Beauty in the Ordinary

This is not about being brilliant, or extraordinary, it's not about wanting to be famous, or making headlines, or trying to impress...this about sharing a 'gift' each day with the lift the spirit of people when they read this blog, to show them the beauty in the ordinary.
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Raold Dahl

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Traditions

We make three kinds of cookies
at Christmas in our family.
(and once you have read the recipes,
you'll understand why they are only made at Christmas!)

We get together in my father-in-law's teeny-tiny kitchen
sometimes ten, sometimes twelve of us, turn up the Christmas music, 
and bake all afternoon.

This year we were just ten, as youngest daughter and her hubby are
in Miami...but it was okay, we connected by speaker phone and shared some
of the afternoon with them.

Vanille Krunsl

¾ c sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
10 oz butter
1 pkt vanilla sugar
3 c flour
Icing sugar and jam to finish
  1. Mix all dry ingredients
  2. Rub in butter
  3. Add eggs and egg yolk
  4. Roll on lightly-floured board
  5. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 325 for 12-15 minutes until pale yellow
  6. Sandwich with jam and dust with icing sugar

Rum Balls

¼ lb bittersweet chocolate
2 oz butter
½ c finely ground walnuts/almonds
1 oz rum
8 oz icing sugar
1 oz graham cracker crumbs
2 egg yolks
1 Melt chocolate and butter.
2 Add the rest of the ingredients.
3 Cool approximately 1-1/2 hrs
4 Roll into bite-size balls and decorate in chocolate sprinkles/coloured sugar
Makes approximately 36

and Lady Fingers

3 c ground walnuts
3/4 c flour
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c graham crackers
1 egg
1 egg yolk

1 egg white
7 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
1 Mix all ingredients until well blended and forms a dough.
2 Roll dough into a rectangle approx 1/2" thick.
3 Beat egg white and lemon juice to the soft peak stage.
4 Add icing sugar one tbsp at a time until icing stands in thick peaks.
5 Spread icing on dough. Cut into fingers and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
6 Bake for 3 mins at 350 degrees 
7 Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees and bake until icing is dry (approx 45 mins).

and it certainly wouldn't be Christmas
without Kenny and Dolly


  1. passez un bon fétes de fin d'année.

  2. Sounds like you all have an amazing time, bless all your family and have a wonderful Christmas.Carole

  3. It's quite something Carole! Every year brings it's own stories! Wishing you and yours all things wonderful this Christmas.

  4. Your time together sounds almost sweeter than the baked goods! I love that you use vanilla sugar one knows about that's so delicious and makes everything taste very European! My German mom uses it in all her baked's like a secret ingredient that no one can place, unless they've used it before.

    Merry Christmas to your and your beautiful family Jacqueline!!! Thank you for being such a wonderful and faithful blog friend. Your the best!
    xoxo Jessica~

  5. I wouldn't have suspected anything less Tom! Merry Christmas!

    Thanks for your lovely words your little Christmas tree by the way. Yes, vanilla sugar is the best. I've asked Santa (aka Rudy) for a glass container so I can make my own to keep on the counter year round! I'll let you know if I've been good enough to get one!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours Jessica...hope you recover from your round of flooding soon and get back on schedule with the house.
    Psssst...heard from Lili, she and Sam just got married! Again! So sweet!

  6. Vous passez un bon fétes de fin d'année.

  7. I woke up this morning to a wonderful gift!
    or more specifically SEVERAL WONDERFUL GIFTS!



  8. Merry Christmas John...Victoria and I just wanted you to know that we think what you do for the animals is wonderful.
    Helen is responsible for the wrapping and delivering...she is a Christmas Angel.

  9. again thank you both!!!
    I will give you a big up in my later blog!

    P L E A S E SEND ME YOUR ADDRESS.... I WOULD LIKE TO send you something "welsh"

  10. These look fantastic! I might make the Vanille Krunsl today, and I have a jar of homemade vanilla sugar in the cupboard, but how much is in a packet, as stated in your recipe?

    The photo on your header is so very sweet!

  11. T. The packet of vanilla sugar is the Dr. Oetker brand. One packet is 8g, and it says on the back that it is sufficient for 4 cups (500gr) of flour, and is the equivalent of 1-2 tsp of vanilla extract. The reason we use it, instead of vanilla extract, is to keep the cookie as pale as possible.
    That picture is one of my favourites. Mum told us, V and I had both just recovered from the chicken pox when it was taken!

  12. just keep doing what you are doing...and writing about it...that in itself is totally Welsh!

  13. Love all the recipes...and I can say that because I have actually eaten all of them with J. It is wonderful of J. to pass on and share these beautiful traditions...vanilla krunsl my very favourite! are most welcome and I agree with J. keep doing what your doing looking after your birds and then telling us your stories, this is your gift to us.
    Thank you for all you do, and a very Merry Merry Christmas.

  14. i would love to send you welsh"love" spoons
    google themx

  15. Okay John...I crumbled...I've send you my address.


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