Friday, November 21, 2008

Old Fashioned Cookie Recipes

Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us,and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds. ~Theodore Roosevelt

One can never have too many cookie recipes! Today I have some good ones to try this holiday season.

White Chocolate Cranberry Macadamia Cookies

1 pkg. (8 squares) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp. CALUMET Baking Powder
1 pkg. (6 squares) BAKER'S White Baking Chocolate, chopped
or 1 cup BAKER'S White Chocolate Chunks
2 cups chopped PLANTERS Macadamias or Slivered Almonds
1 cup dried cranberries

MICROWAVE semi-sweet chocolate in large microwavable bowl on HIGH 2 minutes. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla with wooden spoon until well blended. Stir in flour and baking powder. Stir in white chocolate, cranberries and nuts. Drop by scant 1/4 cupfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. BAKE at 350 degrees F. for 13 to 14 minutes or until cookies are puffed and feel set to the touch. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely on wire racks. Note: If omitting the nuts, increase flour to 3/4 cup to prevent spreading. Makes about 15 large cookies.

White Pfeffernuesse Cookies
From: McCall's Holiday Baking and Entertaining

4 cups sifted all-purpose flour (sift before
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeat
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup chopped candied citron
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
Confectioner's sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease several cookie sheets. Sift flour with baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeat and cloves. Set aside. In a large bowl, with electric mixer at high speed, beat eggs and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add citron and lemon peel, beat with wooden spoon until well blended. Add flour mixture, beating with wooden spoon until smooth. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Shape cookies; form dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove and cool completely on racks. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. Makes 4 dozen.

Mcgill, one of our long time forum members, found this recipe years ago in the newspaper:

Almond Crescents

3/4 cup icing sugar (confectioners')
1 cup margarine or butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup ground almonds
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
granulated sugar

Sift the icing sugar and cream gradually with the margarine. Add vanilla, cinnamon and almonds. Sift the flour and knead by hand into the creamed mixture. Chill the dough, them roll it to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut or form into crescent shapes and bake for about 25 minutes in a preheated oven (350 F). Makes 5 dozen. When they come out of the oven, sprinkle lightly with white sugar.

This recipe was the hit of our holiday season last year.

Soft Molasses Ginger Cookies

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs
Extra sugar

Combine all dry ingredients. Cream the butter and 1 cup sugar; add the eggs and molasses and blend well. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and blend well. Shape into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

MORE spicy cookie recipes for the cookie jar on OFL:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Easy Christmas Crafts for Kids

We can only be said to be alive in those
moments when our hearts are conscious
of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder

Today I have more ornament and easy craft ideas for family fun this Christmas season.

This is the easiest thing. My 7 year old made a ton of these last year for gifts for her friends and to decorate the tree in her bedroom. ~MaddeesMom

Ice Cream Ornaments: Take a plain white glass ball ornament (we just used the generic ones from Wal-Mart) and glue it (with the hanger straight up) into an ice cream cone. Paint the top of the ornament with glue (we just used Elmer's School Glue) and then sprinkle the top with tiny beads to look like sprinkles! They look really cute on a tree and they are an easy fast thing to do for Girl Scout meetings or for church bazaars.

I was just thinking back to different crafts I've done with the kids at Christmas and remembered some edible ones that were great fun. ~Lizzy, OFL Community Moderator

Edible Baubles: You'll need a foam ball, some ribbon or cord to make a hanger, toothpicks, soft sugar coated jellies/jubes (little ones are cute like Jelly Tots). Start by making a loop with the cord or ribbon knotting it. Use half a toothpick to secure it in the top of the foam ball. Break the toothpicks in half and push the broken end into a jelly then push the sharp end into the ball. Continue doing this until you've completely covered the foam ball. Hang on the Christmas tree (if it lasts that long).

Gingerbread puzzles: Make your favorite sugar cookie or gingerbread mix. Roll into a large rectangle then cut into rectangles about 4 x 6 inches big. Use a small Christmas cookie cutter to score a shape in the centre (stars work well). Score the rest of the cookie to look like a puzzle. Bake and once it's cooked remove from the oven and while it's still warm rescore right through. Leave to cool then decorate with piped icing and silver cachous. Place your cookie puzzle onto a piece of cardboard and wrap in clear cellophane. This is a cute gift for kids.

Cookie Houses: You need a pack of 100's and 1000's cookies (they are square shaped cookies covered in pink icing and 100's & 1000's sprinkles). If you can't get them any plain square shaped cookies will do. You'll also need some liquorice all sorts (cut in half diagonally so they are triangular shaped) and M&M's (or Smarties)and white royal icing.

Use 8 cookies per house- glue 6 cookies together with icing to form a box (the icing on outside if using 100's & 1000's cookies). Then glue (with icing) 2 together for the roof (use the liquorice at either end to help hold up the roof). Glue some M&M's to the roof. You can wrap these in clear cellophane to gift when they are set.

Cookie Pops: You'll need one paddle pop stick and 2 plain round cookies per pop, white royal icing, small candies to decorate. Sandwich the cookies together with a paddle pop stick between using the royal icing. Cover the outside of the cookies completely with icing. Decorate with coloured icing and little pieces of candy. We stuck red and green M&M's around the edges of the cookie pop. Leave cookie pops to set then package them in clear cellophane with a ribbon bow.

On OFL we have some great Advent crafts:


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Family Christmas Ornaments to Craft

Today I have some neat family Christmas ornaments from two of our visitors.

You can make beautiful ornaments using pipe cleaners and Borax for just about any holiday. These make great gifts, tree ornaments, kitchen magnets, or package decorations! ~Jeanie

You will need:
20 Mule Team Borax Laundry Booster
Chenille (pipe cleaners)
A wide mouth container
String or yarn and a pencil

Shape the pipe cleaners any way you want. you can make any shape you want... angels, stars, flowers, etc. In a wide mouth container (wide enough to hang your ornament in so it doesn't touch the bottom or sides), pour boiling water. Add about a cup of borax, less or more depending on the size of your container and the amount of water. A thick glass container works well, because you can see the Borax dissolving. Add enough Borax so the water is quite cloudy.

Suspend the Christmas ornament in the solution: tie a piece of string or yarn to it, tie the other end of the string to a pencil, and then lay the pencil across the top of your container. Make sure the pipe cleaner is completely immersed in the solution and isn't touching the sides or bottom of the container. As the solution cools, the crystals will begin to form on your pipe cleaner. Leave overnight. Remove from the solution and allow to dry.

Note: Overnight soaking will give you very thickly crystallized ornaments. If you want some of the color of the pipe cleaner to show through, leave in the solution for less time. If you want, you can spray your finished ornament with acrylic sealer or clear spray paint to keep the crystals from falling off too quickly.

Some ideas on using these ornaments:
-Tie several together to make a crystal mobile
-Hang on your Christmas tree
-Attach to gift packages
-Glue to cardboard backing to make a photo frame.
-Attach a strong magnet to the back.

These are just a few ideas. Use your imagination!

Birdseed Ornaments and Wreaths
I have done this every winter for the past 15 years. ~Lina

Mix together 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup water, and 3 tablespoons corn syrup. Add 4 cups birdseed and mix well.

Cover a try with waxed paper and make stars,(and other ornaments), place cookie cutters on tray and spoon bird seed mixture into cookie cutters. To make wreaths, shape birdseed mixture into wreaths and place on tray: (I make a circle pat to size I want and make sure there is a small hole in middle, should look like a small wreath) if desired, decorate wreaths with holly berries, cranberries, or raisins. Let dry for 4 to 6 hours, Remove ornaments from cookie cutters. Turn ornaments and wreaths over to dry for another 4 to 6 hours. wrap string of raffia around each wreath, and
also around ornaments...I just put a hole in before drying the ornaments. I use red and green raffia for the holidays. Then I hang on trees outside.

Birdseed Bell

For edible glue, mix together 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup water, and 3 tablespoons corn syrup. Using an old paintbrush,coat 2 1/4" diameter peat pots with edible glue; then roll pots in birdseed to cover. Place bells on waxed paper and let dry for 4 to 6 hours. ( I put them over something so the seed also stays on bottom of bell) To make clappers for each bell, use a needle and thread a string with 4 to 5 cranberries, go from inside bell and tie off on top (bow of raffia will hide it). Fold a piece of raffia in half (the length you want) Tie knot on end that is not cut then put the two pieces through drainage hole and tie in knot so it stays in place, add bow of raffia on top between the two strands and tie with string of some kind to keep bow in place, tie top of two strands in knot, hang on tree.

On OFL we have instructions to make these adorable clay pot snowmen!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hot Chocolate Recipes

Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude. ~E.P. Powell

Do you have a good recipe for hot cocoa that doesn't use sugar? I need a good low fat, low carb, sugar free cocoa recipe. ~Betsy

This is a good one for one cup at a time, but you could make up more and keep it in a container. You could use stevia or another sugar substitute instead.

1/4 cup dry skim milk powder
11/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon Splenda sugar substitute
1 cup boiling water

Stir together dry milk powder, cocoa, and Splenda in a mug.Pour in the boiling water and stir until dissolved. For a neat addition add some cinnamon!

One comment for your sugar-free cocoa recipe - before you add boiling water, add just a little cold water (about 3Tbsp. or so) to liquefy the powdered milk. I've found that powdered milk does not dissolve well in hot or boiling water.
Other good additions are just a small packet of creamer and a half dash of cayenne along with the cinnamon. The cayenne is not noticeable, but really brings out the taste of the cinnamon and cocoa. It also helps warm you up! ~Thanks! Donna

Here is what I use to make Hot Chocolate:
1 1/2 Tbsp of Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa
(this is far better than Hershey's)
1 Tbsp. of Splenda, or Raw Sugar
1 cup plus a little more Breeze Almond Milk
(purchase at your Health Food Store)
This is a sweet milk and very tasty.

Mix your Cocoa and sugar or substitute in a small bowl, warm your milk, whisk in your cocoa and sugar until it is steaming. Do not boil. ~Ginny

Monday, November 17, 2008

Quick Bread for the Holidays

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ~Albert Schweitzer

I've already started making breads this year when I volunteered to bring bread in for the teachers during parent teacher conferences. I used this recipe for two different breads by changing the ingredients slightly each time. They both turned out great.

Pistachio Bread Recipe

1 package yellow or white cake mix, any brand
4 eggs
1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons water
1 3 ounce package pistachio pudding mix
1 cup sour cream, I used low fat
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9x5 inch loaf pans. In a large bowl mix the dry cake mix, eggs, oil, water, dry pudding mix, and sour cream. Mix well with a whisk or electric mixer. Divide between the two loaf pans, pouring into the pans and scraping the bowl clean with a rubber spatula. Combine the cinnamon and brown sugar in a small bowl with a fork. Splitting the sugar mixture between the two pans, sprinkle it on top and lightly run a butter knife through the batter so the sugar mixes into it slightly.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, placing the loaf pan on a cookie sheet on the middle rack. Test if it's done after 45 minutes, using a toothpick. Bake longer if necessary. Cool, and slice.

Variations: Use German Chocolate cake mix and vanilla or coconut pudding. This was VERY good.

I'm going to try other variations next time!