Christmas Baking

Baking is something my mom does very well. She has been asked to do friends’ wedding cakes, birthday cakes, and the like. (She made my wedding cake too!) She loves baking, and despite being celiac, she makes gluten free desserts taste amazing! (She’ll agree that a chunk of gluten free products taste dense and gritty.)

Last night, I baked with my mom, and as always, we had a ton of fun making stuff together. You see, we have a weird dynamic. I cuss her out, jokingly, and she stares at me amazed at how I make the messes I do. We tease one another mercilessly, and to an outsider looking in, I am sure how we talk seems rather rude. You got to look for the smiles and laughter though to know the fun we are having.

My mom and I are friends, and it shows if you look at us that way. Anyways we have built gingerbread houses together, cakes, cookies, brownies, whatever we want. Last night, she prepped shortbread and sugar cookies while I got the messy peanut butter recipes.

The first recipe I made was peanut butter balls. It calls for four ingredients, and one is sugar. Frosting sugar to be exact, and I got it all over the stove. My mom turns to me the moment I say, ‘I didn’t do it’, and just shakes her head. However, she had dumped granulated sugar over her counter early so I teased her about that.

My mom loves a clean kitchen, but when I am in one, messes will cover the place. I don’t know if it is from my lack of care and knowing I will clean it up later, or if I am insanely clumsy. Who knows? But my mom is really good about not killing me when we’re in her kitchen, and so there is never any true anger or frustration when we bake together. In fact it is rather cathartic.

We talk about stuff in our lives, family, my writing, her knitting, all kinds of stuff. It is like a free therapy session for the both of us, and I wouldn’t give it up for the world!

So in hopes of helping others find fun with family in the kitchen, I am sharing two of my favourite recipes!

Peanut Butter Balls


-1 cup icing sugar                                                         -1 cup peanut butter

-2 tbsp butter                                                                 -1 1/2 or 2 cups rice krispies

Mix sugar, butter, and peanut butter together with fork.

Add in rice krispies, and mix into other ingredients

Roll into small balls, hide in container, and eat them all yourself!


If you want to make them ‘healthier’, you can use chopped candied cherries, chopped dates, chopped pecans, and such just use the measurement for the rice krispies.

Fiddle Diddles/Haystacks/Macarroons


-1/2 cup butter                                                               -3 cups old fashioned rolled oats

-1/2 cup milk                                                                  -1 cup shredded coconut

-1 1/2 cups sugar                                                           -1 tsp vanilla

-6 tbsps cocoa powder

Combine milk, butter, and sugar in a saucepan and melt ingredients over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Once a rolling boil starts, cook 4-5 minutes, stirring often.

Remove from heat, add vanilla. (It will bubble up)

Mix cocoa, rolled oats, and coconut together until well blended. (I usually do this before stove work)

Add to hot mixture then spoon unto waxed paper and allow to set.


With the fiddles diddles, they taste amazing while still ‘wet’, but the drying allows them to stick together. They taste awesome after too! In fact, I am pretty sure they are the only reason my younger sister hung out with us in the kitchen as long as she did. Food is the best bribery after all!

I wouldn’t want to live with a novelist. Writers are highly voyeuristic and indiscreet. ~ Philip Roth