Making Beautiful Things

6 May

We are most like God when we are creating out of love.
-Mark Merizan

One way to reclaim our joy is to imitate our Creator who is the author of beauty and truth. We can do this through art, woodworking, writing, music of all kinds and baking for others. When we create anything out of love, we find a piece of the child God intended for us to be.

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 Cookies are made of butter and love. –Norwegian Proverb

This last weekend, I made dozens of sugar cookies and took them to the Ladies Tea at my church. I love to make sugar cookies with royal icing because I think of them more like art than food.

When I was eleven, my teacher said we were going to have potluck for our Christmas party and everyone needed to sign up on the list to bring something. I whispered that my family was broke and I couldn’t bring anything. My teacher, thinking he was doing me a favor, said just bring ketchup. What he didn’t know was my family did not use ketchup and thought of it as a bad food.

When I told my parents, they did not want to buy ketchup for the Christmas potluck at school. My mom said she had a dollar and fifteen cents to her name and the ketchup would cost sixty-nine cents. She also said I could just skip the party since it was not really a school day.

By fifth grade, I had already moved many times and struggled to make friends, but at this school I made friends with two sisters who had beautiful long hair and they were always nice to me. I felt like I finally had some friends to hang out with and it broke my heart to think of missing that party.

My entire family sat in the car outside the grocery store and I argued, cried and begged until they let me buy a bottle of ketchup. I got my way, but I felt horrible about it. I felt like less than a bottle of ketchup and cried myself to sleep that night.

The day of the party, I took my bottle of ketchup and set it on the table next to some beautiful angel cookies with royal icing. I knew my parents did not want me to eat eggs either and I knew there were eggs in those cookies, but they looked so pretty I could not take my eyes off of them.

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Then a lady who was helping out smiled at me and said, “Go ahead, I made those cookies for a girl just like you.” I looked around to make sure my sister didn’t see me, then I ate that angel cookie very slowly savoring every crumb. I never forgot that woman. She was so kind, but I never even knew her name.

At the Ladies Tea, we were privileged to have a beautiful little girl at our table. She was very polite and sweet. Her grandma had an owl cookie that I made and she asked for it. I cannot tell you how much joy I get when children (and even grown ups) love my cookies. At moments like this I know I have come full circle. I am not just a consumer, I am a creator of beauty and love.

I didn’t learn to crack an egg until I was thirty-five. The memory of that beautiful cookie was part of my healing process. Food that is beautiful nourishes the heart as much as the body. These cookies are not health cookies and they aren’t on my table except once or twice a year, but it is the act of creating something that brings a smile to others that I love the most. So here is the recipe. Go out and find some cookie cutters that thrill you and have fun making cookies for someone special.

SUGAR COOKIES  

2 sticks butter or margarine

2 C sugar

2 eggs

2 t vanilla

4 C flour (sifted)

1 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

PREHEAT: oven to 350

BEAT: butter and sugar in mixer until creamy

ADD: egg and vanilla and beat until smooth

STIR: flour, baking powder and salt

ADD: flour mixture gradually to butter mixture

ROLL: into a ball and wrap with plastic

CHILL: in fridge for one hour

ROLL: out and form into cookies

BAKE: for 10-15 minutes or until barely brown
Do NOT over bake

COOL: for a few minutes and remove from sheet
and finish cooling on rack

ICE: with Royal Icing

Snowflakes

ROYAL ICING

 

1 lb confectioner’s sugar

5 T Wilton’s meringue powder

1/2 C water

Wilton gel food coloring of your choice

BEAT: all icing ingredients with paddle
in electric mixer until mixed,
just don’t over mix or
it will cause bubbles in icing

SPREAD: immediately on cooled cookies
or store in airtight container

Wilton has bottles that work well
for flooding and icing the cookies.
They make it easier than using bags for icing
especially if you have children helping you.

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While you are baking, enjoy this song of wonder by Gungor.