Monday, December 10, 2012

C is for cookie

I spent a few hours today mixing up loads of dough. All said and done, we have 17 rolls of our own slice-n-bake cookies ready to bake. We had 18, but cut half of 2 of them to bake this afternoon.

here's the recipe:

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter..softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tspn vanilla
1/2 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn salt
3 cups flour

Combine butter and sugar, cream together. Add egg and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients until well combined. Then, add salt and baking powder. Slowly add each cup of flour, incorporating each cup before adding the next. Dough will form into a large ball. At this point, you add whatever you desire to the dough.

Here are some ideas: chocolate chips, chopped nuts, raisins, dried fruit, toffee bits, M&M's, flavor with extract, etc...

If you desire chocolate dough, omit 1/3 cup flour and use 1/3 cup cocoa instead. We like this version with white chocolate chips in it.

*this recipe is a great "dunker" cookie..great with hot chocolate, coffee, milk.. The dough itself isn't very sweet, so it's flavored mostly by what you add into it. If you desire a more moist and sweeter cookie, use only 3/4 cup sugar, and add 1/2 cup brown sugar. This is equally good. We especially like the brown sugar recipe in the cookies with chocolate chips and raisins.

Once the dough is made, divide it into 2 halves. Roll each half into a long tube (approx. 2 inches wide/ 10 inches long). At this point, you could roll the entire log into colored sugar or put stripes down the sides with food coloring (just other ideas). Now, all you have left to do is wrap and store the dough.

I wrapped in plastic wrap, but only because I didn't have any parchment paper, and I'm not going to store them for more than a few days. If you wrap them in parchment paper, the dough could be stored for quite a while, and you could have cookies ready to bake at a moments notice.

When you're ready to bake the cookies, slice and bake them at 350 degrees for 10-13 minutes. Cutting mine approximately 1/3 inch wide, I get an average of 2 dozen from each roll.

If you try this out, let me know what favorite combinations you come up with!

Enjoy! They sure go quickly around here!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

a squeaky Christmas.

i'm sure like many of you, we're busily prepping for Christmas activities. the hurriedness and sometimes chaos of the surrounding events can sometime seem to take foreground stage, causing the month to fly by, leaving us awashed on New Year's shore.
over the years we've tried different approaches to savor the days. different devotions, advent calendars, secret acts of kindness.. all of them were and are good, but i'm one to like new things. and if new things include creativity, thoughts of our Savior, and a bit of whimsy..count me all in.
you've all seen Elf on a Sh*lf.. and while i think it's super cute, i've never been a big fan of the fat red suited guy. sorry, don't hate me. i do, however, love the creative ideas that go along with the little elf dude... how he does silly things at night and helps to count down to the big day.
SO...after poking around the good ole' internet, i found some alternatives.. one of them being a Christmas mouse. the idea i saw had the mouse as a world traveler (which i thought a fun idea for a homeschool unit study.. tucking that idea away for future fun). the world traveler idea didn't touch on Jesus, so it was time to put my own spin on it.
here's what i came up with...
each morning, my boys receive a note from "Felix". each day he reveals something more about himself, and some days he gets a "shipment" with a piece of furniture. he began with his rocking chair..his favorite spot to sit and write. the first note explains that he used to live in a barn, but that it gets very cold during the winter.. he was wondering if he could spend the month in our warm house, asking for a simple box to make his home. he goes on to ponder how Jesus was born in a barn, and how it must have been for Him. each day, Felix asks questions that cause us to reflect and talk about Christ's birth. it's also fun, as the boys look forward to the notes and seeing what furniture has arrived.
here are some picture from the first few days..

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