Friday, December 23, 2011

Angel Cookies

Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.  Psalm 32:11

I couldn’t have asked for more enthusiastic participants.  After printing the recipe for the angel cookies a couple of weeks ago, I realized it was high time my children got going on it.  It is, after all, nearly Christmas.  I bought the cookie dough and chilled it, bought some decorative sprinkles to go along with the sugar, dyed in bright colors, we already had in the cabinet.  We set to work.

I am always nervous about giving my children new cooking projects to try.  Their interest in such activities, along with their willingness to sit still for them, varies with the day.  I’m never certain if they will like them or not.  Cookies and other sweets, however, do have a leg up, and on this day my children happily took on their new assignment.

I did the cookie slicing, but let them cut most of the shapes (with a table knife).  I coaxed them to put the shapes into the right places to make an angel, which they did with a little help.  Then came the decorating!  The sprinkly stars were nice, and the other decorations were acceptable, but the colored sugar was the best!  They used it.  A LOT of it!  Not just a sprinkling to add a certain hue.  Not even a layer of sugar to change the color entirely.  I’m talking about a pile of sugar!  Empty the bottle on one cookie kind of decorating!

Their enthusiasm was touching.  It somehow seemed profound, whimsical , a bit wasteful yet beautiful all at once.  New bottles of green and red sugar were used up completely.  Possibly – really – on a single cookie.  I’m all for extravagance, but I was out of my league trying to figure out just what was the message of this over indulgence.

Heaven knows, most of us who will be reading this post have more than enough.  We struggle not to be wasteful when we have grown up in a culture that makes disposable everything; when we have been taught that more than we need is just enough.  We have more than enough in our closets, in our pantry, in our bank accounts, in the square footage of our homes.  It may not feel like that on any given day, but we have so much more than we need.  Learning what makes enough is probably a good lesson for all of us.

But there was something greater than mere squandering in my children’s over-sugaring of their cookies.  Their exuberance seemed less wasteful than adulatory.  Now, if you were to ask them, of course, they couldn’t have begun to tell you that their over-enthusiasm with the sugar was their own method of worship.  They couldn’t have said that they were reflecting God’s extravagant grace, poured out in abundance on our humble lives.  Probably not a conscious thought of that went through their heads.  But I believe in some mystical way, through the quiet, sneaky act of the Holy Spirit, it was true.

My children’s cookie decorating was praise; an act of joyful worship and thanksgiving to the God who made such celebrations possible.  Christ is coming, as a small child, more helpless and mute than even my children.   His birth will be heralded by angels, mortals, ox and lamb.  What could be a greater response to that joyous event than to decorate angel wings?

May you worship in this season!  Whether your method of praise is cooking, singing, preaching or praying, may you go over the top in your enthusiasm, and known an abundance of joy.

Blessed eating!

Since I have already shared the “recipe” for angel cookies, here is another family favorite; this time from the other side of the family!  Not the Basses, but the Simmons.

Orange-Ginger Cookies (Spicy Refrigerator Cookies)
Cream:  1 c. butter
                1 ½ c. sugar
Add:      1 egg
                2 tbsp. light corn syrup
Beat well.
Sift together:     3 c. sifted flower
                                2 tsp. soda
                                2 tsp. cinnamon
                                2 tsp. ginger
                                ½ tsp. cloves
Mix dry ingredients into creamed mixture along with 1 tbsp. grated orange peel.  Shape into two 9 in. rolls about 2 in. across.  Wrap in wax paper and chill several hours or overnight.  Slice in 1/8 inch slices and place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake @ 400o.  Makes about 8 dozen.


1 comment:

  1. Just saw you are following my kitchen blog. Welcome! And I just hopped over to look around, and I LOVE the angel cookies! Will be back to read more when I'm not falling asleep. Blessings, new cooking clergy friend.