Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Don't hate me because I'm dutiful.

All the major Christmas gifts have been purchased. We are awaiting delivery of one item bought and then we're done with the giftage.

The way it works at JMG Manor is that my beloved handles gifts for her side of the family (except her brother, which I take) and her friends, while I handle the gifts for mine (except my sister, which she does); I handle the oldest boy and she handles the youngest.

Then she spends three of the four Advent candles wrapping gifts VERY prettily and complaining about how very tiring it all is. Y'see my wife has this sort of carpal type thing which requires her wearing these neoprene wrist things that she won't because she thinks they are ugly says she doesn't really need them. She really does put a Hell of an effort into the wrapping. Symmetry abounds, no ragged edges, bows and cards are chosen and arranged for maximum visual impact.
Me? I bought a carton of assorted size (pretty, though) gift bags in seasonally-appropriate motif and BAM! My wrapping took nano-instants. They're reusable, which matters to someone like me who is all about the environment.

My big chore (besides slinging foodstuffs for our Boxing Day brunch*) is making cookies. I'll let you in on the biggest secret to assembly line cookie making. You need to get a tiny ice-cream scoop. Scoop and plop, scoop and plop.

This recipe is idiot-proof, relatively healthy (for a cookie), keeps well, travels well, and tastes yummy.

Here ya go.

Brown Sugar Crackles

(I'm giving you the plain brown sugar version, although you may use 3:1 white sugar : maple syrup fort Maple Crackles)

1 1/3 cups (1/3 liter) regular flour (I use unbleached, you should too unless you like eating bleach)
1 1/3 cups whole wheat pastry/cake flour (if you can't find this use 2 cups regular white flour and 2/3 cups regular whole wheat)
1 teaspoon (5ml) baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder (I know! I'm a wild man! I can't be stopped!)
1 teaspoon salt (if using some kind of coarse salt, grind and then measure)
2 cups (480ml) light brown sugar, well packed (dark brown sugar might prove too bitter)
1/2 cup (120ml) butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons (10ml) REAL vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350F (180C). Grease up however many cookie sheets you'll be using.

In a bowl, mix the butter and sugar until it's a golden-ish beige-y sort of color. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Combine remaining dry ingredients. Mix the two mixtures, you will get a stiff dough so don't panic. Now, you COULD go all Mrs. Cleaver and start rolling out the dough and using a cookie cutter and all that. (If you want festive shapes such as reindeer, etc. feel free, see if I care.) Me? I use that very small ice cream scoop which issues scoopfuls the approximate size of walnuts.

Put the scoopfuls in a cookie sheet about an inch apart and flatten to roughly a quarter-inch with a fork (wet the fork if it sticks) and bake for 7-9 minutes until the edges JUST begin to go golden-brown and the tops are puffy. You really have to watch the first batch because almost certainly your oven is not calibrated to be spot-on temperature. After the first batch, you can time the rest pretty easily. Anyway, let the cookies rest for a couple of minutes before sliding them off to cool. This makes 48 cookies and these will keep about 3-5 days.

There ya go.


* Pannetone french toast, scrambled eggs with chives, homemade breakfast sausage links! from scratch!, bloodies/mimosas, latkes with creme fraiche & homemade gravlax and assorted espresso-based beverages. Boxing Day is the day I spend with people I REALLY like, as opposed to people whom my wife compels me to be gracious and cheery on Christmas Day proper.


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