Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cardamom Stars

It is so hard to believe today is Christmas Eve.  My son is so excited...I am too!  We have our first of many family celebrations today.  Yay!  I hope you all have a very happy, healthy and blessed holiday season! 
Merry Christmas!

These cookies have been a tradition in our family for as long as I can remember. 
I remember the first time I made them all by myself I felt like I had really accomplished something big.  The way some people feel when the cook a turkey for the first time (which I still have yet to do!)
Cardamom Stars
2+3/4 c. sifted flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. sour cream
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom onto waxed paper.  In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy.  Stir in flour mixture, a third at a time alternately with sour cream.  Cover and chill several hours or overnight.
Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thick. Using cookie cutter, cut into stars.  Place on lightly greased cookie sheets.  Bake at 375 F for 7 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool completely. 
Cover cookies with pink glaze (see below) and decorate with ornamental frosting (also below)

 Pink Glaze
Mix together 1 lb. powdered sugar and 6 T. water.  Stir until smooth.  Tint with red food coloring to make light pink.  If glaze stiffens add water a little at a time to make smooth again.
Dip the cookies into the glaze and let dry on cooling racks.  You could also use a spoon to glaze the cookies.  If the glaze is as smooth and runny as it should be it will drip from the cookies - you may want line the table or counter with wax paper under the cooling racks.
Can you see the way the drips fall into perfect pink little circles on the wax paper?  Its hard to keep little fingers away from them! 
Ornamental Frosting
Beat one egg white with 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar and 1/8 tsp. vanilla until foamy.  Slowly beat in 1+3/4 c. powdered sugar until frosting stands in firm peaks and is stiff enough to hold a sharp line.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sweet Cashew Popcorn

I love getting together with my family.  When we are together we like to tell stories and play games - board games, word games, card games. We also like to eat snacks.  All kinds of snacks.  Some of our favorites are Jelly Bellys, M&Ms, popcorn, party mix, scotcharoos, chips - the list goes on and on.  I am so excited that my brother and his family will be coming in from Tennessee later tonight.  I can hardly wait for us to all sit around the table laughing, playing games and eating of course! 
Last week I whipped up a batch of this delicious popcorn/cashew mix.  It came from a recipe I have for a sweet cereal mix.  I wanted to see how popcorn and cashews would taste instead of Chex and Crispix cereal.    I chose to use my new favorite popcorn.  Popcorn Indiana's Kettle Corn.  It is so good.  I could not stop eating it.  I literally ate it until my tummy hurt.  But it was worth it.  This will definitely be a new addition to our snack table this year (if I don't eat it all first!)
Sweet Cashew Popcorn
1 - 10 oz bag popped popcorn
(I used Popcorn Indiana's Kettle Corn)
1 large can of cashews
1/4 lb. butter (not margarine)
1/2 lb. brown sugar
1/4 c. lite Karo syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
Dump popcorn and cashews into a brown paper sack (spray inside of sack with Pam first)
Mix butter brown sugar and Karo syrup in small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Pour syrup over popcorn in sack and SHAKE!  Microwave on high 90 seconds.  SHAKE!  Repeat.  Spread out on cookie sheets or wax paper to cool.  Break apart any big clump as it cools.  Store in airtight container.

Popcorn on Foodista

Monday, December 21, 2009

And the baking goes on....

"Jetchy, I want cookie"
(My niece, Naomi, came to visit while we decorated our Cardamom Stars.  She helped herself to a taste!)

Over the weekend I put together plates of the cookies I made last week and, along with my husband and son, delivered them to neighbors.  I hadn't done that for a while.  Too long.  It felt so good to knock on their doors and surprise them with a tray full of goodies.  I think it would be fun to do that throughout the year - not just at Christmas!
On the plates of cookies were Turtles, Caramel Chai cookies, Cardamom Stars, Eggnog Thumbprints from The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch (which by the way - I have a new favorite frosting. Who knew rum mixed with butter and powdered sugar would be so good?), carmel cashew popcorn and Intimints from Picky Palate.
So as of yesterday I thought I was done with my holiday baking.  I spent the afternoon with my mom and one of my sisters baking candy-cane shaped coffee cakes - another Christmas tradition in our family.  While I was at my parents house my mom brought out an envelope of holiday recipes she has collected through the years.  I found a few recipes I think I'm gonna try between this week and next!
Thanks to everyone who has stopped by to see my blog!  It is fun to read the comments you have left!