Butterfly Mind

Let the baking begin

It’s Christmas Eve morning. Brahms plays quietly on the record player, our cat Tubbles rubs her face on my pen, smudging my words, and coffee steams on the end table next to me. The sky is blueing after the black of night. My husband is in the kitchen making dough for a braided cranberry walnut bread. I hear the crinkle of the craisins bag. The living room is fresh with the scent of orange zest.

When he moves out of the kitchen, I’ll move in. I’ve got four pie crusts to make: top and bottom for a cherry pie and top and bottom for a strawberry-rhubarb. After those are converted from dough to crispy pies, golden on top with sweet ruby fruit bubbling through the slits, our daughter will make buttery rolls to go with Christmas Eve dinner. The rolls and strawberry-rhubarb pie were the two biggest hits at Thanksgiving, and the kids begged to have them again today.

After the pies and the cranberry walnut bread and the dinner rolls, I’ll prep cinnamon rolls to bake on Christmas morning. These are are possibly our longest standing Christmas food tradition. I flatten the dough into a rectangle on Christmas Eve after dinner, pour melted butter over it, heap brown sugar and cinnamon all over, roll the rectangle into a log, and slice into 1 inch rolls. The unbaked swirls will rest in the fridge tonight, and whoever gets up first tomorrow will need to preheat the oven.

The oven is clicking and groaning now for the first pie. The baking stone is on the top rack in preparation for the braided bread. I smell the warmth of stone and cornmeal dust.

I hope we have enough flour.