Thursday, December 23, 2010

Andy Tauer's Advent Calendar, A Giveaway And My Mother's Marzipan


Today is day 23 of Andy Tauer's Advent Calendar. I'm honored to host a giveaway of a very special bottle of Andy's creation Le Cologne du Maghreb- an all natural, all botanical eau de cologne. It's a real prize- a 50 ml of a scent that can't be purchased anywhere. And, of course, it smells wonderful- rich citrus like you rarely encounter nowadays over a light wood/incense base. This is Andy's gift (details at the bottom), and here is mine:

December celebrations in my family have always been about more than just Hanukkah. Not that the Festival Of Light on all its deep-fried goodness is anything minor, but my dad's birthday is the 17th of December, my late grandfather's was the 22nd (he would have been 98 this year) and my parents' wedding anniversary is the 28th. This means December has really been one big countdown. With food.

One of the treats that always appears on the table is homemade marzipan. I believe my mom has refined and improved an old family recipe. Her marzipan is delectable, flavorful and ridiculously easy to make. I still remember when I was very young that my mother used a manual food mill to grind the almonds, but that was over 30 years ago. A food processor simplifies preparations- grind, mix and roll into cute little balls. It takes very few ingredients, just make sure not to compromise on quality and freshness. The basic principle is equal parts almonds and sugar, some seasoning and a binding ingredient (the egg white). Quantities can be easily adjusted as is the seasoning. My mother uses vanilla-laced (store vanilla pods in your sugar for a couple of weeks). Or add a few drops of the best vanilla extract to the mixture. This last adjustment is not mother-approved (I'll hear about this in tomorrow's phone call), but it works in a pinch.

Nina's Marzipan

9 oz (250gr) raw unblanched almonds
9 oz (250 gr) sugar
an egg white (probably a little less- depending on the mixture)
zest of a medium lemon, finely grated
a few drops of almond extract


1. Blanch the almond in boiling water- let soak for 1 minute, rinse in cold water and pat to remove skins. Dry. No shortcuts on this- never buy blanched almonds because they are seriously lacking in taste, aroma and texture.

2. Process the blanched almonds and sugar into a very fine and uniform meal.

3. Add egg white one spoonful at a time and mix by hand to dough-like consistency.

4. Mix in extracts and lemon zest.

5. Roll into balls, about 3/4-inch round. Place each ball in a paper candy cup, store in an airtight container and refrigerate until serving.

Yes, that's it.

And now to Andy's giveaway- to be entered please leave a comment and tell us about a favorite holiday treat or a scent memory. 
Art by Craig Stephens

205 comments:

  1. Well, my scent memory from yesterday-I was making a special form of madeline, and my hair and skin have been redolent with the smell of bitter cocoa ever since! And I'm wearing Shalimar to boot!

    Love,

    Carole MacLeod

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  2. Let me just start by saying I *love* marzipan. My strongest scent memory for the holidays is of my late grandmother's Christmas ham. Now, I have been a vegetarian for going on 20 years, but I vividly remember my grandmother preparing the ham with maraschino cherries, pineapple slices and studding it with cloves. It would bake in the oven for what seemed like eternity. When it was time to eat, my special treat was that I was presented with a little plate with most of the cherries and pineapple slices infused with the smokiness of the meat and the spice of the clove, slightly charred from baking and still warm. I would relish every bite. And then I ate ham. :)

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  3. A memory still so vivid: going to midnight Mass with my grandmother who was an extremely elegant lady (in the best old fashioned sense). She would have on a fur coat that smelled like leather, a gorgeous corsage with orchids and roses and would be wearing either Caron Nuit de Noel or Mitsouko. The church would be full of incense and lilies and steamy with melted snow from outside and other women wearing their best clothes and scents. Between the perfume, flowers and incense and wonderful heat from so many people pressed together I could almost pass out from joy.

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  4. I'm finding it really, really difficult to pick just one favorite holiday treat, but if you held a gun to my head and demanded that I do I'd probably have to say it's my aunt's homemade struffoli. Those little balls of fried dough covered in honey are BEYOND addictive. No matter how many you eat it's never enough, and no matter how many batches she makes they never last very long.

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  5. Oh, I love marzipan. I've never made it, but now I'm inspired. I love rum balls myself, which are made from crushed gingersnaps, confectioner's sugar, cocoa, and rum, of course. So addictive!

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  6. My favorite dish would have to be a special anise/pistache/almandes recipe that I've developed over the years. Always a hit!

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  7. My childhood spent in Oklahoma, and one year the first (and only?) snow of winter was on Christmas Eve. My brother and I ran around the house, our skinny butts in our little jammies, looking out every window in amazement.

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  8. My very favorite christmas cookie is a hazelnut linzer that my mother made every year into her 70's she is 84 now and maybe we will make them together tomorrow...

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  9. My grandmother used to make gingerbread houses and gingerbread men. I can still smell them. This was always one of the best parts of Christmas.

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  10. This might sound weird, but my favorite holiday scent is this old funky broom looking decoration that smells like heaven. Seriosuly. My mom got this thing like 15 years ago and it still smells wonderful. It smells like cinnamon, nutmeg, some kind of wood, and a bit of oldness. I freaking love that thing :)

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  11. My housemate makes a cookie that is like a Mexican Wedding cookie but with a Hershey's Kiss in the middle. Crumbly, powdered-sugar goodness.

    Thank you for hosting this draw, and thanks for the recipe!\

    And thanks always to Andy!

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  12. Mine is ginger, sweet oranges, cocconut, almond flowers and and and cacao, vanilla :-)

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  13. I used to love Marzipan when I was younger and slimmer. Maybe Marzipan mixed with some of Andy's Orange Star might work a treat, who knows?

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  14. my mom's chocolate cake made only on special ocasions-maximum twice a year

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  15. That sounds delicious. I usually associate the holidays with a homemade potpourri my mother would simmer on the stove - I think it contained orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, water and some other spicy odds and ends.

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  16. My favorite holiday scent memory is smell of the coconut milk lemon curd that boils in large quantities on the stoves of almost all my family members this time of year. The lemon curd is citrusy but mellowed by the homemade coconut milk and a tiny bit of vanilla sugar. Somehow it smells like Christmas tree to me, perhaps by association with Christmastime. It is used to make filling for Jesus's birthday cake, a light and fluffy coconut cake with said filling, topped with thinly sliced almonds and freshly grated coconut, resembling manger hay. I will be baking one in about 12 hours. Yummy. PS, awesome marzipan. Do you know how to mold it into cute fruit shapes?

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  17. Thank you for the recipe! Personally, I don't like marzipan but everyone else around me adores it, so I will definitely try this one. :)
    My favourite holiday treat - well, it's not food - but champagne and I'm already looking forward to it. :)

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  18. Xmas in my family has always been about lots of good food (after all I'm italian) and staying with family and dears. There's a lot of smelly memories associated to that.

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  19. I just love the smell of christmas, especially pine needles

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  20. i always remember my mum wearing opium on her nights out. that will always stay with me.

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  21. It seems we always used to have a fresh blanket of snow for Christmas...may sound crazy but I loved the scent of it, or the non scent of it which I guess can be construed as a scent in and of itself??? And lots of fresh ground coffee!

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  22. Hello!
    Even today I remember the scent and the taste of my mother's cheese pie. It was a little salty, very soft, tender and hot and had a beautiful yellowish colour. (The recipe come from Georgia, and the pie was named "Hachapuri").

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  23. my favourite holiday treat is my siters homemade shortbread, yum yum

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  24. Favorite holiday treat:
    "tortelli di zucca", a pumpkin based, very ancient (origins to be traced back to medieval times!) traditional Italian recipe.
    Pumpkin, home made fruit mostarda, amaretti, parmesan cheese, spices make up the filling, and the tortelli are seasoned with sage and butter.
    Glorious!

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  25. Definitely donuts and latkes...al types, potato, zucchini, carrot, sweet potato, and the list go on.
    Spikes aunts homemade struffoli sound AMAZING as does your marzipan...i will have to try the recipe!
    Yummmmy

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  26. Sounds very tasty!
    Thank you for the recipe.

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  27. My favorite holiday treat is called "Sernig" and it is only made for Christmas and Easter from all the egg whites that are not used in baking sweet bread. These are all Ukrainian/polish traditions my mother-in-law holds upright, since it is her family´s heritage.

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  28. My favorite memory of holiday treats is that of making date nut loaf with my grandmother as a young child. She would make dozens of loaves to give away every Christmas, and we would spend hours cracking and peeling the pecans and making the loaves. Her signature scent was Chanel and as was the custom of her day, she wore a dress, low heels, and a full apron in the kitchen. The date nut loaf was always splendid.

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  29. My fav holiday treat is drinking eggnog.

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  30. There is a smell vivid and present in my memory, it
    comes from my childhood holidays
    when I was passing months at grandparents house in the countryside.
    I still hear the intense aroma of hay.

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  31. We've spent the last two days making chocolate-dipped shortbread to bring into work for Christmas parties, sprinkled with white nonpareils for that snow-dusted holiday look: it may be raining here, but the cookies are snowed in. (Melted and tempered Toblerone bars are even better than plain milk chocolate if you like that almond nougat, which most people seem to.)

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  32. It's a smell and a memory for me; my mother baking the Christmas cake every November; the rich, boozy, fruity/citrus scent of it filling the kitchen and house; a promise of wonderful things to come.

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  33. My favorite holiday treat is a kind of local version of panettone filled with raisin, vanilla, nuts and cocoa which is smelling like heaven during cooking. And this is one of my favourite Christmas smells together with the smell of AG's Christmas candles, discovered 3 years ago

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  34. fqjcior@gmail.comDecember 23, 2010 5:04 AM

    My favorite holiday scent memory is the scent of orange peels. I love it. Cheers.

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  35. Thanks for the marzipan recipe. My memories are a mixture of apples, cinammon, almonds, champagne scent, grapes... roses...

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  36. My favourite christmas smell is gingered brandysnaps.............& my favourite christmas perfumes are chanel no.22 or Miller et Bertaux Spiritus

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  37. The smell of fir,Christmas three is that I most associate with Christmas.
    Merry Christmas do everybody!
    Parfumista

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  38. Thank you for the double giveaway, I don't think I've ever had homemade marzipan before. Taste and scent are both very important to me. A scent memory for you? Here is a very personal one.

    The first time I was ever moved by a scent on a man, I was 16 and I honestly thought the aroma was his natural pheremones emanating from his pores. Eventually I told him this, he was bemused and touched. Later I found out he was wearing Dior's Fahrenheit and to this day it's still my favourite aftershave : )

    Merry Christmas, Yasmin x

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  39. Every year I make chocolate truffles with 80% cocoa chocolate. Having read your marzipan recipe I might make some of that as well!

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  40. oooh! Homemade marzipan! I had eat only homemade muffin with marzipan from Sweden. The scent, which I remember clearly, is of herring with cinnamon... Our family in the evening of 24th, still eat dishes very simple, not grease, like cooked big beans, nuts and etc., and three-four variation of herring. Fiesta begins with 25th dinner :)
    Non-Blonde, I´m such a happy to add, that my father birthday was 20th of December, my lover - 25th, and my boss - 1th of January :) Unfortunately, we do not celebrate around one big table....

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  41. The scent that always brings Christmas in mind for me is the scent of glögg (mulled wine).

    I remember being small and waking up in the Christmas morning to the scent mixed of glögg, coffee and freshly baked gingerbread and running to the Christmas tree to find the presents.

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  42. So, it's a double treat today! Thanks for a nice recipe. Though - marzipan would be a tricky one for me :)
    Funny, I don't have a special X-mas treat. I guess a good chocolate cake would be a perfect finishing touch for each holiday. Love chocolate cakes!

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  43. I love marzipan. On my way to and from work I pass a little shop where they sell little round marzipan balls with a walnut on top, homemade.

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  44. It's almost impossible to pick one favorite Christmas treat, but I would say my grandmother's "Morrocan cookies". I don't know where the name comes from, because they have nothing to do with Morrocan cuisine. Made mainly from candied orange peels, nuts and honey, covered in dark chocolate, mmmmm...

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  45. Cherrywood and damp heavy wool. Every time I get a whiff of either it is suddenly mid- December.

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  46. In Christmas there are so many delicious things to eat... It's hard to pick just one.
    Here we have our traditional turrons (the original is a sweet made of almonds, honey, cinnamon, eggs... but now there are hundreds of flavours in the market), marzipans, "polvorones", "mantecados"... Well, a lot of Arabic origin sweets :)

    But my favourite treat is a little sweet made with lard, flour, cinnamon and sugar and filled with sweet pumpkin filling. We call them "cortadillos de cidra". Yummy!

    I would love to be entered in the draw. Thanks!

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  47. One of my favourite holiday memories (I have a few) is of my mum making minceballs at Christmas. I can still smell the spicy, oniony aromas as they fried. I'm not sure why she did this, but it was a tradition in our household!

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  48. Strong scent memory -- cinnamon buns on Xmas morning, a family tradition... I guess that counts for both.
    dwkent@sonic.net

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  49. Since I was a child, my mother has made this thing called "Cream of Wheat Date Pudding." It probably originated on the back of the box, but she used to make it for all the holidays throughout the year. My grandmother also used to make it, but my mother's was better, for some reason. In recent years, though, my mother has refused to make it, despite popular demand. I wish I could share the recipe, but I don't have it. It's kind of like a semolina halvah.

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  50. My grandmother's sticky buns were there every Christmas morning as we opened gifts. Now she's not around to make them, but we still have them. My 4 year old is asking every morning if it's time for sticky buns (not "is it Christmas?").

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  51. I love reading about your commenters' scent memories! And, I adore marzipan but have never been brave enough to make it. Now I'm thinking of trying it...One of my favorite scent memories is the mingled smell of Christmas tree and the spray wax we used to put designs on the windows of our house, using stencils. The stencils came with the spray wax, which was a sort of snowy-looking stuff and had a distinctive odor--probably toxic! LOL! Cheers to you and all your readers.

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  52. Holiday treat is starting the day with a glass of fizz and the spending all day in the kitchen!

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  53. Christmas treats always mean cookies. It was the only time my mother would actually make them.

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  54. I love marzipan...my most recent holiday scent memory is the stollen I baked yesterday, with a layer of marizpan through the middle. A favorite holiday treat around here is meringue mushrooms.

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  55. Yesterday I commented on my favourite christmas food and that goes for this topic too. A swedish delicacy: Pickled herring with salty herring pieces, red onion, leek, carrot, allspice and carnation in a sugar/water/vinegar base. It tastes and smells yummy and goes for both christmas and midsummer here in Sweden. Very much associated with these holidays, the scent of pickled herring will send me back through the years, not to any one particular memory but to the holiday spirit overall. Of course to be accompanied by a good snaps, a dill flavoured one perhaps. Skål!

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  56. Mmmm... there are so many Christmas scents... the smell of snow and the cold dark sky, the chilled white wine with dinner, combined with the homey scent of my mother's potato salad, with its spike of pickle and the comfort of my dad's fried fish... the spicy cinnamon and tang of apple in the baking strudel...

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  57. A tradition in my Swedish family is making little pecan pies called Swedish Pecan Teacakes ( in the South , Pecan Tassies )with a cookie crust and lots of pecans , made in mimi muffin pans . A bite of heaven .
    I made some yesterday....
    Please include me in the draw . Thank you !

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  58. Fresh pine trees always reminds me of the holidays. Add cookies baking in the oven and a little snow and I'm back home again!

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  59. Growing up in a very Scandinavian home all my scent memories are a little weird. I remember my grandmother preparing the lutefisk every Christmas, and since her passing I always feel a certain longing for that pungent lye-soaked fish smell. It's not something the family really wants to recreate, but I feel like the holidays are always missing something without it.

    Also, it's not Christmas without the smell of glögg (a mulled wine made of red wine, vodka, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, cloves and orange peel) simmering! We were not allowed to have more than a sip as kids because it was so potent, but we happily make and drink it now.

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  60. Well...first of all thanks to you and Andy for the draw!
    My latest scented Xmas memory is from last year..when I discovered Lutens Fille en Aiguilles, that's Christmas feeling in a bottle! I'm wearing it a lot this year too, to get into the right mood.
    I'm not that good with cooking and baking..but I'll try anyway!
    Merry Christmas to you all!
    Silvia-Spain

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  61. Oh I love marzipan but usually buys a big confectionary marzipan piggy (Swedish tradition), partially covered chocolate and with a silver sugar bead in its mouth.

    But your recipe sounds delicious, I'll be saving it for next year!

    I've just finished baking the also traditional gingerbread, so the house is filled with nice flavours of dark sugar, clove, cinnamon and ginger.

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  62. Seasons Greetings to All, My moms red velvet cake is my best Christmas Memory she's been making it for decades and it just gets better.

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  63. Well, my mother used to make honey sweets, a very special memory. Merry Christmas to all!! Alica - alica@cleis.net

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  64. In my family, my mother's Christmas punch is legendary. The ingredients are simple, but the end result is addicting. She will only make it at Christmas, so the rest of the year is the big build up to having punch. It's funny to hear my children talking about punch and their fear that my mother will die without passing on the recipe!

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  65. Gingerbread is my favorite scent memory. I've never moved beyond store bought marzipan - you've inspired me to make my own!

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  66. My favorite holiday day treat/activity is gingerbread house making with my kids. We have been doing it for about 10 years and it so much. It is amazing how create the kids are and now that they are older (teens) they are still really excited about it. It's a very nice tradition, and the smell of gingergbread and all the candy and goodies we put on the houses starts off the Christmas season perfectly.

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  67. I have to admit that my holiday traditions trend toward the unhealthful... hence I can't WAIT for seafood Newburg this year!

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  68. I love all the rich fruity foods at christmas - mince pies, christmas cake, christmas pudding.

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  69. We used to do a turkey/stuffing feast w/ a Mike Roy recipe that was only published in the L.A. Times once a decade - and we lived in LA at the right moment!! Then found out a few years ago I was intolerant to most of the ingredients - OUCH!! Now... Vegetarian veggie/nut casseroles I concoct and make fresh are my revenge!! Scent/food memory is orange-tinged dark chocolate...:-)

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  70. While my religious tradition doesn't have any holidays that come specifically around this time of year, I must say my sister makes the best chocolate chip cookies. And since cold weather is baking weather, well, you can bet a lot of baking takes place during this time of year!

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  71. my grandmother's perfume. it was my favorite thing to smell at christmas because she was my favorite person. i can find the perfume, but it's not the same without her in it.

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  72. :) I ask everyone, do you feel marzipan on perfume Black Cerruti for men? :)

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  73. And for me Christmas will always be associated with mandarins ( memories of a childhood -there were almost no fruits in winter in former Soviet Union, the only one that were put into a gift with sweets and toys - were a couple or 3 mandarins.Now when it comes tpo mandarins - itls always Christmas and New Year for me - even in the middle of July :)) Another scents are frost and fresh snow scent, scent of fur needles,wax candles, honey,dry pine-wood which is crying with thus and church incense during all-night vigil and above all such a feeling of love peace and joy- I long for upcoming holidays and wish
    happiness and fishes fullfilling to everyone and everywhere. Thank you for the post -enjoyed reading the recipy and coments

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  74. My mother makes an incredible almond coffee cake which I am looking forward to. It's very fragrant and slightly sweet. It's funny that so far, I haven't found an almond drag that I like, because I love the smell of the cake.

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  75. My favorite holiday treat is baklava. The combination of honey, spices, nuts and flaky pastry say Christmas to me. Favorite scents incorporate vanilla and tobacco

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  76. My holiday treats tend to be more along the lines of wine and champagne. I agree with Dorothy Parker that one can't have a sufficient amount of the latter!

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  77. First, thanks for hosting an Andy giveaway--a treat almost as good as your marzipan. For me at the holidays it's my mom's biscotti--both the taste and the wonderful smell. Anise or almond, chewy dried fruit...I loved them all. My wonderful mom is gone, but my equally wonderful sister is an excellent baker so the tradition lives on. Happy holidays to all.

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  78. Mine would have to be the smell of Tameles. My grandmother made them every Christmas. We always had a big family reunion every Christmas Eve.

    Cheers!

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  79. ciao,
    my scented memory of Xmas? delicious biscuits made in the tradition of Naples that are spicy with nutmeg, clove and cinnanmon..
    hope to be in the draw for andy's cologne
    merry Xmas to all!!!!

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  80. My grandmother and mother used to make a sweet walnut bread called potica. I have their potica bread tins that they used, but you need an 8-ft table to roll out the dough, which I don't have.

    Thanks for your recipe- love marzipan (and AT)

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  81. My scent memory is of cutting a balsam fir for a Christmas tree at the edge of a snowy field on my grandfather's farm in Northern Maine. It's much more open and airy scent than any evergreen perfume I've ever smelled, but Christopher Brosius has managed to capture the scent of snow in an almost eery way. I hope you have a very happy holiday season. Thank you for this draw!

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  82. I love marzipan and will definitely try this, thanks for the recipe and for hosting Andy's incredibly generous giveaway! My favorite holiday scent memory/treat are the anise cookies my uncle baked every year. The recipe was handed down by his German grandmother and they were wonderful.

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  83. My favorite holiday scent memory is my mother's date bars baking. After slicing they were coated in powdered sugar-yum!

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  84. Of course the scent of fresh pine is the one that comes first to mind. And that of home made bread.

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  85. hello~ thank you for the receipt ! i havent made or eaten Marzipan, but it seems nice :)
    scent memory for this season..? ah ..the smell of burnt candles? i love the smell. when you blow the candles on Christmas cake ( this year icecream cake for us) oh that's the smell so special to me. ..

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  86. Wonderful post ~ triggering an instant desire for one of those tiny marzipan "fruit" trays. :) In our family, polverones (Mexican walnut cakes) are an essential part of Christmas, even though they are traditionally reserved for weddings. Made mostly of ground walnuts and butter, with a little bit of sugar and flour to hold them together, they are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. :)

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  87. Oh, I love marzipan! And so does my mother, although no one in our family ever made it. My favorite food we (mostly) only had at Christmas wasn't any particular sweet thing but Yorkshire pudding, made with the drippings from roast beef. It's been thirty years since I ate roast beef, so now I make the Yorkshire pudding with butter instead. Yum!
    Millicent

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  88. I always remember the hot chocolate and the panettone, delicious mmm...
    Thanks and happy holidays!!!

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  89. My parents used to make the worst fudge every year. But, they laughed and giggled like school kids, so the bad candy was worth it!

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  90. I grew up behind the Iron Curtain. In those days being a Jew meant to lay low and try to blend in, making the communists believe that they really took everything from those very few (around 30 in my small home town) who have escaped the nazis. It was like so all around the year. Until Hanukkah, that is. Because when Hanukkah arrived all the women have put on their fur coats, their jewellery and they used those perfumes they kept safe for very special occasions. This is what your mention of Hanukkah has brought up in me, the view of my mother's waist long blonde hair and her fur coat and perfume, once every year.

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  91. My favorite holiday scent memory is mulling cider: apples, cinnamon, cloves, yum!

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  92. I like the smell of christmas tree resin.

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  93. My mother's duck with apples... :)

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  94. Thanks for sponsoring this draw, Gaia - and thanks to Andy for his generous offer.

    My mom has a Norwegian background, and Christmas was always the biggest celebration - she would wear her Norwegian costume, handed down from my grandmother (a gorgeous black wool jumper with multicolored embroidered flowers - which my mom recently passed down to me), and we'd host a smörgåsbord on Christmas Eve for friends and family. Julekake (a cardamom-flavored bread) with gjetost (a dark, sweet goat's milk cheese), berlinerkranser (rich egg/butter cookies), and kransekake (a ringed marzipan "cake") are my favorites!

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  95. My favorite holiday treat are my grandmother's "spoon-breaker" cookies. They're molasses and spice cookies made with so much flower that my grandmother broke her wooden spoons numerous times while making the dough!

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  96. Please include me in the draw. I believe my most outstanding scent memory is when I catch a whiff of autumn leaves and immediately flash back to my front yard when I was nine and my father was raking leaves. Love the fragrance of winter greens, especially the fr tree. Happy Holidays to everyone.

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  97. My strongest Christmas scent memory is my mother baking Christmas cookies!

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  98. My mother used to make rum balls during the holidays....MMmmmmm good!
    Thanks for hosting today's drawing!

    Alice in Arkansas

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  99. I discovered this blog a couple of months ago and now it is a daily stop- thanks for all the lovely posts Gaia!

    Hmm, so many scent memories but given the time of year would say waking up on Christmas morning to the smell of cooking turkey, pine from the Christmas tree and just a bit later the smell of my mom's orange spice muffins cooking for breakfast... childhood encapsulated. I am trying to set the same traditions going for my daughters - fortunately they love the muffins!

    Thanks for the opportunity and thanks Andy for your generosity!

    Happy Holidays!

    witchypurple@yahoo.co.uk

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  100. One of my favorite holiday treats has always been my grandmother's rum balls -- even as a little kid I just loved the taste and smell of rum. I think I even got just a little bit high off them. Tragically, I can't eat them anymore because I've developed a gluten intolerance. My brother brought some home yesterday, and at least I can smell them!

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  101. For me..late afternoon December air, the crystal-crusted snow and the pine trees...looking for the Christmas tree..possibly a bit of wet mitten in there
    Cheryl

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  102. My favorite scent memory - the smell of my mothers cooking! Thanks.

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  103. I just love the inter-mingling smells of all things cooking and baking during our extended family get togethers. You can pick out so many different scents this way: ham, cheesy potatoes, pecan pie, etc!

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  104. I love a good roast dinner at christmas!

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  105. my favorite holiday treats are a pecan-raisin ice box cookie called rocks and a butter-pecan shortbread
    cookie called sand tarts. my favorite holiday scent is a perfume oil called vanilla bean noel. please enter me in the draw

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  106. I remember my grandma making tamales and baking bread... good old days...

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  107. The wood from stove in our fireplace growing up and my mom had an orange that she had stuck cloves in. That warm combination of scents.

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  108. Thank you for the marzipan recipe! I've always loved the "idea" of marzipan but never got around to trying it. My favorite holiday food is baklava... ymmmmm

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  109. A favorite winter scent: one year, an immense blizzard hit my city. Snow was so deep that no cars -- not even their antennas -- were visible. We walked down the center of the streets, above the hidden cars. The usual city smells, and most sounds, were absent. Then there was the intense odor of oranges. Why? A block further I came to a curl of orange peel on the snow; that was the source of the magical smell I'd been trailing.

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  110. When I was a kid, we used to always have a traditional Christmas pudding for dessert. I never much liked this at the time, but I now crave it with Christmas dinner.

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  111. One of my favorite holiday treats is Ashure (Noah's pudding), and everyone does it differently. I especially liked the one my mom's aunt made.

    On top of must items like wheat, beans and chickpeas, she had a dash of rosewater, sweet orange rinds, roasted and cracked hazelnuts in the pot. These were orthodox variations as well, but she also added gum mastic which was her special ingredient.

    After plating and cooling, it was adorned with slices of sundried fruits. Apricots, figs and blackcurrants. None of that dreaded coconut. Also, if in seasons, pomegranate kernels.

    It was thick and dry. It had very little extra sugar added. And the aftertaste of the mastic easily readied you for the next spoonful.

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  112. One of my grandmothers was the Christmas cookie maker and the other was the Christmas candy maker. Thank goodness diabetes does not run in our family. Of all the cookies and candies, I always loved my grandmother's "Divinity". I think it's just a soft white glob or corn syrup, egg whites and chopped walnuts. Anyway...I love it. At Christmas only, though, I never think about it any other time of year. For holiday smell...I'm boring...but the fresh scent of the Christmas tree is still the simplest and most evocative fragrance of the season for me.

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  113. In South America were I am from is summer, so the coolest thing is that you can plan a trip to the beach for xmas!

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  114. To be really honest I don't like xmas at all, but I'd love to win the Maghreb .

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  115. Thanks for hosting the giveaway and for coupling it with your mother's marzipan recipe! Happy holidays to you!

    My favorite treat for holiday season is still the main meat, whatever it is. When I was a kid, it is whatever we could get, and now it is whatever we decided on, but there is no holiday for me without meat...

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  116. Here is a scent memory that has nothing to do with the holidays. When I was young I had a paper route on my street and the next one over. So the smell of newsprint and fog and privet trees, especially the privet, instantly takes me back to the early mornings of my youth.

    Thanks for the recipe and the giveaway.

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  117. I also love Marzipan. I think most people who don't like it have tasted some of the awful tasteless commercial stuff out there.

    My Old Christmas treat was fruitcake. One my parents made which was steeped in enough booze to keep you tipsy for a week. If you didn't want to eat it you could light it on fire and bask in the warm glow of it..

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  118. My favourite christmas treats are homemade marzipan, and my mothers fruitcake, which I think is close, but not identical to the traditional british frutcakes.

    Happy holidays to Andy, Gaia and everyone else!

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  119. My favorite holiday treats are the gingerbread cookies my cousins and I make every year. They're best straight out of the oven!

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  120. My fave christmas treat was my grandma's almond cake with cornel jam.

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  121. I don't have a lot of fond memories of xmas but I do remember making cookies for the first time on my own. I choose a family recipe for a chocolate cookie that has pepper in in.The first bite was so unique, different, really amazing. I still make these cookies often!!!

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  122. My favourite holiday treat... many... I think almond paste pastry is a special holiday treat. Your recipe for marzipan inspires me. Off to the store to buy some ingredients. Thanks Gaia, for both the recipe and your wonderful blog.

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  123. My mom's pecan pie. Baking it or eating it- it is divine.

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  124. Wow, legitimate Marzipan, lucky ducky to have grown up with this!
    I am going to have to make this recipe, thank you very much and many thanks for your mother as well for sharing it. My first intro's to marzipan were from my mother's guests coming over from Germany as well as the family I stayed with over there, never home made though. I'm a sucker for the little pigs, btw. My grandmother would always find a perfume for me for Christmas, it was never anything I had told her I liked, but it was what she had picked out for me. When my fiancee moved here, she bought him cologne, never asking what he enjoyed, but what she thought would suit him. As far as wonderful food memories and my mother's side being from Poland, there were just so many cookies my grandmother made, they had a freezer in their garage to hold all the additional cookies made in advance. I would sit by the cookie tray and devour till that tray was empty. More bready than sweet so you could really make a meal out of it. My dad's side is Carpatho-Russian and there were always really good heavy meats and pickles with seasonings I wasn't aware of. Pickles and cookies comprised my holiday meals.

    All the best to you this holiday season and the coming year as well and many wonderful times celebrating with all of the birthdays and the anniversary. A little Marzipan piggie for you for good luck as well in the coming year.

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  125. Gosh, I am having a hard time coming up with a favorite holiday treat from my family's traditions... not a lot of tradition or great cooks, I guess! My grandmother, long gone, used to make lovely buttery "thumbprint cookies" with strawberry jam in the thumbprint around Christmas. That was the best cookie. Marzipan to me is the awful stuff from the supermarket. Yours sounds great! (Can it be dipped in chocolate?)
    Laura M.

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  126. My grandmother's snickerdoodle cookies. Cinnamon and the holidays go so well together.

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  127. Being from a food-obsessed family, it's darned hard to choose just one holiday goody! But I think I'd go with kutchya -- a Russian porridge-y concoction made in 2 forms: rich man's (white rice, almond milk, raisins, white sugar) and poor man's (wheat berries, ground poppy seeds, and honey). Yum!

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  128. My mother does not bake so I don't have many memories of particular Christmas fare in our house. But my grandfather, before his health deteriorated, would always make wonderful Polish nibbles, though I don't remember their names. And my nanna would cook one of their geese. Heavenly. I can smell it all thinking about it!

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  129. I always associate the scent of pine with the holidays. There is something about getting a live tree and having the scent fill your home that is so joyous and exciting. I have a fake tree this year, so I am using some soap from Mistral (Anthropologie) to remind me. I just wish I could find a candle that had the right scent. Most pine candles smell a little off to me, unlike the soap.

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  130. Thanks so much for the marzipan recipe! I love Marzipan and one of my Christmas memories is of Christmas cake in England. It's a fruitcake, but iced with a layer of marzipan then covered in hard white royal icing. There were always little Christmas decorations on top, and it's served on boxing day, the day after Christmas. I loved seeing the cake arrive, and the marzipan was my favorite part of the cake. The smell of marzipan takes me back to my childhood snowy Christmas' every time, so thank you for the recipe and reminding me of holiday memories!

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  131. I'm looking forward to making tofu-mushroom-lentil loaf with my littlest sister. This is a relative newcomer to our holiday table, but I am a vegetarian and need something to go with all those wonderful casseroles.

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  132. One of my favorite holiday treats are molasses-ginger cookies. The taste and deep, spiced scent is intoxicating!

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  133. Thank you for the Marzipan recipe! I just made some ginger, walnut and cranberry cookies - mmmm. I have no scent memories from childhood :-( But, it's really wonderful to read all the vivid memories others have. Thank you for the draw. Happy Holidays.
    Rachel h.d

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  134. I love homemade doughnuts filled w/ jelly during the holidays- that is my favorite holiday smell!

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  135. My favorite scent memory: my mother in the kitchen, softening onions and celery in a panful of butter while sausage fried on the other burner and a turkey roasted in the oven. And, over it all, the smell of blue Dawn dish detergent (I liked to wash the pots and pans as they were used, but I absolutely hated drying them).

    Please enter me in the draw!


    Kater

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  136. My favorite holiday treat is pecan pie and coffee. If I'm feeling ambitious, I'll toss some orange peel, cloves, and a cinnamon stick in the french press to make the coffee a little more interesting. Thanks for hosting this and as always, thank you, Andy!

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  137. My favourite scent memory and the one which invokes sooooooo many different emotions in me is White Musk from The Body Shop. I wore it around the time of my first job/first serious boyfriend/leaving home & clubbing. So many wonderful and embarrassing images pop into my head whenever I smell it.

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  138. I just like eating a plethora of different style cookies. Christmas must have the most variety.

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  139. Fresh pine always bring Holidays to mind, especially when it's dark and snowing outside.

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  140. Oh marzipan! Yay! Thats my favorite holiday treat. I was looking for a good recipe to try myself.

    My favorite holiday scent. Hm. I guess it would be the smell of coffee brandy and pine trees and snow, when I used to go snowshoeing with my dad to get the christmas tree, and he'd bring a little bottle in his pocket to keep him warm and give me a little sip.

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  141. I love marzipan tool! Almond is a smell that *always* makes it feel like the holiday season to me.

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  142. I'll start off by saying that I hate the taste of Christmas pudding, but for some reason it's still what I think of when I think of holiday treats. My grandmother made it every year and served it with a bunch of sauces and covered in flaming brandy. It always smells heavenly. After she passed, for some reason making the pudding became my job. The scent reminds me of her every time.

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  143. Scent memory and yummy Christmas treat...that would be baking Christmas fruit mince tarts with my mum when I was small. Aroma of the _macerated_in_cognac_and_ Port_forever_ with clove, cinnamon, lemon zest, and ginger, combined with the buttery pastry wafting through the house. Yum. Happy days.

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  144. My in-laws are from Louisiana so every year on Christmas Eve we make boudin and crawfish etouffe. It's so good I'm always disappointed by Christmas dinner and there's never any leftovers. Happy Holidays to all!

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  145. The smell of roasted ducks and orange peels and gingerbread. I although remember the smell of backed apples.

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  146. My mom makes amazing cream cheese cookies topped with colorful sprinkles and my sister makes a bread in the shape of a wreath with dried fruit, nuts and spices - just wonderful!

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  147. I'm easy, it's the spices in glögg and gingerbread that do it for me!

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  148. I like the smell of christmas tree pines, bark and resin.

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  149. Thank you, Gaia, and thank you, Andy!


    I love marzipan. First time I had it was in 1973, when I was 13, and angry and confused about my place in my extended family, and my sexuality.


    However, the first taste of real marzipan was a revelation.


    That Christmas, a favourite uncle had died a few weeks earlier of a stroke, and we were all reeling from the shock. Uncle Billy (Dad's baby brother) was a professional chef/manager.


    He had made some Christmas treats before, during Thanksgiving week, and wrapped them in his cold pantry. He had made marzipan for us all, but mine was the biggest box, by about 4-5 pieces.


    Some reason, I knew he knew, and still loved me.


    Thank you for posting your Mother's recipe and method!


    Happy Holidays to all who read/post at The Non-Blonde! To me, this blog is a daily gift!



    Lawrence in Ohio

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  150. My favorite holiday treat are the cookies my grandma used to make. I don't know how she made them, but they were lovely.

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  151. My favourite holiday treat has always been my Grandmother's Austrian nut crescents. She never writes down any of her recipes, and unfortunately I never thought to ask her how to do it until she was too old to remember properly. I keep trying recipes online though, hoping that one will be close enough to my Granny's recipe to fill the hole.

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  152. My favourite holiday treat has to be the classic Stollen cake - absolutely delicious, and indelibly linked to Christmas time! Absolutely wonderful, as was a childhood memory of waking up on Christmas Morning to a massive stocking full of presents at the bottom of the bed. Magical times!

    Merry Christmas!

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  153. What a lovely treat. Thank you for the recipe and the story!
    My mom made cinnamon buns when we were little, and the smell is one of my recurring memories from my childhood.

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  154. My first Christmas scent recollection is from childhood and the smell of a pink plastic coin purse. It was sweet and like nothing else. I have never liked marzipan but I think it's because in Australia I have never sampled fresh I am going to give this recipe a whirl thank you for all you give to my life I love your blog.

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  155. I remember the smell of homemade biscotti that my mother I used to make each Christmas. The wonderful aroma permeated the house for days and the biscotti were delicious as well.

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  156. One of my favorite scent memories that reminds me of the holidays is the scent of oranges and cloves. My Mom pierced an orange with cloves and put them in front of all of our heating vents. It may be why, to this day, these are some of my favorite notes. I've been realizing I really have a thing for holiday spice notes ie. nutmeg, cinnamon, clove. This winter in particular, I have been an adamant spice lover. Incense too has made it into my rotation. I love it love it love it.

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  157. Oh, my favourite treat is most definitely mince pies!

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  158. My favourite Christmas smell is fir tree resin. As for treats, tangerines and chocolate are Christmas staples.

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  159. I love the smell of our traditional christmas sweet dish: cinnamon and vanilla mixed together.
    Lubaska dot k at gmail dot com

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  160. I love almonds, and anything made from them. My favorite, simple, holiday treat would be hershey kiss cookies. Simple and delicious. Cannot wait to try out your marzipan...

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  161. A strong scent memory for me is newly applied creosote on fencing in the sun, takes me right back to the sixties and seventies.

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  162. The smell of newly creosoted fences in the sun takes me back to the sixties and seventies.

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  163. The scent of pinetree. And mandarine cest :)

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  164. When I was a child, holidays began with my grandmother polishing her brass and silver candlesticks to put on to the dinner table. It's not the most beautiful scent, but the one that makes me think a holiday is just beginning is the smell of old-fashioned liquid brass polish being applied to metal!

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  165. Favorite holiday treat: Anise Biscotti savored and dipped in coffee. I do love marzipan and never made anything with the almonds and thank you for the recipe.

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  166. Anise Biscotti! Fav treat. The scent of Christmas trees.

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  167. Melting bittersweet chocolate...yum!

    oh, wait! that's EVERY day! LOL!

    xo A

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  168. I love marzipan, too. Baklava is another favorite of mine that I don't get very often!

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  169. A favorite treat has always been Christmas cookies.

    Smelling balsam fir always makes me feel Christmasy, even if I smell them in the summer.

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  170. Marzipan and almond past are some of my favorite holiday treats. I'm thinking about the marzipan shaped and colored to look like fruit, marzipan-filled chocolate, almond paste-filled stollen, puff pastry filled with almond paste -it's all very good stuff. Unfortunately not as readily available in the US, but not all that hard to make yourself!

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  171. wow! lots of entries! me, too, me, too, please!

    your marzipan story reminds me that my mom used to make tiny fruit out of her homemade marzipan - tiny bananas, strawberries, and more. she'd shape them and paint them with food coloring. she really should've done more with her art talent - they were beautiful.

    happy holidays and thanks for the recipe,
    minette

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  172. Thank you for sharing the recipe.
    My favorite holiday cookie are lemon-scented powdered walnut balls - as a kid I remember my next door neighbor making them every year during the holiday season.

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  173. I grew up in the Philippines where a traditional Christmas treat is "puto bumbong" (rice cakes steamed in a cylindrical mold) with "salabat" (fresh brewed ginger tea). I live in the US now and haven't had that puto in 12 years but I'm hoping to enjoy it next year!

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  174. michele esson smithDecember 23, 2010 8:29 PM

    fresh cut grass takes me back to carefree childhood when school holidays seemed to last forever,now it means cute sunner clothes,going on a sunny holiday and going to music festivals.plus you can wear shades without looking like a fool.p.s thanks for the recipe im gonna try it out this weekend as i adore marzipan too!

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  175. I love marzipan. I miss my mom giving me slices of fruitcake.

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  176. Scent memory would have to be frangipanis and ginger flowers in Hawaii - thank you for the draw! Ghretta H.

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  177. To me the treat and the scent memory are the same: my family's favorite, sour cream cinnamon streusel coffee cake, yuummmmmm

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  178. My favorite holiday treat was sugar cookies made by my grandmother. No one made them as light orvas moist as she did. With a hint of nutmeg, these cookies smelled and tasted like heaven. I make them, but not as well

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  179. My favorite holiday treat and scent are one in the same.... anise. I am Italian and my grandmother's house was always warm with the smell of anise cookies baking and anisette being served in cups of coffee or in a shot glass. And only at Christmas...

    Happy Holidays, Gaia

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  180. My favorite holiday scent since I was a kid is the Claire Burke Oh Christmas Tree candle: evergreen, amber, patchouli. It just reminds me of Christmastime. I still think they still make these.

    I love yr blog by the way, nice to see the Tauer Advent link take me here!

    --Nikk

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  181. Oh my! I looove marzipan - thank you so much for posting this recipe! I'll have to try making it at some point :-)

    As for a scent memory... When I was a kid, we always used to get a real tree for Christmas - well, now, we don't anymore (my sister had major allergy issues with the dried out pine needles). But the scent of pine tree brings those memories right back :-)

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  182. yum! thanks for the recipe, i think i'll try that soon!

    my favorite holiday treat is probably homemade jelly doughnuts--way better than store bought, although this year my uncle brought some doughnuts with a cheesecake filling that were divine....

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  183. Favourite holiday treat: homemade pickled red cabbage. Yup. On a bun. With turkey and stuffing. Delicious!

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  184. Fruit cake. My (Irish) grandmother's fruitcake was fabulous. Carefully steeped with brandy every week(?) or so. One of my first years of living alone, a new lawyer in a den of lawyers (DC), I baked my grandmother's fruitcake recipe for a select few of my new friends. To my utter amazement, every single one of them refused my wonderful gift -- disgusted them, made them throw up, etc. -- I never knew before how despised and scorned fruitcake was in general. I don't try to give it as gifts anymore, but I still like my grandmother's fruitcake.

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  185. You had me at all natural, all botanical!! Please enter me dear Gaia :-)

    Fave scent memory, apple crisp baking in the oven on Christmas Day.

    ~T

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  186. My scent memories would have to be simply around the Tree which was always a live tree my Dad cut... fresh, slightly damp pine smelling of melting snow.

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  187. Marzipan is something I have never had the pleasure of trying only hearing about (Much like a Tauer Fragrance). Both sound truly delightful, and the recipe is a great consolation prize if I happen to be unlucky in sampling Andy's creation.

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  188. The holidays are a bit tricky for me, since I believe in healthy eating year round, but I've always just LOVED the taste of bread in any form, so crescent roles are a giant treat for me. I also have fond memories of eggnog, spiced apple cider, and cinnamon spice cookies, but, alas, I haven't indulged in those in years.

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  189. The smell of fir trees, oranges stuck with cloves, and peppermint sticks.

    Thanks for hosting a giveaway!

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  190. Marzipan and an all natural botanical Andy Tauer perfume? What could be better? Last year I spent the holidays in Germany where Marzipan is no joke. I don't find it as easily in the states of course but I've got my little stash... and now maybe I'll try my own hand at it.

    But oh please please let me win Andy's perfume.

    :)

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  191. My favorite memory is the scent of the home-made candied orange peel & chocolate/peanut clusters my grandmother used to make @ this time of year. I wish I'd gotten the recipes from her when she was alive!

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  192. Oh. My. This memory brings back such happiness and tears. I am about 5 or 6 years old and we are all sitting in my Granny Ginny's cozy little dining room with my Mom, Dad, my brother, my grandmother, grandfather and great-grandmother. It is dark and snowy outside, and my Gran has dimmed the lights so the only light comes from a wee lamp in the corner and the candles on the table. We are all sitting around a table that is covered with white linen and hundreds (to my eyes)of pieces of my Grandmother's lovely Wedgewood, platters and bowls stuffed with every Christmas related food imaginable and crystal candlesticks with long beeswax tapers. We ALL have various pieces of crystal sparkling in front of us. My wine glass is filled with ginger ale and I feel SO grownup. The room smells of my Grandmother's Emeraude, roast turkey, sage stuffing, pumpkin pie, beeswax candles, gherkins, and the smells of my great-grandmother's cooking still wafting from the kitchen. It was a lovely Christmas and I knew, even at that young age, that I was a part of something very magical. My great-grandmother and my grandfather died the following year and it was never the same again. But I was, and still am, blessed to have had that wonderful time.

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  193. My grandmother's sweet poppyseed rolls that we only had once a year at Christmas. I also loved her silver chrismas tree with the color wheel which I thought at the age of 6 was so very elegant and different!

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  194. Thank you Gaia & Andy for these givaway opportunities.
    I've never had homemade marzipan, I imagine it's quite a delicious treat! My daughter is visiting for Christmas and we'll be baking some hazelnut cookies and almond cookies this year. Happy holidays to everyone!

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  195. My favorite holiday treat at the moment is two glorious weeks off from work! I work at a university that shuts down after finals and I look forward to my break every year.

    My favorite scent memory is from seven Christmases ago, when my now-husband and I had just started dating. Whenever we were together I would wear my best perfume, which at the time was Chanel Chance. We were young and in college, and to me, Chanel perfume was the epitome of grown-up glamour. I knitted him a scarf and sprayed it with my perfume to remind him of me when break was over and we had to return to our separate universities.
    I don't wear Chanel Chance very often anymore, but whenever I catch a whiff of it I am drawn back to those first days of love and knowing that this was the man I was meant to marry. My husband even says that whenever he smells it now he can't help but think of those days as well.

    PS- I am proud to say Chanel is no longer my "best" perfume. I fell in love with Mr Lutens this past summer in Paris.

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  196. I'm always searching for the perfect Christmas tree smell. My mother always picks out the perfect Frasier Fir which smells sweet and piney (fir-y?). I've smelled countless candles, room sprays and scents over the years, but none smells quite like our Christmas tree. Maybe because we like in a warm climate the heat releases a special scent...
    - hvs

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  197. My favorite holiday treat, which my mother makes ONLY at Christmas time which makes it that much more coveted by the family, is her home made Mandel Bread. Now this is not like anything you've ever tasted before and you'll never be able to purchase anything nearly as delicious in any store or bakery even if they call their product mandel bread. I know the secret recipe but nobody else, except for my mother of course. You can add anything you want to it but what my mother adds is either milk chocolate chips, walnuts or a combination thereof. The best thing about this mandel bread is not just the taste, but the smell of the house the day she bakes it. Oh my G-d, it's sheer heaven. And just like the old potato chip commercial, you can't have just one. The family would sit around the table and eat every last bite of the stuff until everyone's stomach looked like a balloon and their face took on a greenish hue. My mom literally had to hide remaining batches so we'd have some left over for another day. We haven't had that for many years and I really miss those good old days when we did, the family, especially my father, all sitting around telling jokes and lots of laughing. Most of my family is gone now but I can still dream of the good old days when life seemed so much simpler yet so much happier.

    Dlori
    kleimanlaw at aol dot com

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