We spent Christmas with the in-laws on the Cape this year. The kids were tickled to get to experience Christmas morning in a different place, and were careful to note the change of address in their letters to Santa.
Santa, for his part, was none too happy about the extra mileage.
Nevertheless, he arrived on schedule, with NORAD surveillance hot on his trail.
Earlier on Christmas Eve, the boys, vibrating with anticipation, finished their dinners early and then proceeded to sneak off and quietly change into their pajamas, go to the bathroom, and brush their teeth—activities that are rarely accomplished without a fair amount of cattle-prodding. The sudden quiet alerted my spider senses. I arrived on the scene to find the two little stinkers in bed with the lights off—at 6 o’clock!
I did a few calculations in my head:
They get up at 6 a.m. normally
On Christmas, it’ll probably be more like 5
They’re going to bed 2 hours early
Oh, shit, I’m going to have to get up at 3 o’clock in the morning!
Spurred into action, I flipped the lights back on, threw back the covers, and jabbed fingers into their ribs until all visions of sugarplums disappeared into a cloud of giggles. Then I heard something very out of character come out of my mouth: Get up and go watch TV. The two fleecy bundles skipped down the hall and pig-piled onto the couch. Either way, Christmas came early for my kids.
We got up at a merciful hour the next morning to squeals of delight over Lego sets and Pillow Pets, Hess trucks and a seriously cool electronic snap circuit set, comic books and bird books and mushroom identification books. (Hey, I can squeal if I want!) Then we admired our new toys over bacon strata, lobster quiche, and this cranberry buckle I brought.
Cranberry Buckle with Vanilla Crumb
I’ve added more cranberries to the original recipe. More! This is Cape Cod,
½ cup flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
Pinch fine sea salt
¼ cup (4 Tbsp.) cold, unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch cubes
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. fine sea salt
½ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
½ cup sour cream
3 cups fresh cranberries, 1 cup reserved for topping
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan.
Using a food processor, combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt, and butter. Pulse until you get coarse crumbs. Drizzle vanilla over the mixture and pulse briefly to distribute. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and orange zest on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture in three installments, alternating with sour cream and ending with the last of the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Fold in 2 cups of cranberries, reserving the remaining cup for topping.
Spread mixture into prepared pan. Distribute remaining cranberries on top and sprinkle crumb topping over the cranberries. Bake about 50 minutes, or until lightly golden and firm on top. Let cool. (Wrapped in plastic wrap, this cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.)
Source: Adapted from Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. This is one of my favorite cookbooks of the year, and one that will likely come up again in the summertime.