Saturday, December 31, 2016

It's A Vintage New Year!

Happy New Years Eve Everyone!
First, let me apologize for my epic fail at the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies!
Did I have 12 cookie recipes? Yes!
Did I take photos of 12 variety of cookies?  Yes!
Did I post 12 different cookie recipes? No!
Do  feel like a cotton-headed ninny-muggins? YES!!
Oh well...I will try to do better next year!
I'll put my epic fail behind me and share some beautiful vintage New Years cards with you! She's a cute, plump snow girl!
I love the holly I found in most of the vintage cards.  So delightful!
Hearty good wishes going out to all of you!
Papa Albert signed this card.  I don't know who he is, but I wonder why he didn't sign the inside?
Another pretty girl who is about to throw a snowball wishing you a Happy New Year!
This one is a little blurry.
Guess these gentleman couldn't get a date!
No matter the language, everyone loves to dance in the New Year!.
This is a perfect example of why I love vintage cards...the art work is vivid and colorful.
This is where we may be front of the fire instead of at my sister's for our family party.  We have 100% rain predicted with thunderstorms.
This look like a joyful group!
So from my house to yours, I wish you a Happy Vintage New Year!
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies #4 German Honey Cookies

It's time for another cookie!  This is an heirloom cookie from my father's German side of the family.  Well, both sides of his family are German; so to elaborate further, this recipe came from his maternal Aunt Augusta.  Don't you like how I write the way I think? I know, it's confusing in this brain of mine!

My mother tells the story of Aunt Augusta and her famous German Honey Cookies.  Mom was introduced to these cookies not long after she and my father were married.  Mom thought they were absolutely delicious.  She asked Aunt Augusta if she would share her recipe.  Aunt Augusta was beaming with pride as she said "Ja, Josephine!"  I love that they spoke their native language so much. I would often be asked if I wanted "eier mit speck" for "fruhstuck"  Eggs and bacon for breakfast! My favorite breakfast food was good old Haferflocken.  My little German grandmother created magic with a bowl of oatmeal! So many wonderful memories of special people and good food!  Speaking of special, lets get started on my Great Aunt Augusta's German Honey Cookies!
Great Aunt Augusta's German Honey Cookie
4 eggs                                                                   6 tablespoons honey
1 tsp vanilla                                                           2 cups sugar
3 cups plain flour                                                   1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon                                                      1 cup chopped pecans

Beat eggs until foamy. Add honey and vanilla.  Mix dry ingredients and add to egg/honey/vanilla mixture. Mix until combined.  Add chopped pecans.  Drop by spoonfuls on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350* until lightly browned (about 8-10 minutes). This recipe makes 50 cookies approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter.

A few suggestions:
1.  Use parchment lined cookie sheets and spray the sheets with Pam or  Bakers Joy.  These are sticky cookies and I found that using parchment paper alone was not enough.
2.  The recipe is correct.  There is NO butter or shortening.
3.  I used a cookie scoop instead of a spoon.  I always use a cookie scoop!  I love cookie scoops! I hope Santa brings me more cookie scoops for Christmas!

So there you have Great Aunt Augusta's German Honey Cookies.  They have a wonderful, honey laced taste with just enough pecans to add a little crunch.  They are great with coffee, but my favorite way to eat them is with a glass of cold milk.  Dunking is allowed!  Speaking of dunking.  Come back tomorrow for my all time childhood favorite.  They are really dunk worthy!!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies #3 Gingerbread Houses

Hi Everyone! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We certainly did.  I love turkey and dressing! We always have leftovers on the day after Thanksgiving and it is at that time that we have our annual Gingerbread House Day!  For years and I mean years, we have made homemade gingerbread houses.  Now we are not experts at our houses, but we always have fun.  We have tried a variety of structures, but always use the same gingerbread recipe.  It makes A LOT of dough.  So lets start with the recipe...

Gingerbread Recipe:
1 cup of shortening
1 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of molasses
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 egg, beaten
5 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves

Cream shortening, sugar, and salt.  Stir in molasses, vinegar and egg.  Sift together then add the remaining ingredients. Chill mixture overnight.  Roll out dough on a floured board to 1/8 inch.  Bake on parchment lined baking sheets for 6 minutes at 375 degrees.  Remove from oven and place on cooling racks to dry.  This recipe will make 5 houses with dough remaining for gingerbread men! I doubled the recipe and made 11 houses and still had extra dough. It smells wonderful while its baking!

Now to put your houses together.  All portions of your gingerbread house should be edible.  One choice is to use royal icing to "glue" the portions of the house together.  This year, I tried the boiled sugar method and loved it.  It's fast and the houses are rock solid.  You have to be VERY careful as boiled sugar will make a nasty burn.  This is no time for the kids to be in the kitchen helping.  All you need is sugar, a large skillet, and heat.  Stir sugar around until it begins to melt.  It will clump up at first as you can see in the photo.  Continue to stir until all sugar is melted.  Remove from the heat source at that time.
I was alone when I did this next step so I am going to have to explain it to you since I couldn't snap any photos.  Dip the one of the side walls into the sugar glue and attach it the back wall.  Sit on a parchment lined sheet. Next, dip the other side wall where it will attach into the two pieces already glued together.  Next, dip both sides of the front of the house and secure it between the two walls.  Do all the houses like this and then go back to glue on the roof line.  When you dip, think of it as placing a caulk line in your home.  You want a small line of glue.  Be very careful when you have to dip two edges such as the front of the home.  We don't want the sugar glue to drip onto your finger.  If you find the sugar glue is hardening, warm it back up on the stove top. You can see in the photo below where I pointed out a house with too much glue at the seam.  It will end up being covered by icing or candy, but it looks messy.

Now for the fun part, have either bowls of royal icing made for each person or go the easy route and buy white icing in the can.  Make sure that it is perfectly white.  Next have lots of candy, pretzels, shredded wheat (great for roofs), candy canes, gum drops, etc.  for everyone to use.  I have sets of items all over the table. Here we are decorating our homes. That's me with the heart made of candy canes!
Ta-da...our finished products!  My husband took the photo, so we are missing his creation! Not our best photo, but I promise we enjoyed making our houses!
Now for the pattern pieces.  We don't use the chimney pieces, but there is a pattern for them if you choose to have a chimney.  I print the pattern on card stock and it is easier when it comes to cutting out the dough.

Lastly, I will leave you with a few tips:
1.  Crush lifesavers and place the crushed pieces on parchment paper lined cookie sheets.  Place in a 350* oven until they melt.  When they harden, they look like stained glass and make great  windows!
2.  Crushed up shredded wheat makes great roofs and walkways. Coconut makes pretty snow!
3.  Use your imagination when it comes to the candy decorations and buy enough for decorating and enough for eating! Always have more than you think you will need.
4.  Make large batches of royal icing or purchase pure white canned icing for decorating.
5. Purchase round cake bases at your local craft store or bakery.  They make a wonderful base for each gingerbread house.
6. If you go the melted sugar route to assemble the houses, remember that it is VERY hot and you must be careful not to get burned.  It is a good idea to have a bowl of iced water near in case any accidentally gets on your hand.
7.  Have fun!  That's the most important part of gingerbread house is so much fun! Have a wonderful week.  I'll be in the kitchen baking!