Sunday, December 11, 2011

Merry Christmas, Happy Channukah and Happy New Year

Its the most wonderful time of the year. The holidays are here and we at the Inn at Stony Creek are full of good cheer. The tree is up (see our pic), the presents are bought and ready to wrap and the baking has begun. The lights have been up around the Inn for the last week and our neighbors have begun decorating their homes as well. All in all, the neighborhood is looking very festive.

The town of Warwick has decorated and the shops have been bustling with shoppers. Here at the Inn, we have had a number of Woodbury Commons shoppers where they come in after a long day of shopping to rest from their day's labors and enjoy a cup of tea in front of the fire. Most don't even go to the Commons. They prefer to shop in the local stores in Warwick and the surrounding towns, like Sugar Loaf.

Theres lots to do around the Warwick Valley this month. In December on the Railroad Green in Warwick there are horse and buggy rides and Santa. Call 845 986-2720 for details.

On Dec 17 there will be a stage production of Babes in Toyland at 7:30PM at the Lycian Centre for the Performing Arts, Sugar Loaf, NY. Call the Lycian Centre for further information.

Also on Dec 17 join in the Christmas Carol Sing Along (indoors) at 6:30 pm at Bellvale Community, 359 Gibson Hill Rd Chester, NY, 845 572-3400. There will be a sing a long and then traditional carols will be sung by the carolers followed by light refreshments. Experience what Christmas is all about.
Then on Dec 19 there's Ski with Santa. Join Santa at Mt. Peter Ski & Ride. Call 845-986-4940 for more info!
And of course there are the many places of worship in the area for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day services.

Whew! I'm tired already.

At the beginning of the blog, I mentioned that the baking had begun. Well this year, I am baking a little less and a little early because on Friday the 16th I am going in the hospital for a total knee replacement. So I had to pick and choose which cookies I was going to make. I am making about 7 different kinds. And I thought to myself. What recipe would my friends like to try? Well my choice is a delicious Cherry Almond Refrigerator Cookie which has become one of my favorites. Easy to make and even easier to eat.

Cherry Almond Refrigerator Cookie

1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 cup chopped red candied cherries

Sprinkle almonds in ungreased heavy skillet. Cook over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently until nuts begin to brown, then stirring constantly until nuts are light brown. Cool 10 minutes. In food processor, process almonds until finely chopped; set aside.

In large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add egg and almond extract; beat on medium speed until smooth. On low speed, beat in flour, baking powder and salt until dough forms. Stir in cherries and chopped almonds.

Form dough into 2 (8-inch) logs. Wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until edges start to turn golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.

When cooled I like to drizzle with dark chocolate. It makes it so festive and so decadent.

Ok folks. This is my last post of the year. Have a Blessed Christmas or a Happy Channukah and a wonderfully healthy Happy New Year.

From Bill and I this is Joe signing off and hoping to see you in 2012.