A spoon rests under my pillow, and my pajamas are on inside out. My fingers and toes are crossed, and I nervously bite my lip with anticipation as I step on my tiptoes to carefully pull apart two blinds to peek through the window above my bed. The corners of my lips curl up into a grin upon seeing a thin white blanket of snow covering our backyard. My third-grade self scurries off of the bed and dashes with newfound energy to wake up her brothers on this not-so-typical Tuesday morning. My mother, who clearly wishes that we were all still asleep (evidenced by her squinty eyes, matching pajama gear, and lack of coffee) reaches the top of the stairs and fails to quell our immeasurable energy and excitement.
“School’s out—go back to bed” she whispers (in her mind, she is pleading).
“SCHOOL’S OUT! SNOW DAY!” we repeat but at a much louder voice level. We scream and giggle as we sprint and slip around the (thankfully carpeted) upstairs with a lone mitten, a long lost hat, a pair of mismatching wool socks, and whatever other winter gear is within an arm’s reach in our messy closets.
Even though there is hardly an inch of snow, all the school systems in the county are closed due to inclement weather. (The only reason I knew the word “inclement” as a child was because I would hope and pray to the weather gods that it would be “inclement” on Spelling Test Fridays).
By the time I am bundled up in enough layers to make me sweat and my brothers have put on a couple pairs of socks under their hand-me-down camouflage snow boots, dozens of other kids have already beaten us to the prime destination sledding hill in our neighborhood. Despite the presence of mud and brown grass protruding from the over-sledded on snow, we still manage to amuse ourselves for hours sliding and sometimes just skipping down the hill, making snowmen and snow angels, and just not being in school.
Articles of wet clothing and sometimes even a few sledding collisions are the first symptoms of Snow Day Misery. To avoid a worsening case of the cold-onset misery, I dash to a friend’s house where we throw our dripping and sopping clothes in the dryer. We fill our mugs with dozens of mini marshmallows and sip our hot cocoa while seated at the counter in eager anticipation of her mom’s famous chicken noodle soup. By the time we have downed our hot cocoa, slurped up our succulent soup, and regained feeling in the tips of our toes, the timer on the dryer dings. We throw on our warm pants and hats and run outside with renewed energy in a race against the inevitable sunset.
There’s nothing more magical than a snow day in Davidson. Businesses shut down, cars remain parked in garages, aspiring photographers snap photos, to-do lists are postponed, and families curl up by fires with the onset of a few flurries. Some northerners say that we don’t “understand snow” in the South, but I personally believe that they simply fail to see the magic of southern snow.
This past Halloween, I woke up a bit chilly in my dorm, so I rolled out of bed to shut the window. The view from our window was different that day—the lawn outside was a pure white without any trace of footprints. An inkling of the excitement that I experienced in my elementary school days (okay, I’ll admit it, and even during senior year of high school) returned to me, and my eyes went from barely open to almost popping out of their sockets. Starting school in Vermont has brought many changes, one of which is obviously weather related. Going from snow on Halloween and hair freezing weather during exams in December to 68ºF and sunny on the day after Christmas back home makes Davidson seem like the tropics. I’m actually, kind of, sort of, maybe, potentially excited to return to the Vermont cold in a couple of weeks. To be honest, the weather will probably serve as my excuse to keep our paper snowflakes and Christmas lights decorations up until it’s warm (…May?).
In the spirit of cold weather and the holidays, I was inspired to try a friend’s recipe for Oreo Truffle Snowmen. They’re fun and simple and allow lots of room for creativity in decorations. Even though I could deliver my little snowmen to friends while wearing shorts and a T-shirt, these yummy treats still got us in the mood for the holiday season and were exquisitely delicious. And when I say delicious, I mean that these pups are divine. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays from G.R.I.T.S!
Oreo Truffle Snowmen
Source: Willow Bird Baking (adapted by G.R.I.T.S Gone Green)
Yield: About 15-17 Snowmen
Oreo Truffle Ingredients: 2 packages Golden Oreo cookies (divided; use cookie including the cream center), 2 8-ounce package cream cheese (softened), white candy coating or candy melts
Decorations: multicolored or chocolate sprinkles, candy-coated chocolate kiss sprinkles, strawberry fruit roll ups (or fruit by the foot), chocolate (for melting)
1. Finely crush all but 14 cookies in a food processor or place them in a Ziploc bag and crush into a fine consistency. Note: As for the extra 14 cookies, just eat them. Or, if you have extra dipping chocolate, make some chocolate covered Oreos.
2. Stir in softened cream cheese. Use the back of a large spoon to help mash the two together.
3. Roll the mixture into 2″ balls (for the bodies) and 1″ balls (for the heads) and place on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Make sure you have enough heads for your bodies!
5. It helps to put the uncoated balls in the freezer for a few minutes to keep the mixture from starting to fall apart when you drop into the melted chocolate. Note: I refrigerate mine for an hour or two in lieu of the freezer. I’ve heard folks say that if they get too cold, they can crack.
6. Melt candy coating as directed on package and then dip balls one at a time into candy coating. Let excess coating drain off onto wax paper covered cookie sheet to dry. Note: Dipping is often the most difficult part. Find what works for you. Let your kitchen be your playground. Look through your utensils for useful tools, and be creative. I used a grill fork to hold my “bodies” while spooning coating over them, and then redipped the bottoms separately. For the heads, I usually skewered them with a toothpick, dipped them, and then wriggled them off onto the wax paper after draining excess coating.
7. As soon as each body and head is dry (which usually only takes a couple of minutes) transfer it to the refrigerator immediately to prevent cracking/oozing. If it does crack, blot with a paper towel, redip, dry, and then refrigerate.
1. Take a head and body out of the fridge, and “glue” them together using melted candy coating (I used a sharp paring knife here to whittle away some of the excess coating around the bottom of the heads).
2. Use melted coating to “glue” on chocolate sprinkles for eyes, mouth, and buttons if desired. “Glue” on an orange candy-coated chocolate sprinkle (or a regular orange sprinkle) for a carrot nose.
3. Cut a strip of strawberry fruit roll up, and snip “fringe” into each end. Wrap around snowman’s neck and “glue” together with melted candy coating.
4. Melt chocolate and pipe out tree branch arms. Using a bamboo skewer or a toothpick, carve out a hole in each side of the snowman. Gently slide a “branch” into each hole to serve as arms.
4. Refrigerate snowmen in an airtight container.
5. Immediately before serving, you can create a snowy scene with coconut and/or glistening sugar sprinkles. Optional but pretty!