Tuesday, October 24, 2017

First Snowmen of the Season

Early Christmas Cookies

Exciting and busy week -  Enjoyed a great evening at Rock Ford Plantation in Lancaster.  The preserved home of General Edward Hand is just a short drive from our new home.  We attended a presentation of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - and it was fantastic!  The home was all in candlelight and we were "guests at the Van Tassel Harvest Ball".  The interactive presentation of the classic story moved from room to room.  There was a live fiddle player and dancing, too.   A wonderful Fall evening.
Friday found us at the Fulton at a presentation of Sleuth - amazingly good show.  Saturday was the perfect weather for a family wedding .  Then came Sunday - where I participated in Susquehanna Style Magazine's Holiday Recipe Contest.  When I saw the article it asked "is there a holiday dessert or appetizer that your family insists you make each year ?  Enter the recipe in our contest!"  The Snowmen immediately came to mind and I entered them in the contest.  I was thrilled to learn I was a finalist and needed to make the cookies and bring them to be judged on Sunday.  So began the process of making Christmas Cookies in October - 

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
2 cups of sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
1/4 teaspoon of coconut extract

Hershey Kisses
Mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups
Mini chocolate chips
Decorator icing ( I use a purchased tube)
Powdered sugar...for the SNOW!
In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour and baking powder.  Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.
Add sugar and beat until fluffy.

Add egg, vanilla, almond, and coconut extract and beat well. 

Gradually add flour mixture to creamed mixture beating well after each addition.  

Cover, and chill overnight...or wrap well and freeze for up to 3 months.
For each snow person, shape the dough into 3 balls...one 1 inch, one 3/4 inch, and one 1/2 inch.   After a bit you get the feel for the size and it goes quickly.

Use the mini chocolate chips to make eyes and buttons...and push the three sections together slightly to make them bake together.  I also try to flatten the top of the head to make the candy caps easy to attach.
Bake in a 325 degree oven about 18 minutes until the edges are firm and the bottoms are light brown.  Cool one minute on cookie sheet then remove to rack.

With decorator icing add a cap to each snowman...kisses look like girls and the peanut butter cups look like boys ski caps.  I cut the peanut butter cups in half so they attach easily.
Then take the icing and make a scarf and a little pom-pom for each hat...and sprinkle with powdered sugar "snow".
I put them in airtight containers between layers of wax paper...and I freeze them, too.  You can make them early in December and freeze to take out when you need some,
Sunday I arrived with the cookies at Stauffer's Market and the judging began...

A photographer took photos as all recipes will appear in the December issue of Susquehanna Style.
The judges had a difficult job tasting all the great entries...
These unofficial judges in the crowd gave them a good score!

I was so pleased to receive 2nd Place..with Pumpkin Crisp taking the 1st Place Prize.
Very grateful for the prizes...a $75 gift card to Stauffer's and a $50 gift card to the General Sutter Inn in Lititz.
What a great day it was...and I am looking forward to seeing the snowmen in the Susquehanna Style December issue.  Have fun making these...they are sure to be a big hit with your friends and family!

Monday, October 9, 2017

October Fun!

October is here...and Halloween decorations have moved out of the storage unit and into our new space. This ghostly wreath made it through the move with just some steaming of the ribbon to perk it up.

I think each holiday is going to be fun and I am looking forward to finding new places for all my favorite decorations....and will probably be sending some to a new home as we just don't have the space we used to have to decorate.  After 10 years in our last home I knew where everything went each holiday...now I find myself wandering around looking for new spots to decorate.

These books were old, discarded books from the library.  I sprayed them with black paint and then used silver stick on letters.  They would not fit on the new mantel so they found a home in the foyer.
Little wooden ghost in a dish of mini pumpkins...

Little ghosts hiding everywhere...I made these in a ceramics glass 40 years ago...the first year we were married!
The same thing with this Jack-O-Lantern...not bad for 40 years old and surviving many moves!
Love this pillow...
"The witch is in"...and she needs a drink!
Great day with my college friends - "The Kutztown Girls" - who came for lunch. Quiche, salad, pumpkin muffins and a little treat to take home.  Fabulous day !

Trip !

  TRIP !!! And not the trip we were looking forward to...out for a walk and waiting for the crosswalk to say WALK.  A tractor trailer turned...