Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Holiday Sugar cookies

I've had this recipe since I was a young bride. It is a little different than your usual sugar cookie recipe, with the addition of nutmeg and the way the eggs are added. It makes wonderful crisp cookies which you can sprinkle with colored sugars only or ice. What a fun way to spend an afternoon with kids or grandkids. My kids all like these iced and still as grownups fight over the colors they want to use to ice them, but I love the crisp, nutmeg taste of them with sprinkles only.

  • 2 Egg yolks

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 cup UNSALTED sweet butter, softened

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 Egg whites

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached flour(I use King Arthur or Pillsbury)

Beat egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar until thick and lemon colored, reserve. In a large bowl, cream butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy; beat in egg whites(batter may look curdled). Mix in egg yolk mixture you reserved, baking soda, cream of tartar, nutmeg, salt and vanilla, gradually add flour. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or 2. The dough gets really hard if left overnight in the frig, but just put it out about an hour before you use it, to warm it a little and it is fine. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out dough on lightly floured pastry cloth or board to a scant 1/4 inch if using sprinkles and a heavier 1/4 inch if icing, so cookies won't break. Cut into shapes(Valentine hearts, Halloween shapes,Christmas) . Place on GREASED cookie sheets and sprinkle with colored sugars, if not icing. Bake until light brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on racks. If icing, put confectioners sugard in small bowls and add cream or milk to desired consistency(not too runny) and then color with food coloring or Wilton icing pastes/gels. Spread on cooled cookies and decorate with sugars, etc.

Oatmeal Bread- Makes 2or 3 laoves

There is nothing so satisfying as a slice of warm Oatmeal Bread on a cold winter's day with a bowl of homemade soup! This bread uses dark molasses so it is a nice dark brown color when finished with a warm, soft inside. So start kneading and enjoy!

  • 2 packages dry yeast

  • 1 cup warm water

  • 1/4 cup dark molasses

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup unbleached flour

  • 1 1/4 cups scalded milk, cooled to lukewarm

  • 1/4 cup molasses or honey

  • 1 Egg

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2 cups unbleached flour( I use King Arthur or Pillsbury unbleached)

  • 2 Tablespoons shortening

  • 1 cup quick cooking rolled oats ( I use organic)

  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached flour

First, I scald my milk and get it cooling. Then in a large bowl combine yeast, warm water, dark molasses, salt and 1/2 flour. Beat until smooth and let stand in a warm place for 15 minutes. Add Scalded milk, molasses or honey, egg, salt, 2 cups flour, shortening and oatmeal. Beat 2 minutes with an electric mixer. Gradually add about 3 1/4- 3 1/2 cups more flour. Form into a smooth ball, cover with bowl and let rest 10 minutes (see photo). Knead dough for 5 minutes on a flour covered pastry cloth and shape into 2 or 3 balls, cover with cloth and let rest 10 minutes more. Shape into 2 or 3 loaves and place in 2 standard loaf pans or 3 8x4 inch pans. The smaller ones are nice for gifts at Christmas or to share with friends and neighbors on a cold day. Cover and let rise in a warm place 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Bake on middle rack of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes.