I was recently looking through some vintage recipes for any seasonal, holiday recipes to try. There were a few that caught my eye and a holiday cookie recipe was among them. I love traveling back in time to resurrect recipes that may have fallen by the wayside as the cyber-highway has taken over the world. This cookie recipe is from the 1930’s. On the back of the browned paper is an advertisement for ‘Beverly Chiffon Hose’, a silk stocking of the day selling for $1.15.
The recipe attracted my attention both for the ingredients, and the name; Christmas Nuggets. The cookie read to be a simple cookie chock full of currants, nuts and a mix of dried fruits (which I customized for the season in my take of the recipe). It presented a welcome break from the chocolate, truffles, candy canes and more densely sweet confections flooding our palates right now.
I have a teenager (a nice one) who was completely incensed by the idea of a cookie called a ‘Christmas Nugget’. The name evoked anything but Christmas for her, and many other unspeakable corollaries. I decided to do a blind tasting realizing her tender sensibilities were already so offended, this cookie would never get a fair shake. I made a batch of Christmas Nuggets and sweetly offered them to my kids after school. Loved them. All sorts of positive descriptors for them. Two days later I confessed, a bit to taunt my teen, that INDEED they’d been eating Christmas Nuggets. My daughter winced, cookie in mouth, clearly struggling to come to terms with the name and the corresponding cookie, of which she’d grown quite fond.
It was clear to me that in raising this cookie from the annals of time it also needed a bit of a freshen up in the marketing department. On a sleep deprived whim I suggested we begin to call them ‘Christmas Joy Bombs’ instead. Secretly I think my dear daughter may have been equally aghast at my exuberant suggested new name but who cares; a mini poll proved most people in my inner circle, given the chance of eating a Christmas Nugget or a Christmas Joy Bomb go for the joy bomb every time. Ho, ho, ho.
Adapted from a 1930's recipe, these simple holiday cookies are chock full of pecans, currants and dried fruits giving them a seasonal flavor without being overly sweet.
- 3 cups all purpose Flour (gluten free or regular)
- 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 1/4 cups Light Brown Sugar
- 1/2 cup Shortening (I use vegetable shortening)
- 3 Eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 cup Currants
- 1/2 cup total mixed Dried Fruits: crystallized ginger, sweetened cranberries, golden raisins, blueberries and/or cherries; chopped
- 1 cup Pecans, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fit baking sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer*, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add sugar and mix on low to combine.
- Add shortening and mix on medium to combine.
- Add eggs (do not beat first) and vanilla; mix well on medium speed.
- Add currants, dried fruit, pecans and milk. Mix to fully combine.
- Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes until cookies begin to become golden. Allow to cool on pan for 5 minutes and transfer to cooling racks to fully cool. Store any uneaten cookies in an air tight sealed container.
*can also be made in a mixing bowl with a hand held mixer.
My favorite holiday craft by a long shot has been making snow globes. Who does not love a snow globe? An enchanting, whimsical world where snow can be conjured with a little shake? When my tots were little it was a very sleep deprived time. I spent most of my days in a joyful fog of an existence sustaining maybe 5 broken up hours of sleep a night…..for years. I recall rocking one to sleep for a nap and having the TV on, blankly circling through inane daytime TV programs. I landed on a cheery holiday crafting channel and was sucked in by the host’s overly effervescent personae and a disturbingly overdone holiday sweater she was wearing. I became a bit fixated.
Sometime into the viewing I realized they were making homemade snow globes. I had been staring at the sweater intently trying to figure out how many Christmas scenes in miniature were actually donning her torso (the 12 days of Christmas, all the reindeer with neatly stitched names overhead; the Eiffel Tower, Sphinx, Tower of Pisa, and all the other famous international architectural icons with actively flashing mini holiday lights), I had missed most of the instruction. Fortunately they are not hard to make so I was able to fill in the blanks. I desperately scribbled down key words and notes, all the while trying not to wake the sleeping child in my lap. It was about 5 years and two cross country moves later that the notes surfaced and the time was right to give it a go. It is a simple, fun, whimsical craft which we’ve now had for about 6 years and they look like the day we made them.
Homemade Snow Globes
Jars with metal lids (I used baby food jars; choose jars to fit your snow globe ‘scene’ items)
Resin or plastic items to fit inside the snow globe
Spray paint for metal lids
Fine grain sand paper
Glycerin (inexpensive and available by asking at a Pharmacy)
Glitter or plastic confetti
- Ensure the jars and lids are clean. Spray paint the outside of the metal lids in any color you choose. Set aside to dry fully before starting the snow globe.
- Using the fine grade sandpaper, lightly sand the spot where the resin/plastic item will be glued to the inside of the painted jar lid. This helps the epoxy to adhere best. Wipe away any dust from the sanding.
- Prepare the epoxy per package instructions. Coat the bottom of the resin/plastic item with prepared epoxy and place onto sanded spot on inside of jar lid. Press to firmly adhere. Allow to dry fully per the time instructed on the epoxy instructions.
- Once lid has dried, fill the jar with distilled water (do not over fill or water will spill out when lid with the item is installed).
- Add a few drops of glycerin into the jar (amount depending on jar size); add the desired amount of glitter, screw on lid and shake to test the effect. Glycerin causes the glitter to float and not immediately settle. Too little glycerin will not suspend the glitter to float and too much will cause the glitter to form clumps.
- Once you have the desired effect, dry the threaded area on the outside of the top of the jar and the inside threaded area of the lid so they close snugly. Seal and enjoy!