Soft Molasses Cookies

We are close to releasing a new pattern. Alice is working on the pattern layout  and my sister Peg has a fox on her needles right now.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This fox has been knit multiple times. I have churned out 7 hats with tails and 3 large fox toys and a slew of mini fox toys. The mini fox takes only a small amount of yarn so I played with the dimensions and shaping while knitting it.

Short rows are perfect to form the large ears that stand at attention on the fox. A fox is always alert and listening when you see them in the wild. They are ready to pounce at a moments notice. They are very cat like in this regard.

I played with traveling stitches  to define the brows and decreases to make the snout. The way the stitches line up on the face makes the eye placement so easy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When I found a gingerbread man  button at the local Ben Franklins I knew it had to be part of my fox toy. I am sure every child knows the story of the gingerbread man that ran away from home. He could run faster than anyone except for the clever fox whom he asked to carry him across the river.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo I sewed a gingerbread man to the back of the hat so  you can button and tie the fox tail onto the hat. This way if a child doesn’t want to wear a tail on his hat he or she could take it off. Or maybe somebody would want to tie the tail onto the handlebars of their bike just like in the 50’s teens would tie a raccoon tail to a roadster and when they drove it would flap in the wind.

On the toys I sewed the cookie onto the pocket of the fox because we all know a little fox needs to have a snack in their pocket.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

while waiting for the fox pattern I thought it would be fun to share my family’s favorite gingerbread man cookie. I have tweaked this recipe a bit — the original recipe was printed on a card that accompanied a plate of cookies I bought at my son’s school bake sale.

Occasionally I will substitute sorgum for the dark molasses.If you don’t have buttermilk you can substitute yogurt or make sour milk by adding a little vinegar or lemon juice to milk. You could roll these out and cut them into squares or make drop cookies but cookie cutters are so much fun. I love old cookie cutters and find myself checking the bin of cookie cutters at St Vinnies every time I go there. There is just something about all the cute and unusual cookie cutters that draws me in. Who cares that my family is on a gluten free diet– I still add to my cookie cutter collection when I find an old one I don’t have.

SOFT MOLASSES COOKIES

cream 1 cup butter, 1 1/2 cup sugar, 1 large egg

add one cup molasses(or sorgum)

sift 4 cups flour, 1/2 tsp cloves, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp salt,  2 tsp baking soda

add flour alternately with 1/4 cup buttermilk

refrigerate to chill mixture(about an hour)

roll 1/4″ thick and cutout. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350* for 10-12 minutes.

be prepared for the wonderful spicy aromas that will waft through the kitchen as you bake these. I might have to make some of these even though I can’t eat them so I can enjoy the lovely smells. Maybe I could half the recipe and then give them to my neighbors to get the tempting cookies out of the house.

If you are a fan of spice cookies check out my TRIFECTA GINGERSNAPS for another tasty treat.

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Toffee

This is my Xmas candy recipe I made an early batch this morning because I want to send some to my daughter and her husband. The recipe isn’t special it is a regular sugar and butter toffee and I spread dark chocolate on top when its still warm and sprinkle sea salt on top of that. Its a grown up version of heath bars.

Fleur de sel toffee

1 pound butter

2 2/3 granulated sugar

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup light corn syrup

dark chocolate chips and fleur de sel to sprinkle on top.

line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil and butter the foil. bring butter sugar water and corn syrup to a boil in a large sauce pan with a candy thermometer clipped to the side. stir frequently and till the candy reaches 300*(about 12 min). then take off the stove and pour it into the prepared pan.

let the candy cool for one min. and then sprinkle with the dark chocolate let that sit a min.and then spread the melted chocolate with a knife then sprinkle with the salt. After it hardens break the toffee into pieces.

It really is this easy to make candy the hard part is keeping yourself from eating too much candy.

I tried different recipes for toffee and this is the one I like best I can’t remember where I found it. I do know that originally the recipe said only to stir until the butter was melted and the sugar disolved but I find that the bottom of the pan scorches when I do this so I stir the whole time that I am cooking it. And it also said that the toffee would cook much faster than 12 minutes but it always takes me at least 12 minutes on a medium high burner. And you really have to watch the candy thermometer because at the end the temp jumps up to 300* very fast. And when it does it is important to take the pan off the heat and pour immediately I don’t whip it like the original recipe said because the pan always scorches a little and you don’t want that stirred into the candy. When I am done I fill my sauce pan with water and set it on the hot burner to melt the sugar and help clean the pan.

So now I just have to finish packing my box of goodies and go to the market to buy some cheese and then to the post office.

I also finished this yesterday while watching the Packers play football This will look better once it is blocked but I couldn’t wait to show off a picture. I think I might use my block as a pillow cover or maybe I will use it under a vase to protect a table top. I am happy with it except for the odd duck. Yes that yellow and brown duck. That was the second duck I made and the color just didn’t do it for me but I sewed it up and figured it would be my one odd. I like one odd in blankets and quilts but in a small piece it disturbs my eyes too much. So I look at my doily and think maybe I could take some of my walnut dye and ‘paint’ over the yellow and dull it a bit . But that is probable inviting disaster. The dye will surely run over into the orange and blue and I will have a huge mess. So I may have to be content with my odd duck. Over all I am pleased with my natural dyed yarn from this summer and I like the combinations I picked for the blanket. There are a couple of other knitters that are also cutting and knitting the i-cord and when they are done Jana will be able to release her pattern.

She just showed us the finished picture over the weekend and it is gorgeous. Just stunning! I can’t wait until I have an entire blanket finished.