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Monday, 17 December 2012

CHRISTMAS BAKING and new glasses

Shopping for new glasses is fun, right?
            Yes, it does start that way.  But you can’t really see yourself in them, so you let yourself be persuaded by the sales lady that the little black frames are incredibly stylish and flattering.   You pay for them and the door closes behind you.

Almost immediately, you say to your husband, “Umm, do you think maybe the lenses in those glasses will be too small for trifocals?”  
“Nooo,” he responds, reassuringly.  “She said they’ll be alright so there’s nothing to worry about.” 
You nod and walk on a bit.  Then you stop dead.  “We have to go back.  I’m going to get those bigger frames.”  
            “But you said yourself they didn’t look as good on you.”
            “Doesn’t matter.  They’re the right ones.”  You grab his arm.  “Come on.  You have to come back in with me.” 
            He protests all the way up the stairs, “I’m never doing this again.  Next time you need glasses, you’re on your own.”
            Maybe you laugh because that’s exactly what he said the last time you bought glasses . . .  


                                        Now about that baking . . .

                        Two weeks before Christmas, Mom always got it started.

             First, she made 2 or 3 dark Christmas cakes, moist and heavy with fruit and nuts.
            Then, late into the night, when she could work undisturbed, Mom worked on a multi-layered Icelandic cake called vinertarta, which is made up of thin, cookie-like sheets held together by a prune filling.  (This was my favourite – I loved peeling off the layers and eating them one by one.)
            Next, the house filled with the delicious smell of sheets & sheets of cookies:
-         Aunt Mary’s Cookies:  big, flat, golden, & decorated with a raisin in the middle
-         Gingersnaps:  dark, spicy, and crisp
-         Shortbread: made with unsalted, homemade butter and topped with tiny slivers of maraschino cherries -- I could eat a dozen myself!

So I bought a Betty Crocker cooky cookbook recently . . .  now which of these should I make first?   Those Kaleisdoscope cookies certainly are eyecatching  . . .  and the Butter Crunch Confection Cookies sound really good.  .  .   but shouldn't I go more or less on-theme  with Russian Teacakes . . .  ? ? ? 



They taste like my mother’s Shortbread! Yay!

1 cup butter
½ cup icing sugar
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup finely chopped pecans
1 tsp vanilla
2 ¼ cups flour

Mix all the ingredients together.  (A heavy duty mixer or the strong arm of a cheflovik would come in handy here.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Squeeze together about a tablespoon of dough and then make a 1 inch ball.  Place on ungreased baking sheet.  Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Bake 10 minutes.  Do not brown.

Roll hot cookies in icing sugar and set aside to cool. 

When cool, roll them in sugar again.

See how much better they look!

(By the way, you can freeze half of the cookies to bake later.)


P.S.  The glasses didn’t work out.  When I tried to read, I was looking through both the mid-range and the reading sections.  Nasty blurring.