What encouragement from God as we move through these challenging days! Hope coming up against fear; love and care for one another, binding us together. And often, this can take place in the simplest of ways. Sometimes a group of our Sisters prepares a surprise treat in the middle of a hard day. The sharing of time, generosity, and love in the form of delicious food reminds us of this essential truth: God is Victor over all—He is with us in all circumstances!
“O Star of wonder, Star of night, Star with royal beauty bright…Guide us to thy perfect light.” How wondrous the Star that leads the Magi to the Infant Christ! And as we continue to celebrate this season so filled with awe and beauty, it lends itself to more creativity as we prepare treats for the many Yuletide events—(or for any festive occasion!)
Beat the butter and sugar in mixer bowl until light and fluffy; add egg and flavorings and beat until smooth.
Reduce mixer speed to low, and after sifting flour, baking powder and salt together, add slowly until just blended.
Divide dough in half, forming 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, until firm, or longer if need be. It will need to be pliable to be able to roll out.
Using a sprinkling of flour, roll out dough to about an 1/8’ thickness. Cut out your desired shapes; place on baking sheet and bake for about 15” or until slightly golden. Let cool for a few minutes before glazing them.
In a medium size bowl, mix by hand, the sifted confectioners’ sugar, milk, corn syrup, salt, and flavorings until smooth and well blended. Depending upon the colors you’re using, divide glaze into separate dishes, adding colors
Holding the cookie, gently lay it on top of the glaze, so that surface is covered. Set aside for a few minutes and then decorate with colored sprinkles of your choice, before glaze sets too firmly.
Everyone in the neighborhood knew that my mother made the best sugar cookies on the block, but not everyone knew what made them them the best…
When I discovered the secret I felt I’d made one of the greatest discoveries in the culinary world. Mama’s good friend Olga was Jewish and never used dairy products, so instead of butter she substituted schmaltz--which is rendered chicken fat--that gives the recipe a distinct flavor and richness unlike any other shortening--including real butter!
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
3/4cupschmaltz(bought or rendered from chicken skins)
One of my favorite meals to make is breakfast. In our guest house, breakfast is a veritable feast and a pleasure for the eyes. Our latest twist on puff pancakes (or dutch babies) made their debut on a cold fall morning. There’s nothing like bringing a little sunshine to the table to brighten up one’s day. Surprise your loved one with this easy breakfast made for two!
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Mini Puff Pancakes with Lemon Curd and Fresh Blueberries
Add eggs, flour, milk, sugar, vanilla, salt and lemon zest to a blender and blend until smooth.
Place butter in two heavy cast iron skillets (5-6" in width) (or one large skillet) and place in the oven until butter has melted. Pour half the batter into each pan, return them to oven and bake for 20 minutes, until the pancakes are puffed and golden. Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake five minutes longer.
Remove pancakes from oven, serve individually if using mini skillets, or cut larger dutch baby into wedges and top with a spoonful or two of lemon curd and blueberries and a dusting of confectioners sugar. If desired, garnish with lemon slices and a sprig of fresh mint.
MINI PUFF PANCAKES WITH LEMON CURD AND FRESH BLUEBERRIES
As a youngster I loved the story of the spoiled young prince who traveled far and wide in search of the best tasting food in the world. Coming upon a woodchopper in the forest who assured him he could give him that food, he agreed to spend the day working with him. At the close of the day the woodchopper handed the prince a chunk of coarse crusty bread which the tired, famished prince eagerly consumed. Beaming with satisfaction he loudly proclaimed, “At last, I have found the best food in the world!
On the morning of the 9th day of Christmas, without any effort or searching abroad for it, I found the best cookie in the world! It was a scrumptious little chocolate peanut butter creation on a little plate on my desk with an attached note signed, “from a Christmas angel”… I felt just like the spoiled young prince.
I was recently introduced to this classic southern cake through one of my friends from the Deep South. I was intrigued by the name as my mom keeps a dish of grape jelly on her porch to attract hummingbirds and has regular visitors. The Hummingbird Cake is a very unusual one; it’s made with oil rather than butter, and contains more fruit than flour. The mix doesn’t need beating, is wonderful with a cream cheese frosting, and is flavored with interesting spices and pecans. Contrary to the name, there are no birds in this particular recipe! The giveaway to the Hummingbird Cake’s birthplace, however, is in the key ingredients – bananas and pineapple. It’s thought to have been invented in Jamaica, probably in the late ‘60s, and introduced to society through Southern Living magazine by a Mrs. L.H. Wiggin in 1978.
Since it’s a dessert made for ladies, we thought it would be a crowd pleasing addition to our weekly Harborside Teas. We always offer two choices of dessert, and it was fun to have a whole new recipe and an unusual one at that. It was so popular that we thought it warranted giving away the recipe. A thin slice will do you – this cake is rich! And oh, so good…
Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare three 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon in a large bowl. Set aside.
Cream together the eggs, oil, vanilla extract, pineapple, mashed bananas, and finely chopped pecans in another large bowl.
Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Evenly divide the batter between the three prepared pans and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Turn cakes onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting with cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream the cream cheese with an electric mixer.
Add in butter and cream together with cream cheese until light and fluffy.
Add confectioners’ sugar, ½ cup at a time. After each cup has been incorporated, turn the mixer onto the highest speed setting and for about 10 seconds to lighten the frosting.
Add in vanilla and cream until well-blended, light and fluffy.