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Mrs. Sundberg's Recipe Collection - 12 tried-and-true--one for each month of the year--featuring an introduction and tips from Mrs. Sundberg herself

I'll figure it out along the way

December 26, 2006

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Wouldn't be Christmas without it, you know, like so many other things. The candlelight service, for example. And Mrs. Moratzka's fruit bread. And Handel's Messiah. The lighting of the Advent candles, sore feet from wearing ridiculous shoes, Mr. Sundberg's green "holly" tie, and snow. We baked the usual round of cookies — Russian teacakes and cutouts and spritz — and did the fudge and toffee, and the chipped beef dip for Christmas Eve. Went caroling, visited the neighbors with plates of sweets, and watched, together on Christmas Day Eve, It's a Wonderful Life.

The thing is, the surprises — not so much the traditions — are what make Christmas such a rich and sparkling time. There was the year my parents were broke and we thought it was a socks and pajamas and oranges year, but there they were — three shining new red bicycles encircling the tree. There was the year the barn burned down, and the Christmas the snowstorm came in during the pig roast at Aunt Betty's and we all spent the night. And the years my Christmas wishes came true: a fishing pole, a rock polisher, tickets to Disney, the promise of a week on the North Shore.

I don't know what will make Christmas memorable this time around. It may not have happened yet, or maybe it did and I'll figure it out along the way.

For now, this was the Christmas we gave Mom the diamond necklace we've wanted to give her since we were six. I made Chocolate Éclair dessert instead of 12 Layer Black Forest Chocolate Cherry Cake for Christmas Eve. I received three cameras for gifts, and gave Mr. Sundberg and the kids each a big old shovel with a red handle. There's been just a whisper of snow, and the kids are still hoping, pressing their faces to the windows and sighing a lot and saying, "Well, by New Year's Eve Day for sure." But it's still Christmas. Ten days to go until the 12th day. Between now and then, anything can happen.

This one doesn't take much time at all. It's light and sweet and gone before you know it.

Chocolate Éclair Dessert

1 stick butter
1 cup water
Bring to a boil in a 2 1/2 qt pan. Remove from heat. Add 1 cup flour while hot. Add 4 eggs, 1 at a time. Beat well after adding each egg.

Spread on a greased jelly roll pan. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Cool.

2 cups milk
6 oz French Vanilla Instant Pudding
8 oz cream cheese
Blend milk and pudding mix well. Add cream cheese and blend until thick and smooth. Spread over cooled crust.

Spread 12 oz Cool Whip over pudding.

1/3 cup chocolate chips
1 T butter
2 T water
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Melt together over low heat.
Drizzle over Cool Whip.

Refrigerate and serve up to 12.


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