Saturday, December 22, 2012
These past weeks I've been baking several batches of traditional Christmas cookies and pastries, many from old family recipes. As I get older, and arthritis makes life more interesting, I marvel at how my grandmother used to make our favorite cinnamon raisin buns with no labor saving devices. She did of course, have grand-daughters who were enlisted as they got old enough to crack an egg and roll out dough, but until then, she kneaded, rolled, sliced and baked hundreds of these goodies with only a rolling pin and a knife and spoon.
In my case, I had the advantage of four very helpful tools: the sifting shaker for spreading 10x sugar and cinnamon sugar in an even layer, the gorgeous flat pastry scraper (greatest tool since the gas stove), the pastry brush for spreading melted butter (Nonna used a spoon and it worked ok, but the brush is much more fun), and the heavy duty electric mixer with dough hook.
I just made a batch of Nonna's raisin buns at my mom's yesterday. She did have a pastry brush, but she kneaded the dough by hand. Her 88 year old hands still do a much better job that mine do. We mixed the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and spread it by hand. A metal spatula worked almost as well as my pastry scraper. In the end, the goodies were just as good, and we had just as much fun.
I almost forgot the other fantastic invention for baking: PARCHMENT PAPER. I suspect this has been around for a long time, but no one in my family started using it until just a few years ago. The amount of time it saves in cleaning up cookie sheets is worth every penny spent. Mom had not used it before but is now a convert.
So here's some of the goodies we made. I hope yours are just as gorgeous, delicious and fun. Have a great holiday weekend.
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Posted by Tina at 8:53 PM