Getting Into the Holiday Spirit

This is the center piece on the dining room table. Put there for Art Group last Sunday. Just some twigs of white pine from the yard and stems of rosemary to add a nice aroma. Australian carved wooden pieces add to this bird’s nest. The large wooden bowl was carved from a downed tree by my father and Lee before we were married. They were likely taking the “measure” of each other.

I have used this bowl several times. Even served a potato salad in it on July 16, 1969 at an office party picnic while the moon landing was happening. It was only two years old at that time.

Here is the tree this year. We went a bit minimal after last years 19 Crimes.

Another view.

And Ted Cooley’s crow at the base.

The glass pears are stuffed with dead Japanese maple spidery leaves near the front door.

It is enough.

I baked cookies from the John C Campbell Folk School cookbook last week. Molasses Crinkle.

Mine came out more holey than crinkly. Someone told me to take the pan out half way through the baking and slam it down to get them to crack. I like that idea.

So thinking of the friend from Australia who made that suggestion and thinking that we were eating these cookies up rather quickly, I decided to go on the hunt for ingredients to make something malt flavored. A friend down under parted with her most prized recipe on malted cookies earlier this year and I carefully put it somewhere so as to not share it with anyone. Some place so good I could not find it. But I went ahead and bought golden syrup and the only malt I could find in the grocery store….Carnation malted milk powder.

I altered the molasses recipe just enough to accommodate my new ingredients. Gave them a good slam half way through and ended up with this.

The darker ones were simply left in the oven longer. There is very little malt flavor.

But the window washers who showed up this morning to do the windows even though there were mild snow flurries outside, thought they were very good. They have the crispiness that I want in a cookie….so much so that some would take dunking in a bit of liquid to bite into…and I do like banging them onto the stove and watching them open up. So thank you, Jeltke for that suggestion. From now on all cookies will be baked with a bang.

But since the flavor was not quite what I was looking for, I went online and found just what I needed. A non-diastatic malt extract. If you use diastatic malt in your baking, it will tend to help the rise….opposite of what I want. I found it on Amazon and on close inspection of the back of the can of Malt Extract were the words, “Made in Australia”. So in a few days I will be making these again.

And before one of the young window washers even tasted the cookies he offered to come any time that Lee and I were afraid to go out due to weather conditions. He would go to the store for us and the liquor shop whenever needed and left us his contact number. We do not even get offers from friends and neighbors to do that.

So lovely day all around.

Til next time.