I think I lived an entire year's worth of life last week. I'm not even telling what the whole week held because listing it would make me tired all over again. Let's just say I've come out here on the other side still upright. Last week's crazy/busy was mostly good things, but just too much crammed in together.
Last night's cookie party that Mommy hosted was a nice end to the week and I only had to help—light duties compared to the other full days. Their neighborhood has an annual "Night Of Lights" and everyone in a three-county radius must know to drive through and look at the decorated houses. One house even had a live nativity scene in their yard, complete with a camel and donkeys and chickens. There was a major traffic backup on the highway to get into this neighborhood.
Mommy had invited a few friends to drop by for cookies, hot cider and cocoa when they came to see the lights. Turns out it was really hard to get here in all the traffic (this is Mommy's first Christmas here and they had no clue what a big deal this night was) but persistence paid off and before it was over, little people filled the house with laughter and shrieking and lots of running about. Then they ate cookies. God bless the mamas of these sugar-filled kiddos today.
Mommy baked and baked and baked to get ready for the party. This new recipe was a big hit with everyone. I want to make these at home soon. Or, maybe after Christmas. I'm kind of full of cookies right now.
2 ounces baking chocolate (semi-sweet or unsweetened or bittersweet)
2 sticks softened butter
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2-1/4 all-purpose flour
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave, stir, and let it cool.
Cream the butter and sugar together until totally combined. With the mixer on low, slowly drizzle in the cooled chocolate. Scrape the bowl and mix again. Mix in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Scrape the bowl once more and mix.
Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Stir it together, then add it in large spoonfuls to the mixing bowl, with the mixer running on low. Scrape the bowl again and mix again until all combined.
Scoop generous tablespoons onto a baking sheet lined with parchment, then bake for 11 minutes until puffed and set. Remove them from the oven and let them sit on the pan for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove them to a baking rack to cool completely. Once cool, sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.
This recipe came from one of Mommy's good college friends. It's wonderful how these recipes remind us of friends from years ago.
SPICED APPLE CIDER
4 cups water
2 cups sugar
Bring to a boil in a big pot, them simmer for 15 minutes. Take off heat.
3 cinnamon sticks
8 whole allspice balls
10 whole cloves
Let sit for 1 hour. Remove cinnamon sticks, allspice and cloves.
1/2 gallon apple cider
4 cups orange juice
1 (7.5 oz) bottle Minute Maid lemon juice (in frozen juice section)
Stir and heat slowly. Serve hot. Refrigerate leftovers. You can put this in a large crockpot to keep it warm for serving at a party.
I have given beverages as gifts. Your friends and neighbors might a welcome change from a plate of cookies. Pour cider into a pretty bottle. Use one saved when you empty a bottle of juice or purchase an inexpensive carafe at the grocery store. Add a festive label with heating directions and tie on a bow. What a treat to have homemade hot cider on a cold day!
To help you find the frozen lemon juice, this is the bottle Mommy used. The bottle was packaged in a box in the freezer section. The bottle says it is equal to the juice of 7 lemons. You could certainly use fresh if you've got the time and energy.