by Mary Anne Ellis, Central Library, Southern History Department
Christmas with Southern Living 2016: The Complete Guide to Holiday Cooking and Decorating
By editors of Southern Living Magazine
A Christmas book in November? Well, why not? It never hurts to get an early start on the holiday season, with “early” meaning anything after Labor Day. If you’re the one in charge of a major holiday celebration, and especially if you’re already a fan of the magazine, then the Christmas with Southern Living book series is something you should check out. Our department has just received the 2016 version and even if you don’t feel your crafting and cooking abilities are in the Martha Stewart category, you can still revel in the gorgeous photography and cherry-pick the best ideas that will fit your celebration and skill level. And who knows? Some of the decorating schemes and recipes are fairly simple and you may find something you’d like to try. On page 39 there is a recipe for Salted Brown Sugar Butter that is only three ingredients: unsalted butter, brown sugar, and flaky sea salt:
You will find endless dishes in which to use this butter, from topping cooked carrots and roasted root vegetables to slathering on dinner rolls and muffins.
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon flaky sea salt
1. Beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer 3 minutes or until light and creamy; fold in sea salt.
2. Place mixture on large piece of plastic wrap. Bring one side of plastic wrap over mixture. Hold down other end of plastic wrap. Place flat edge of a baking sheet or other sturdy, flat object next to butter on plastic wrap. Using your other hand, hold end of baking sheet and push bottom of baking sheet away from you into base of butter mixture, forming a 6 x 2-inch log. Chill two hours or until firm.
Well, I’m sold. Something tells me this will find its way into my recipe file and my roasted root vegetables will be all the better for it, not to mention my waffles and my oatmeal. And don’t miss the “50 Years of Sweets” section, commencing with Brown Sugar-Cocoa Fudge from 1966 all the way to Coconut Snowballs in 2015.
If decorating the house is more your speed, there are also some striking arrangements of greenery in copper pots and festive white floral embellishments for your mantelpiece—and who knew you could find so many uses for pine cones? So even if the season is always extra-busy for you, make some time for Christmas with Southern Living and you might find a decorating idea or recipe that will become one of your personal classics for the holidays and all year long.
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