This happening in the kitchen today…

I almost didn’t.

But then I did.

I just couldn’t say no.  After all we bought the cookie cutters just for these recipes and Christmas only comes once a year.  So instead of ten…twelve….twenty different kinds we are making two. Two of our favorites.

Just in time for Grandma’s arrival.

Now let it snow…..might be wishful thinking with weather in the 60’s but a girl can wish can’t she now?

https://allinthesojourn.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/christmas-gingerbread/

https://allinthesojourn.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/counting-down-to-christmas-with-cookies/

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Counting Down To Christmas with Frosted Butter Cookies

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She tiptoes timid to the door.  What lies behind it only God knows but what she does know she can’t do this journey alone.  It was hard enough to ship her husband off for months with three wide-eyed ones looking up for courage and she felt fortitude fading.  So she breathes long and slow and walks through doors opened and takes the leap to be vulnerable, real among strangers by unfurling her bleeding heart .  This sojourn, or short stay we journey here on planet earth was never meant to be in isolation and she was never more aware of it, than now.  And the body of Christ, these beautiful, broken, pieces unite and in that space of a few hours souls are melded and the ground they walk on united as one is holy.  They dig into the word that brings life to withered spirits and together they suffer and rejoice because if one part hurts the other feels it strong and there is joy when God comes through.  Love comes down in community and there is mercy, grace, healing for every wound.

Some journeys end and others go on forever.  The parting of friends is never easy and each box packed and carried to the moving truck carries a piece of the heart.  They whisper farewells amidst a flurry of activity and in her soul she knows she will never be the same.  These hands and feet have changed her.

They mix butter and sugar, this family of five; flour and vanilla all the while her mind traveling the miles back to what was, what still feels home. A lump catches in the throat and she prays for the hands that first made these for her, for them; those sojourners meeting together finding safety in the arms of love.

“Sally’s” Frosted Butter Cookies

Makes 12 dozen 2” cookies, but my cookie cutters are bigger. You can always freeze the cookies and frost them later if you have too many. Do not frost and freeze, as the frosting gets hard and discolored. Frost the day before you want to use them – let them sit overnight before piling them on top of each other, or putting them in decorative bags with a ribbon.

Mix:

6 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

Mix and add to the above:

2 cup butter

1 ½ cups sugar

2 eggs

4 tbsp milk (¼  cup)

4 tsp vanilla

Chill for 1 hour

Roll out on floured surface (¼ ” – look at a ruler – this is thicker than you think)

Cut in desired shapes

Bake on ungreased cookie sheet

350 degrees for 10-12 minutes – look for edges to begin to turn brown

Frosting

1 box powdered sugar

½ – 1 ½ – 2 tsp vanilla

Water to make spread-able consistency (if it runs off the cookie, it’s too thin…you should be able to push it to the edges easily, or it’s too thick)

Put small amounts in smaller bowls & use food coloring as desired.

Counting down to Christmas with cookies….

butter cookie

I look and her hands are worn and yet each wrinkle tells a story of love.  How many fevered brows have been caressed, seeds planted in gardens and put up in jars for winter, clothes mended and made, meals served all done for the least of these with fingerprints of love.  She takes the rolling pin to lead the way.  “Not too harsh or you’ll flatten it uneven and too soft you’ll be here all day.” We take and cut out tiny shapes and make them nice and even, little buttons of goodness that melt in the mouth.

Twenty-some years later this mom gathers her brood and memories flood and joy is found in the common, the reliving of what was now all the while praying these fingerprints tending to dough and delicate hearts will lead the way to ultimate Love come down at Christmas.

Cream Wafer Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup of butter softened

1/3 cup whipping cream or half and half

Cream together, then wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Roll dough out to 1/8 inch thickness on lightly floured table. Cut out with tiny holiday cookie cutters big enough for one bite or 2 (my mom always used a donut hole cutter for tiny rounds like buttons). Transfer to a plate with 1/2 cup sugar and coat all sides with sugar.  Use a fork to punch a row or two of holes all the way through the dough.  Place on a cookie sheet and back at 350 for 7-9 minutes until the bottom is lightly brown.  Cool and fill with a small amount of icing.  Sandwich it with another matching cookie.  Enjoy!

Icing

1/4 cup softened butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

food coloring if desired

Beat together until fluffy.

Christmas Gingerbread

blog gingerbread

It feels only yesterday in long nightgowns with Christmas carols filling the air, we would spoon up sugar and icing making a magical world of food to eat, to share.  The table was transformed from browns and creams to yellow, red green, white…textures and colors like twinkling lights. We would sing and laugh and dance the beauty of the season capturing every part of us.  And we would name the ones we were to bless, cookie plates filled to the brim with love, and simple messages of the birth of the Christ child.  Then come morning we would bundle in boots and scarves with gloves and coats and through the snow drifts travel door to door arms brimming in sugary treats.  Traditions are the seams that hold the patchwork of our lives together.  So we grow and we leave (and cleave) and bear our own and pass down love through the generations.  Christmas, besides the lights and crèche, trees and stockings, is cookies!  This recipe reminisces my childhood and a recipe we have come to love here in our home.  To tell you just how many we have made (and enjoyed) this season would be difficult to count, but I do know the molasses has disappeared! So grab your kids, or friends and family, and begin to make some memories.

Gingerbread Cookies

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

1/2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup shortening

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup molasses

Mix the flour and spices in a bowl. Cream sugar, egg, molasses and shortening in bowl.  Add flour and spices and mix until combined.  Roll out on lightly floured surface until a quarter of and inch thick.  Cut out with your favorite cookie cutters.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8-10 min. just until the edges of the cookie are a light brown and firm.  Immediately transfer to a cooling rack.  Ice and decorate with sprinkles if desired.

Royal Icing

1/2 cup shortening

2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 tsp real vanilla flavoring

1/4 tsp real almond flavoring

cream (add a tsp at a time until correct consistency for decorating)

Beat until icing is creamy and fluffy

Add any food coloring if desired and stir