Hello, winter!

CookiesHello, everyone, and hello, winter!  It has been a long time since I’ve used this space.  I had a very busy semester, but it’s over now–the exams graded, the grades in.  I have a few emails to answer but have been avoiding them as I ‘enjoyed’ some high-speed sewing Sunday morning (nearly-finished gifts that were being given later that day), some enchilada-baking (also at high speed) and then a lazy Monday.  I’ve been working on a number of Christmas gifts that I haven’t posted here, since those who will receive them theoretically read this blog, at least when it pops up in their facebook stream.  I’ll post them in January–perhaps they’ll serve as inspiration for next Christmas for you!

I’ve done some Christmas baking–first, some elaborate cookies from Martha Stewart Living that featured strips of citrus-y, buttery dough with layers of apricot jam and crushed pistachios inside.  They were tasty, but not worth all the work, and not particularly photogenic.  The candy cane cookies pictured here are from a 1971 recipe card, part of a Super 70s Cooking/Bake-off a friend is hosting.  We were asked to make the item on the card and then stage it.  This is our offering, artfully staged by Mr. Pea.  The cookies were good–pretty standard sugary cookies, though not minty.  I’m hoping to do a little more baking today, after I get more butter.

My Christmas mojo has waned a bit–exams always wear it out, and then the rush of the last week before Christmas becomes exhausting.  I’m trying to find it, though–maybe as I start to wrap gifts and pack up the few that need mailing, it’ll return.  I slept like a log last night, easing the stressed-out sleep deficit of recent days; I’m hoping a few more of those will help, too.

In the meantime, I can have some hot coffee and the last of the cookies.  Here’s the recipe:

1/2 c butter
1/2 c shortening (I used all butter)
1 c confectioner’s sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 ts almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red food coloring

Cream butter, shortening, confectioner’s sugar, egg, and flavorings.  Blend in flour and salt.  (I needed a little splash of water to get the right consistency).  Divide dough in half and blend the food color into one half.

Shape 1 tsp of dough from each half into a 4″ rope.  Place ropes side by side, press together lightly, and twist.  Place on a cookie sheet and curve top of cookie down to form cane handle.  (This gets old after about a dozen, but the recipe makes 48 cookies).

Bake about 9 minutes until set and very light brown.

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