Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Cookies - nothing like the last minute

Well, here it is Christmas Eve. We've promised to provide cookies for tonight's Candlelight Service, but have we made them yet? (Are you serious?!) In between the trips, we managed our shopping and gift making, loaves upon loaves of bread making for friends and family, card mailings as well as packing, unpacking, laundry, packing, unpacking, laundry again.

So, today we finally got to the cookie task. I planned on sugar cookies, but E, a bit distressed, said, "MOM! We have to make gingerbread! With butter cream frosting and red hots! They're Santa's FAVORITE!" (She's right! And, you know, we don't want to irritate the big guy!) So, after the sugar cookies, we moved on to gingerbread.

As I added the egg to the butter cream frosting, ala one of my mom's recipes I've used for years, I just couldn't figure out the purpose of that single, raw addition. If eating raw eggs is so bad for us, why is it included here? Sometimes I use it, sometimes I don't. But since these were headed outside the family AND I wanted to KNOW, I turned to the Internet. Turns out, butter cream with eggs is supposed to be COOKED before it's completed. There are lots of ways to make it, but if an egg is involved, all involve slowly eating the eggs to 160 degrees before adding the butter.

Since I had already put all the ingredients together, I heated the whole concoction, then let it cool before spreading it. Well, it was CERTAINLY more easy to spread than the raw version, but with the butter cooked as well, it had a distinctly "cooked" flavor. I'll try it again following the steps properly, but I have a feeling I'll resort to our old favorite - minus egg.

To make butter cream frosting without eggs or heat:
1 cube butter - creamed
powdered sugar to taste (about 2/3 bag)
1 tsp. vanilla (if you want WHITE frosting, you need to use white vanilla)
If it's too sweet, add a pinch of salt. JUST A PINCH!

This frosting is simple, great on cake, cookies or just graham crackers. Healthy? Not at all. I don't even think our organic butter effort really helps much. But it's a treat, and we're gonna enjoy it!

Merry Christmas!

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