Christmas in the Caribbean

This Christmas, even though we’re far from home, we decided to continue our traditional holiday baking.  Tony’s favourite is peanut turtles and I usually make some cashew turtles for my Dad.  Don’t worry Dad – we’ll make some in February when you come!  I always make Mom and my favourite, Old Fashioned Sour Cream Drop cookies with Burnt Butter Icing, as well.  We thought we could bring some to our landlords and some on the boat to share with Doug and Kathy for Chrismas eve, and it would be great!  It was a bit of challenge to find all the ingredients (who knew caramel would be so difficult to find), but once we did, we thought we were golden!   Little did we know, the shopping was just the first of our issues!

Everything went really smoothly to start out.  I laid out the nuts on the aluminum foil (we couldn’t find wax paper, even after visiting 3 stores) and Tony poured on the caramel.  It was cooling nicely and looking delicious!  I was working on the chocoloate.  This was mishap number one, as we’d picked up unsweetened instead of semisweet…. tried adding out own sugar… total disaster!  Anyway, that was an easy fix.  Tony could run to the store in the morning and get new chocolate.  We just had to do something with the half-finished turtles so the bugs wouldn’t fly into and stick to the caramel overnight.

This presented our first big issue in the farce that was quickly becoming Christmas cooking.  Usually when we make these at home we use baking sheets covered in wax paper and sprayed with Pam spray (none of which we used this time) so we can carry them to the fridge, or better yet, out in the freezing Kansas temperatures, until they harden… it was 75 degrees here, so the caramel was not hardening.  The turtles were not on cookies sheets, so they couldn’t be easily transported. And, our fridge is tiny.  Even if we’d been able to move all the food that needed to be refrigerated, there would not have been room for the 3 dozen half-finished candies.  So, logical decision, just cover them with more foil, but the foil we were trying to cover them with kept sticking to the soft caramel.  Sadly enough we had to attempt this twice before Tony was inspired to put steak knives between rows of candy so the foil could sit up higher than the candy.

We don’t have toothpicks either… it’s odd the things we don’t have.

Anway, onto day 2!  The semi-sweet chocolate was perfect and now it was time to transfer the caramels from the foil to plastic storage containers.  I’m sure you can guess where this was going.  Again, nothing would harden, and therefore would not seperate from the foil!  After some tests, I decided to skip the fridge altogether and went for the freezer.  Again, we had the space issue, so I cut out each turtle on it’s 4 inch square of foil and placed them on top of ice cube trays and ice cream containers.  I could fit about 8 at a time.  After 5 minutes or so of freezer time, with my head and hands inside the freezer, I pulled and pulled to remove the foil.  I could do about 3 of the turtles before the temperature rose inside so much that I was melting the chocolate with my fingers.  Then I’d have to close the door for another minute or two before wrestling with another 2-3 turtles!

Who knew that cold weather was such a vital part of cooking?!?

Luckily, my cookies were a lot easier to make and everything turned out delicious!  The only thing to worry about now is everything melting as we walk the 30 feet to our landlord’s house! : )

While we’re on the topic of Christmas, I thought you might like to see our Christmas tree!  It’s rather pathetic compared to my Christmas decorations sitting in storage at home… I hope Erica and Brittany are enjoying them!

We’re celebrating Christmas a little early, as tomorrow we head off to Anegada and then to the boat in North Sound!  I’ll update from there in a couple days.

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7 Responses to Christmas in the Caribbean

  1. debbie says:

    This one had me laughing pretty hard!!

  2. Jan says:

    Looks a little like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree but you do what you need to do when most of your life is in storage! Good improvisation. You two are obviously teachers and used to making do without much of a budget. Your fridge/freeze reminds me of ours in Norway. Was slightly larger than what some kids use in their dorms now and it was right next to our stove. Let me tell you it was tough duty keeping things cold in the fridge when you were doing the Thanksgiving and Christmas cooking. It is these challenges that you remember and will make you laugh for years. Realize how little you really need. Merry Christmas

  3. b and b schuurms says:

    How hilarious!! You two are really having quite the adventure. Have a beautiful holiday on the boat, when you return you may have a little package from Green Bay. I removed the Packer chocolates after melting warning from Pam! Merry CHristmas, Love you. awesome tree!

  4. Mike McNicoll says:

    I LOVE the tree!!

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