a Non-Traditional Christmas Tradition

Such good luck, making my cookie delivery run on a day so unseasonably warm, bundling up wasn’t necessary. Coatless, I could show off my newest holiday apron, a gift from from my talented friend, Grace. Her selection of a non-traditional color scheme was the perfect choice,

Christmas cookie delivery 2010 [1600x1200]

as I have no religious connection to Christmas. Rather, I love the holiday because my neighbors go all out, their yard decorations lighting up otherwise dreary winter evenings. Their curtains, normally drawn against the night’s air, are open and framed in front windows are Christmas trees brilliant with colored bulbs, twinkling strands and ornaments. From the sidewalk, their homes have taken on the look of independent art scapes within a common theme.

As a thank you to neighbors for making our evening walk such a joyful stroll, I delivered cookies in bags a-jingle with ornaments.

Christmas cookie delivery closeup 2 [1600x1200]

I bake only one cookie recipe, but a lot of that one! This year’s cookie is a buttery shortbread.

Christmas Cookies set up [1600x1200]

Almond Shortbread Cookies Dipped in Chocolate

1 cup butter, softened 2/3 cup sugar, 1 egg yolk, 1 t vanilla extract

2 cups sifted flour, 1/4 t salt, 1 1/3 cups finely chopped blanched almonds

6 oz dark chocolate, 3 T unsalted butter, 1 T hot water

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk & vanilla and blend in. Add flour, salt and almonds. Stir until ingredients are combined well. Divide dough into 2-4 pieces. Shape each into a 1 1/2-2 inch roll. Wrap rolls in plastic wrap and chill until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets w/ parchment paper. Cut dough into thin slices. Place 1-2 inches apart on the sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from pans and cool in racks.

In the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter over simmering water. Add T of hot water and stir mixture until smooth. Remove from heat. Dip edge of each cookie into the chocolate. Cool on racks or the parchment paper until the chocolate hardens.

Makes 6 dozen. Freezes very well.

Not all cookies make it into giveaway bags – those that crumble before packaging are quickly eaten…by the baker, of course.

Christmas Cookies packaging [1600x1200]

The day after cookie delivery brought gray skies and snow. Here’s the view from the front porch, which is as far as I ventured. I am not a cold weather, snow person. However, I do

Cookie delivery_snowy day2 [1600x1200]

enjoy a nip in the air now and again, especially at Christmas, so I might wear this – my very vintage, very traditional holiday sweater

Christmas sweater [1600x1200]


Tie One On…an apron, of course!

Goodie Bag Winners + Frozen in Florida

There’s a sentiment on the beauty queen circuit that when the winner is announced, there are only two happy women in the room: the newly crowned queen and her mother. I think that an apropos analogy to my announcing the lucky winners of the National Tie One On Day goodie bag giveaway. I can just feel the disappointment of everyone other than the six. I so wish I could have managed goodies for all. It’s taken a while to make contact, and here they are: Melissa in Bryan, Tx; Melanie in Rigby, ID; Kimberleein Joliet, IL; Angela in El Paso, TX; Sue in Ventura, CA; and Becky in Pittsboro, NC. To everyone who participated in this year’s National Tie One On Day, thank you!
I’ve heard from many of you that the experience was so gratifying, NTOODay will become a new Thanksgiving eve tradition. I’m writing an article on NTOODay – if any of y’all would like to share their experience for possible inclusion, please email me at ellynanne@apronmemories.com with your contact info so we might talk.
I’ve just returned from a trip to the south, stopping first in Jacksonville to visit my youngest sister. I’d anticipated warmer weather than was on hand, especially for a booksigning event held at the most wonderful independent store, the Bookmark. Do note that Carol is dressed for the arctic because it was about 50 degrees or something, while I refused to cover up my adorable Christmas apron.

The store is located on a little plaza, which was decorated for Christmas. Posing on the holiday bulbs was irresistible, plus we had to walk across the street, which got my frozen feet moving.

My appearance had been scheduled to coincide with the lighting of the Beaches Christmas tree and a decorated bicycle parade, but between the chill and a televised football game of the most important rivalry in the area, the anticipated crowd never happened. I felt so badly for the store, which had gone to such efforts to create a festive signing, I decided to drag my sister all over the plaza, figuring two ladies in holiday aprons would attract some attention, which I could direct back to the Bookmark.

But there was really no one about, and I was turning into a popsicle, so we popped into a hotel lobby to thaw out. And lo! Another opportunity to show off my cutie apron.

Jingle Belle

Tie One On…an apron, of course!