Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Upcoming Programs and Advent Holiday Recipes

Holiday Decorations with herbs seems to be very popular this fall.  I am doing two programs this year on that subject.  One on Satuday December 3, from 10 to 12 noon, entitled Herbal Holiday Gifts at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL and the other for Decorating with Herbs for the Holidays, at the
Palos Park Library.

This fall I am updating those programs, not just because they are scheduled, but also because I am putting together a Advent Calendar of herbal recipes, gifts and ideas that will begin being posted on Sunday November 27.  As a result I have a long list of recipes to try and share so I placed a number of them in these upcoming programs.  The rest will be in the Advent Calendar.  To whet your appetite for the calender, here is a recipe of the style I will be sharing during November and December.

Basket of Light and Pine 
  • 1 willow twig basket 
  • Pine cones (You can use the scented cones recipe for these.)
·  6 fresh cedar branches or fresh pine sprays
  • LED light strings (the ones that don’t get hot)
  • a few poinsettia stems
  • 1 1/2 yards of wire edges ribbon
1.     Fill half the basket with pine cones.
2.     Place your string of LED lights in the basket.  Be sure to put the plugged end over the back of the basket so that you don't loose track of it later.
3.     Add more pine cones (pulling sections of your lights upward so that you don't cover them all with cones.)
4.     Add pine sprays to the basket.  Using them to camouflage the wires of the lights. 
5.     Tie on a ribbon bow. 

Lavender Shortbread Cookies
If you choose to use the sugar beads, you can edge these cookies to add fun holiday glitter.  But plain they are a wonderful thin tasty sweet. These cookies have great shelf-life.  You can make them ahead for holiday events or give them as gifts, because in an air-tight container at room temp. they will stay fresh for 1 to 2 weeks.  And Lavender is believed to be the herb used by Mary to gently scent Jesus drying clothes.
• 1⁄2 cup blanched whole almonds
• 3 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
 2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
• 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
• 1⁄2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
• 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
• 1⁄4 cup confectioners’ sugar
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• About 2 to 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, for sprinkling on cookie tops
• About 1⁄4 cup Royal Icing, optional
• 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup small (2mm) silver dragées (sugar beads), optional

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, grind almonds with lavender and 2 tablespoons of flour until nuts are finely textured, but not pasty. Sift together remaining flour and salt and combine with ground nut mixture. Set aside. Place softened butter and sugars in a large bowl of an electric mixer. Cream mixture until light and fluffy. Turn mixer to low speed, and gradually add flour-nut mixture, blending until just combined. Stir in vanilla extract. Flatten dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill at least 3 hours, or until very firm.

Place a rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line two 15-by-10-inch cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface to 1⁄4-inch thickness. Cut with 2-inch round or oval cookie cutter. Carefully transfer cookies to prepared cookie sheets, spacing cookies about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle cookie tops evenly with remaining sugar and bake about 30 minutes, or until the shortbread is firm to the touch and lightly browned on the bottom. Immediately transfer to cooling racks and cool completely before storing.

To add a sparkly border, pour silver dragées into a shallow bowl. Paint Royal Icing on cookie edges using a small craft brush and immediately roll edges in sugar beads to evenly coat. Set cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet to dry icing before stacking or moving cookies for storage.

Until the Advent calender is unveiled, check out the Christmas Decorating ideas I shared last year:

Holiday Decorating #1  (herb dough)

Holiday Decorating #2  (gift tags and door decorations)

Holiday Decorating #3  (cranberries)

Holiday Decorating #4  (Scented pine cones & rosemary walnuts)

Holiday Decorating #5  (yule logs)

1 comment:

  1. This is great holiday recipes. I really like this recipe and wants to made for me to try something great.
    Grow Light


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