It’s not Christmas Time without gingerbread cookies and the kids love decorating them just as much as they love eating them! And it’s not only gingerbread men, any Christmas cookie cutter will work but we do like biting the heads off the gingerbread men. Check out the recipe from http://www.michaels.com and you can pick up lots of cool cookie cutters:
¾ C. Unsalted (Softened) Butter
¾ C. Packed Brown Sugar
2/3 C. Molasses
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
3¼ C. All-Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp. Ground Ginger
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
½ Tsp. Ground Cloves
½ Tsp. Kosher Salt
¼ Tsp. Nutmeg
1. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat softened butter, packed brown sugar and molasses until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, spices, baking soda and salt until combined. With the mixer on low, gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until dough just comes together. (Do not over mix).
3. Divide dough in half and create two discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 2 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 350° and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Place one disc of dough on a lightly floured surface and roll until ¼” thick.
5. Dip the cookie cutters with flour and cut shapes. Transfer to baking sheets.
6. Bake until slightly puffed and set, 9-10 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
7. Repeat with remaining disc of dough.
8. Fill piping bag with #2 round tip and royal icing. Pipe various designs onto cookies to decorate.
Christmas time is here and I love to find other traditions or activities to share with all the little ones in the family. Building gingerbread houses, making Christmas cookies, counting down the days in the advent calendar with treats, or even hanging candy canes on the tree. St. Nicholas Day Tradition with all the little ones shoes has been a fun early surprise for all of them.
December 6th is the feast day of Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of children, which appropriately falls during the Advent season. St. Nicholas of Myra is a major saint in many European and Eastern countries, and one of the old Christian traditions surrounding his feast day is for kids to leave their shoes out overnight in front of the fireplace, on the windowsill, or outside their bedroom door so that St. Nicholas can fill them with special fruits, candies, and other small gifts and treats.
Ideas to include in your children’s shoes are bags of chocolate candy coins, a small toy, new socks, a tangerine, and inexpensive religious items, such as a Christmas ornament, a rosary, saint bracelet, and prayer cards. You can find St. Nicholas Catholic gifts here. You can also include candy canes which symbolize a shepherd’s staff, and even have a little fun by re-shaping them into a bishop’s crosier (see below).
Another cute part of this tradition is for kids to leave carrots or hay in their shoes overnight for St. Nicholas’ donkey to eat. St. Nicholas takes the hay and carrots for his donkey, and replaces them with small gifts and treats for the children in the morning.
Yes . . . St. Nicholas was known to ride a donkey laden with gifts for children before he graduated to flying reindeer! St. Nicholas with his donkey carrying gifts for children.
BLESSING OF THE CANDY CANES ON ST. NICHOLAS DAY
Shaped Candy Canes dipped in Chocolatefor St. Nicholas Day:
Preheat oven to 250°F. Cover a baking pan with parchment paper. Lay out candy canes on parchment paper leaving 1/2 – 1 inch between each. It is easier to work with a couple at a time.
Heat for 5-10 minutes and remove pan from oven. Keep an eye on them; if you overheat, they will melt and flatten (see picture to the right)!
Pick up a candy cane and gently pull to shape it with your hands. If you don’t pick it up, it may stick to the parchment paper and stretch the swirls/stripes on the back side. If it becomes to hard to shape, just place it back in the oven for a couple minutes. I found it helpful to heat for a smaller amount of time, shape a little, heat again and continue to shape.
Need an immunity boost http://www.mamaearthorganics.com took it to a whole other level, fire cider not your regular ginger shot. Fire cider is amazing for digestion and immune support. The recipe is super flexible too so even if you don’t have everything you need:
2 springs of rosemary
4 springs of thyme
1/2 cup of onion
1/2 cup pf horseradish
8 cloves of garlic
2 cups of apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup of fresh turmeric
1/2 cup fresh ginger
1/2 grapefruit or orange
1/2 cup to 1 cup honey
1 sliced jalapeno (leave seeds if you want more spicy)
1 tbsp peppercorns
2 whole cinnamon sticks
Place all ingredients in 1-quart Ball jar or similar resealable glass container. Add garlic, rosemary, jalapenos, peppercorns, cinnamon, and onion; then add lemon and orange pieces, pressing down to firmly pack ingredients in. Add vinegar, adding more as necessary to fully submerge ingredients and fill jar. Seal jar (if using a metal lid, place a piece of parchment between jar and lid to prevent a corrosive reaction with vinegar). Store in a cool, dark place, shaking for a few seconds every day or two, at least 3 weeks and up to 6 weeks.
Strain through cheesecloth or a fine-mesh. Stir in honey. Store in a sealed container in refrigerator up to 1 month.