Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bake Cookies; Think Christmas

I was so immersed with my post for Rex Stout's birthday Monday, I forgot to mention the first week of December is National Cookie Cutter Week! It wasn't until I popped on over to Coco Cooks and fancied my eyes on her glowing batch of Navettes Sucrees (also called Sugar Shuttles) that a spark went off. Honestly, I don't know where that woman gets her energy. I have a feeling she's going to have an excess amount of energy over the next 12 or so days. She was invited to participate in the Gourmet Magazine 2008 event The Twelve Days of Cookies. (she's baking up batches from 1950s cookie recipes:) It sounds like fun but, way out of my league. Think I'll stick to cookbook postings. You know what they say, "there are those who bake and those who admire baking." I'll be the admirer...

Last year I posted about the history of cookie cutters designed by a woman by the name of Aunt Chick. Actually, Aunt Chick was her pen name. Her real name was Nettie Williams McBirney. Aunt Chick's cookie cutters were launched in 1948. If you want to read that post, I'm leaving the link below in the resource section. You might want to check it out if only for the lyrical Ginger Snap recipe poem at the bottom and the Tyrolean Seed Cookies, way at the bottom.

Since all I did was post a short poem called Kindergarten Cookies last year for National Cookie Day, which is on December 4th by the way, that link is below also. Today, I thought I would share a cut out cookie recipe from Aunt Jennie's 10 Best Christmas Cookie Recipes published for Spry. Now, I'm well aware of the fact that we are all a bit more concerned about the amount of shortening in our recipes with cholesterol and all but, if I were a baker and not an admirer, I'm not so sure I would be the purist my doctor would prefer me to be. I might use an awful lot of lard. There's just some things you can not substitute. I'm including the basic cookie dough recipe and scanning the directions for decorating the cookies in order to create what Spry calls "A Christmas Cookie Wonderland." Unfortunately, the recipe folder is a bit tattered, un-dated as well as out dated but, you may find some useful inspiration in the ideas. Enjoy!

Basic Light Cookie Dough
1 cup Spry (or Crisco)
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, unbeaten
2-1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour

Think Christmas

Think Christmas is a unique spiral bound Jr. League book filled with dozens of ideas, crafts and recipes. It was first published by the Jr. League of Washington D. C. in 1970. Now, that may seem like ions ago to some of you out there but for me, it almost seems like yesterday. When I was a young mother left to vend for herself, Think Christmas was a welcomed gift from one of my oldest and dearest friends. I suppose my immediate "attraction" to Amy was the comfort she demonstrated at our first meeting. Each of us had been elected to construct party favors for our children's kindergarten Christmas party. Have I ever told you how un-crafty I am? The only person I know who is more of a klutz when it comes to creative finesse is my friend Amy. Although Amy and I had never met, she had heard a rumor that I collected cookbooks. (I was on the hospitality committee for the PTA) Amy discovered Think Christmas at a PTA school fund raiser in hopes that she would get some ideas for another school project she was working on. Armed with the book and her infectious laughter, Amy came over for a visit. She presented me with the book and said, "pick out what you want to make and we'll make it." Easier said then done. We chose the pine cone owls pictured on page seven except, we decided to make them into Santas. I don't recall the actual construction of the pine cone Santa, I have a mental block to all things crafty, but I know the memory was the beginning of a forever friendship.

There are over 200 pages in this book which follows the usual format like many Jr. League books with a small twist. Instead of contributors submitting family recipes, this book highlights simple family holiday projects, crafts and yes recipes. I thought it would be fun to share some of them so visitors to this blog could get a glimpse of holiday trimmings 70s style. I'll be including a few of the ideas through-out the month of December. I'm going to scan the pages large enough so you can see them or print them. (click to enlarge:) The first project is called a Coconut Creche. It seems pretty much out of my league much like baking cookies but, I've chosen it because it uses a coconut and you know how we all have coconuts just hanging around the house:) Have FUN!

Oh, and for that leftover coconut, check out Anna's post for Cut Out Coconut Sugar Cookies over @ Cookie Madness.

1. Cookie Cutters & Aunt Chick
2. National Cookie Day