Christmas Movie Munching
OK, I just dropped some top-drawer cookie recipes for Santa with more than a little help from my friends. But leading up to the big night, you’re going to want to watch some Christmas movies.
So here, in no particular order, are some movie pairings to go with cookie recipes for Kris Kringle.
1. Elf: Oatmeal Toffee Cookies. “Elf” is the Christmas movie the Cathey family watches on the Friday or Saturday following Thanksgiving. This instant classic from 2004 is easily the funniest Christmas movie ever made, with apologies to “Christmas Vacation,” ”Scrooged,” and “A Christmas Story.” Buddy answering the phone and asking the would-be caller their favorite color never ceases to make me laugh. This was the role made for Will Ferrell’s man-child schtick. Sheri’s cookies are sweet enough to satisfy Buddy’s palate and a plateful will empty on a single pass.
2. Love Actually: Soft and Chewy Ginger Cookies with Green Apple Martinis. ”Love Actually” is the film Lori and I watch to mark the start of the holiday season. It’s the most adult of the mainstream Christmas flicks. There are a couple of storylines that would be extremely difficult to explain to the tots. Best advice is to send them off to sugarplum dreams before mixing a couple stiff drinks, baking some appropriately themed holiday cookies.
3. Polar Express: Eggnog Cookies with Hot chocolate. Sure the human characters in Robert Zemeckis’ “Polar Express” cast vaguely creepy eyes, but the action sequences are breath-taking — none of which is more effective than the hot cocoa scene. It’ll leave you hankering for a cup. What better cookie to pair than Nichole’s eggnog cookies. Be sure and read the book to the kiddos afterward. It strengthens the long-held adage that books used as film source material always exceed their celluloid counterparts.
4. Christmas Vacation: Apricot Almond Rum Balls. This Chevy Chase classic is little more than a series of pratfall set pieces, and preposterous plot turns. But that doesn’t mean it’s not required holiday viewing. What better way to do it with some high-octane rum balls, which will help you overlook the thin spots and amplify high points like the fried pussy cat and any scene including Randy Quaid.
5. Miracle on 34th Street: Quadruple Chocolate Knuckle-Sandwich Cookies. The sugary sweet “Miracle on 34th Street” was actually released in the spring of 1947 and went on to win an Oscar for Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle and a nomination for Best Picture. A tiny Natalie Wood signals her significant star power at an early age. Maureen O’Hara flashes her classic Irish ire. The film also depicts divorce, mental illness and commercialism in a time when none were much discussed openly. It’s frank handling of those subjects, a clever script and top performance make it a work of art. To match the richness of the film, it’s my super sweet, super rich Quadruple Chocolate Knuckle-Sandwich Cookies.
6. A Christmas Carol: Chocolate Macarons with Figgy Icing. Whether you take your Dickens in ancient black-and-white versions, in Zemeckisian high-tech motion capture, with music or without or whether your prefer an actor better known as Tom Jones, George Patton, Alistair Sim, Jean-Luc Picard, Ace Ventura, Thurston P. Howell III, The Fonz, Carl the assistant greenskeeper or Miss Fritton taking the lead role of Ebenezer Scrooge (or some facsimile), some version of “A Christmas Carol” is likely to air on your television screen this week. Do yourself a favor, and take it with some classic macarons with delicious figgy icing. If you’re looking for something savory, consider potato soup. But, please, make sure the potato is properly cooked so as to avoid the onset of yuletide-bearing apparitions.
7. It’s a Wonderful Life: Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars: When this cornball classic from Jimmy Stewart and Frank Capra used to show up on every local channel within antenna-shot during the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was known to map it out so it would air on our home television every hour of the day. My mother is still sure Stewart is the one who got away. (And I think in another life me and Donna Reed would’ve had a chance.) Anyway, Alison’s super homey, super delicious shortbread bars are the perfect compliment to this very long but ultimately rewarding Christmas classic. Thanks to Capra’s fearless editing, you’re likely to finish a whole dish of these bad boys by the time Clarence gets his wings and George reclaims Zuzu’s petals.
Wait, what? No mention of “A Christmas Story?” Well, the truth is, when I watch the TNT fixture it’s neither sweets nor turkey I crave. It’s Chinese food. No matter how late on Christmas Eve we’re watching, as the “Chinese turkey” falls victim to the turk, I can’t help but wonder if my good friends at Fortune Chinese restaurant might still be delivering. Stay tuned for some make-at-home Chinese takeout later in the week.