Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Cookie Help

Every year we decorate Christmas cookies as a family and give them away to the kids in our church.  One year we invited the kids over to have a cookie decorating contest, and then let them eat the cookies.  This year we invited the girls to decorate cookes at church  while the boys went out and collected food for the orphanage.  We had a blast!  The girls did a great job and I am looking forward to eating them at our Christmas party; but maily this post is to share with you what I have learned over the years from baking cookies for Christmas.  I have now picked out my favorite recipe for Sugar cookes as well as my favorite icing to decorate them with.  This recipe for cookies tastes sort of like pop tart dough to me {which I like!}; but mainly I chose this recipe because it uses less eggs, it is a joy to work with ( the cookies hold their shape really well after they are cut and baked), and did I already mention that it tastes good! I chose this icing recipe because it is very easy and keeps a nice gloss, it also tastes good!

Cookie recipe:
Ingredients


• 1 cup butter, softened

• 1 cup powdered sugar

• 1 egg

• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

• 1 teaspoon salt

• Tinted icings, colored sugars, edible glitter and nonpareils

Directions

• In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

• On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut out with Christmas cookie cutters of your choice. *Using a floured spatula, transfer cookies to greased baking sheets.

• Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.

• Decorate cookies with frosting, sugars and candies.

*Tips: I prefer to lightly flour wax or parchment paper to roll my cooled dough onto for cutting. This allows me to “plop” the shape onto the cookie sheets. If necessary sometimes I cut the paper around the cut dough, then plop it onto the cookie sheet. This prevents me from disturbing the shape. I also line my cookie sheets with foil instead of greasing them in order to save my cookie sheets and my oil.   Another thing I like to do is cut a small shape inside of a shape and fill it with crushed hard candy after baking the cookies for about six or seven minutes.  I then return the cookies to the oven and let the candy melt for about three or four minutes.  This give me the stained glass window look inside a cookie. 


Icing recipe:


1 cup powdered sugar (C&H truly is the best; but others will work)
1TBS.  milk
1 TBS.  light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
assorted food coloring (drops or gell)

Directions

1.In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup and/or milk 1 tsp. at a time. Keep in mind that the corn syrup is what allows the colors (when using dye) to stay nice a bright. Add flavoring to taste once you get the amount of icing you want before adding color.
2.Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.

This will ice about a dozen cookies.


Photos of our adventure

My Favorite!  She is really concentrating.

Un-decorated Christmas tree cookie pops!


Alliyah enjoyed eating all of her cookies.



Cookie icing color palate!



Patiently waiting to get started.

The brave boys who went out in the cold to get food for the orphans.

Thank You! (4)

I would like to say thank you to a very special person whom I will not name.  (Really this thank you is for a special family.)  When I was a Senior in high school I moved out of our home and moved into the dormitory of our church's college.   Because of this my needs were not immediately apparent to my family as the number of times they saw me decreased drastically.  {Knowing what I know now, I wish I had waited until I was in college to move away from home; but the Lord knows what is best.  I say this because that year I lost one of my brothers to a car accident; and a couple of years later I lost the other one to a drive by shooting.} 
 I can only imagine how I must have looked that would inspire such generosity; but in August of 2000 a lady took me on a shopping spree.  How cool is that!!!  I spent no money; but returned to the dorm with SEVERAL undergarments, slips, and pantyhose; four new skirts; and several blouses.    What a tremendous blessing this family was to me during my time in college.  I will NEVER forget that.  So, to you wonderful people who look around for someone to bless, Thank you!!! 
 Lesson:  Don't ask someone if they have a need when they obviously do; Do what you can to help, or keep your mouth shut. I mean that in the nicest way possible, of course!

Until next time,

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Battling the Whine!

 Anyone who has little girls, and maybe even little boys, in their home knows how annoying it is to hear whining all day!  Well, we may have had a breakthrough!  Sometime this Summer (maybe around June) I asked the Lord to help me help Aaliyah not to whine.  I didn't want to have to spank her every time she whined.  I subscribe to No Greater Joy publications and they had an article in their magazine about dealing with anger in small children.  One the Pearl children is dealing with that in their home and their solution was to sometimes spank, but sometimes tickle it out of her.  Well, Aaliyah begs me to tickle her sometimes {Strange, I know} so I felt like the tickle trick might be a reward for whining rather than a punishment.  So my trick is the "Happy face" trick.  When she starts whining because the answer was No I immediately say to her, "Happy face!".  She might think it's dumb; but her forced happy faces are so funny that I ALWAYS start to crack up laughing!.  This inevitably causes her to smile (sometimes even laugh) for real. 

I say that we may have made a breakthrough because this morning when I told her she couldn't take her baby doll with her to the library, she started to whine; but immediately said to herself "Happy Face!".  I was so proud of her!  She is now training herself not to whine!  Isn't that great!  If you have any other tips about Battling the Whine that has worked for you please share!

Until next time,

THANKS FOR VISITING!

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