COLUMNISTS

Concocting Christmas creations in the kitchen

Susan Manzke

It’s the season for cooking, decorating, and baking. I don’t do cutout cookies. My cutouts break before they are baked. The recipe I did bake was called Grandma’s Lace Cookies. These are the thinnest cookies ever.

Susan shows just how thin her Grandma’s Lace Cookies are.

Grandma’s Lace Cookies

½ cup butter

¾ cup white sugar

1 beaten egg

1 cup quick-cooking oats

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I use a pan with a silicone baking sheet for baking all my cookies. You could also line a pan with parchment paper. Melt butter in the microwave. Add sugar and mix to combine. Add egg and mix well. Stir in oats, flour, vanilla, salt, and baking powder.

Put a teaspoonful of dough on a baking sheet—leave plenty of room because these will spread. Bake until edges are golden brown, about 9 minutes. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet.

These cookies are delicious, but delicate. They crumble easily to the touch. When they are hot from the oven, some people roll them into tubes and dip the ends in melted chocolate. I tried to roll one, but after I burned my finger, I thought I best leave the cookies until they were cool. (To make the flat cookies fancy, you could drizzle melted chocolate over them—I didn’t do that either.)

My other Christmas creation so far was Honeycomb Candy. I watched a baker make this candy on television and it looked easy and fun, so I gave it a try.

Bubbles in the honey-like mixture give these sweet confections the appearance of honeycomb.

Honeycomb Candy (aka Honeycomb Toffee)

1 ½ cups white sugar

¼ cup corn syrup or honey

¼ cup water

1 tablespoon baking soda.

I set aside my large sheet pan with the silicone sheet. If you use parchment paper, spray it with cooking spray.

In a heavy-bottom pan combine the sugar, honey, and water. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly—you don’t want to burn this to the bottom of your pan. It took me about 15 minutes to get my mixture to boil because I kept it on medium heat.

Continue cooking until the sugar mixture reaches 300 degrees and starts to darken—keep stirring and watching. This can go from just-right to burnt very quickly.

Remove from heat and add the baking soda. It will foam up immediately, maybe 3 times the size of the original sugar mixture. It also turns golden yellow. Don’t mix it long. You’ll knock out all the bubbles and end up with a giant sucker.

Once the baking soda is mixed in, pour it on your baking sheet—it is extremely hot! Don’t spread out the mixture. This will also knock out the bubbles. Leave it cool completely and then break it into pieces—you might need a hammer.

I have to tell you where I ran into a problem making my Honeycomb. Since I was working alone, I had a devil of a time getting that goopy mixture out of the pot. I held the pot with silicone oven gloves and tried to scrape the pot clean. I’d say 85% plopped out and I kept scraping at the rest. The scrapings lost their bubbles and turned break-your-teeth hard, but the first out was good.

Somehow, I’m proud to say, I only received one little burn while making this candy. The pot ended up with a coating of the hard sucker material on the inside and down the side I poured from. I couldn’t even chip this sugar off, so I put the pot in the kitchen sink, filling it with hot, soapy water until it was completely covered. I then walked away. When I came back an hour later, the sugar had melted off and my pot was sparkling clean.

If you go to the Internet, you’ll find both recipes and maybe even videos showing how to make the lace cookies and honeycomb. Good luck.

Susan Manzke, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; sunnybook@aol.com; SusanManzke@gmail.com; www.susanmanzke.net/blog.