Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Baking day with my daughter!

Growing up with a single parent, I spent a lot of quality time with my Mom, doing simple things like baking Christmas cookies.  For some reason, this tradition had not naturally happened with my daughter and me.  Looking back, we just had a different lifestyle, including a whole family and responsibilities, not just the two of us. The other main difference - Christmas cookies are not that big of a deal in Scotland! 

When Whitney was in about the third grade, she came home one October and asked when we were going to make our Christmas cake?  What!!!  I had never ever thought of making a Christmas cake!  However, I called a good friend and got a really simple recipe.  Whitney and I made this delicious cake and fed it regularly with Scotch up until the day we could eat it - Christmas. 

Did I say Scotch?  Yes....and we had a great bottle gifted to us on the day of Whitney's christening, just to give you an idea of how much Scotch we actually drink!  The only problem.....Whitney hated the cake, and of course she would!  So after a few years of only my mother in law and myself eating this cake - she had one piece at the Christmas meal and I had the rest, I decided that this was one tradition my daughter and I did not really need to keep!  Once that bottle was finished, I have never made another Christmas cake!

But this year, life has slowed a bit and we both have more time for each other, so this was the prize (for me anyway).

Having a lifetime collection of favourite Christmas cookies, we were spoiled by choice with what we would do on our baking day.  However, there was no discussion about the first batch......Snowballs!

Snowballs and I go way back, to our little house on Church Street.  Mom had this recipe (I can still picture the original recipe card now, but it was stuck in her Joy of Cooking and that didn't make the move over).  Luckily, I have a few copies of this recipe, including one in the cookbook my Home Ec class published. So it will never be in danger of being lost.  There was one problem though - when I first moved to Scotland and attempted to bake these, I had no idea how to convert sticks of butter to grams.  And you do not get sticks of butter over here.  So I guesstimated a few times and never got it right.  Years later.....I discovered an on-line butter conversion.  Suddenly, I have the freedom to bake any American recipe that calls for various sizes of sticks, tablespoons and cups of butter with confidence!

When I made this with Whitney, I had not planned on using it this year on my blog, but here it is, without any measurement conversions, sorry!


Preheat oven to 300F  150C
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs water
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups sifted cake flour  (I just use plain old normal flour!)
1 6oz (1 cup) chocolate chips, semi-sweet
1 cup pecans, finely chopped ( Optional)
Confectioners sugar (Icing Sugar)

Combine first 5 ingredients. 
Blend well.
Stir in flour and chocolate chips.
Form into 1 inch balls.
Roll in pecans.  (sometimes I do, sometimes I don't - I love them equally both ways!)
Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Roll in sugar while warm.

Yield:  approx 5 dozen










The older I get, the more I see

The power of that young woman, my mother.


 Sharon Olds quotes 



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