Christmas Mice

Our editor shares her kitchen tradition from holidays past.

Active Time:
25 mins
Chill Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
45 mins

Before Alabama recorded "Why Can't Christmas Day Last All Year Long," I might have warned them to be careful what they wished for. Starting when I was 8, my holidays began in August with auditions for The Nutcracker at the Tanglewood Mall in Roanoke, Virginia. My sister, Jordan-Elizabeth, and I would spend the rest of the summer playing the score to the Christmas ballet as we discussed what parts we would dance that December.

Two years older and remarkably focused, my sister accepted the challenge of elegant roles involving a tutu or at least a party dress. Always looking for a laugh, I crossed my fingers for a character part, and Fight Scene Mouse remains one of my greatest hits.

Christmas Mice
Frederick Hardy II; Food styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Once rehearsals began in September, every family member contributed. Pink tulle and green organza leaves covered the living room as Mom created tutus for the "Waltz of the Flowers." Our dad spent Saturdays driving us through the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Roanoke Civic Center, an hour each way.

By the time the holidays finally arrived, we were starting to lose steam. An expert at making the ordinary feel magical, Mom suggested we whip up a batch of Christmas Mice, inspired by my onstage persona. While this recipe didn't require a mixer, an oven, or a hint of flour, it allowed us to slow down and reminisce on the joy of the past few months as we prepared for the celebrations ahead.


  • 1 cup chocolate candy coating disks (from 1 [10-oz.] pkg., such as Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Flavored Melting Wafers) 

  • 20 stemmed maraschino cherries (from 2 [10-oz.] jars), blotted dry

  • 20 milk chocolate kisses (such as Hershey's Kisses)

  • 40 almond slices

  • Black decorating gel

  • White decorating gel


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Microwave chocolate disks in a small microwavable bowl on MEDIUM (50% power) until melted and smooth, 60 to 90 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds.

  2. Working with 1 cherry at a time, hold by the stem and dip in melted chocolate. Working quickly and still holding cherry by the stem, attach flat bottom of 1 chocolate kiss to rounded bottom of dipped cherry; hold together for about 20 seconds. Place on prepared baking sheet. Place 2 almond slices in groove where cherry and chocolate kiss meet, using more melted chocolate if needed. Add 2 dots black decorating gel in front of almonds. Add 1 drop white decorating gel on the tip of each chocolate kiss. Repeat process with remaining ingredients. Chill until set, about 20 minutes. Store, covered, in refrigerator up to 2 days.

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