Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Guilt & Cupcakes

Apparently my Christmas posts have made my parents feel a little guilty -- my dad for cursing putting up tree lights, and my mom for "Millenium Falconing" her sneaky son. I guess she really didn't give him the toy, and now she feels bad about it! As a joke we thought we would ebay it and see if we could get him one now to make up for that biggest disappointment of his childhood, but alas, they're a bit too pricey for a gag gift.

I didn't mean to make them feel guilty, though. I have the most wonderful memories of Christmas for as far back as I can remember. There's one story that I can't tell without Jim mocking me for sounding like I had some heiress-type childhood, and I so didn't. I get what he means though, because that story starts, "The year I was twelve we went to the Alps for Christmas. . ." Sure, it conjures Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous a little, but you have to visualize a battered green VW bus chugging its way up into the mountains! Still, VW or not, it was awesome. I can also say of that trip, "We went on a one-horse open sleigh ride for my birthday." That was as good as it sounds! That was our first [of not many] family ski trip. And when we got home to southern Italy, Santa had been there ahead of us!

And there was the year I got my dollhouse. I think I was eleven. My dad built it by hand and it is huge and amazing and is in the garage now awaiting a day when it can come live in the house - a house within a house - and get a new coat of paint and maybe a family to live in it. It's too big for our current house, though, and shall have to bide its time for its new life to begin.

There are many, many wonderful Christmas memories, and my parents shouldn't feel guilty about anything. (Well, mom, except maybe for exiling all our lovely hand-made elementary school ornaments! For shame. Don't you love us anymore?) (ha ha ha -- just kidding! Please, leave them in exile!)

As requested, here is that cupcake recipe. I didn't do any baking last night, as Alexandra and I went to my parents' house to arrange my mom's holiday "toy cupboard" which is like getting to do an old-fashioned toy store window display. But I forgot to bring the camera, so I'll take pictures of it later.

Cardamom-orange cupcakes:
for the cupcakes:
1 c sweet butter, softened
1 c superfine flour
2 c self rising flour (or 2 c reg flour + 1 tbsp baking powder)
4 eggs
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp orange extract
1 tsp orange zest

1. Preheat to 350. Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth.
2. Pour into paper baking cups in a muffin pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick yadda yadda. (I used mini muffin cups and baked them for 12 minutes.)
3. Make frosting:

2 c powdered sugar
1/2 c sweet butter, softened
1/4 c sour cream
1-1/2 tbsp orange zest
1 tsp orange extract
Beat together until smooth and put on cooled cupcakes. If you're feeling spendy you can buy whole cardamom pods to put on top. That's that. Enjoy!

20 comments:

♥ joleen ♥ said...

first visit here.. but you're a great writer. i enjoyed your christmas stories. :)

ceanandjen said...

What fabulous Christmas memories, and I much prefer hearing about going to the Alps in a VW...so much more character and charm in that!!!

I had a large dollhouse as well. My grandfather built it for me. It was blue and fabulous, but alas, I gave it to a friend's little girl long ago. Since I ended up having a boy, I do believe that was a good decision. :-)

Deb R said...

Oooooh, I love doll houses! And the Alps for Christmas...wow, that must've been cool. I've always wanted to take a sleigh ride, but have never had the chance.

All these recipes you've been posting sound Yum!

Kristy said...

It is possible, Laini, that I remember the Millenium Falcon incident? I think I might. In any event, it's a hysterical story.

And, yes, I *can* picture you and your family in that VW bus headed in to the Alps.

Your Christmas pictures of your home are so entirely colorful and inviting -- it is apparent your love for this time of the year.

Dan said...

What a charmed life you've lived, you privileged little heiress. My family was too busy trying to escape persecution in our homeland, drinking water from ostrich eggs, hiding beneath the ground, dodging mortar shells, to even think of Christmas!

Just kidding. I made all of the up. I had nice Christmas's too. :)

Laini Taylor said...

Drinking water from ostrich eggs!!! I love that. And it might just be the new craft idea I was looking for for holiday gifts -- ostrich egg tumblers. Thanks, Dan!

~Michelle~ said...

Love your Christmas stories, Laini!

Amber said...

Oh Yum! I'm just not sure of the sweet butter? Salted, right? I know I'm being lame. Just want to make them right!

LOL! Your poor mom! Man. If she HAD given it to him, imagine how much it would be worth now. There is the lesson. Always give your kids toys in case they are worth money thrirty years from now. ;)

:)

Jim Di Bartolo said...

Laini's too embarrassed to mention the year her parents rented the Italian villa and had John Wayne and Lauren Bacall shipped in to act out "A Charlie Brown Christmas" for them on the balcony overlooking their lemon groves while they had their grove workers line up below and hop on one leg and sing "Silent Night" over and over during the production.

Okay, so maybe I'm embellishing a LITTLE bit there ... :)

Love ya, heiress or not :)
Husbles

Laini Taylor said...

Um, it was "God bless ye merry gentlemen," NOT "Silent Night." (Duh.)

b/sistersshoes said...

Laini ~*~ Thank you for the recipie.

Don't let anyone tease you about your Alps Christmas...depending how you tell it...everyone has a 'special' Christmas (even if it needs a little embellishment ;-)

Thank you for all of your kind comments love,

XXXOOO
Darlene

tinker said...

I am loving the daily recipes, and feeling a little more inspired every day to get my tush in the kitchen and get baking.
Now I need to add cardamom and a zesty orange :-) to the shopping list.
Also, tell Jim, I think every girl should have at least one memory that makes her feel like an heiress!

Laini Taylor said...

tinker: the recipe is good, but it is ESPECIALLY good for using up the cardamom in the spice cupboard -- it's so expensive! When I bought some earlier this year for one measly carrot cake recipe I was incensed to spend so much, and ever since I have been looking for ways to use it up. Sort of out of spite!

liz elayne said...

those cupcakes sound super good. yummy!

and fun to think about all those good memories...

Kelly said...

Your sweets sound so tempting. I just might have to indulge myself.;)

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