I finished the novel today! The final wordcount for the first draft is 53,647. I wrote the big finish, but I really skimped on the denoument. I figure I'll come back and re-do it in the second draft when I have a better idea of what needs to be denoued. I'm pretty satisfied with the ending, though--to my surprise, I managed to come up with something that actually tied together many of the random events and characters from the rest of the book in a way that kind of makes sense. Now I just need to go back to the beginning and try to make the ending seem more inevitable. That should be fun. I might work on something else in the meantime, though.
For now, here's a recipe of mine that was discussed at length on Facebook today. It's an old family favorite, passed down from my grandma who probably got it out of a magazine in the fifties. This is the sort of dish that you either love or hate. Personally, I love it. Some say it tastes like toothpaste, but they are wrong. I'll give you the traditional version first, then the gourmet version after.
Candy-Cane Pie (aka Peppermint Pie)
1 pkg (9 oz) Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers (could easily substitute chocolate graham crackers, Oreos, etc, but you want a fairly dark cocoa taste)
1/2 cup butter, melted
Crush the cookies using a hammer, rolling pin, or food processor. Mix with the melted butter and press into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan.
1 pint heavy whipping cream
12 candy canes, crushed
4 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup pecans, broken up by hand
Whip the cream until quite stiff. Fold in the other ingredients.
Note: It's best if the candy canes aren't totally pulverized--it's nice to have some little crunchy bits in the finished product. Be sure to use red candy canes, or green candy canes, but don't use candy canes that are colored both red and green, as this will make an unpleasant brown color. You can also use starlight mints if you can't find good candy canes.
Spread the filling evenly over the crust. Refrigerate, preferably overnight.
I'll be straight with you--this makes a scary-looking dish. It's a delicate shade of pink, studded with little marshmallows. Some people might think they are too good for it. To make them feel better, I offer the following variation, which I haven't tried, but I'm sure it would be great.
Gourmet Candy-Cane Pie
As above, except halve the recipe for the filling. Instead of the 9x13 pan, use two nine-inch round pie pans. Press the crust in the bottom and up the sides of the pan, as if making a graham cracker crust. Chill the crusts until firm.
Meanwhile, prepare your favorite recipe for dark chocolate ganache. This normally involves bringing some cream to a boil, then stirring in quite a lot of high-quality dark chocolate. After the ganache cools slightly, spread a thin layer over the chilled crusts. Then fill the crusts with the peppermint filling. Then top each pie with about 1/4 inch of poured ganache. Chill. Garnish with a mint leaf.