I recently received a Rwanda Path to Peace Woven basket and Macy’s Culinary Holiday Cookbook for review, both of which were wonderful assets for my holiday gatherings.
Rwanda Path to Peace is a healing journey and a source of income that draws from the incredible skill of weaving that is passed down by generations of Rwandan women. The project and the income generated has improved the lives of more than 18,000 children, providing them with access to education, health care and more.
These baskets are beautifully handcrafted and make for wonderful decorative table centerpieces. The baskets are created with the same techniques and materials that have been used for centuries. Rwanda women use the inner fibers of Sisal leaves coiled around sweetgrass. The fibers are dyed with natural dyes creating different colors for the colorful patterns of the baskets.
Since it was the holidays I also wanted to bake a sweet treat with my little one.
The Macy’s Culinary Council cookbook contains over 80 recipes, as well as cooking tips from the 13 Macy’s Culinary Council chefs who include Rick Bayless, Michelle Bernstein, Cat Cora, Tom Douglas, Todd English, Marc Forgione, Emeril Lagasse, Marcus Samuelsson, Tim Scott, Nancy Silverton, Ming Tsai, Wolfgang Puck and Takashi Yagihashi.
I loved that it had recipes for every meal and included simple classic recipes and more gourmet ones. I would have to say my favorite recipe is the Thumbprint Cookie. I loved this recipe because it is so simple with few ingredients and easy preparation. It is the perfect treat that I can make with my 4 year old son, who just loves decorating cookies. Plus who doesn’t love a good sugar cookie with sprinkles.
If you participate in cookie exchanges, these are quick, easy and delicious.
Here’s the Recipe
Thumbprint Cookies (Makes 5 Dozen)
1 1/3 cups of granulated sugar
3/4 tablespoon of salt
2 cups solid vegetable shortening (room temperature)
1 1/2 cups of butter (room temperature)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure rum extract
8 1/4 cups cake flour (just a tip “cake flour” is not the same as all purpose flour)
Decorations for cookie (finely chopped nuts, rainbow sprinkles, colored sugar crystals)
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375 degrees.
In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment combine granulated sugar, salt, shortening, and butter and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes
Then add egg and the vanilla and rum extracts and beat until incorporated.
On low speed, add flour and mix until dough comes together. (if it doesn’t look like all of the flour will fit into the bowl of your mixer, scoop the butter-shortening mixture out into large mixing bowl and use rubber spatula, gently folding in the flour until combined)
Put decorating nuts, sprinkles and sugars into separate bowls. To shape each cookie scoop up a heaping tablespoon of dough, or use a 1-ounce scoop and roll between your palms into a ball.
As balls are shaped, roll them in the decorating nuts, sprinkles or colored sugar crystals, coating them even on all sides, and place them on baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
Using your thumb, make a shallow indentation in the center of each cookie (hence the name Thumbprint cookie)
Bake 18-20 minutes(until a light golden brown). If you are cookie more than one batch at a time be sure to rotate pans of cookies on oven racks halfway through the baking time.
Allow cookies to cool completely, cookies may be stored in airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.