Friday, December 21, 2007

Cookie Stats

The Cookie Kitchen is closed for the year. I'm all baked out. This week was a mad rush to do some last minute batches of pinwheels, spritz and shortbread, but we're done! We had a lot of fun doing this and are already making plans for next year's Christmas season. I must say that God blessed us more than I ever dreamed! I would have been happy with just 10 orders, and I never thought that those 10 orders would be baked, decorated and devoured by our first customer before we even got our flyers printed! What a wonderful Christmas gift God gave us this year! Here are some of our statistics:

We assembled 42 platters (only platters, not counting non-platter orders. There at least 150 of each cookie that was sold to people who wanted to put them on their own platters.)

We sold 394 of each of the five cookies.

We made 1,562 shortbread!

We made about 175 dozen cookies total, including the first few trial batches to perfect each recipe.

I went through 30 kg of flour, 45 lbs of butter for the shortbread alone (I haven't calculated how much for the other cookies as well), 15 kg of sugar and all the other miscellaneous ingredients. I didn't do the decorating, so I don't know how many pounds of powdered sugar we went through, but I do know it was a huge amount.

The good news is that there are enough leftovers that we can enjoy some with our own families this week, too!

We have several people who have asked us if we do this throughout the year and have put our numbers in their address books and on their calendars for next year to make sure they order on time! We also had several early customers who re-ordered more cookies because their original platters disappeared!

Thanks to those of you who prayed for us during this time, especially after a broken finger on my end and a chicken pox scare at Connie's. Somehow we managed and God really blessed us. We dedicated this little business to Him and He poured His blessings on us!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Timothy's Surprise

Maybe this isn't appropriate to post on here, but it cracked me up this morning and I'm going to share it anyway.

Timothy had a little flatulance issue this morning. He was running across the kitchen when it blew. He stopped dead in his tracks and looked around with such surprise! "Mommy! Did you hear that someping? Did that noise just come from me?! What happened?!" He kept turning around trying to see his behind to figure out what had just taken place behind him. It was so funny to watch him trying to figure out what had happened. I had a hard time keeping a straight face trying to explain it to him.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling that the surprised innocence of this experience will not last and before long, these occassions will be happening with purposed frequency and no more innocence. For now, I will enjoy the humor of the situation with my little boy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Options

Liz told me how to adjust my settings so that anonymous readers can post comments. You don't have to have an account with Blogger to leave me a message anymore. Feel free to comment now!

My typing is still laborious and messy. I have a new splint on my finger, but I am still not able to use it for typing. Therefore, everything takes longer since I have to keep backspacing to correct all my unintentional errors. Soon I'll be back into this and you'll hear more from me!!

Just to update those of you who have been asking, i think I'm finally on my last four batches of cookies for The Cookie Kitchen!! I can't believe how many cookies have been baked in this kitchen over the past month! When all is said and done, I'll let you know the total count of cookies that we made. I can't even estimate at this point. God has really blessed this "little" project more than we ever dreamed! We already have people telling us that they don't want us to change a single thing for next year as they expect to be buying cookies from us again! That's all up to the Lord!

I want to finish one last batch here tonight before I head for bed! Bye bye!

Timothy's Prayer

Here is Timothy's breakfast prayer this morning:

Thank you, God, for the flowers and clouds and elephants. Amen.

I love children's prayers!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

He's A Walker

Christopher must have heard us talking about Edson and he didn't want to be outdone by his younger cousin. Christopher is now a walker, too! He still drops to his knees if he needs to get somewhere fast, but he is enjoying the new skill of walking! Our little baby isn't a baby anymore. Watch out, Edson! Here he comes!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Pray For Me!

Last night we visited an elderly friend and as we were leaving her apartment building, Fred and I exchanged quick plans for him to run to the store while I took the boys home for baths and bed. Fred helped w/the last carseat buckle and then took off in his van. I stepped out of the side of the van from getting Christopher settled, took one step and tripped over a drainspout that ran off the piller supporting the car port where we were loading up. I stumbled pretty badly, fell off the curb and landed in front of the running van ... my hand breaking the fall. I can still feel the crack as my hand hit the pavement. I jumped into the van, fumbled for my phone, tried to dial it without crying and just said, "Honey, come back quick! I just broke my hand!"

I'll spare you the rest of the details because it's too difficult to type with my hand all bandaged up. Basically, after sitting in the emergency room for only 4.5 hours (I feel blessed with such a short wait!), it was determined that only the fourth finger on my left hand is broken, but the rest is badly cut, scraped and bruised. Thank the Lord 1. that Fred could come back and help me so quickly, 2. that it isn't my right hand, 3. that I only had a short wait in the ER, 4. coming home from the hospital at 1:00am means less traffic on a terribly snowy, white-out-conditioned road, 5. my mother-in-law has offered to help me bake to keep up with our constant flow of cookie orders, 6. that it was only one little bone in one little finger.

Please pray for me as I have to wear this splint for three weeks! I keep forgetting that I can't do everything the same way. Diaper changing is not easy to do with one and a half hands. :) Please also thank the Lord that the fall was not worse!

I probably won't be blogging too much during this time. These paragraphs have taken way too long to type because I have to keep backspacing to correct them. I f you saw how I was rypinfing, you eouldf laugh ast me becuauce i csnt' see what ai'm doinf here! aathat's enoght for todsy! abye by!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Christmas Cookies

If you haven't started your Christmas cookie baking yet, I have some suggestions for you. We're using both of these in our Cookie Kitchen platters and they are delicious! A bit of warning, first: the Choco-Caramel Delights are dangerous. They are very rich and a bit addictive. It's funny that when we were narrowing down our cookies for the platters, one unnamed male kept insisting that we remove these from our list. He felt the weren't "Christmas-y" enough. We decided to override his opinion because, hey! We knew we'd be selling these platters to WOMEN! Women love chocolate and MUST have chocolate! We kept them in, and it's a good thing! They have been raved about over and over again and have become a selling point for the variety platters we offer. The women love them! The men devour them. I know you will, too.

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg, separated
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Caramel filling:
14 unwrapped light caramels
3 Tbsp whipping cream
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp shortening (do not use butter, margarine, spread or oil)

Beat butter, sugar, egg yolk, milk and vanilla in medium bowl until blended. Stir together flour, cocoa and salt; blend into butter mixture. Refrigerate dough at least 1 hour or until firm enough to handle.
Heat oven to 350. Lightly grease cookie sheet.
beat egg white slightly. Shape dough into 1-in balls. Dip each ball into egg white; roll in pecans to coat. Place on prepared cookie sheet. Press thumb gently in center of each ball. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set.
Meanwhile, prepare caramel filling. In small saucepan, combine caramels with whipping cream. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth.
Remove cookies from oven; press center of each cookie again with thumb to make indentation. Immediately spoon about 1/2 tsp caramel filling in center of each cookie. Carefully remove from cookie sheets; cool on wire racks.
Microwave chocolate chips and shortening on high for 1 minute or until softened; stir. Allow to stand several minutes to finish melting; stir until smooth. Place wax paper under wire rack with cookies. Drizzle chocolate mixture over top of cookies.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
(No nutritional information available or necessary.)

Now, if you like cinnamon, you HAVE to try the Cinnamon Stars! For our Cookie Kitchen platters, we add a splash of liqueur to the recipe, but I personally love, love, love them without it so that the cinnamon flavor can shine! And I'm being 100% honest here, there is a major difference between using regular, store-bough cinnamon and Watkins' Cinnamon. Using regular cinnamon is good, but using the Watkins is phenomenal! The cinnamon flavor will blow you away!

Cinnamon Stars
Dough must rest 2 hours before baking - so start earlier in the day before you need them.

3 Egg whites
3 cups sifted icing sugar
3 cups ground, blanced almonds
2 Tbsp Watkins Cinnamon
Watkins Cooking Spray

Beat egg whites until stiff.
Beat in sifted powdered sugar.
At this point reserve 1/2 - 3/4 cup of this mixture Cover tightly and refrigerate.

Then add 3 cups ground blanched almonds and cinnamon.
Cover tightly and let rest at room temp. 2 hours.
Roll 1/2 of the dough at a time on a powdered sugar surface (using powdered sugar instead of flour) and roll 1/8" - 1/4" thick. Cut out with star cookie cutter. Top with meringue and place on sprayed cookie sheets. Bake at 425 for 2-3 minutes until meringue just barely starts to brown on edges. WATCH CAREFULLY!!! Unfortunately, you have to babysit them while they're in there because they brown very quickly. Remove to rack within a few minutes to cool.

PS Just to clarify ... it was NOT my husband who didn't want the chocolate cookies included. He's a chocoholic, too! :)