Monday, December 11, 2006

Life, Flour and Christmas Cookies

Hello, again!

I know...It's been a very long time since I've last blogged. But what can I say? Life's been keeping me on my toes. School, church, the Christmas play, family, the amazing Adam, and friends all have made the past month and a half very busy, but I'm grateful for all of it. After all, I'd rather be busy with the ones I love (and the with the things I like to do) than be bored! By the way, you can check out the Christmas play pictures at In My Shoes, or by clicking on the first link in the sidebar entitled the same.

Dave, Stu and Mark as the Three Kings, with us girls in the back and Terry holding the umbrella.

Well, today I was going to spend the day baking cookies. So, I wondered downstairs in my pjs, put my apron on and began to set up. I'm one of those ultra-organized types, so I scrubbed down the already clean counters first, set up my bowls for mixing and my sifting area for dry ingredients and then went for the flour...

...but it was empty. Someone had put the flour tin back with only a few spoonfuls of the powdery stuff left in the bottom. I ran to the window to see if the car was in the driveway, but it was gone. Sometimes I really hate being a one car family in suburbia! There was no way to get to the store even in desperation. Ten cups of all-purpose flour wasn't worth a thirty dollar taxi ride!

So, it looks like chocolate dipped chocolate chip cookies and gingerbread stars are going to have to be baked tomorrow! But, if you are needing a couple of good-old Christmas cookie recipes this season, try these as they've been tried, tested and are a total succcess among my friends:

Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
4 cups semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips (about 12 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon shortening

1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in half the chocolate chips.

2. Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

3. Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool.

4. Melt chocolate over stove. (Place a small pot with water over low-medium heat with a heat safe bowl over top to melt chocolate.) Melt in shortening to temper chocolate. DO NOT LET MIXTURE BUBBLE! Dip half of each cookie in the chocolate and let cool on wax or parchment paper.

Store cookies in an airtight container with wax paper in between layers. Keep cool and dry.

Gingerbread Stars

Makes about 2-3 dozen, depending on the size of cookie cutter

6 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs
1 cup unsulfured molasses

1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Add flour mixture; combine on low speed. Divide dough in thirds; wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour.

3. Heat oven to 350°. On a floured work surface, roll dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Transfer to ungreased baking sheets; refrigerate until firm, 15 minutes but preferably one and a half hour. Bake until crisp but not darkened, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cookies cool on wire racks, then decorate as desired.


At Tuesday, December 12, 2006 9:57:00 PM, Blogger Krista said...

Hey bella!

I have to agree with your comments: I found it all but impossible to keep from smiling during the angel scene. It was just too beautiful, too amazing to think that this really happened. The whole show built up the "waiting for Christ the Messiah to come" feeling that the birth scene was incredibly majestic and fulfilling. I honestly can say I have a renewed love for Jesus after this weekend.

Thanks again for putting the pictures up! I feel that my disorganization for not bringing a camera is redeemed...!

See you soon!

P.S. It's okay you think my ornithophobia is funny. I would probably think it was funny too if it wasn't me. I can't believe I almost hid under the table! I blame my survival instinct...


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