Christmas morning, with the aromas of cinnamon, butter and bacon mingling with the cool morning breezes and the fragrance of pine. It is a special time, a quiet time, I think, to be treasured, no matter your relationship to the holiday.
If little kids are part of your morning, it will be shaped by early-morning footsteps, the crinkling of gift wrap and squeals of delight.
If not, you may linger in bed a tad longer than usual, sipping tea or coffee, reading the paper and enjoying the silence, uninterrupted by annoying phone calls and a need to rush off to the next obligation.
My preference is to enjoy a pot of homemade chai tea as I make a favorite cinnamon coffee cake and fry some bacon to go along with it.
It's a once-a-year indulgence that neither induces guilt no matter how much butter I slather on the cake nor makes me want to repeat it, except a year from now.
It's a lovely indulgence but not an addictive one.
When the coffee cake is ready and the bacon sufficiently crisp, I'll pour a glass of sparkling wine and savor it all slowly, before heading to the nearby coast so the puppies can sniff the shoreline to their hearts' content.
Whatever it is you are doing or not doing today, Happy Christmas. I hope it is a delicious day, full of love.
In “Cooking for Comfort” (Simon & Schuster, 2003), journalist Marian Burros offers several of her mother's recipes, including this one.
It is so similar to one that I loved when I was a little girl that I couldn't resist making a small change by adding butter to the filling and topping, which is how I remember it.
Coffee cake should, especially on Christmas Day, be served with good butter alongside.
Marian Burros' Mother's Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Makes 8 to 12 servings
For filling and topping:
1 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts
6 tablespoons sugar