As we all rush around planning a joyous Christmas season with our lists, baking, shopping, decorating, singing along to Christmas carols, it might behoove us to remember that there are many people not happily looking forward to this season. Some are grieving personal losses of loved ones, some are homeless or broke, some are facing serious or terminal health problems, some are experiencing abuse in their lives, and some are utterly alone.
Most of us try to do what we can for the unfortunate but I see others who are quick to judge those who don’t meet their expectations of service or attitude and are far too quick to say something demeaning. This year I challenge each of us to be aware and to make a conscience effort to share goodwill to anyone who may cross our path, be it a silent prayer, a hug, or something physically tangible.
I have a couple of cookie recipes to share. The first is a simple cream-filled cookie; the second, a perfect give-away that I’ll be making as gifts for people I am certain to meet on the street.
6 tbsp. chilled butter
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
2-1/2 tbsp. light cream
Almond Cream filling:
3/4 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp. soft butter
1/8 tsp. almond extract
1 tbsp. light cream (or enough for spreading)
With pastry blender or blending fork, cut butter into flour until pieces are the size of small peas.
Sprinkle 1 tbsp. cream over part of the mixture. Toss gently with a fork and push to one side of bowl. Sprinkle next tablespoon of cream over dry part and mix again; repeat til all is moistened. Form into a ball. Divide in half. On lightly floured surface, roll to slightly less than 1/8 inch. cut in rounds with floured 1-1/2 inch cutter.
Dip one side of each cook in sugar. Place sugar-side up on cookie sheet, 1-1/2 inches apart. With fork, prick each cookie in 4 parallel rows. Bake at 375 F about 8 minutes or until golden and puffy. Remove at once to rack.
Sandwich with Almond Cream just before serving (this keeps the cookie crisp).
Almond Cream Filling: Thoroughly combine sugar, butter, almond extract and cream until very smooth.
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups oatmeal
2 cups corn flakes or rice krispies
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup coconut
1 cup nuts
Sift dry ingredients together.
Cream margarine and sugars in separate bowl. Add eggs and beat well. Add vanilla and flour mixture. Stir in remaining ingredients.
Drop by spoonful on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 12 minutes at 350 F Yield: 11 dozen.
Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every other Wednesday and one Sunday per month.