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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies

Last year, Allen's parents stayed with us for Christmas, and his mom asked me before they arrived if I had molasses and ground ginger on hand.  I did.  But I never guessed that these two pungent ingredients could combine to make the most heavenly Christmas confection known to man.

They are beautiful and crackly and festive.  They are soft and rich.  They are so fragrant and chewy and sweet, with the perfect hint of spice.  They may have actually TIED WITH CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (gasp!) as my favorite cookies of all time.  In fact, these ginger molasses cookies differ specifically from CCCs in that, once I have eaten one, all I can think about is having another.  I can limit other kinds of cookies to one or two, but I feel like I never want to stop eating these.

This particular holiday treat comes with a pretty sweet story, too.  My mother-in-law clipped this recipe from her local paper years ago and everyone raved about the cookies . . . but then she somehow lost the clipping. Years later (tortured years of pining for the most-perfect-holiday-cookie-ever, no doubt) she went to the library and used the microfilm machine to look through years' worth of the Northwest Arkansas Times until she found it again.  The librarian copied it for her, and the rest is Renfroe family holiday history!
I love how Mom wrote out the triple-batch
amount to the side, which is what I put on the
recipe card below.  Go big or go home, people.

Mollie and I had so much fun making the cookies with Mom last year, made more fun by the adorable, matching, chicken-print aprons she sewed for each of us as an early Christmas present.

She gave me the recipe while she stayed with us, but then history repeated itself and I misplaced it.  Fortunately, I didn't have to use a microfilm machine--Mom just used her telephonics machine (read: iPhone 6) to snap a picture of her well-used recipe and send it to me via electronic mail . . . all taking about three seconds and zero research trips to the library.

I have made this tripled-recipe twice this December and am going for a third time tomorrow.  If you're going to make 24 dozen of any cookie during Christmas, this is the one . . .

My cookie helpers!
Brer Rabbit never tasted so good . . .
I hope we'll have some left for Santa--he might have to settle
for Oreos if we scarf through all seven dozen in the next four
days.  
I wish I was kidding . . .
My house smells like Christmasy heaven . . .
Perfect cookies for large family / social / holiday functions!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

One Bowl Apple Cake

This recipe is from one of my all-time favorite women, Kathy H. (via my sister, Bonnie, who raved about this apple cake and then hounded Kath for the recipe).  She was the young women president at some point when I was a teenage girl (the Young Women organization is an awesome auxiliary for girls age 12-18 in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), and has always been a friend to me.  We have stayed in touch over the years, and I love to drop in on her when I am visiting family in my home town.  She can make me laugh like no other!  

As of this blog post, she happens to be serving a mission in South Africa with her husband, where she is no doubt spreading her signature brand of humor . . . and we can still keep in touch over the splendors of the world wide web!

A mother of six who lives on a hobby farm? A lover of young adult fiction who loves to bake delicious things?  We are kindred spirits!  You'll be wishing you knew Kathy when you take a bite of this sweet, moist, delectable (and easy) cake!

My wonderful neighbor, Gloria, called me up
yesterday and asked if we would like all of
her apples.  YES, WE WOULD!  When the kids
got home from school, we pulled the wagon to
her house and picked every last one!
Brig was more excited about using the stepladder than picking
Gloria said that she's never seen this tree bear more than six apples,
and they never turned red before!  I think it's because this is the longest
we've gone between frost dates since I've lived here.  We picked up
all the windfalls for our chickens and rabbits, and then plucked all
the tree apples for apple cake and to press into APPLE CIDER!
I love harvest time!  Apples really are the food of the gods.
So yummy and moist--the top and bottom get slightly crusty
and taste kind of like a Nilla Wafer cookie.  Ummmmm . . .
I think I'll go make another one right now . . .

Monday, August 11, 2014

Mini Thumbprint Jam Scones

I fell in love with this recipe when I read about the baker Alice Currah in a beautiful magazine called Where Women Cook (which was a delightful birthday gift from my BFF, Cori, whose own scrumptious recipes are sprinkled throughout this blog).

Okay, true confession . . . maybe I liked the article about Alice, but drooled like a French Mastiff when I saw the delectable photos of the scones in said magazine.  See for yourself:

I knew these would be the perfect dessert to add to my "summer harvest" spread when I hosted book club at the beginning of August.
Summer harvest book club fare . . .
I love cooking for the ladies I love!
And guess what?  Everyone liked them more than rhubarb-raspberry pie made with rhubarb and raspberries I harvested that day, more than huckleberry buckle made with HOURS OF MY LIFE that I spent picking tiny-but-precious huckleberries, and even more than the apple pie made with three types of heirloom early-ripening apples (Red Astraiken, Carroll, and Goodland) that I picked from my dad's orchard just three days before book club and peeled and cut by hand because each apple is too uniquely shaped and sized for the peeler-corer-slicer.

That's how good these scones are.

I used my mom's Nanking Cherry jam/syrup (I make jam, but add a little extra water so it's more like a really thick syrup) as the jam in these scones, and that combination of cherries and almond glaze is so heavenly (this from someone who does not like cherry ANYTHING).  But I think it would also be perfectly delectable with raspberry or strawberry jam.

The recipe said to cut the disks into fourths, but I
cut them into sixths and I think they were perfect
Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
It stopped raining just for book club!
The scones were the first dessert to disappear.
{PS- I like how you can see Brenda working
on the book club binder in the background}
I thought a cute retro fox was the perfect clipart to compliment this quintessential British confection . . .