Monday, December 19, 2011

All Cookied Out

That's what I am. After a weekend of almost nonstop baking, I am all cookied out.  It all started with the ubiquitous chocolate chip

and the it-wouldn't-be-Christmas-without-them snickerdoodles

and Former Group Leader Rod's special request peanut butter,

I made a couple of new recipes this year.  What, you may ask, are different about these?  Aren't they the same old cookie stamp cookies you make every year? 

Well, I may answer, they look like the same old cookie stamp cookies I make every year, but they aren't.  This is a shortbread recipe I found online, instead of the old butter cookie recipe I used to use.  The best thing about this one is that the recipe doesn't call for eggs.  Whew!  One less viable substitute I have to figure out. 

And the new recipe quest continues.  This one is called Frosted Crinkles, and I found it in an old magazine dated 1995. 

As with any new recipe, I'll have to make it a few times to get it just right.  The main thing with these is that the butterscotch topping didn't spread out as much as I thought it would.  If I make them again, I'll have to remember to spread it a little more. 

The story behind these is that I have a Christmas Cookie recipe book.  When I decided that I wanted to try a few new cookies this year,  I pulled out that book to look for some.  Thing is, there aren't any pictures in the book.  Just the recipes.  How can I tell if I want to make those cookies if I can't see if they look good?  Anyway, after flipping through it with no small measure of disgust, and wondering why I even keep the thing (anybody want it?), I was putting it back when I spotted the old magazine on the cookbook shelf. 

I picked it up and started looking through it, and spotted these.  They looked delicious, so I decided to try them.  They taste pretty good, but I'll have to tinker with the frosting to get it just right.

These, on the other hand, are definitely a keeper.

I got this recipe from my friend Amy, and they are so good!  They taste like Christmas exploded in your mouth. 

Gumdrop Cookies

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped fruit-flavored or spiced gumdrops
2 egg whites

In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and 3/4 cup sugar.  Beat in extract.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture.  Stir in gumdrops.  In a small mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gradually add remaining sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.  Fold into dough.
  Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool for 1 minute before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.  Yield: 3-1/2 dozen.

And now for your Music Monday...

Last night was our church choir Christmas program.  Cody was a shepherd in it  --um, correction, Cody was The Best Shepherd Evah in it.  This was one of the songs the choir sang.  

It's been one of my favorites for years, but this time, there was just something about it.  When the song says, "See the shepherds kneeling before Him", all the shepherds knelt before Him.

When the song says, "See the kings on bended knee,"  all the kings bent their knees. 

That's when it hit me.  You know how you know stuff in the back of your mind, but one day, it suddenly comes clear.  That's what happened.  I've always known it, but suddenly, seeing that picture in the church sanctuary before me, the mist in my mind dissipated and it became clear. 

The shepherds were the lowest of the low.  The outcasts of society.  Unaccepted, and unacceptable.  Yet the angel came to them first. 

The magi were the highest of the high.  Kings.  Wealthy.  So powerful that Herod -- and all of Jerusalem with him-- were frightened when they showed up.  Yet they knelt before THE King. 

From the lowest of the low, to the highest of the high, he gave himself to all of us.  For God so loved the world that he gave his only son..

He was the very first Christmas gift.  God's gift to the world.  That includes li'l ol' me.

And it includes you too. 

One small child in the land of a thousand...
One king bringing us life.*

*I know the in the song, the word is light.  I've sung it wrong for 30 years, but "life" just seems to fit better.  He said, "I have come that they might have LIFE, and have it more abundantly.

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