Cakes in a Box
I bake cakes for you. Sometimes, I write.

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Some Christmas thoughts, some Christmas songs

I freakin’ love Christmas. I love the decorations. I love all the cozy activities. I love how everyone wants to hang out and just enjoy each other’s company. I love all the Christmas gatherings that surround food, and above all, I love Christmas baking.

Okay, so the truth of the matter is that I love to eat Christmas baking. Semantics. It’s just that Christmas baking is often chocolate and butter-laden—two things I just cannot say no to.

I learned quite recently that my eating habits are not common, in that I have something sweet—whether this be a few candies or a massive slice of cake—at least once a day, every day. I heard too much sugar isn’t good for my health. And Mom, I promise to eat less sugar come the new year, but this ain’t the time, especially considering how this year has been absolute dogshit. Let’s not dwell on that. Maybe those thoughts in another blog.

Anyway, Christmas baking can become overwhelming, especially when it’s December 24 and you’re in the midst of dropping off baked goods for loved ones but you realize you forgot three people, and two of those three people would take it really personally. Which is why you need a baked good that’s reliable, easy, and takes about 45 minutes to make from start to finish.

Yes, it exists. And it’ll save your ass on more than one occasion.

May I present to you: Turtle bars. It’s five ingredients (six if you count salt). You’re welcome. 

They make a giant batch and you can make at least 10 little goodie bags with them, but that’s only if you can resist eating at least a quarter of the batch, which is what I do without fail every time I make it. Quality control or whatever.’

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Alright, so. Go ‘head and preheat your oven to 350F. Then, line your baking sheet with a Silpat. I do really recommend this, as I’ve tried with parchment and the toffee ends up being a little too sticky. The cookies peel off silicone like magic. Place a single layer of graham crackers onto your Silpat-baking sheet. 

Over medium-high heat, melt one cup of butter, one cup of golden brown sugar, and one cup of pecans in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir constantly once it boils for about 3-5 minutes. Pour this mixture over the graham crackers as evenly as you can. I find this to be the trickiest part. Get a little help from your spatula and spread it out a bit.

Bake the graham crackers for 15 minutes, and while you’re doing this, melt dark chocolate in a bowl over simmering water (a bain-marie). Once the graham crackers are out of the oven, use a fork and go Jackson Pollock with the chocolate and sprinkle some flaked sea salt over the chocolate. Make sure you chill the bars in the fridge (15-20 minutes) until the chocolate hardens before you cut the bars. Et voila. That’s it.


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Turtle Cookies

Ingredients
1 box of graham crackers (you won’t be using the entire thing)
1 cup of unsalted butter
1 cup packed golden brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
12 ounces dark chocolate
Salt

Method
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Arrange the graham crackers in single layer on Silicone mat-lined baking sheet.
3. Melt butter, brown sugar, and pecans in saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 3-5 minutes and stirring constantly. 
4. Pour mixture evenly over the graham crackers and bake for 15 minutes. 
5. Melt the chocolate in bowl placed over simmering water. Pour the chocolate over the toffee-covered graham crackers and spread evenly. Sprinkle flaked sea salt over chocolate.
6. Chill completely in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes before cutting into bars.

And for your listening pleasure, here are some Christmas songs that, yes, were heavily featured on The O.C. holiday mix, but also some other Christmas songs that include DMX singing about Rudolph. Oh, it is a good one.

1. The Ravonettes - “The Christmas Song”
2. Bright Eyes - “Blue Christmas”
3. Ron Sexsmith - “Maybe This Christmas”
4. LCD Soundsystem - “Christmas Will Break Your Heart”
5. Kanye West ft. Teyana Taylor, Cyhi the Prynce, Pusha T, Big Sean, Cam'ron, Jim Jones, Vado, Musiq Soulchild - “Christmas in Harlem”
6. Tyler, the Creator ft. Ryan Beatty - “When Gloves Come Off”
7. TLC - “Sleigh Ride”
8. Eazy-E - “Merry Muthaf*ckin’ Xmas”
9. DMX - “Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer”
10. Gucci Mane - “St. Brick Intro”

Joyce Ng