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SISTER MARY’S KITCHEN

[Welland Tribune December 22, 1931]

A Batch of Christmas Cookies From Sister Mary’s Kitchen

Anybody can make good cookies if she but follow the recipe and it’s always a great help to have a well stocked cookie jar on hand for holiday hospitality. Then, too, an attractive box containing an inviting assortment of cookies makes a charming remembrance for family friends. Such a greeting carries with it a personal touch, a real expression of friendship, and has the added advantage of being useful and not too expensive.

You can decorate cookies with candied fruits and colored icings to make them look decidedly festive and Christmasy. You can cut them in fancy shapes of infinite variety—birds, animals, Christmas trees, stars, wreathes and even Saint Nicholas himself. You can go so far as to make the centerpiece for the Christmas dinner of cookie dough finally can be eaten.

Of course, only the “keeping” varieties of cookies should be chosen. The gift boxes must be packed several days in advance and the cookie jars replenished in order to avoid last minute panics. More than this, many of the traditional Christmas cookies improve if they are allowed to “ripen” a few days before using. All the honey cookies as well as butter cookies keep excellently.


Springerle cakes are a German cookie always baked at Christmas time. The springerle boards can be purchased in any house-furnishing shop and are made up of quaint attractive designs. If these cakes are made according to the traditional method of the German Hausfrau the process is long and tedious since one hour of constant stirring is necessary. The quicker method uses baking powder and dover beater with satisfactory results.

Springerle Cakes

Three eggs, 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon anise  seed or 3 or 4 drops of anise oil. 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, about 2 cups flour, few grains salt.

Beat eggs until light, gradually beating in sugar and using dover beater. Beat until this mixture is very light in color and fluffy in texture. The sugar should be thoroughly dissolved, and no graininess apparent. Mix and sift flour, salt and baking powder. Add with grated lemon rind and anise seed to egg mixture. Stir until perfectly blended, making a stiff dough. Roll on a lightly floured molding board into a sheet about 1/4 inch thick. Press floured springerle board hard on the dough to stamp with designs. Cut out along the lines, making little squares. Let dry overnight or about ten hours. Bake in buttered pans in a moderately slow oven until a pale straw color. The oven should be about 325 degrees F. and the little cakes should bake thirty minutes. Springerle are quite hard when first baked but grow tender as they ripen.


Lebkuchen

Another delicious cookie with a European flavor is the famous Lebkuchen

One pound strained honey, 1 pound pulverized sugar, 6 eggs, 1/2 pound blanched and shredded almonds, 1/2 pounds shredded citron, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon cloves, 2 teaspoons grated nutmeg, grated rind 2 lemons, 1/2 teaspoon soda, 4 cups flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Heat honey until hot the night before the cookies are made. Stir in enough sifted flour to make a stiff dough and set aside to cool.

In the morning beat eggs until very light with sugar and work into the honey mixture. Use a wooden spoon and work until smooth. I warn you that this stirring is hard work. Mix and sift soda, spices and salt with 4 cups flour and add with lemon rind, citron and nuts to first mixture. Knead lightly, adding more flour if necessary. Roll into a sheet about 1/4 inch thick and cut in oblong pieces one and one half inches wide and three inches long. Bake on an oiled pan in a moderate oven for fifteen or twenty minutes. When cool cover with a thin icing by mixing confectioners sugar to a paste with boiling water. The recipe makes about eight dozen cookies. If you use half the rule be sure to use half of each ingredient.


Rolled Ginger Cookies

Ginger cookies are cunning cut in fancy shapes. This cookie dough is firm enough to prevent the baked cookies from breaking.

Four tablespoons shortening, 1/3 cup light brown sugar, 4 tablespoons baking molasses, 1 egg, 4 tablespoons hot water, ¼ tablespoon ginger, ¼ teaspoon soda, 2 cups flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Cream shortening in a warm bowl and gradually beat in the sugar and molasses. Add egg well beaten. Mix well and add hot water. Mix and sift flour, ginger, salt and soda and add to mixture. Chill for several hours. Roll on a floured board into a very thin sheet and cut with cookie cutters. Bake in a hot oven for eight minutes.


Vanilla Cookies

One half cup shortening (butter preferred), 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, 2 eggs, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 2 ½ cups flour, ½ teaspoon salt , 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs well beaten with milk and vanilla. Mix well and add flour mixed and sifted with salt and baking powder. Chill. Roll on a lightly floured board into a thin sheet and cut with cookie cutters. Bake eight minutes in a hot oven.


The following little chocolate cookies are almost a confection:

Chocolate Drops

Two squares bitter chocolate, 1 can condensed milk, 3 cups shredded cocoanut, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon vanilla, 2 tablespoons flour, ¼ teaspoon baking powder.

Mix and sift flour, salt and baking powder and combine with cocoanut. Melt chocolate over hot water. Add condensed milk and  prepared cocoanut. Stir until thoroughly blended. Drop from teaspoon onto an oiled cookie sheet and bake in a moderately hot oven for twenty minutes.


Fig squares are another delicious cookie.

Fig Squares

One and one half cups figs cut in small pieces, 1 cup granulated sugar, 3 eggs, 1 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon lemon juice.

Beat yolks of eggs until light. Beat in sugar and lemon juice. Add figs and flour, baking powder and salt mixed and sifted. Mix thoroughly and fold in whites of eggs beaten until stiff. Spread the mixture thinly in an oiled and floured dripping pan. Bake twenty –five to thirty minutes in a moderate oven. Cut in squares and remove from pan. Roll in powdered sugar.

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