Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Warm Heart in Hand

There is an old saying, "Cold hands, warm heart." I say, "Cold hands? Hold a warm heart " There is something very comforting about holding a warm heart that goes beyond the physical warmth. I got the idea when I was putting together a package to send to my daughter Sam, who lives in South Korea. I took this pic while she was home for a few days in August.How do you send love and warmth in a box that you want to be more than just treats and necessities? Add fluffy white gloves and a soft red heart To make it, I cut out 6 inch red polar fleece hearts (2 per hand warmer), added a yarn loop to pick it up or hang it by, and stitched it together. Leaving a 1 1/2 inch opening, I turned it inside out and filled it with ordinary white, long-cooking rice. The opening is then blind stitched very securely and your heart is done. I warmed it in the microwave for 45 seconds (you may need less time, I have a low wattage microwave) and took it out by holding the yarn loop. It has a warm moist heat, so you don't want it to get too hot. And it shouldn't be used for young children. It stays warm long enough to tuck into your pocket to melt the chill of the first blast of winter air.

I had also planned on making Heart in Hand Sugar Cookies, but I had to get her package in the mail and didn't get them made until a few days ago :-( The kids and I used to make them together during our holiday cookie baking. Maybe next year Sam will be home for the holidays so we can all make them together :-) I have a hand shaped cookie cutter, but you can always trace your favorite little hands and use that as a pattern to cut out on the dough. You could also use a mitten shaped cutter. Then use a small heart cookie cutter to cut out the heart center. I took the small end of a chopstick and pressed it twice into the dough along the bottom, to make 2 small holes so I could put a thin ribbon through them.
Before baking I sprinkled white jimmies on the hands to make them look like gloves and red sanding sugar on the hearts. After baking and cooling on a rack, the cookie hands were doused with a good shower of powdered sugar. They were then ready for the final touch of a red satin ribbon to be threaded through. And for real hands to hold
Happy Holidays

Sugar Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon almond extract

In large bowl or food processor, cream sugar and butter together until fluffy. Add egg, and almond extract until well blended. Add the flour and salt and mix until it begins to form a ball, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed. If the dough is too dry, add a few drops of water. It should hold together without being dry or sticky. Scrape dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press together to form a thick flat disc. Wrap well and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a baking sheet.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick, or
desired thickness. The dough needs to be just the right temperature to roll and cut properly. If it is too cold, it is hard to roll, and if it is too soft it becomes difficult to cut and pick up. Roll any scraps back into a ball and chill again. Use as little flour as possible to roll out, so they don't get tough. After cutting, place on a baking sheet and bake for 8-12 minutes or until just lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack. I use an insulated baking sheet to prevent the edges from getting too brown.*

Makes 4 dozen, 3 inch (1/8 inch thick) cookies.

*My tips: Keep dough chilled just enough so it is easy to roll and cut, but not so cold that it is hard and cracks. I like to roll between 2 layers of plastic wrap. This keeps the dough from sticking without extra flour that makes the dough tough. I even roll it to desired thickness, between 2 layers of plastic wrap before chilling. Then when it comes out of the refrigerator, you won't have to roll and you'll be ready to cut. If the dough warms up too much while working with it, you can slide the whole layer onto a cookie sheet and chill, without disturbing what you've already done. Also, bake sugar cookies on insulated pans for even browning.

Stumble Upon Toolbar