I took a "personal day" off from L*K today. Sadly, I absolutely cannot remember the last time I took a (almost whole) day off during the middle of the week! I hopped on the turnpike, in the rain, and drove an hour to nearby Winfield, KS to spend a day baking with my good friend Julie. We've been friends since our college days, so that is a very long time!
Just to get an idea of what fab personal style Julie has, here is a pic of her charming house! Isn't it looking classically wonderful, all decked out for the holidays? Julie has a great kind of charming, homespun style that makes you feel welcome. I always admire all of her special touches at Christmas, especially her baking! So I went for a hands-on tutorial on her famous Stained Glass Cookies.
The first step was smashing the Jolly Rancher candies that would be the "glass" in our cookies. Armed with a hammer, we smashed 5 different colors of candies.
Then we mixed up the cookie dough,(similar to sugar cookie dough), rolled it out and started cutting out shapes. The tricky part is, you need 2 sizes of cutters for each shape. One for the outside shape of the cookie, and a smaller cutter to remove the inside shape. While Julie rolled and cut, I filled each cookie with the crushed candies. You don't have to be too neat, but you need enough to "fill" the cookie. If you plan to hang the cookies, like Julie does, you need to put a little hang-hole in the top of the cookie with a toothpick.
After about 10 minutes in the oven, we pulled the little masterpieces out and let them cool. After we removed them from the cookie sheets, we inserted ribbons and hung them in Julie's windows. She has a very organized system of curtain rods and ribbons she uses every year.
Here are the finished cookies, ready for viewing now and (Julie tells me this happens) eating later! I'm still trying to figure out how to hang my cookies in my kitchen windows. I don't have any clever window treatments to hide the curtain rods - maybe those little plastic suction cups?
Whatever! It was an awesome day away from my desk and into the small town world of Winfield, Kansas. I also got to see several other Winfield girlfriends when we went to the weekly Wed. lunch gang - what a bonus! After lunch, we made some cinnamon pecans - quite yummy and refreshingly quick after our stained glass adventures. After all of this baking, I returned home in time to BLOG and cook dinner!
It was a great day to breathe a little in the midst of the holiday busyness. Julie's faithful dog Sam wasn't feeling ANY holiday stress as he kept us company in her cozy kitchen!