Sunday, December 21, 2014

A FOREVER FEAST, WHITE AS SNOW


Before it was fully light, I looked out on a panorama of pure white snow.
Immediately my mind signaled a promise;
'Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow  ...


..though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.


What a beautiful reminder of the Christmas message!


God sending His son to enter His life on earth as a baby ..
willing to lower Himself  ..  because He loves me and you.


He left His divine position with the Father to offer hope and forgiveness ..
..with selflessness, humility and compassion ..
and finally death.


..  so that you and I would have a gateway into eternity.

.. the angel said to her,
'Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.
You will be with child and give birth to a son,
and you are to give him the name Jesus.
He will be great and will be called 
the Son of the Most High.
The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,
and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever;
his kingdom will never end.'
Luke 2: 29 - 33





Friday, December 19, 2014

GINGERBREAD DEER


Here is a picture of some interesting 'deer' I made with gingerbread dough.
There are many versions on Pinterest as well as tutorials   
on Youtube.  I played around with royal icing, melting chocolate and
M and Ms (for the bulbous nose).  I had fun especially when the placement
of the eyes created a personality.


I use my favorite gingerbread recipe year after year and just vary 
the style.  The recipe is on this blog under 'Christmas cookies'.


I have a 'merry' respect for the person who saw the possibility
of creating a deer one step at a time.


Notice the 'deer' are created from an upside-down gingerbread boy.


These faces are not the perfectly smooth kind I have seen on pictures,
but turned out rather textured.


I hope my grandsons will observe them, even  briefly,
just to appreciate their character before they disappear forever.


Some of the dough had to become girls in snow parkas.
Perhaps they are my favorites.


And for the boys on my list I make the matching guys.


Until next time!



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

TURTLE COOKIES


Do these amazing chocolate cookies with pecans and caramels look
hard to make?  Now that I have made them, I can tell you they are  
not that difficult. It was rather fun to mix and stir and roll
and dip and decorate into one delicious bite!


The chocolate dough is easy to make and after a dip into beaten egg white,
the nuts cling perfectly to the outside.  An indention is made in the center
using the handle of a wooden spoon.


After baking the indention is again clearly formed and filled with
a bit of smooth caramel.


Drizzle chocolate over cookies for the final touch.
Beautiful and delicious!



TURTLE COOKIES

½ cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla 
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa
¼ tsp. salt

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until combined.  Add egg yolk, milk
and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy.  Blend flour, cocoa and salt;  stir into
butter mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until dough is firm enough to handle.

1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Form dough into 1-inch balls.  Dip balls into egg white and roll into pecans to coat.
Place balls onto parchment-lined cookie sheets, 1 inch apart.  Make an indention in
center of balls using the round end of a wooden spoon.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until set.

14 caramels
3 tbsp. heavy whipping cream

While cookies are baking, stir caramels and whipping cream in a small saucepan
over low heat, until caramels are melted and filling is smooth.

When cookies are baked, remove from oven and press each center again to make 
a clear indention. Spoon a small amount of caramel filling into each opening.
Cool completely before drizzling cookies with melted chocolate. *
Yield:  24 cookies

* I used chocolate melting wafers for the drizzle.
OR melt ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 tsp. shortening.






Monday, December 15, 2014

ZESTY LIME SHORTBREAD


Some of my friends are sending gentle encouragement my way
in the form of telling me they are missing my blogs.
I need those reminders now and again!
Earlier in the fall, I spent several wonderful weeks in NY during which
I had no time to blog because I was too busy enjoying the grandchildren
and helping my daughter with projects and cooking.
Back home and getting close to Christmas I am very busy baking cookies to send to
that same far off place in NY where my grands are waiting for the
traditional box from Gram.  That is done and the box is on it's way,
thanks to a kind friend who mails it for me in Montana.


I find myself making the same Christmas cookies year after year but
I also like to try some new recipes.  This one caught my attention because 
it has finely chopped toasted coconut in the dough as well as the 
tangy flavor of lime.
Since some of these were being sent in the mail, I made them into a 
sandwich cookie rather than a snowflake or star which are more fragile.


Cut out into the star shape, this perfectly tender butter cookie 
looks very festive.


Tip: if you find this dough to be dry, 
add ice water (1 tsp. at a time) until a dough forms.




ZESTY LIME SHORTBREAD

½ cup flaked coconut, toasted
½ cup sugar
zest from two limes
1 tsp. vanilla
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter, cut into cubes

In a food processor, combine coconut, sugar,  lime zest and vanilla.
Cover and process until coconut is finely chopped.
Add flour; cover and pulse to combine.
Add butter; cover and process until mixture starts to cling.
Transfer to a large bowl and knead until smooth.
Shape dough into a ball; cover and chill for about 1 hour until dough
is easy to handle.
Divide dough in half; roll out one portion on lightly floured surface, about
¼-inch thickness.  Using cookie cutters, cut into desired shapes.
Place cutouts 1-inch apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets.
Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 15 -17 minutes or until bottoms
are just beginning to brown.
Transfer to wire rack; allow to cool.
Repeat with remaining dough.  Drizzle with glaze.
Yield: about 3 dozen cookies

Lime Glaze
In a bowl, stir together 2 cups powdered sugar, ½ tsp. finely grated lime peel,
and 2 tsp. lime juice. Stir in enough milk  ( 1 to 2 tablespoons) to make a glaze 
of spreading consistency. (If you prefer more tang, add more lime juice)