Friday, December 13, 2013

Countdown to Christmas in Provence

It is Countdown to Christmas time! We started ours by visiting Marseille's Old Town just as the Christmas Market opened and beautiful festive illuminations brightened the Old Harbor. Now back home our annual Ghoulash Party needs to be prepared and between cookie baking, shopping for ingredients, and tree decorating I tried out two recipes: David Lebovitz' "Candied Almonds" which turned out absolutely fabulos although halfway through I thought it to be the perfect recipe to ruin my very best skillet. Which it didn't - but it was hard to keep faith....
Recipe No. 2 was very graciously shared by my friend Nana who had just returned from Marrakech where she had charmed it from her hotel's patisserie chef. If you want a chocolatey, not very sweet but oh so good festive treat that takes about 10 minutes to prepare (plus cooling time) let me know and I will post the recipe.
Christmas Market at the Vieux Port Marseille
 Festive Illumination at Marseille's Old Harbor

 My first batch of  Christmas Cookies

 Remember the Berlin "Ampelmännchen"?
They also come as cookie cutters 

Little Party giveaways

David Lebovitz' Candied Almonds -
 start innocently enough: cooking almonds in sugar and water...

 then, when you think "What a mess, this isn't working"....
 ...the sugar turns into a golden caramel to which flaky sea salt is added
for an almost decadently sinful taste

 Festive sweets: Moroccan Sesame, Almond and Chocolate Crunch


  1. Those almonds look amazing - I am so impressed that you kept the faith with the recipe!

  2. What a fun post, I feel like I've been to France! Those almonds look totally amazing! I HAVE to try them and thanks for the warning! :)

  3. I had those same thoughts when I made peanut brittle. I need to give this a try.

  4. Looks so very nice in your kitchen. Looks German/French combined. Merry Christmas to you and Robert.

  5. I will have to try David's recipe. We love almonds. I am glad you got down to Marseille. Enjoy the holiday season.

  6. What lovely blog you have I love these pictures!! Im following you!

  7. Hi Barbara , I can't believe it, our berliner Ampelmännchen in your blog!
    and of course I have to try out the almonds, the idea of adding sea salt sounds delicious, I like that much better than sweet cookies.
    Merry Christmas

  8. I've done something similar to almonds...and thought the same thing you did! The cleaning up after is the biggest mess (boiling water did the trick), but everyone loved the almonds so it was worth it. Excellent series of photos showing the stages and the success at the end.

  9. Gorgeous nosh, they all make my mouth water!!:) My best wishes for Christmas and New Year, hope we can meet up in 2014!!:) xx ozlem

  10. Oh, I miss winter Christmas...Beautiful photos!

  11. Merry Christmas Barbara. Those almonds look so decadent. Thanks for the warning about the cooking.