I Don’t Want to be a Grownup if You Have to Skip Dessert

Enjoy the holidays. Just be selective. Choose all the homemade, buttery things.

Enjoy the holidays. Just be selective. Choose all the homemade, buttery things. (Thank you to my husband for drawing pictures for me.)

Miles run today: 4.5

Presents left to wrap: 1

Cookies still needing to be baked: 89 (I made that up.)

First of all, let me say that I am devastated about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary. I wish that I had power and clout so that I could change so many, many things about our laws and the way the world works. I wish I could abolish evil. But mostly, I wish I could take away the pain that those families will carry with them always.

My grandmother is synonymous with cake. Each time we visited, at least seven desserts greeted us when we opened her glass door and were enfolded in a soft hug. She smells of coffee and baked goods.

(The very reason my husband decided to start dating me was because my grandmother sent him two slices of pound cake with chocolate frosting wrapped in aluminum foil. If he had any thoughts of escaping my evil clutches, they were annihilated in a few bites of soft, yellow, cakey goodness.)

My sister and I used to spend a week each summer with my grandparents. My grandmother would take us out to Taco Bell or Chick Fil-A for lunch if we went shopping, but on special days, she would take us to a fancy-schmancy lunch at the City Club.

One time, her friend went with us, and we all ate our chicken salad sandwiches and made polite conversation. At the end, my grandmother, lover of all things sweet, asked my sister and me if we wanted dessert.

“Yes, yes!” we chanted. As if there were any question of skipping dessert.

My grandmother turned to her friend and said, “I think I’ll just have coffee.”


I’m sorry. What?

First of all, my grandmother loves dessert like she loves to give loud, musical toys to tiny children. Second of all, I decided then and there that I was not interested in growing up if dessert was off the table.

We ordered huge slabs of chocolate chocolate cake with fudgey chocolate frosting. And we loved it.

But now I am grown up. And my body is all far off the ground and unable to properly execute a cartwheel because of all the limbs and extraneous bones and stuff.

If I were out to lunch at the City Club today, I would order coffee. But not for the reasons I imagined back then.

I would order coffee because I wouldn’t be tempted, not even a little bit.

I know that if I want a real dessert, one that tastes rich and homemade and uses real, honest-to-goodness ingredients, I can make it myself. Or my baking neighbor down the street will send down some real, Italian tiramisu… and if you are able to turn that down, then I’m afraid I can’t be your friend. Why would I want to trouble my taste buds with Crisco icing or dry, crumbly cake?

I made chocolate chip cookies today, my signal each year that the real eating baking of the holidays has begun. Two sticks of butter, baby! We have almond butter blossoms to make and chocolate pretzel chip thingies and whatever else we can find to create for the holidays.

I’m not touting dessert as a main course lifestyle choice, but when I smell the real butter, real brown sugar and real (processed) chocolate chips all melting in together, it makes me glad to be a grownup… one who can whip up a little homemade dessert when the need strikes.

What about you? Do you have a favorite holiday treat? Do you let yourself enjoy desserts over the holidays, or are you one of those super-human machines who refuse extra calories 365 days a year?


51 thoughts on “I Don’t Want to be a Grownup if You Have to Skip Dessert

  1. It only comes around once a year, so how could I turn my back on a serving of rich, moist Christmas Pudding with a huge dollop of brandy infused hard sauce?

    • annewoodman says:

      Yum! My husband likes his with custard. ; ) Do you make your own?

      • The hard sauce, yes – I seem to be the champion. We always bought our puddings from the Country Women’s Association Christmas stall.

        Mum would pour brandy over it, wrap it in muslin and mature it on the top shelf along with the Christmas cake (which she would make in August), before pulling it out on Christmas morning, stuff it full of boiled coins, rewrap it in muslin and steam it while we were eating dinner! The Burgher women here make the most delicious puddings, so there’s been no need to learn!

      • annewoodman says:

        Sounds like you’re both talented and spoiled. ; ) Have a wonderful holiday!

  2. Christmas is for calories, isn’t it? I spent last week having phone conversations with my mum about what puddings she is going to make over the week I am with her and my dad. Tiramisu was one of them. She has an insane recipe. Before they were married, her and Dad were in a restaurant in France and she ordered it for desert. Afterwards, she said that she would have to go and ask the chef for the recipe. She begged, saying that she was from Brazil so what harm could it do to know his special way of making the pudding. I am so grateful to that chef in France!! Have a lovely, buttery Christmas and New Year.

  3. Bernie Brown says:

    During a regular week, I only allow myself ice cream on Sunday nights; but then it is always Ben and Jerry’s.
    During the holidays, the rules don’t apply. Also on holidays, I like dessert topped with real whipped cream. Yesterday I made brownies with Andes mint chips and real butter.
    Your blog started a rush of Grannie memories. Grannie made fudge year round, and when I stayed with her in the summer, she made child-sized cinnamon rolls in some toy baking tins she had. We also played game after game of gin rummy!
    Enjoy your holiday baking, Anne; and then, your holiday eating. After all, it’s a time for feasting, right?

  4. Daryl says:

    Ka’ak, ka’ak and ka’ak (meaning cake). That Lebanese/Arabic semolina-based loveliness packed with dates. I love that your Mom belongs to the Lebanese church–they make it by the kilos rather than pieces. Yum…
    What makes ka’ak so good is that it is not overly sweet, and I tell myself that unlike Western-made cookies, they are a healthy treat.

  5. Daryl says:

    Oh, did I forget lashings of Christmas pudding!!!!! and fruitcake with custard and liquors.

  6. I tend to let myself indulge in a bit of sweet stuff when I feel like it any time of the year, but I don’t over-indulge. At Christmas time it’s just as likely to be savoury things as sweet that I overdo – different cheeses, smoked salmon, that kind of thing!

  7. My philosophy (now) is everything in moderation 365 days a year. But regarding the discussion of good/real ingredients? It’s not worth baking or eating if what goes in the bowl is artificial or low this, low that!
    Is your husband an artist by profession or a hobbyist? He’s talented!

    • annewoodman says:

      Thanks, Karen! My husband is a very talented amateur artist. He is quite artistic but has a scientific career that pays the bills. Phew!

      I think you have a good philosophy.

  8. Carrie Rubin says:

    I definitely enjoy my Christmas desserts, although it’s even more fun watching my family enjoy my baked goods. But no matter how many different kinds I make, their favorite is still the cookies with the chocolate kiss on top. 🙂

    Oh, and for the record, I’ve gone through quite a bit of butter myself during my baking frenzy…

    • annewoodman says:

      Yes, the kids and I are making the ones with the chocolate kiss on top this afternoon. We make almond butter ones because of peanut allergy issues.

      • Carrie Rubin says:

        Then I guess you won’t be making Buckeyes either. 🙂 I’m trying to decide if I should make those or not. I already have enough goodies, but they’re so good. Don’t know if anyone calls them Buckeyes outside of Ohio, but they are peanut butter balls dunked in chocolate. Really low cal stuff…

  9. Life is short. Eat dessert first! My favorite holiday treat is my mother’s caramel recipe. I cut them larger than she would, but I dislike wrapping them in wax paper so larger means fewer papers to cut. 😉

  10. Jay Helms says:

    Egg Nog Tart (way better than it sounds), homemade Tiramisu, a neighbor’s true Jamaican Dark Rum Cake, Americanized yellow rum cake, anything from Trader Joe’s, my mom’s “thumbprint icing cookies”, panettone (toasted with butter), homemade peppermint meringues dipped in chocolate, my father-in-law’s not-too-sweet springerly anise cookies, and that southern Christmas tea made from Tang and Nestea and cinnamon red hots. And when my brother-in-law’s in town, he brings Quality Streets. That’s too many, isn’t it?

    • annewoodman says:

      I might think you had a dessert problem, Jay, if I didn’t realize that you exercised all the time. ; ) You have certainly surveyed all that’s available… and that only helps us decide what we need to save up for, right?

  11. […] by the numbers nominated me some months ago. I love Anne’s blog. Her posts are always filled with memories that appear like a secret soft centre in an already […]

  12. Very impressed by hubby’s artwork…what does he do for a living – anything related to art? Any followup connection yet with Steve and/or Phil at Quintiles? Any research done on which companies handle outsourced writing tasks for medical practices and hospitals?


    • annewoodman says:

      Nope–he is a scientist… just very artistic.

      I contacted Steve and Phil two or three times and never heard anything back.

      I’ve looked at and applied to a couple of jobs that are open at PR agencies that handle healthcare agencies or doctor’s offices. Still nothing.

  13. jmmcdowell says:

    I try not to overindulge like I did when my metabolism could handle anything and everything. But I couldn’t go without some treats! And Christmas is the time for my mother’s walnut crescent cookies and whatever other goodies friends and families and willing to share. 🙂

  14. robincoyle says:

    Since I don’t have a sweet tooth, the baking thing eludes me, much to my family’s dismay. Give me some turkey stuffing or au gratin potatoes and I’m in heaven. I think I love your grandma tho.

  15. I adore the butter drawing! Mmm… pound cake with chocolate frosting. My husband made me peach cobbler after our first date (with local peaches of course). That ensured future dates. His mom always makes cookies too–refuses to buy them at the store. Yum!

  16. Melissa says:

    I’m with you. Why get the crap when you can make the good stuff. Over the years, I’ve become quite the snob. I have a friend that is an awesome baker and it’s a good thing she doesn’t live in my neighborhood or I’d be HUGE. I’m not a coconut fan, but my aunt makes this eight layer coconut cake that symbolizes Christmas baking for me…that and her seven layer cookies…yum!

    • annewoodman says:

      O.M.G.!!!! I love that elaborate, old-school coconut cake! My mom and I have been meaning to try one. I think we’ve settled on Easter for an attempt. I’m jealous!

  17. As the vowel at the end of my last name implies, I would never, ever turn down tiramisu. So do feel free to invite me over when your neighbor gets all tiramisu-ey. I’ll bring the espresso.

  18. Amy Mak says:

    As I write this I have granola in the oven and three different cookie doughs in the garage (to keep cold) until we start baking tomorrow. Sometimes I feel guilty giving people so much sugar but really, how fun is it to open your door to someone who has made you something so yummy? With butter? I love it. I will run tomorrow, but I will also eat a lot of Christmas goodness. Mmmm…it already smells so goooood….

  19. juturisatish says:

    nice work………..

  20. susielindau says:

    I made up a cookie recipe yesterday. I had one I was following that seemed wrong. There was no baking soda or powder, I was out of almond extract and I thought it needed some spice. I threw in a couple of eggs too. I dipped them in chocolate. Well needless to say they turned out and I ate a dozen of them before my exchange yesterday morning!
    Enjoy your day of baking!
    Found you through 4 AM Writer!

  21. 4amWriter says:

    I’m totally with you on the real desserts versus processed, fake, store-bought, fat-free, desserts. I will gladly pass up Oreos if I know I can make chocolate chip cookies at home, eat them freshly warm with an ice cold glass of milk. I refuse to waste my limited calories reserved for sweets on improper desserts.

    My all-purpose favorite dessert is Black Forest Pudding Cake, warm, with real whipped cream. My favorite Christmas sweet, peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate. Runner up: Russian Teacakes. 🙂

    • annewoodman says:

      Yum! Yes, I guess I have something similar that I make for special occasions, called Blackout Cake, that has pudding in the middle layer. Serious yum!

      I’m with you–I’ll wait for the good stuff!

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