Scents of the Season

Cinnamon ornaments!

Christmas memories, for me, are all about the smells. The tang of pine wreaths and trees and garland, wet wool socks drying above the woodstove, and of course, the thousand glorious scents of holiday baking.

My mother would spend the month before Christmas baking dozens of varieties of cookies, storing them out of sight until she was ready to assemble cookie trays for the delivery people, garbageman, Dad’s clients, and lavish trays to bring along to holiday parties. Scroll down for a few family recipes!

My children have taken part in a few of those Wisconsin holidays, and the ones in Houston have significantly less cookies. But here we have tamales, and you don’t need two layers of socks!

Do you need to smell something delicious? Come to our Deck the Halls Potluck after the service on December 3rd – we’ll share a meal *and* you can take home one of the cinnamon ornaments our young Emersonians have crafted.

This month in Sunday school we’ll have our usual class schedule December 3rd and 10th, then have many opportunities to worship and create memories together!

Yummy Bonbon Cookies
1/2 c. Powdered Sugar
1 c. butter
1 t. vanilla
2 1/4 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
Chocolate stars (Brach’s or similar)
Tub vanilla frosting
Sprinkles or colored sugar

Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla, then salt and flour. Mix well. Chill dough for an hour.
Wrap about 2 t. dough around each chocolate star and bake at 375 on an ungreased baking sheet for 10-12 min (cookies brown on bottom only) Cool, then frost and decorate with sprinkles.

Toffee Bars

1 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped (or 2/3rds bag of chocolate chips)
1/3 c. sliced almonds, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter; add sugar gradually and beat well. Add egg yolk and vanilla–mix well. Add flour and salt, blending until just combined. Spread dough thinly on a well-greased cookie sheet (I use a silicone liner.) Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.

As soon as you pull the sheet from the oven, sprinkle with the chocolate chips/pieces. Wait a few minutes, then spread the melted chocolate to frost the base. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Let the chocolate set (in Houston it helps to put the tray in the freezer), then break into pieces.

Delicate Sugar Cookies
1 1/2 c. flour
1/8 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
Colored sugars for decorating (Mom made half the batch with green sugar, the other half with red.)

Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and cream of tartar.
Separately, cream together butter and sugar, then mix in vanilla. Gradually add flour.

Put dough in a sealed container and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour (can be made a day or two ahead.)
Preheat oven to 400. Form dough into teaspoon-sized balls – roll in colored sugar and place on a greased baking sheet, about two inches apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden.