Friday, December 23, 2011

Pecan Puffs and Aunt Alta's Toffee Bars

I was busy in the kitchen all morning today, baking lots of tasty cookies to take to work and to give to family and friends.  Although I didn't have as much time as I wanted to have, I had about 3 hours, so the entire process was pretty relaxed and really left me feeling all Christmassy.  I listened to Christmas music, drank tea and got my hands dirty mixing the dough by hand.  (There is really no better moisturizer/exfoliator combo than creamed butter and brown sugar.) 

These are not German cookies, no sirree.  These are delicious, rich, nostalgia-inducing cookies from my grandma's old recipes.  In fact, I made them from copies of her old, handwritten recipes.  My mom had her mom's handwritten copies laminated and preserved years ago and sent me copies of the recipes last year.  Every time I use them and read them, I feel so close to her, like she is right there, guiding my hand through the process.  She died when I was really young and, sadly, I don't remember too much about her.  But, I love how familiar and nearby she feels when I make these cookies.  There's a lot of love in them!

I put them in a pretty canister and tied a ribbon around them to take to work today.  I used one of my mom's beautiful handmade Santa Claus gift tags and I thought they looked marvelous.  It is a great idea to put holiday cookies in a reusable glass canister.  The recipient can use it later to hold coffee or other pantry items and it makes even basic cookies look more fancy. 

I also took  a couple more little packages in clear bags, wrapped with ribbon and also tied with pretty tags.  Clear bags are my other favorite way to give holiday treats (and small gifts and ESPECIALLY hostess gifts).

Here is the recipe for the pecan puffs!  The recipe for Aunt Alta's Toffee Bars coming tomorrow!  (They're my favorites!) is something we should all read.  Really, I highly recommend it.  I wrote it last year, apparently during a rare moment of clarity and gratefulness.  I have to say that I have not adhered to my own advice this year and it makes me a little sad.  I mean, I am certainly trying to savor Christmas and all of the small details of it--the smell of my favorite candle burning, my Christmas tree, a night out at the Christmas market with people I love--but, I have definitely gone overboard with the present this year.  I really should have taken my own advice a little sooner.  This is definitely something good to keep in mind as you start celebrating the next few days.  :-) 

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