Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Column

I have been naughty. I haven't posted at all during the month of December!
I guess I've been taking a little break from writing . . .  but not entirely.

I thought I'd share with you my kid's column for Two-Lane Livin' for the month of December.

Celebrate With Cookies

     What does a gingerbread man put on his bed? A cookie sheet!

     Cookies have been with us for many centuries. But, the first cookies were created by accident. Sometimes accidents are a good thing. Early ovens never had thermostats, so cooks dropped small amounts of cake batter on baking pans to test the oven temperature.
     Cookies came to America in the 1600s. And, most cookies in early America were baked as special treats. In a 1796 cookbook titled, American Cookery, there were only two recipes for cookies. In some early American cookbooks, cookies were given no space of their own but were listed at the end of the cake chapter. They were called by such names as "Jumbles," "Plunkets," and "Cry Babies."
     Now we have cookbooks filled only with cookie recipes. We have bar cookies, drop cookies, molded cookies, no bake cookies, pressed cookies, refrigerator cookies, rolled and sandwich cookies! No matter what kind of cookies they are – soft, chewy or crisp, large or small, fancy or plain – cookies are a treat most of us want to munch, nibble and snack on with a tall glass of milk.
     In 1937, a very special cookie was invented: the chocolate chip cookie. The recipe is on the package of Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips. Your cookies can be special, too. Use the recipe on their package, but add a special or secret ingredient to the cookie dough. Some ideas are: M & M’s, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, mint chips, your favorite nuts, sprinkles or crushed candy canes.
     For chocolate chip cookie lovers with a big appetite, a 102-foot-wide cookie was baked that weighed 40,000 pounds in Flat Rock, NC in 2003! The ingredients in this world’s largest cookie included 6000 pounds of chocolate chips.
     Here is an easy recipe to make cinnamon dough ornaments to hang on your Christmas tree:
     Mix in a bowl one cup of cinnamon, ¾ cup applesauce and 2 T. white glue.
     Work the ingredients together with your hands into a ball, cover with plastic and let set for ½ hour.  Put out onto wax paper; lay a piece of wax paper on top of the mixture and roll with a rolling pin until 1/8 or ¼ inch thickness.  Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. I use star, heart and snowflake shapes. Insert a straw near the top of the cookies to punch a hole for hanging. Carefully lift the cookies and place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 200 degrees for ½ hour, and then reduce the temperature to 175 degrees. I bake them for a total of 2 1/2 hours and turn them every ½ hour.  Let dry naturally for 2-3 days and turn them a couple of times each day.
     Do not eat! Insert a thin ribbon and hang the spicy smelling ornaments on your tree. After Christmas, store them in a plastic bag and bring them out every year to decorate your tree.

You can go here to see more instructions and pictures on how I make my cinnamon dough ornaments.
I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas!
I am eager for the start of the coming year.
I have stories to write and stories to submit!