Cocoa Snowballs

Cocoa Snowballs
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered cocoa
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 containers of white frosting
2 3/4 cups flaked coconut
 
Beat eggs well, gradually beat 1/2 cup sugar into the eggs and set aside. Combine remaining sugar, cocoa,
milk and butter in a pan and cook on low heat until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted. Remove from heat
and add vanilla and salt. Pour egg mixture into that.
 
In a bowl, put remaining dry ingredients and slowly add the cocoa mixture, beating all the while…. fill 30 ,
2 1/2″ muffin cups about 1/2 full and bake 20-25 mins at 325 degrees. Cool completely and frost bottom,
top and sides. Then roll them in the coconut. Let them stand at room temperature until the frosting is firm,
then serve or store in a container.
 
Submitted By Ahreinya Hazelle

Shortest Day Ham Loaf

Shortest Day Ham Loaf

1 pound ground pork
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
1 pound ground ham
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk

Mix all ingredients above and shape into 2 individual loaves. In a saucepan combine:
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 cup water

Bring sauce to a boil, pour over the loaves, place loaves in a 350 degree oven and bake for 1 hour, basting regularly.

Makes 10-12 servings.

Nessa’s Welsh Cookies

Nessa’s Welsh Cookies
(Wonderful for Santa’s Deputy Ritual)

4 c. flour
½ c. shortening
1 c. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. currants
½ c. milk
2 eggs

1) Mix flour and dry ingredients.2) Add currants. 3) Cut in shortening as for pie [I use a fork for this] 4) Add eggs and milk. 5) Roll out on floured surface. 5) cut circular shape out [I use a glass]. 6) Fry on griddle at low heat til a light brown appears on each side.
Makes about 5 dozen.

Rolled Oat Yule Cookies

Rolled Oat Yule Cookies

I make these cookies all year long, although during the Yule season I add either red and green M&M’s or dried cranberries to the batter.

Ingredients:

1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup M&M’s or dried cranberries
In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and brown sugar. Mix in water and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the oats, flour, salt, baking soda, and M&M’s or cranberries.
Mix the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture.
Shape the cookie dough into two long logs, cookie size in diameter.
Wrap the logs in wax paper, parchment, or plastic wrap. Chill for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Unwrap cookie logs and slice into ½ inch thick cookies.
Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet and bake for about 12 minutes.

PIERNIKI (Polish Spice Cookies)

PIERNIKI (Polish Spice Cookies)

1-1 ½ c. honey
Pinch of black pepper
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. allspice
1 c. sugar
4-5 c. flour
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. cloves
4 eggs
1 tsp. soda dissolved in water

Heat honey until it boils, then allow it to cool until lukewarm. Sift the flour with the spices.

Beat the eggs with the sugar until thick. Add the soda, then the honey and the flour. Mix well. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured board to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut cookies in whatever shapes you like. Bake them on buttered sheets in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until just lightly browned.

The pierniki may be decorated with a thin glaze made of confectioners’ sugar, water, almond or vanilla extract and a drop of food coloring.

Rekindling the Fires: How We Gather and Celebrate for Yule

Rekindling the Fires: How We Gather and Celebrate for Yule

 

by Catherine Harper

I am a person much concerned with the rituals of hearth and home, and in general I am more likely to mark the turnings of the year in my kitchen or garden, or alone in the woods, than I am in larger gatherings. But even this preference aside, Yule seems to me a holiday that focuses around these intimate spaces. In the face of the darkest time of the year, who we share our table with is especially important. If sunlight brightens the whole community, away from the sun one can pick those who are each of our chosen families by candlelight. Winter, to me, breeds a love of small spaces.

Reaching for this sense of family and continuity is a challenge for the many of us who are first-generation pagans. I know that I want to be able to reach back to my own memories of being a child and find something there that I can bring forward to give to the children in my life. But this can be almost an archaeological challenge, finding amid so much past the right pieces, bringing them to the surface, cleaning them and restoring them to some kind of meaning.

I have a vague fondness still for stockings, but no context from which to hang them, and the woman who knitted the stockings I once loved is dead and gone. That memory I can love and yet watch recede into the distance.

I remember the candles on a tree in the yard of one of my dearest childhood friends that, starting with the youngest child, we would each light in turn on the eve of the winter solstice, singing carols into the night.

I love and remember the smell of a fresh fir tree brought inside, but equally I remember being seven and in tears faced with that same tree two weeks later that had died and dried and lost its needles. And mixed in with my childhood memories of yearning for lights and magic are my adult wishes for fewer malls, a different sort of family and a clear line of demarcation drawn between what I do and what is so nationally celebrated as Christmas.

Out of these conflicting needs has come our own synthesis. I don’t pretend that the answers that our dialog with the past has produced extend to anything beyond our own threshold. We don’t bring in a tree, though that ritual is as pagan as it comes. We do exchange presents and stay up all night and party and play and keep a light going through all the long hours of darkness. At midnight, everyone gathers in front of the fire and feeds it with tokens of things they are glad to have seen the last of, accompanied by explanations and applause. (A ritual that started more or less by accident but has grown and continued until it has developed such momentum I suspect I will never see the end of it.) We make candles. We eat soup, bread and little sandwiches, and trays of cakes, cookies and fruit tarts.

In the last several years, these gatherings have begun to set fruit. When they started, we were college students and young adults, mostly. Now, we are overrun by children, competing among each other to dip candles thicker than their own wrists, gorging on sweets, playing tournament mancala, helping grind flour, swimming laps in the hot tub and staying up far past their accustomed bedtimes.

My senses of past and present are becoming satisfied. Bit by bit, out of the flotsam from our childhoods, from the chance occurrences that recurred and became tradition, from literature, from history, from the stories we have imagined for ourselves, we are building something solid, something that returns and carries us along with it, something that we will pass on.

(To people who will doubtless prune it into a shape they find pleasing. There is no point in being too attached to any particular notions for the future….)

Meanwhile, for me Yule will smell like fir and beeswax and taste like cinnamon. In this land of evergreens, it is natural to bring in a little greenery when so much else has died away. In a time of darkness, of course we make a fuss over light and warmth. And when there is so little in season for the table but we need the extra nourishment to stave away the cold, our celebratory food is rich with saved eggs and butter, and spiced to overcome the monotony of the winter stores. And in 15 years, or 20, if the gods be kind, a nephew, or niece, or godson (or child?) will call me from another city where they have gone to work or to school and say “That cake, you remember? You used to make it on longest night? Do you still have the recipe?”

Gingerbread

This is simply the best gingerbread in the world. The recipe is not original with me, but it has changed more than a bit in my keeping and may in yours as well.

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 very hot water
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour your baking pan. (I use a 9-inch round pan, but a pair of loaf pans also works well.)

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the molasses. (It is very efficient if you pour the hot water in the same measuring cup you just poured the molasses out of — it will dissolve the molasses residue and save you time.) Add spices. Alternately, add a bit of the hot water and a bit of the flour until both are thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, and then quickly whisk in the baking powder and soda. Now quickly, before you lose any rise from your leavening, pour the batter into your pan and pop it in the oven. Cook for about half an hour, or until the middle is firm.

Moldable Shortbread

When I was young, I found a variant on this recipe and used it to make cookies in the shapes of fruit, stippling little balls of orange-colored dough to give them the texture of citrus peel, piercing them with a clove to make a blossom end, painting a blush on the surface of peaches and so forth, rather in the manner of marzipan. But the dough can be made into almost any form, as long as it is mostly flat. You can think of it as an edible, cookable play-dough. Don’t be timid with the food color — bright colors make it much more fun.

  • 1 part sugar
  • 2 parts butter
  • Flavoring to taste
  • 5 parts flour
  • Food coloring

Cream together the butter and sugar, add flavoring if desired and then blend in flour. (If your one part is equal to half a cup, you can use &fraq12; to 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or a bit less almond extract, a bit more Grand Marnier, a teaspoon of citrus zest, a couple of tablespoons of minced candied ginger or whatever suits your fancy.)

Divide the dough into sections and add a different color of food coloring to each one, mixing it in first with a fork and then with your fingers. Form each color into a ball, wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

When it is chilled, form it into whatever shapes you — or your children — like. Bake at 325 for 20 to 30 minutes. If the dough becomes hot and sticky while it is being worked, just stick the cookies into the refrigerator to chill before you bake them. As long as they are cold when they hit the oven, the texture will be fine.

Apple Scones

Apple Scones

1 Medium-Sized Apple
2 Cups (280 grams) Flour
3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
6 Tablespoons Vegetable Shortening
1/2 Cup (112 grams) Raisins
1/4 Cup (60 milliliters) Apple Juice

Peel, core, and mince the apple. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. With a pastry blender, cut in the shortening. Stir in the apples and raisins. Add the apple juice to stiffen the dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll the dough to about 1/2 inch (1.25 centimeter) thickness. Cut into triangles or into shapes with cookie cutter. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 10 minutes or until light brown.

Yule Stollen

Yule Stollen
 
1 1/2 c Milk; scald/cool to lukewarm
3 1/2 Yeast; dry/envelopes
3/4 cup Water; lukewarm
3 cups Flour; sifted
1/2 cup Eggs; yolks/lightly beaten
3/4 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Salt
1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Butter; softened
Flour; 10-11 cups, as needed
5 cups currants
1 1/2 c Almonds; chopped or slivered
1 cup Citron; chopped
1/2 Lemon; rind only/grated
2 teaspoons Rum
 
Milk should be cooled to about 100 degrees. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and add 1/4 cup of the
cooled milk and 3 cups sifted flour. Cover the sponge with a cloth and let it ripen until bubbles appear on the
surface and it is about to drop in the center. Pour the remaining milk over the sponge. Add the egg yolks, sugar
and salt and beat until the ingredients are well blended. Add 1 cup flour and beat well. Blend in the butter.
Add more flour gradually to make a smooth dough, or until 10 to 11 cups have been added. Some flours
absorb more liquid than others. Knead in the currants, almonds, and citron, along with the lemon rind which
should be mixed with the rum. Knead the dough until the fruits and nuts are dispersed well through it and it is
smooth. Dust the top lightly with flour and let it rise in a warm place about 45 minutes.
 
Punch it down and let stand for 20 minutes. Divide the dough in half and knead the pieces until smooth. Let them
stand for 10 minutes longer. Place one ball of dough on a lightly floured board, and with a rolling pin, press down
the center of the ball, and roll the pin to and fro 4 to 5 times, pressing all the time to make an elliptical shape 6
inches long and 3 1/2″ wide.
 
The center rolled part should be 1/8″ thick and 4 inches long. Both ends should remain untouched, resembling
rather thick lips. Place this rolled out piece of dough on a buttered baking sheet and brush the center part with
melted butter. Fold one lip toward the other and on the top of it. Press the fingertips down near and below the
lips, pulling somewhat apart. Give a pull away from each end, pointing them toward the lips. The shape should
resemble a waning moon.
 
Repeat the process with the second piece of dough. Let the Stollen rise, covered in a warm place until they double
in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Bake them in a moderately hot oven (375 degrees) for 35 to 40 minutes. Do not overbake
them. Cool them on racks. Brush them with butter and cover with vanilla sugar.

Rekindling the Fires: How We Gather and Celebrate for Yule

Rekindling the Fires: How We Gather and Celebrate for Yule

by Catherine Harper

I am a person much concerned with the rituals of hearth and home, and in general I am more likely to mark the turnings of the year in my kitchen or garden, or alone in the woods, than I am in larger gatherings. But even this preference aside, Yule seems to me a holiday that focuses around these intimate spaces. In the face of the darkest time of the year, who we share our table with is especially important. If sunlight brightens the whole community, away from the sun one can pick those who are each of our chosen families by candlelight. Winter, to me, breeds a love of small spaces.

Reaching for this sense of family and continuity is a challenge for the many of us who are first-generation pagans. I know that I want to be able to reach back to my own memories of being a child and find something there that I can bring forward to give to the children in my life. But this can be almost an archaeological challenge, finding amid so much past the right pieces, bringing them to the surface, cleaning them and restoring them to some kind of meaning.

I have a vague fondness still for stockings, but no context from which to hang them, and the woman who knitted the stockings I once loved is dead and gone. That memory I can love and yet watch recede into the distance.

I remember the candles on a tree in the yard of one of my dearest childhood friends that, starting with the youngest child, we would each light in turn on the eve of the winter solstice, singing carols into the night.

I love and remember the smell of a fresh fir tree brought inside, but equally I remember being seven and in tears faced with that same tree two weeks later that had died and dried and lost its needles. And mixed in with my childhood memories of yearning for lights and magic are my adult wishes for fewer malls, a different sort of family and a clear line of demarcation drawn between what I do and what is so nationally celebrated as Christmas.

Out of these conflicting needs has come our own synthesis. I don’t pretend that the answers that our dialog with the past has produced extend to anything beyond our own threshold. We don’t bring in a tree, though that ritual is as pagan as it comes. We do exchange presents and stay up all night and party and play and keep a light going through all the long hours of darkness. At midnight, everyone gathers in front of the fire and feeds it with tokens of things they are glad to have seen the last of, accompanied by explanations and applause. (A ritual that started more or less by accident but has grown and continued until it has developed such momentum I suspect I will never see the end of it.) We make candles. We eat soup, bread and little sandwiches, and trays of cakes, cookies and fruit tarts.

In the last several years, these gatherings have begun to set fruit. When they started, we were college students and young adults, mostly. Now, we are overrun by children, competing among each other to dip candles thicker than their own wrists, gorging on sweets, playing tournament mancala, helping grind flour, swimming laps in the hot tub and staying up far past their accustomed bedtimes.

My senses of past and present are becoming satisfied. Bit by bit, out of the flotsam from our childhoods, from the chance occurrences that recurred and became tradition, from literature, from history, from the stories we have imagined for ourselves, we are building something solid, something that returns and carries us along with it, something that we will pass on.

(To people who will doubtless prune it into a shape they find pleasing. There is no point in being too attached to any particular notions for the future….)

Meanwhile, for me Yule will smell like fir and beeswax and taste like cinnamon. In this land of evergreens, it is natural to bring in a little greenery when so much else has died away. In a time of darkness, of course we make a fuss over light and warmth. And when there is so little in season for the table but we need the extra nourishment to stave away the cold, our celebratory food is rich with saved eggs and butter, and spiced to overcome the monotony of the winter stores. And in 15 years, or 20, if the gods be kind, a nephew, or niece, or godson (or child?) will call me from another city where they have gone to work or to school and say “That cake, you remember? You used to make it on longest night? Do you still have the recipe?”

Gingerbread

This is simply the best gingerbread in the world. The recipe is not original with me, but it has changed more than a bit in my keeping and may in yours as well.

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 very hot water
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour your baking pan. (I use a 9-inch round pan, but a pair of loaf pans also works well.)

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the molasses. (It is very efficient if you pour the hot water in the same measuring cup you just poured the molasses out of — it will dissolve the molasses residue and save you time.) Add spices. Alternately, add a bit of the hot water and a bit of the flour until both are thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, and then quickly whisk in the baking powder and soda. Now quickly, before you lose any rise from your leavening, pour the batter into your pan and pop it in the oven. Cook for about half an hour, or until the middle is firm.

Moldable Shortbread

When I was young, I found a variant on this recipe and used it to make cookies in the shapes of fruit, stippling little balls of orange-colored dough to give them the texture of citrus peel, piercing them with a clove to make a blossom end, painting a blush on the surface of peaches and so forth, rather in the manner of marzipan. But the dough can be made into almost any form, as long as it is mostly flat. You can think of it as an edible, cookable play-dough. Don’t be timid with the food color — bright colors make it much more fun.

  • 1 part sugar
  • 2 parts butter
  • Flavoring to taste
  • 5 parts flour
  • Food coloring

Cream together the butter and sugar, add flavoring if desired and then blend in flour. (If your one part is equal to half a cup, you can use &fraq12; to 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or a bit less almond extract, a bit more Grand Marnier, a teaspoon of citrus zest, a couple of tablespoons of minced candied ginger or whatever suits your fancy.)

Divide the dough into sections and add a different color of food coloring to each one, mixing it in first with a fork and then with your fingers. Form each color into a ball, wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

When it is chilled, form it into whatever shapes you — or your children — like. Bake at 325 for 20 to 30 minutes. If the dough becomes hot and sticky while it is being worked, just stick the cookies into the refrigerator to chill before you bake them. As long as they are cold when they hit the oven, the texture will be fine.

Mother’s Nature’s Nightcap Tea

Guaranteed to make you snore.

1    tablespoon chamomile flowers

1    large passionflower

1    teaspoon fresh lemon balm or fresh or dried lemon grass

1    tablespoon dried catmint or catnip.

1    drop pure vanilla extract

Steep in 1 1/2 cups of boiled water, covered, for 10 minutes. Strain and add vanilla.