Cookies for Mary! Aren't they just beautiful? Wouldn't you say they are fit for a Queen?
The feast of the Immaculate Conception occurs in the first half of Advent. On this day we honor Mary, Jesus' mother, for being conceived without Original Sin. We say Mary was immaculately conceived. What does that mean? It means from the beginning of her life, Mary had not the slightest trace of sin in her soul. Her soul was full of grace. She didn't have to wait to be baptized like the rest of us in order to receive God's life within her. The Immaculate Conception was a special gift to Mary because God had chosen her to be the mother of his Son. From the beginning Mary had a heart full of love - love for God and love for each one of us. What better way to honor Mary and celebrate her special day than by making heart shape cookies and decorating them? Sharing a few with others will capture the true spirit of this great Mother!
Here is an excellent sugar cookie recipe taken from Tasha Tudor's wonderful Christmas book, Take Joy! This recipe makes about 5 dozen cookies. You can make a dozen or two and freeze the remaining dough for later. If you are pressed for time you can buy sugar cookie dough or any one of your favorite varieties. The dough is rolled out and then cut with heart-shaped cookie cutters. After baking you can decorate to your heart's content.
HEART-SHAPED SUGAR COOKIES
PREP: 20 minutes CHILL: 1 hour or more BAKE: 8 - 10 min.
4 sticks of real unsalted butter 1 large mixing bowl
2 eggs measuring spoons
5 cups all-purpose flour measuring cups
2 cups of sugar 1 small bowl
A pinch of salt rolling pin
1 tablespoon vanilla heart-shaped cookie cutters
1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in clean rolling surface
3 tablespoons of milk
Frosting or icing
Decorations: colored sprinkles, colored sugars, candies, candy flowers, candy ribbons, etc.
*May use ready-made dough instead.
DIRECTIONS YIELD: 5 – 6 dozen cookies
1 Soften butter to room temperature. (Microwave on 5 seconds. Check to see if butter is softened. Repeat until just softened.)
2 Dissolve 1 teaspoon baking soda in 3 tablespoons milk.
3 Mix butter, eggs, flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, dissolved soda and milk in a large bowl with hands until the dough is smooth. The dough does not seem to be adversely effected by handling. Form dough into a ball, dust with flour and chill thoroughly before using.
4 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
5 Break c hilled dough into convenient sized pieces. Take only the amount you want to bake for today. Add a bit more flour for ease in rolling out.
6 dust the surface with flour. Place dough the size of an adult fist on surface. Roll out as thin as possible. Cut out with heart-shaped cookie cutters. Dust with colored sugar if desired. Blue would be pretty. You may way to make one or two very large cookies, also. Heart-shaped cookie cutters come in all sizes!
7 Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees until light brown about 12 minutes.
8 Cool on a rack.
9 Decorate with frosting, pipe icing around the edges or drizzle chocolate, add sprinkles, and any tasty decorations that you like. Candied roses would be a nice touch.