Variation on a Thumbprint Cookie

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Variation on a Thumbprint Cookie
As we were planning a reception for an upcoming Organ Concert, we all agreed on the perfect savories, but couldn’t make a decision about a complimentary sweet. “How about Thumbprint Cookies,” piped up a nearby sister, “but this time, try rolling them in chopped nuts.” Great idea – they’re colorful, and above all, they’re an old-time favorite that everyone loves. Butter, brown sugar, chopped nuts, and your jam of choice – a definite Yum!
SERVINGS
20cookies
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
cookies
COOK TIME
16mins
PREP TIME
25mins
READY IN
1hr

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325
  2. Cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and egg yolk; keep egg white separate in a little dish.
  3. Toss the flour and salt lightly together and then gently mix in.
  4. Shape dough into 20 balls; dip in egg white and then in chopped nuts
  5. Place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart; make a thumb indentation, and be sure the dough isn’t splitting apart.
  6. Bake for about 15-17 minutes. When golden and done, remove from oven, and indent each cookie again. Then spoon a little of your favorite jam into each thumbprint. Cool completely.

Coconut Any Way You Slice It!

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Coconut Any Way You Slice It!
With daffodils and crocuses springing up everywhere, what could be more appealing on these beautiful April days, than a coconut cream pie—and prepped in a surprisingly simple way!
SERVINGS
8-10
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
10mins
PREP TIME
45mins
READY IN
1hour

Ingredients

Instructions

Pie Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Combine salt and flour; cut in shortening with 2 knives or pastry cutter, until pea-size pieces.
  3. Add water a little at a time, using a fork toss lightly and mix until it holds together. Don’t over mix!
  4. Shape dough into a flat disk, gently roll out and place in a pie plate, crimping until the edge firmly grips the top of the dish.
  5. Brush lightly with the egg mixture to make if flakey and crisp; with a fork poke holes
  6. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until golden
Pie Filling
  1. While crust is in the oven, make pudding following the directions on the box, adding salt, coconut flavoring; chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 20 minutes
  2. In a small pan, toast 1/4 cup of coconut in the oven for 3-4 minutes until light brown
  3. Fold a generous spatula full of cool whip into pudding, adding 1/4 cup of coconut
  4. Spoon into cooled pie crust, top with more cool whip (or whipped cream) and sprinkle toasted coconut on top

Frosted Lemon Sugar Cookies

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Frosted Lemon Sugar Cookies
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!
SERVINGS
2dozen
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
dozen
COOK TIME
10mins
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream schmaltz and sugar in an electric mixer using a paddle attachment.
  3. Add eggs (one a at time), lemon juice and lemon zest. Beat until well incorporated.
  4. Slowly add flour, baking soda and salt.
  5. Roll dough into balls roughly 1 ½ inches wide and place on a greased cookie sheet, or a baking sheet lined with parchment. Press each cookie with a bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes or until the bottoms are slightly golden. Remove and cool completely.
Frosting
  1. Combine all the ingredients until it reaches a creamy consistency. If it’s too thick, add either lemon juice for an extra shot of lemon or milk until it thins to the desired thickness.
  2. Either frost with a spreader (pictured) or pipe onto the cookies and enjoy!

Chocolate Babka

One of our sisters has a special interest in cooking the foods of other countries. Over time she has heard me repeat many stories of my Ukrainian mother’s experiences with food and what I learned about it through her.

Perhaps my favorite memory is that of packing our picnic boxes for our all-day blueberry picking excursions. These always contained fresh baked babka, lots of butter some fresh boiled eggs from our chickens and a little horseradish root from our garden. Today’s blog features a glorified babka bread filled with chocolate…enjoy!

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Chocolate Babka
SERVINGS
2loaves
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
loaves
COOK TIME
30mins
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN
5 1/2hrs (3 hrs rising, 2 1/2 chilling)

Ingredients

Instructions

Babka Dough
  1. Combine yeast with warm water and let stand until it begins to bubble, about 5-8 minutes.
  2. Mix flour, sugar, yeast, and lemon zest in a mixer on a low speed until combined.
  3. Add eggs and water, and mix on medium speed until dough comes together, 2-3 minutes. Add salt, then butter, adding a few cubes at a time, mixing until thoroughly combined. Continue mixing for about 10 minutes on medium speed, until dough is completely smooth,and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl during this step!
  4. Place dough in a large greased bowl cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
  5. Grease two 9x4 inch loaf pans with oil and line the bottom of each pan with waxed paper. Divide dough in half and keep one half covered in the fridge.
Filling and Baking
  1. Whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate, and butter until you have a spreadable paste.
  2. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and shape into a rectangle as wide as the pans are long.
  3. Position dough so that a long side is closest to you and spread half of the chocolate mixture over the rectangle, leaving a ¾ inch/2 cm border all around.
  4. Roll up the rectangle like a jellyroll, starting from the long side closest to you and ending at the other long end. Press to seal the dampened end, then use both hands to even out the roll into a uniform roll and place it on your surface seam side down.
  5. Trim about ¾ inch/2 cm off both ends, and slice the loaf into even 1-inch segments. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for 1½ hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove plastic wrap and place loaves on middle rack of oven, and bake for about 25-30 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven when done and let cool. Babka will stay fresh for 24 hours in an airtight container at room temperature or tightly wrapped--don’t place in the fridge.
  8. Babka freezes well for up to 2 months. To thaw, leave on counter or overnight in the fridge, and leftovers make excellent bread pudding or fabulous French Toast!

Apricot Butter Cookies

Tonight, our Convent was humming with Christmas cheer as we readied our home for Christmas. Some wrapped presents to send to families, other Sisters spent time catching up with old friends as they penned their lovely cards. In the kitchen, we turned on Bing Crosby and poured over old fashioned family recipes as we pondered which cookies we would make this year. The royal icing was prepared and crispy butter cookies were being decorated with sprinkles covering every surface. I remembered a cookie that I hadn’t baked in years and a favorite to be sure. In fact, you won’t find this anywhere else on the internet, at least I couldn’t. Cut from an old magazine, pressed onto an index card and covered in plastic, this shows how treasured this recipe is. Sometimes baking can restore wonderful memories of times past and other times it just puts a smile on your face, honey in your belly and much joy for the adventures ahead. I love Christmas. The beauty, the magic and most of all the precious gift that is awaiting us in the form of a little baby on Christmas morning.

May the season of light be yours this year. Blessed Christmas!

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Apricot Butter Cookies
SERVINGS
32cookies
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
cookies
COOK TIME
30mins
PREP TIME
10mins
READY IN
1 1/2hr

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. To make the filling: In a small saucepan, combine the apricots, sugar and water and simmer for 15-18 min. or until the liquid is reduced by half and add the rum or brandy. Let the mixture cool slightly and in a food processor or blender, puree it.
  2. Make the shortbread cookie dough. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate standing mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and the egg, beating the mixture until it is well combined. Slowly, add the flour mixture in stages and mix until just combined, but don't over mix or your shortbread will be tough.
  3. Form the dough into a log, wrap well in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hr. Divide the log into 4 pieces.
  4. Working with one piece of dough at a time, place the dough in plastic wrap and roll into an 8 inch long rope - place on a parchment covered sheet pan and make a canal down the center with your finger so the log becomes a 8 x 2" rectangle with a channel in the middle.
  5. Spread the apricot puree in the canals.
  6. Bake the cookie sticks in a 350 degree oven for 18-20 min. until the edges are slightly golden.
  7. Transfer to a rack and let them cool.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together the glaze ingredients and add just enough water to make a thick but pour-able icing - you want it to be on the thick side.
  9. If desired, transfer the glaze to a squeeze bottle or piping bag and drizzle the icing over the cookies.
  10. Cut the rectangles diagonally into 1" strips.
  11. The cookies will keep in the freezer or in an airtight container for 1 week.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

St. Lucia Bread

Since St. Lucia’s Day (or St. Lucy’s Day) is just around the corner on December 13th, we thought we’d share this special Swedish bread with you – fantastic for the Holidays. The celebration of the day comes from stories that were told by Monks who first brought Christianity to Sweden. “St Lucia was a young Christian girl who was martyred, killed for her faith, in 304. The most common story told about St Lucia is that she would secretly bring food to the persecuted Christians in Rome, who lived in hiding in the catacombs under the city. She would wear candles on her head, so she had both her hands free to carry things. Lucy means ‘light’ so this is a very appropriate name.” (see note below**)

December 13th was also the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, in the old ‘Julian’ Calendar and a pagan festival of lights in Sweden was turned into St. Lucia’s Day. It is now celebrated by a girl dressing in a white dress with a red sash around her waist and a crown of candles on her head. Thus, the wreath of bread dotted with candied “berries.” If you’d like you can also add small candles to the cake as well for a more festive look.

** read more at https://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/sweden.shtml

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St. Lucia Bread
SERVINGS
2loaves
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
loaves
COOK TIME
20-25mins
PREP TIME
30mins
READY IN
2-3hrs

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a large mixer, soften the yeast in the warm water
  2. Heat the milk until warm. Add the oil and sugar and stir to dissolve.
  3. Add this mixture to the yeast mixture in the mixer
  4. Add salt and saffron
  5. Add the 3 slightly beaten eggs and mix with dough hook.
  6. Add the lemon zest, citron and almonds and continue mixing
  7. One cup at a time, add the flour and mix well after each addition. Stop adding the flour when the dough starts pulling away from the side of the bowl. Adding more flour if necessary.
  8. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead for 5 min, or until dough becomes smooth and elastic; adding flour as necessary.
  9. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 1 hr. (At this point, you can refrigerate the dough, if you want to work with it later).
  10. Divide the dough into six equal balls and roll into large ropes and then braid three together, making two braids.
  11. Pinch the two ends together and tuck under, forming two circular loaves.
  12. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two sheet pans with baking paper, or grease, and put a braided loaf on each pan.
  13. Cover and let rise in a warm place, until doubled.
  14. Combine the remaining egg with a tablespoon of water to make an egg wash, and brush on the braids.
  15. Bake for about 20-25 min or until the loaf feels firm to the touch. If you would like to use a thermometer, the internal temperature should read about 190 degrees.
  16. While the bread is baking, prepare your frosting, mixing all ingredients until smooth and on the thicker side. Cut your cherries in half.
  17. Remove bread from the oven and cool slightly, then decorate, using the green cherries as leaves, and the red as berries.