Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Honorary Silly Chick - Sheila Welch

Welcome Sheila Welch! Children's book author and illustrator extraordinaire. Having to pick ONE favorite children's book is . . . well, HARD to do! But Sheila probably couldn't have raised her seven kids without the classic (A.A. Milne not Disney) Winnie-the-Pooh books. (Absolutely one of our all time favorites.) She has also enjoyed reading them to one granddaughter. As for mad skills, Sheila's takes the cake. Well . . . it takes they cookies. Sheila makes "storybook"'cookies (cut-out gingerbread cookies based on children's books'characters) each Christmas to display on the kitchen shelves. Here's a sample of some of her handywork. How cool is that?

To create them, Sheila sketches the characters on light weight cardboard, cuts them out, and uses these as patterns -- lays them on the rolled out dough and cuts around them with a small, sharp knife. She's even sent us the recipe! See below:

Thanks for your generosity, Sheila! Welcome to the coop!

Molasses/Gingerbread Cookies
1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening
1 cup light molasses
1 tablespoon vinegar
6 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (can be left out)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon2 eggs, beaten

1) Combine sugar, shortening, molasses, and vinegar in a saucepan; bringto boil; cook 2 minutes. Cool.

2) Sift together flour, salt, soda, baking powder, and spices.

3) Add eggs to cooled molasses mixture. Add dry ingredients; mix well.Chill. (I form the dough into about six balls before chilling.)

4) Roll out on lightly floured board, about 1/8 to 1/4 inches thick. (Ifthe dough is too stiff, let it warm up more or sprinkle with a smallamount of water and knead it in.) Cut; put on greased baking sheet. (Usevery little grease or the cut out shapes spread out too much.)

5) Bake in moderate oven (375 degrees) for 8 to 10 minutes or until done.(Use a metal spatula to get them off the cookie sheets -- works betterthan plastic.)

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