Spritz Cookies

  • 1 c softened butter
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 t almond extract
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/3 – 2 1/2 c flour (it depends on the size of the eggs we collect that day)
  1. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the almond extract, salt and egg and mix to incorporate well.  Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl.
  3. Mix in the flour until just combined.
  4. Use a cookie press (mine is a Kuhn Rikon) to make various shapes on an ungreased cookie sheet.  I had to use a clean, cold cookie sheet for each batch or the cookies would not come off of the press and stick to the cookie sheet.
  5. Add jam, candies, or sugar crystals to the cookies for decoration.
  6. Bake them at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes or until just beginning to color.  We do not want these cookies to brown.
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Bringing in the Yule Tree

We decided that it wasn’t a great idea for me to go tromping about in the woods with a bum knee so this year we found a lovely little Noble Fir at the nursery.  It’s been outside a couple of weeks and this morning we set it up.  We put our Yule trees into a large, old crock.  This is to keep the lower branches and ornaments above the range of the happy Labrador (Kenton’s) tail.  This year we decided to put the tree into the dining room.  Since it’s sitting on the wood floor, we put a boot mat under it in in case it leaks.  We’ll cover that up with something later.

Here’s the tree with three sets of mini-lights and 12 candles.  It’s starting to feel festive.


…..And now its finished. The tree was small this year so many of our usual ornaments will have to be stored away for next year. This year we have walnuts and evergreen cones in silver and gold, antique tin icicles, a few felt birds, and of course, the pickle.

Panettone

Ingredients

  • 1 T dry yeast 
  • 1 cup warm water 
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt 
  • 1 t vanilla extract 
  • 1 T lemon zest 
  • 1/4 t salt 
  • 4 cups flour 
  • 1 T confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries 
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the yeast, water and sugar.  Cover it and let it stand  for 10 minutes, or until it goes foamy.
  2. Add the eggs, yogurt, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Mix well.
  3. Mix in the flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough forms into a manageable ball (I sometimes have to add 1/4 c extra).
  4. Use the mixer to knead for 5 to 10 minutes until dough is soft but not sticky.
  5. Proof until the dough doubles in size.
  6. In a small bowl, toss dried fruit with confectioners’ sugar.
  7. Punch down the dough in the bowl and transfer it to floured surface. Knead in the fruit.
  8. Place in prepared cake pan (buttered 8″ pan with parchment in the bottom and a buttered 4″ parchment collar).  Cover it loosely with dish towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
  9. Brush the top with melted butter. and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Yuletide Preparations: Day 10 & 11

I didn’t do much in preparation for the coming Yule season during the week.  I was really tired when I got home so the fun waited for the weekend…..

We visited the Oregon City Winter Market on Saturday.  It’s small, but we found some great things.  A jug of mulled hard cider, a crusty loaf of french bread, a bag of rugelach and a few sweet, winter cookies.

On Saturday evening, I made new pillow covers for the living room.  The old covers were a bit shabby, the fabric was on coupon (50% off) and each cover only has two seems.  The cotton ticking is so soft and cozy.  I think they’re perfect for winter.

Sunday was a better morning for my sore knee so I spent a little time decorating the dining room.  I reused a few old bobbins that I had used for candlesticks, inserting some greens into them so they look a little like tiny trees.  The tiny trees, combined with some delicious smelling beeswax candle and wooden cutting boards look really homey.   I also added some greens to the chandeliers.

The sideboard had the same candles and tiny trees……I’m not sure it’s quite right yet.

Yuletide Preparations – Day 3

Today was our last day of Thanksgiving Holiday – – a foggy day with no rain.  A great day for starting the outside decorations and inside wrapping up things…..

I had made three batches of turkey broth with the leftover bones, but they seemed a little watery.  I took most of the day boiling them down to about a third the original volume.  The result is a nice, concentrated broth – yum.  I also finished up the leftover extra pumpkin pie filling and pie dough.  I made a batch of tiny, pumpkin tartlets.   They’ll make nice little snacks for lunches next week.  The gravy is finished and the mashed potatoes are almost gone.  Soon Thanksgiving 2018 will be just a set of memories.

I also started decorating the mantle – a little wood, a little holiday, and some candles.  Not there yet, but a good start.

Outside, we put the bows on the wreaths DH got on Friday morning and hung them in the windows.  DH also set up the new waterproof spotlights – they’re fantastic – bright, they change colors, they have remote controls, and they’re LED so they don’t use as much energy.

Yuletide Preparations – Day 2

DH and I went out for a fun holiday “no work day”.  We started at Farmington Gardens and found a Yule Tree.  I still can’t really hike out into the fields with my bad knee so when we saw one that looked good, at a reasonable price we decided to get it.  It’s a pretty little Nobel Fir – not too sparse, not too thick.  The folks at Farmington Gardens are really nice.  They shook it, baled it and loaded it into the car.  The only bad part was that the gal from the nursery was really sweet and cut the branchless bottom off – but we need the branchless bottom.  So we had to cut off some branches and our 8′ tree is only about 7′ tall – oh well.  It’s still pretty and will be great when we bring it inside in a couple of weeks.

 

Our second stop was at Al’s Garden Center in Sherwood.  It was a holiday wonderland.  There were so many fun things to look at.  We decided on a set of clip-on candles for the Yule tree.  They’re lovely and work on a remote control.  LOVE!

 

 

Yuletide Preparations – Day 1

I have a really nice husband.  Every year he gets up the day after Thanksgiving, the dreaded black Friday, and goes to Home Depot to get fresh evergreen wreaths for the Yuletide decorations.  Several years ago, we decided to stop hanging lights on the roof.  It’s almost three stories up, on a muddy hill, and it seems like every time DH came down from the ladder a third of the lights went out.  Now we hang wreaths in all of the windows and just illuminate them with spot lights.  It’s beautiful.

I also started the Yuletide decorations today.  I put out the reproduction feather trees with some tiny bead lights and small German candle clips.  Then we ate some leftovers and pie and watched the History of Santa and the History of Gingerbread o n Netflix.  It was a great start to our Yuletide season.