Sugar Cookies

We ve developed a tradition in this house.  It really wasn’t one we tried to do, it just happened!  Every year, I seem to be behind on my Christmas baking, and end up making sugar cookies on the 23rd of December.  Not early, but late in the day, so they are impossible to decorate!  We have begun waiting until the 24th to decorate in between masses.  My kids are still young enough to be in the children’s service, but they are old enough to acolyte at the midnight one.  So on Christmas Eve, we attend church at 5pm, come home and then head off to mass at 1030.  During the time at home, I have tried to keep them occupied so they will stay calm.  We make reindeer food, watch a movie, eat grilled pimento cheese sandwiches and chips and color Christmas cookies.  This has seemed to work out so well, that it is now a tradition!  Another tradition to this cookie decorating is that the last one can always be piled high with frosting and consumed by the decorator.  I try my hardest not to judge on how much frosting is on the cookie because, after all, it is Christmas!

I use my great grandmothers Christmas Crisp Holiday Sugar Cookie recipe, and they always make the best cookies!  So I thought I would share this recipe with you today.

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Christmas Crisp Holiday Sugar Cookie

Cream 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup lard and 1 1/2 cups sugar together.  Add two well beaten eggs.  1 tablespoon vanilla and beat until light.  Dissolve 1/2 teaspoons of soda in 3 tablespoons sour cream (or buttermilk).  Sift three cups flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.  Add the sour cream mixture and flour to the creamed together ingredients and blend well.  Chill until very cold.  Roll until thin as a dime on floured surface and cut into Christmas shapes with cookie cutters.  Bake at 350 for 8 minutes until a delicate golden brown.

I have written the recipe exactly how my great grandmother wrote it in the Record Book.  A couple of changes can be made to the ingredients.  Instead of lard you can use shortening or another cup of butter.  If you use butter, I would use slightly less than a 1/2 cup and make sure it is very very cold!  Also, I do not roll mine out quite so thin.  I like a fatter cookie! to frost, I use a butter cream recipe.  Makes the cookies that much better!

Do you have any vintage recipes in your Christmas traditions?

Saturday Morning Donut Holes

So deliciously wrong.  These donuts are yummy and sinful all in the same bite.  But I must say, there is nothing better than a fresh donut, and these will leave your family begging you to make them again.  Although, I do not recommend making these on a daily.  More of a once a week or once a year event.  Not because they were difficult to make, quite the contrary, but instead, they are chalked full of calories and sugar.  But everyone needs a good treat every now and then, so please enjoy my great grandmothers recipe for delicious Sparkle Donut Balls!

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Sparkle Donut Balls Recipe by Hulda Helberg
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
sugar and cinamon for rolling
powdered sugar for rolling
Beat egg in bowl with rotary beater until thick and light.  Add sugar, beating well.  Stir in melted butter.  Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix well.  Dough will be very soft.(And I found crumbly)
Mold into balls and drop into 1 1/2″ of fat. (I used canola oil)  Apiece of dough will brown in 1 minute to tell if it is hot enough.  Fry for two to three minutes or until golden brown on all sides.  Remove from fat with slotted spoon and place on paper towel to drain.  When cooled, roll in cinamon and sugar mixture or powdered sugar.
The final part was a great deal of fun to do with my kids!
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Vintage Cooking Tips

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Here is a dose of vintage cooking tips for this week.  Love these little tidbits of information.  Some are totally relevant today, but others are dated, which I totally love.  They can still be used, but since we have microwaves and so many electric gizmos that are supposed to make our lives easier, we probably do not need to use them as much.  But, I guess in a way, this is giving you options!  Old fashioned versus new!  Bits of the Past! Ha!

To cut the time for baking potatoes in half, place potatoes on oven rack and invert an iron utensil over them.

If some yolk gets into the white when you are separating eggs, touch a cloth moistened with c old water to the yolk and it will stick to the cloth.

Run cold water over marshmallows before cutting and the marshmallows will not stick to your scissors.

Pierce chicken livers on all sides before placing in the pan to keep them from popping and splattering grease.

Old Fashioned Cooking Tips

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My great grandmother made my mom a recipe book that contains newspaper clippings, hand written recipes and bits of wisdom for new brides. The date of these clippings range from 1940-1968 and hand written recipes are from her homeland of Germany that are family recipes.  My mom loaned me this book so I could learn great wisdom from those who came before.  Instead of opening it up all the time, I made copies of the pages.  This way the book can remain protected, and my mother can have it back.

My favorite clippings are those sent in to a local newspaper that give helpful hints for cooking and home care.  The cooking ones are great, and really nothing to new, but some of them are dated, and I love that.  I thought I would share a few of them today, and throughout the coming weeks to help you feel nostalgic and hopefully get in touch with your own roots.

Here are some fun hints:

When making a crumb pie crust, grease the pan wth cooking oil and it will come out easier.

Add three tablespoons of un-sifted confectioners sugar to one cup of cream before whipping. It will hold its shape and gloss for an hour or two which is really important for a decorated cake or pie.

Flour your cake pans with a shaker filled with non-sifted flour.  It’s clean and easy.

Put scotch tape on each side of the tabs in your cookbook and they will not soil or break off so easily.

For a quick way to blend shortening in pie crust, use the electric mixer. (I love that one!!!)

One tablespoon of very cold water added to one egg white is equal to two egg whites.

Add a lump of water to rice and it won’t stick to the pan or boil over.

I hope you all have enjoyed these helpful hints from the late 1940’s.  It is so interesting to look back, and as said before, some news is dated, but I will say it is always timeless.

I hope you all are having a fun time cooking this week!

Next I will share the results and a few recipes from retro night.  It was fun!

Love,

Suzy