Tis the Season for Chocolate

It’s been a bit since I shared more than one post in a day. Some days just call for more, don’t you think? Yeah, me too.

We’ve talked a time or two about my obsession with Santas, Snowmen and Nutcrackers. My Santa collection is the largest of the three. It’s not just Santa figures, but his image on everything from butter knives to glass ornaments. How many Santas in the collection thus far? Would you believe 116.

Nutcrackers are next in the obsession category at 50. You’ll find them hanging in the tree as ornaments, to wreaths and even a few unique ones mounted on horseback. Some are tiny, others are over 2 feet tall. Some day I hope to find the perfect pair – life size, made of wood. A collection of Snowmen is not far behind, with 47 and counting. Like the Santas, Snowmen can be found on just about everything from ornaments to snow globes and throw pillows. Snowmen are extra special. I have a snowman for each grandchild and great grandchild, hand picked the year they were born.

My latest collection came quite accidentally. Somewhere in the midst of falling in love with all things childlike and magical about the Season, I began to collect Christmas Bears. It’s a small collection – only 15. Scattered among them are Gomes, gingerbread men and an odd looking stuffed moose.

It is an obsession of sorts. But with reason. Growing up, Christmas was magical. Streets were decorated. Store windows were stunning. People decorated their homes with lights. Neighbors caroled together. You didn’t worry about offending anyone. People said Merry Christmas or Happy Chanukah without taking issue with such greetings. The first thing that changed was the Energy Crisis when people stopped hanging lights. The practice is making a comeback, but not like it once was. Then someone decided decorating public streets with wreaths and playing holiday music was somehow offensive. Slowly the magic of Christmas disappeared from public view.

My collection is an expression of what the Holidays once meant – the pure joy of being a child who believed in magic. Welcome to my Winter Wonderland . . .

Snowmen and Bears are the Welcoming Committee.

The heart of any home is the Kitchen and Breakfast Nook.

The living room is like a child’s fantasy come true – filled with Santas and cuddly Bears and toys of bygone days.

Every corner of the dining room holds detail of Christmas.

The Dining Table is always set for company. Warm and inviting, a place to gather, to reminisce while creating new memories.

You know me, can’t miss an opportunity to share a recipe. Sharing these pictures of our holiday home seemed the ideal opportunity to share another Holiday Staple in our home. These are perfect to give as gifts or serve among a plate of cookies. Hubby loves Cashew Clusters. A few years back, I had a million and one things going on, so I taught him to make his own. He loves it. Not only for a treat but to share with pride – that he made them. Hubby is a master at the grill, but in the kitchen not so much. So when he can make something all on his own that didn’t cook over an open flame, it’s a big deal.

Cashew Clusters
16 oz Guittard Milk Chocolate
2 tablespoons Lard
8 oz Cashews
5 Squares Hershey Dark Chocolate

In a double boiler over medium-low heat melt the Guittard chocolate.

Once melted, add lard. Stir until smooth. Add cashews, a handful at a time, stirring constantly to coat.

Snap dark chocolate into smaller pieces. Add broken squares of Hershey’s Chocolate into the pot. Stir to melt dark chocolate into the cashew clusters.

Note: The dark chocolate is purely optional to give the clusters a richer, deeper chocolate flavor.

Use a place spoon to spoon onto waxed paper. Let cool. Store in an air-tight container to enjoy as you please.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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