My current stitching project is still in the works and won't be ready for a couple of weeks at least. I'm working on "Olde World Traveler" from the 1991 Leisure Arts book Christmas Portraits. Can't wait to show you!
In the meantime, I'm trying to enjoy baking some holiday cookies. Emphasis on trying to enjoy. When that cramp in my neck says, "Hey, take a break," I remind myself why I do these things. Fun! Right.....? But when my son comes home from school, sees the spread of frosted cookies on the table and says, "Now that is my favorite part of Christmas," it's all worth it.
I want to share a unique recipe from my mother-in-law—Bird's Nests. I hadn't made them since she first gave me the recipe 20 years ago, and that was for a little cooking column I used to write for my hometown newspaper. You can color the fondant eggs any color you want, or you can leave them white. I chose blue because right now in Boise, we are stuck in an inversion (cold air trapped under warm air). It's dreary and cold outside, and I could use a little thought of spring right now.
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg, separated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
chopped nuts (or crushed cornflakes if you have a nut allergy)
fondant eggs (recipe to follow)
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat well. Add flour and mix well. Chill dough about an hour.
Preheat oven to 300° F. Roll dough into small balls, about 3/4" in diameter. (You should have about 35.) Dip each ball in reserved egg white and roll in chopped nuts, pressing the nuts into the dough so they stay put. (If you have a nut allergy, you can use crushed cornflakes.)
Place the cookies on a baking sheet and press an indentation in the center of each with your finger. Bake for 8 minutes, press the center of each cookie again, then continue to bake for 10 minutes longer. If necessary, press the center of each cookie again lightly. Cool and fill with fondant eggs.
1 egg white
2 teaspoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
2-3 cups powdered (confectioner's) sugar
food coloring, optional
Combine ingredients, adding a couple of drops of food coloring if desired, until mixture is very, very stiff and does not stick to your fingers. (The amount of powdered sugar you need will vary, depending on the volume of your egg white.) Roll into tiny eggs and fill nests. You will have a lot of fondant left over.