Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spice Cookies and Kudos

Hearts at Home is a great organization that supports women in their role and wives and mothers, a sacred role that, in the last 50 years, has almost become second class in society. How many of us feel, when someone asks what you do, that if you don't have resume worthy answers, you tell them what you used to do before you had a family? Like training up, nurturing, and sacrificing for the next generation isn't good enough to stand on its own? Of course, when someone asks what I do, somehow playing legos, flying kites, cooking meals that no one really wanted, and doling out discipline doesn't seem to be the stuff that will change the world, we just might be surprised. I know that for most of you, I am preaching to the choir. You might be trying to read these recipes while the kids are napping or busy undoing everything you just did to earn a few minutes of quiet. Mine are supposed to be getting ready for church, but I'm thinking by the noise level over my head they are re-enacting whatever they saw Phineas and Ferb doing. Anyway, kudos to Hearts at Home for resourcing women in the vital, God-given role that we seek to embrace. Despite the fact that sometimes it is like embracing a porcupine.

When I asked my youngest kids, 5 and 8, what is their favorite thing that I make, one said Dairy Queen and the other said tomato soup. Their answers notwithstanding, my favorite things to cook are those that can be multi-purposed, like a roast or a chicken into soup or potpies, or a big batch of sloppy joes frozen by the scoopful on a cookie sheet to have on busy nights. Truth be told, though, I am a candy head, and love homemade treats. I did not personally discover these spice cookies, but every time I make a batch, I get requests for the recipe. Take the extra 15 minutes and make the pumpkin dip. It keeps for a few weeks in the fridge, but I can promise the cookies won't last that long. This is a great recipe for bringing to a book club because it makes a ton. Last Christmas, I made a double batch, portioned them out, and froze them on the cookie sheet. Once frozen, I just put them in a giant ziploc bag and was able to make homemade cookies with a moments notice. In reality I am pretty unorganized, so just having this small victory was worth the prep time.

Spicy Pumpkin Butter

1/4 c Dark brown sugar, packed
2 T. Sugar
1/4 c Water
1/2 tsp. Allspice
1/4 tsp. Ginger
1/4 tsp. Cloves
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 1/2 c Pumpkin (about 1 regular sized can of pumpkin)

Combine the two sugars, water, allspice, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon in a 4-cup glass measure. Mix well and microwave on high 3 minutes; stir. Add pumpkin and mix well, microwave on high 5 minutes. Let cool and refrigerate. Keeps several weeks in refrigerator or can be frozen.

Yield: 2 cups Use as you would apple butter.

Pumpkin Dip for Spice Cookies
To one recipe of Spicy Pumpkin Butter above add:
1 - 8oz. Package cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix above together well with pumpkin butter and fold in 1-8oz. tub of cool whip. Serve with cookies.

Spice Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened (I use butter flavor crisco)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. each ground ginger and cloves
3/4 tsp. salt
Additional sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add molasses; mix well. Combine flour, baking soda, spices and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Shape into 1/2 balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 6-7 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire rack. Serve with pumpkin dip. Makes a ton of cookies.

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