Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Nonna used To Say...

Got Agita? It's Not What You Eat; It's What Eats You

Friday, December 21, 2012

Italian Christmas Jam Cookies

Finally, the flour and the sugar are put away. Unlike my mom, I won't be making another batch of Christmas cookies because the tin is low on goodies. That's it...fini!~ I baked 6 different kinds of cookies, a few less than most years. The American standbys are a must...chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin & snickerdoodles. Everyone loves them, Christmas or not. Okay, I'll confess...I also bake them because it keeps my husband from eating too many of my specialty cookies.

Sesame cookies, Nut cups and Italian Christmas Jam cookies, along with the American variety, stuffed the gift boxes I handed out to 25 friends this year. Next year, I may include my pignoli cookies. Just didn't get around to those this year. Oh, I did include my usual fudge....raspberry pistachio, orange walnut, white chocolate peppermint cranberry & my newest- chocolate cherry marshmallow. My son would pout if Momma didn't make a batch or two of Rum Balls, so of course that was on the confection list, too.

I'm not sure about the history of the cookie I'm posting today, but it has always been on our cookie list. Years ago, Mom filled it with prune and chocolate. You really couldn't taste prune, but when I mentioned prune, noses crinkled, sooooo I now fill them with cherry & chocolate. No more prune faces.

A few tips and facts. Like many Italian cookies, it is not overly sweet. Great with coffee and tea. Just smear a small amount of jam & chocolate in the center. If you over-fill, it will seep out of the edges. This drove my mom crazy, so it's just not done. If you don't care, then fill 'em up. Be sure to refrigerate the dough...I let it stay overnight. Cut off a piece at a time and put the rest back in the refrigerator as you roll out the dough and shape the cookies. Do roll them out thin..a thick cookie just doesn't taste the same. Of course, you can use whatever flavor jam you want. I found the brand name Solo in raspberry and decided to try that. Unfortunately, it has seeds and I don't like to crunch down on fruit seeds. Though the photo shows raspberry, I changed the jam to cherry. I use a 3 inch round glass for circle shape. Don't make them too large. Powder sugar tops the cookies, but be sure they are cooled. Cookies will be pale in color.

Merry Christmas & Have a wonderful, blessed 2013! Enjoy the cookies.

Italian Christmas Jam Cookies

2 sticks of margarine or shortening (not sure why we never use butter, don't take the chance)
8 oz cream cheese, softened
4-5 Tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 cups of flour

1/2 cup of your favorite flavor Jam
                                                      1/2 cup chocolate chips

In a bowl, cream together shortening, cream cheese and sugar. I use my stand mixer.
Gradually add the flour. If the dough feels too sticky, add a bit more flour. Never over mix.
Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Melt chocolate and jam in a small pot on stove. I use a double boiler.
Roll out dough approx. 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured board or counter. Cut dough into circles and fill center with melted chocolate & jam. Fold circle into half moons and fork edges tightly closed. Place on cookie tray just a bit apart. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until light golden, but not brown!
Cool well and dust with powdered sugar.
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Remember To Make Memories At The Table.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The History of Aprons

Do the kids today know what an apron is? Here's some interesting and heart-warming facts.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material.
But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.
It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.
From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.
When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids... and when the weather was cold Grandma wrapped it around her arms. Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls. In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
Sewing pattern from McCall

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner. It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool.
Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.
They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron - but love...