Friday, December 24, 2010

In the spirit 2010

As I sit beside the fire with the Christmas aglow I am feeling warm and in the spirit as it were. I have been spending Christmas in Hot Springs, AR for about a decade now and every year I have begun to feel more and more a part of the Veteto/Neff holiday triditons. This year especially I feel as if I am a real partof the ritual. Over the years I have added to the traditions by bringing in a Praline cookie from Caroline Ellick, a homemade eggnog for Christmas eve, and a Cookie Tree that becomes the center piece for the table decor.

The sugar cookie recipe comes from Betty Crocker and while I do use all organic ingredients it's not really a healthy cookie, although it's sweet and delicious.

1-1/2c powder sugar
1c softened butter
1 egg
1tsp vanilla
1/2tsp almond flavor
2-1/2c all purpose flour
1tsp baking soda
1tsp cream of tartar

Cream together sugar and butter. Add egg and flavorings. Mix dry ingredients together and add to the rest. Refrigerate 2 hours.

Divide dough in half and roll out to 1/4 inch and cut into stars of varying sizes. I have a set of star cutters that dcerease in size just for this. Bake for 8-10 minutes until barely golden.
I used powdered sugar, a little milk, melted butter and food coloring to make a green icing. The icing served as a bonding agent to hold the stars together. So I just drizzled the icing between each layer and stacked them up.
After I stacked all the cookies up I then drizzled the reast of the icing over the top and allowed it to drip down and cover the cookies. Then I used colored sprinkles and non-parils to decorate the tree.

The top star I coated in yellow sugar (because I was too lazy to make more icing in yellow) and since Ian wanted snow I lined the base with marshmallows. Viola a holiday center piece that it nice to look at and serves as dessert.

Although I didn't do it, I'm sure you can make this tree with gluten free, dairy free, egg free cookies and toppings.

I just want to end today by sending warm wishes to everyone's hearth. As we move through the winter, having just past the solstice, may you all be warm and well nourished. May the deep winter spirits seep into you and help you gether energy for the coming spring. Happy Holidays!!

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