A really good day’s work!

What a welcome surprise. I found myself with an entire day–no kidding–in which everything that I had scheduled fell through. In other words, an empty calendar. And an empty house for the morning. A Christmas miracle. So I put my time to good, high-calorie, high-fat use and made Christmas cookies!

Last year I may have made one batch of Christmas cookies, and possibly one pan of special Christmas brownies, so this was a real coup. Spritz and the brownies are must-haves. I also made molasses cookies from Bill’s Grandma Helen’s recipe, and tried new recipes for lemon drops and vanilla icebox cookies. A little something for everyone.

I did get some help–Paige came home mid-morning and she was kind enough to make the brownies. They turned out great. My only complaint is that she cut them too big! They are so dense that I like them not much bigger than the pecan half on top, like a piece of fudge. She said that was entirely too small, and made them much bigger. I see half-brownies in my future!

My new recipes came from this book:


This little magazine has lots of great-sounding recipes, and I’m a sucker for a new cookbook. I’ve bought several of these magazine-style books from America’s Test Kitchen and they’ve become staples at my house.

Would you like a recipe? The brownie recipe is so rich we really do only make it at Christmas and possible on very special occasions. I remember her making these when we lived in Minesota, because she would store them out on the sunporch and we would eat them frozen! That means the recipe is at least 35 or 40 years old. While I’m sure it isn’t original, it is truly from my mom, Diane; so even though it say’s “Mom” on my recipe card, we’ll change the name here.

Diane’s Awesome Christmas Brownies

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 16 oz. can Hershey’s syrup

4 eggs

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

Nuts, if desired

Preheat oven to 350. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the remaining ingredients and mix very well–about four minutes. Spread in a 13×9 pan and bake about 25 minutes. Cool slightly and frost with this:

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Boil first three ingredients together for one minute. Remove from heat. Add chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Immediately spread on brownies.

Cut very small–I like to put a pecan half on the top of each one. I also like to store them in the fridge or freezer and eat them cold. Enjoy! And…do you have a tried and true Christmas recipe? Please share!