Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Amish Christmas Cookie Recipes....Enjoy!

Volume 5 of my Amish Knitting Circle is called Christmas Cookies. I surprise readers with original Amish Christmas cookie recipes. I'll share them today on Amish Crossings because so many ingredients are on sale this week to make Thanksgiving desserts. Stock up on flour now ;)  Enjoy!

Lydia’s Sugar Cookies with Cinnamon Frosting

3 c. Crisco
2 c. white sugar
2 c. brown sugar
5 eggs
3 c. whole milk
Vanilla to flavor (1 tsp.)
6 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
Enough flour to handle, not too much. About 9 cups.

Cream shortening with sugars. Add wet ingredients. Sift dry ingredients and slowly fold in. Mix well. Drop teaspoon full of batter on cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. 

Cinnamon Frosting

1 c. Crisco
3 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch salt
Milk to thin a bit
Flavor with cinnamon to your liking.

                                                Ginger Cookie
1 c brown sugar
1 c. shortening (Crisco)
½ c. hot water
1 egg
2/3 molasses
1/3 c. corn syrup
1 T baking soda
1 T cinnamon
1 T Ginger
1 T vanilla
Pinch salt
1 T baking powder
Enough flour to make soft dough. Start with 4 cups to start. Add flour slowly until right consistency.

Sift flour with salt and spices. Cream shortening and sugar; add egg and beat until light. Add molasses, corn syrup and vanilla, then dry ingredients. Dissolve baking powder in hot water, and add to mix. Add flour, not to exceed 9 cups. Drop by teaspoons on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

                                    Oatmeal Whoopie Pies

4 c. brown sugar
1 ½ c. Oleo (Crisco)
4 eggs
4 c. flour
4 c. oatmeal
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda dissolved in 6 T boiling water

Cream together sugar, Oleo, and eggs. Add pinch of salt, flour, oatmeal, cinnamon, baking powder. Add soda water last. Beat and drop by teaspoon full on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees. Take two cookies and spread with filling, holding them together.

Whoopie Pie Filling
2 egg whites
2 t vanilla
4 T flour
4 T milk
4 c. powdered sugar
1 c. Crisco

Beat egg whites until stiff. Add other ingredients. Spread between cookies and enjoy.

                                    Chocolate Whoopie Pies

4 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2 t. soda
1 ½ salt
1 c. shortening (Crisco)
1 c. cocoa
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
1 c. sour milk from the cow (and for the rest of us…1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup ;)
1 c. cold water

Cream: sugar, salt, shortening, vanilla and eggs. Sift: flour, soda and cocoa. Mix ingredients together and slowly add sour milk and water until right consistency. Can add flour to mixture if too gooey. Drop by teaspoonful. Bake at 350. Put two cookies together with Whoopie Pie Filling recipe.


                                    Christmas Butter Cookies

3 c. powdered sugar
½ c. white sugar
2 c. butter
2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs, beaten
6 c. flour

Cream together butter and sugars, add vanilla and eggs. Mix well and add flour and baking powder. Roll thin and cut. Bake at 350 degrees. Top with frosting.
                                                Basic Frosting
3 egg whites
½ tsp. cream of tartar
4 c. powdered sugar

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar. Add powdered sugar and beat until stiff. Add enough water so that you can dip the cookies in the frosting.

                                                Butterscotch Cookies
2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 cup shortening or lard
4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup nuts

Mix all ingredients except nuts. Stir the nuts in by hand. Roll the dough into tubes 2 inches thick and cut in thin slices. Press with fork or potato masher to make design. Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Inside an Amish home...Plain and Simple

 Every time I step inside an Amish home, I feel like I need take half the stuff in my house to the Salvation Army pick up bin. If a picture can say a thousand words, take a look at my friend's new house. You'll see two sewing machines that she often uses, decorated with runners and crocheted doilies edged in blue. In the left corner there are two Amish "drying racks" for laundry. So this beautiful room is where Lydia dries, sews and mends clothes. When not in use for laundry or sewing, it's really cute, neat, and orderly. You'll see two Amish rockers with woven rugs under them which can be easily turned to use for sewing, or to sit and chat with a friend. The left wall is filled with storage...out of sight and out of mind. Plants adorn the tops of the window sills and sewing machines when they're not in use. Lydia has two greenhouses and like most gardeners in Western Pennsylvania, shelves line many windows so plants can be started inside in February. So many functions for such a little space. Really makes me wonder what I need to get rid of first....plain and simple

Monday, November 7, 2011

Knit Together: An Amish Knitting Novel & Operation Knit Together for Charity

I've always wanted to write a full length novel. Every time I watched Little Women, and saw Jo up in the attic writing about things from her heart, a knot would form in my stomach. I could never do that, I thought. I have nothing to really say.

Well, after my mom passed away, I went to visit my friend, Lydia, in Smicksburg, PA. She had just lost her sister-in-law to a heart attack. As we walked around her two greenhouses, sharing our grief, I wondered what it would be like if Lydia and I lived across the street from each other and could talk everyday. I've learned so much from her about the Amish way of life, I then thought....I have a story to tell. The major life-lessons my Amish friends in NY and PA taught me.

In the book is a man named Eli Hershberger. He's my late friend, Harry Hershberger.  He became a paraplegic after his buggy was hit while he was on his way to help put out an Englisher's fire. The Amish built a variety shop onto his house so he could have a source of income. I'll never forget asking Harry how much a cord of wood was, as we usually put up 30 cord in Upstate NY. Harry looked at me baffled...he didn't know. The Amish community had always provided all the wood he needed, since his wife couldn't go out and split logs and tend to him.

My book , Knit Together: An Amish Knitting Novel, published by Trestle Press, just came out as an ebook and will be a paperback before Christmas 2011. What a dream to not only have a novel, but to have one about the lessons I learned from my Amish friends. I'm just as excited to partner with Christian Aid Ministries, an Amish/Mennonite charity in Berlin, OH. In the front of the book is a knitting pattern for mittens. The Amish/English knitting circle in the town not only hold the town's harmony together, but knit for charity together, and they're making mittens for orphans in Eastern Europe. Operation Knit Together is announced in the front of the book, asking reader to knit the mittens and send them to CAM. They will distribute them to orphans in Eastern Europe.

I am so thrilled about this book, and my  Amish Knitting Circle series. If you have Amish friends, or know something about them that changed your life, maybe you have a story you can begin to spin. I believe the Amish can teach so much in this the post-modern world we live in. I know I’ve learned a lot….
If you'd like to read my book and knit along in a virtual worldwide knitting circle, you can get the book at the link below.

Blessings to you!

Karen Anna Vogel