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Candy Cane Cookies

Yummy!  This is my fave of all times!  I love almond flavoring and peppermint and sugar all mixed together.  Don't let these scare you because they might look difficult.  They're really not.  Basically, it's a sugar cookie recipe with a little extra.  Then, you're making balls and rolling.  Pretty simple.  Here's the recipe.  These freeze really well, so you can make up to three months before Christmas. (The picture above is missing the sprinkles on top which are really important, see recipe below). 

Candy Cane Cookies

1 c. shortening (half butter)
1 c. sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. red food coloring
1/2 c. crushed (really fine) peppermint candy
1/2 c. granulated sugar

Directions
Heat oven to 375.  Mix shortening, sugar, egg and flavoring thoroughly.  Mix flour and salt: stir into shortening mixture.  Divide dough in half.  Blend food coloring into one half.  Refrigerate overnight before rolling out.  **Hint** Only take out a little dough at a time to work with because the dough is much easier to roll when it's cold.

Take 1 heavy tsp of dough and roll into ball.  Then, roll the ball into a 4 inch strip from each color.  Roll smooth, even strips.  Place them side by side and twist together like a rope.  Roll one cookie at a time so dough doesn’t dry out.  Shape into candy cane on cookie sheet.  Bake about 9 minutes.  Immediately after bringing out of oven, sprinkle with mixture of peppermint and sugar (1 to 1 ratio).

Dinner with Food Only

Hello Friends,
Here's another great activity that my family still begs to do again.  I'll tell you how we did it, but obviously, the sky is the limit with what you could serve and do.  I told my family that we were having a very special dinner, where we would practice our etiquette skills.  They hear this from me a lot, so really no big surprise.  I allowed them to watch me prepare in the kitchen; getting out the china, the linen, etc.  I did purchase a white plastic tablecloth and placed it on our dining room table, which my husband thought was a bit strange (plastic, really?).  When it was finally time to eat, I instructed everyone into the dining room to be seated.  The menu was:
  • Spaghetti
  • Salad
  • Brownies and Ice Cream
I brought our first course out on my beautiful silver tray.  There were no plates, bowls, or silverware on the table.  I asked my dear husband, "Salad sir?"  He said, "Yes."  So, I then proceeded to  drop salad onto the table in front of him.  After a good pile was formed, I asked, "What type of dressing sir?"  Ranch was his reply.  So, I then poured ranch dressing on his salad.  I also dropped some bacon bits, croutons and nuts onto his beautiful salad.  The kids were dying.  After serving everyone their beautiful salad, I then instructed them to begin eating.  "With what?" was their reply.  "I don't know, but figure it out," was my reply.  We went on to eat spaghetti, and brownies and ice cream in the same manner; no plates, no silverware, no napkins.  It was a blast!  And believe it or not, my floor was clean after-wards.  That was one of the rules.  We laughed a lot and became very creative with the best technique to get the most amount of food into our mouths at a time.  Great etiquette skill.

Making memories.  That's what it's all about.  Cut loose and have some fun.
Monica Irvine, a.k.a. Mary Manners