But let me tell you – they get RAVE reviews.
It all starts with the Maraschino Cherry. You need to buy them WITH stems and rinse and dry them well. I typically empty them out on the counter with some paper towels for a morning. You really do want them very dry. This makes creating these little gems a whole lot easier…
Mix the peanut butter, butter and icing sugar together until it makes a dry looking “dough.” I like mine on the drier side, as I find it let “mucky” to work with when you have to get your hands dirty! If you have a “wetter dough” never fear, just dust your hands with icing sugar. This keeps your hands from getting gunky and the rolling process much easier.
You simply wrap the dough around the cherry – make them as big or little as you want – roll neatly – and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
I typically double the recipe and get them all done at once. These then get popped into the freezer for an hour or two.
When you are ready (or once they are good and frozen) melt some good quality chocolate.
My family loves Bernard Callebaut MILK which you can buy in large “baking bars” at the store or online here
These large bars are also available in dark or white chocolate, should you prefer. The one thing I will say about this recipe is that although you CAN use any kind of baking chocolate, buying the good stuff really does take it up a notch and makes these really special.
So, once your chocolate is melted, each cherry gets dipped. Make sure you let the extra chocolate drip down, and then place the cherry back on the baking sheet. The chocolate will very quickly set around your “cherry dough” and make a beautiful looking confection.
Once your dipping is complete, return the baking sheet back to the freezer. For storage, I simply take them off of the cookie sheet and put in Ziploc freezer bags.
At Christmas, I buy these cute Christmas bags – just cause I like to be Christmasy like that 🙂
When I make my bags I typically pick my most beautiful selection and put them in a bag all together. This bag I hide somewhere in the back of my freezer with a note on it that says “DO NOT TOUCH” – then the more imperfect ones also get put in a bag. I put these in plain few of my family. You see, over the years I have realized that although we have a tradition of NOT eating any Christmas baking before Christmas Eve – my children (and husband) have created their own rules on this. If I don’t make two bags, I will go into my freezer on Christmas Eve only to discover 6 measly Davey Crocketts left… this really doesn’t lead to a friendly Christmas eve mood.
A side note on my relationship with the Davey Crockett. I actually don’t think I have EVER had a Davey Crockett – BUT, they are perhaps the most special thing I make during the Christmas season. The reason is simple. It is the perfect example of two lives, two stories, two traditions becoming one.
A fantastic gluten free addition to your Christmas baking!
2 jars maraschino cherries WITH STEMS – drained, rinsed and dried
1 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 large bar (445 gram bar in half) of good chocolate of your choice
Drain, rinse and pat maraschino cherries dry
Cream peanut butter and butter together in a mixer
Slowly add icing sugar
Once combined, wrap about 1/2 tablespoon of dough around each cherry
Melt chocolate in a deep bowl and dip frozen peanut butter balls to coat
Re-freeze for storage.
I know we are all busy during Christmas, but call a girlfriend, throw some Baileys in your coffee mug, add the Christmas tunes to your playlist and enjoy the fruits of your labour!