A Timely Cookie (and some fun facts about Danny)

October 12, 2012 § 1 Comment

With everyone in America all fired up over the coming election, I thought it might be a good idea to make a non-incendiary post about something everyone can agree on: the deliciousness of a glazed pumpkin cookie.  Even if you aren’t a fan of pumpkin, these cookies are enjoyable for their softness and sugary glaze.  I made these about a month ago and the thing that sticks out most in my mind when I remember making them is that I was trying to decide whether or not to move out of my house.  While I baked.  (It’s surprising that they came out so well.)  Now I normally like to add little thoughts to my baking blog posts that are related to what I was doing while I was baking.  However, I do not want to subject you to my agonized decision-making process, which consisted of a lot of financial calculations and worrying about (alternately) my mother and the rats.

Therefore, in honor of my 5 year anniversary with Danny being yesterday, I’ll just tell you how to make the cookies… with a sweet little Did You Know fact about Danny attached to every step!  You see, it has come to my attention that people- most notably his close friends- think Danny is a sarcastic mean jerk who only enjoys taking people’s money in poker and making hugely-weighted-in-his-favor trades in fantasy baseball.  This couldn’t be further from the truth!  I consider it my responsibility to right this wrong (since he certainly won’t).

Without further ado, here is the recipe for the cookies:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup softened butter

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Here is the recipe for the glaze:

2 cups confectioners sugar

3 tablespoons milk

1 tbsp melted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In one bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt.

Did you know that Danny once made me waffles (from scratch!) with powdered sugar, syrup, and raspberries on top?  While he was dieting!  He just made them for me because he knew I’d love them. I did.  They were phenomenally delicious.

In another bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup of butter and the sugar, until it looks like this:

Sorry, but I like to mix with my hands.  Don’t worry, I always wash them first (obviously since I am not a moron and does it really matter since they just get baked at 350 degrees later anyway?).  Then add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla, and beat it until it’s creamy.  It looks like this:

Did you know that Danny has willingly gone to not one, but TWO Broadway musicals, just for me?  In fact, he didn’t just go to them, he bought the tickets.  He’s not a fan of musicals but he sat through the entire Phantom of The Opera play and when I asked him afterwards what his favorite part had been, he said: “Watching all the different expressions on your face.”

Mix in your dry ingredients with the wet pumpkin mixture.  I did this by handfuls and found that it was still very liquid-y, even after all the dry mix had been put in.  So I added more flour.  I ended up adding close to another whole cup of flour before the consistency was dry enough that I could round it into balls.  I don’t really know why it was so wet.  The canned pumpkin was the only culprit I could think of.  But yeah, if you make this and find that the consistency is way too sloppy to shape into cookies, just add more flour.  I did, and it didn’t harm the taste at all.

Did you know that if it weren’t for Danny, this awesome blog you are enjoying right now would not exist?  I’ve always loved to write, but he was the one who convinced me to finally start putting my words out there for people to read.  He set me up with my first blog page and always gives me good, unbiased feedback on what I write.  Listen guys, this is more important than it sounds.  To me, writing is a joy.  It is a gift.  And to know now that people like what I write, that in one day over 350 people read my post about the flood, to have people I don’t see very often come up and tell me they enjoy what I write (hi Bill!), it’s amazing.  I will always be grateful to him for believing in me more than I did.

The next step is to round the cookie dough into balls and drop them onto the greased cookie sheets.  Here is an awesome, slightly blurry picture of the cookies baking in the oven.  To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember how long I let these bake for.  I’m sorry.  The original recipe says 15-20 minutes and I think that was accurate.  Cookies are all different.  Every sheet is different, for that matter.  I usually wait until they look close to done (aka browning, and losing that ‘glistening’ look) and then use a spatula to lift up a few and check the bottoms.

While the cookies are baking, you can whip the glaze together very quickly.  The glaze is merely the confectioners sugar, milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract all combined.  Add milk if needed to achieve the drizzling consistency.  Very exciting stuff (and yummy too):

We all know Danny loves dogs, cats, and rats, but did you know that he is so tender-hearted towards animals that he hates to even kill spiders?  Literally, he won’t kill them.  I went to use his bathroom one time and there was a GIGANTIC (probably flesh-eating) daddy long-legger spider RIGHT NEXT TO THE TOILET.  Needless to say, I could not pee with that BEAST OF PREY glowering at me from its lacy lair.  As I backed slowly away with my hands in the air, trying not to incite the accursed son of Shelob, I yelled for Danny to come in and kill it.  His response?  Noooo!  Me and that spider are pals!  He’s been keeping me company in there for a few weeks now!”

 Once the cookies are done, pull ’em out of the oven and put them on cooling racks.  Look at how cute these little guys are!  All round and brown like little hens’ eggs!  And they smelled divine.

I always let my cookies cool down a while before I glaze them so that the glaze doesn’t just slide right off.  This glaze isn’t as thick as icing, so it will drip off somewhat, regardless of the temperature.  Just do your best.

I drizzled several layers of the glaze on these cookies because there was definitely more than enough.  And who doesn’t like as much glaze as possible?

Did you know that Danny is (almost) as good with words as I am?  He has a knack for writing a good phrase and his cards to me are always sweet, funny, and charming.  You might not know this because he generally writes in an acerbic tone but when he needs to lay the butter on thick, he can compliment me better than Shakespeare.  He’s quick, too.  I like that.  

The finished product looked and tasted delicious!  The cookies were soft and crumbly and not too dry.  Just enough pumpkin to make you think of fall.  Perfect!

Did you know that Danny will probably kill me for posting all these sweet things about him?

Our Duty and Our Salvation

October 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

Back around the end of August, I subscribed to the Magnificat.  For those unaware, the Magnificat is a prayer guide that has morning prayers, Mass prayers, and evening prayers in it.  From their site:

“Magnificat is a lavishly printed, easy-to-read pocket-sized worship aid, of more than 400 pages.  Magnificat can be used to follow the daily Mass and can also be read at home for personal or family prayer.  This monthly liturgical prayer book provides a fitting way to enter fully into the Church’s liturgical rhythms and spiritual legacy.” 

Because I had placed my order as September was beginning, the first one I received was for October, so I’ve been patiently waiting for this month to roll around for more reasons than just my love of autumn.  Well, I am pleased to say that it’s only 9 days into the month and I already love my Magnificat.  One of my favorite things so far is reading the Canticle of Zechariah each morning, especially these lines:

 There’s just something inspiring about reading a line about “the dawn from on high” just as the sun is breaking over the hills outside my apartment.  I can’t really explain the feeling, except to say it’s the sychronicity, the tradition, that is one of my most loved attributes of our Church: the knowledge of continuation, the ability to be unchanging, steadfast as dawn rises and comes and departs, for time immemorial.  There’s a simple poetry to the knowledge that even as I am, men and women all over the world are welcoming the dawn with the same words, spoken in the Liturgy of the Hours.  Whether they are kneeling in the solitude and dimness of a convent or monastery morning, or, like my mother, waiting for their children to wake up and begin the school day, or like me, sitting on my bed before work with one or two pet rats bouncing around my feet, the people of the Church are praying together.

Another reason I’m loving the Magnificat is that I feel like it’s drawing me closer to Mary, the Blessed Mother.  To the left of this text is the beautiful Marian antiphon that I say every night as the closing prayer.  (And I’m not just partial to it because it has my name in it!)  I call Danny before I recite the evening prayers, which means that these are usually the last words I speak aloud before I fall asleep.  What a wonderful way of praising the Mother of Christ!  In the evening prayer, instead of the Canticle of Zechariah, we pray the Magnificat, the prayer after which this book was named.  Mary’s Magnificat, found in Luke’s Gospel (Chapter 1, Verse 46), is one of my favorite prayers in the Bible.

I suppose I should put in a disclaimer that there are days when I am human and don’t feel like saying the prayers (GASP!).  However, I’ve been buoyed up in faith over the past few weeks due to a couple occurrences, some of which are private and I will only say this: if you are doubting that there is any goodness remaining in the heart of man, have faith!  You never know when kindness will manifest itself to you in the most unexpected and delightful ways.  I can tell you about one of the reasons though.  My ratties are all healthy again!  I was really worried about them for a few weeks because they seemed lackluster and not their usual bouncy selves.  After an expensive trip to the vet, where he said they were bug-free and not sick, I was still worried.  My ratties just didn’t seem ‘right’.  Before spending more money I didn’t have at the vet, I decided to take my rats to the annual pet blessing at our church, and to pray a novena to St. Francis in honor of his feast day on October 4th and because he is the patron saint of animals.  Just a few days into the novena, the worrisome red spots on their skin disappeared and they are acting 100% healthy again!  I’ve had my four little guys for over a year now (and they were with Danny for almost a year before that) and so I know them well.  They seem so much better than just a few weeks ago.  And although my weak words can’t describe what faith my heart holds, I know St. Francis blessed them and is smiling down on them.

Pray novenas for your special intentions, people!!

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