Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Dec 31, 2007 at 9:21am

Merry Christmas again! Last night we had our very last Christmas celebration, with Dad & Susanna and David & Etta, home from NYC. Stacey & Cooper were there too, as well as John & Nathan. And of course Jake-a-saurus (my parents’ adorable spaniel). We opened presents right away, as we’re learning (remembering!) that it’s tough for a one-year old (Coop!) to face all that excitement post-dinner, dangerously close to bedtime. The star gift wasDida, an orphaned baby elephant that Dad & Susanna sponsored in Nathan’s name through The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Four-week old Dida had fallen into a man-made water hole, poor little sweetie, but is now healthy and settled at the orphanage with other young elephants. Nathan will receive monthly updates on Dida’s progress, as well as photos of her with her caretakers. Read all about her and her lucky rescue here.

For dinner, Dad shot and Susanna prepared – I’m not kidding – Christmas goose! Not a roasted goose per se, but something rather more fabulous – a Julia Child, rustic French preparation of goose breasts over whipped potatoes and sauteed cabbage, napped with a rich, long-cooked brown sauce of onions, vermouth, and salt pork. Gorgeous, festive, and of course absolutely delicious, especially with crusty, grainy bread to wipe up every drop. Of that amazing sauce! For dessert, I made an old stand-by, cream puffs filled with whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce. Pretty darn tasty. (Recipe posted in comments, below.)

After lots of goodnight “kisses” for Cooper (you can tell he’s tired when he starts “fuzzing” his little earlobes), and a very interesting look – on Nathan’s new world map – at exactly where in Germany our family is from (Ostfriesland), we packed up our spiffy new gifts and made our way home for an early bedtime. Had to try for extra sleep because…

…tonight, we gather yet one more time, but more on that next year…

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  1. By Stephanie on January 7, 2008 at 8:50AM

    Cream Puffs with Whipped Cream and Chocolate Sauce
    Adapted from The Doubleday Cookbook by Anderson & Hanna
    Serves 6-8

    1 c. flour
    1 c. water
    ½ c. (1 stick) butter
    ¼ tsp. salt
    4 large (not extra large) eggs
    1 egg yolk mixed with 1 Tbsp. cold water (glaze)

    1 c. whipping cream
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    3 Tbsp. sugar

    Chocolate Sauce
    4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
    2 Tbsp. butter
    ¼ c. whipping cream
    ¼ c. sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla extract

    For puffs: preheat to 400 degrees. Put flour in the bowl of a mixer. Bring water, butter, and salt to a boil. Add all at once to flour and beat quickly until mixture forms a ball. Break an egg into a cup and slide into flour mixture. Beat until blended. Add remaining eggs, one at a time, beat well. Each egg must be blended in before the next is added; mixture will look odd at first, almost curdled, but as you beat, it will become smooth.

    Drop pastry by rounded tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet to form 12 puffs. Brush tops with glaze and bake 45 minutes until puffed, golden brown, and hollow-sounding when tapped. (Note: do not open oven door during first 15 minutes of baking.) Cool puffs on wire racks away from drafts.

    For filling: beat whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla together until soft peaks form.

    For chocolate sauce: heat chocolate, butter, cream, and sugar together until smooth and just simmering. Off heat, stir in vanilla.

    To serve: cut a 3/4-inch slice off the top of each puff. Fill with whipped cream and replace tops. Drizzle with warm chocolate sauce and serve immediately.