The Thrifted Kitchen :: Kringle Cookies

Are you guys and gals ready for another cookie recipe as we begin our extended holiday weekend?? I know I am! In fact, several of these became my breakfast this morning (oops!). But I had milk with them...that's nutritious, right? :)

I pulled this recipe from the same book as yesterday (Good Housekeeping's Complete Christmas Cookbook, 1967), and the original title was Kringle Wreaths. I did make some wreaths, but couldn't resist sneaking a few bells and trees in there, too, thus the word change to cookies. I also substituted the green decorating sugar with some gold disco dust to update them a bit. I found the edible glitter at my favorite baking supply store here in St. Louis, Karen Ann's. It has pretty much everything you could want when it comes to baking decorations, and the lady at the counter made sure I was well-schooled on what I was buying. She said a little goes a long way (so true), and you'll find glitter around your house for weeks afterward (which, so far, is very true...I saw some in the hubs's beard last night!). But the risk was worth it, I think. I love how festive and sparkly the cookies are...it's almost makes me want to the hustle! (Disco dust? Hustle? Anyone....?)

There was one downer to this party, though. My first batch I rolled to the 1/8-inch thickness the recipe called for, but they were way too thin and almost burned. The cinnamon candies melted, too, and it was like Christmas on Elm Street or something when I pulled them out of the oven. So, for the second batch, I made them thicker (about 1/4 inch), and then watched them like a hawk through the oven window to make sure the cinnamon candies didn't melt (baking them about 7 minutes seemed to be the key time). And then, for the last batch, so I didn't have to stay tied to the oven door, I only put the egg white and glitter on the cookies, baked them 5 minutes, pulled then out and put the red candies on, and then baked them another 3 minutes. This worked really well...you just have to give the candies a little push into the dough because the egg white has already hardened at this point. But once the candies softened a little in those 3 minutes, their sugar held them onto the cookie really well.

Such work for such small, crunchy little things! :)

Lastly, one ingredient that was new to me when baking cookies was the hard-cooked, sieved egg yolks. I had never come across a recipe that called for this, so I did a little Interwebbing to see what they did to the dough. According to Cook's Illustrated, it gives the dough a sandy/tender texture, and the technique comes from old European recipes. Interesting, oui?

Do let me know if you give these kringles a try! Would love to see how you decorated yours!

Kringle Cookies
Courtesy of Good Housekeeping's Complete Christmas Cookbook, 1967
Yields a little more than 4 dozen

3 3/4 cups sifted regular all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup soft shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs yolks, unbeaten
4 hard-cooked egg yolks
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg white, unbeaten (so reserve some egg white from those 4 uncooked eggs above)
Green-colored sugar (or gold disco dust/edible glitter)
Red cinnamon drops

Sift flour with salt. Then, in bowl with mixer at medium speed, blend shortening, granulated sugar, unbeaten eggs yolks and sieved hard-cooked egg yolks until light and fluffy.

Now, with mixer at low speed, beat in flour alternately with milk and almond extract just until mixed. Wrap in foil; refrigerate overnight (or up to 3 days).

Start heating oven to 400 degrees.

On lightly floured, cloth-covered board, roll part of dough 1/4 inch thick, keep rest refrigerated; cut out with 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter (or whatever holiday cookie cutters you have).

Arrange cookies on ungreased cookie sheets (I lined my with parchment in case the red candies decided to melt again, and to save on cleanup); brush lightly with unbeaten egg white; then sprinkle each cookie with green sugar (or glitter) and top with a group of three red cinnamon drops. Repeat with rest of dough.

Bake 7-8 minutes (depending on your oven...when they're done right they won't be browned). Cool; then store in tightly covered container.


The Thrifted Kitchen :: Chocolate-Dipped Almond Fingers

Being that it's five days until Christmas (!!), I am in full holiday cookie mode, much to my oven's dismay (ha). So far I've made some classic chocolate chip cookies from Dorie Greenspan's baking book (which I highly recommend), and they were so good; the perfect combination of thin and chewy, and they stayed that way for the short time they lasted in our house (hee-hee).

Then last night I tried a new recipe from an old book: Good Housekeeping's Complete Christmas Cookbook, published in 1967. I tend to lean toward the shortbread-type cookies during the holidays, and these almond fingers are certainly on that track. I really loved them more than I thought I would; they're light and a little crunchy, with one end dipped in delicious chocolate. I also added some crushed peppermint on top of that to make them a bit more festive. Now let's just hope they make it to Christmas! :)

One word of warning: This is one of those recipes where the dough has to refrigerate for a while (3 hours, or overnight), so plan ahead. And if the dough is pretty hard when you take it out, just let it thaw a bit on the counter until it's at a workable consistency. I also found a scale made life a lot easier since they have to be shaped into fingers and I wanted to make sure they were the same size. So I weighed all the dough and then divided it by 60 (the recipe makes 5 dozen) to see how much each one should weigh (which was about 0.4 ounces, I think).

As far as topping, you could also change things up by using melted white chocolate, white chocolate with crushed peppermint mixed in, and top it with sprinkles, flaked coconut or maybe even some disco dust? Possibilities are endless, my little bakers, so have fun with them!

Toasted Almond Fingers (or Chocolate-Dipped Almond Fingers)
Courtesy of Good Housekeeping's Complete Christmas Cookbook, 1967
Yields 5 dozen two-inch cookies

1 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sifted regular all-purpose flour
2 cups finely chopped slivered almonds, toasted
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons shortening

In a medium bowl with mixer at medium speed, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in milk, vanilla and salt. At low speed, beat in flour. Then stir in almonds. Wrap dough in wax paper; refrigerate until cold, or overnight, if desired.

Start heating oven to 325 degrees.

When dough is cold, shape into 2-inch fingers; place on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 15 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

In a double boiler over hot, not boiling, water, melt semisweet chocolate with shortening, stirring to blend. Carefully dip one end of each cookie into mixture; let dry on wire racks. Store in loosely-covered container at room temperature.


Style Spots :: Catching Up Is Hard to Do

Hey all! Have you been sucked into the holi-daze yet, because I sure have! I realized today that I'm about two thrifting trips behind when it comes to Style Spots, so I wanted to pop in and share some scores from last week's half-off sale at Value Village and a little jaunt yesterday that was suppose to be me just dropping off some stuff to donate, and turned into a two-stop thrifting spree (oops!).

In between all that I've been finishing up our gift shopping and prepping for Holly's last show of the season, the December Winter Market and Holiday Fair at Schlafly Bottleworks. It's from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, and is the perfect one-stop shop for last-minute holiday gifts and local produce for those feasts you're planning to make next week. :) So please do stop by and say hi! We'll be parked right next to the heated patio near the front door (I think).

And now, onto the goods...

A twin fitted sheet with Vera's fern pattern, for sale.

Super cute child's hooded sweatshirt with embroidered winter scene at the bottom, for sale.

Some needlepoint plastic, a set of holiday needlepoint ornaments and a crewel skit.

A really amazing vintage felt artwork piece with sequins, which I glumly say is for sale. :)
Would look great with the frame painted white.

Cute little girl's holiday dress, for sale.

A whole box of vintage glass ball ornaments in gold and teal.

Two holiday pillows for the living room.

Two really cute couch pillows, teal with olive-colored silk leaves, for sale.

Ceramic elephant head bookends, which I think I'm going to paint hot pink.

A pair of brown-toed pumps.

Some pretty vintage dessert plates for tea parties.

And a pair of really nice vintage cream flats with bows, for sale.

I think this will be the last Style Spots until after Christmas, so I hope you got your fill! :) I have three more holiday Thrifted Kitchens to share over the next several days, and then I'm off to spend time with my family!

Oh, and I almost forgot! If you're looking for a last-minute holiday gift and you're local to the St. Louis area, I have Parsimonia gift cards for sale! Holly and I are already booking events for 2013, and we have some more regular stops we're working on, so there will be plenty of time to shop in the new year. Or your giftee can make an appointment for some private Holly time and come and shop at their leisure. Email me for more information or to order!

Happy, happy holidays! :)


It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Hey all! Are we so excited that it's Friday?? (Yay!) Today I'm headed over to my parents' house for some baking fun, and then we're headed to the zoo tonight to see it covered in twinkly lights and hang out with the nocturnal animals.

Right now, though, I promised I'd share some snapshots of this year's Christmas decor. I went a bit crazy this year, and the decorations spread beyond the living room. There is also a lot of tinsel and shininess happening, but I wouldn't trade a single piece of aluminum. :)

There were some parts of the house where I didn't take any photos because it was too dark (the curse of living in between tall houses), but I got some of my favorite things captured. Want to see?

Living room: Tinsel wreaths around plastic deer heads and my grandma's holly garland.
Gold glitter deer and plastic lighted lamp post!

Living room: Silk red ball ornaments in hubs's grandmother's mid-century dish.
Aluminum Christmas tree (thrifted this summer!) with my grandmother's glass ornaments.

Dining room: Party time tinsel garland bar area. More tinsel garland around the wall art.

Dining room: vintage fabric tablecloth, more tinsel wreaths, brass deer candle holders and red silk ball ornaments in pedestal vases. Silver tree farm with bows, two redbirds from Binx Ceramic and a Santa bear carved by my grandmother's friend.

Kitchen: More tinsel garland along the shelves; new Vera holiday dish towel from Crate and Barrel; Santa head string lights along the chalkboard.

Guest room: Where all of last year's decor went! :) My favorite thing is the tree branches in Thermoses. 

Last year's tree and brass deer among the bottle brush trees.

Almost everything in these decorations was thrifted at some point, and a lot of it is vintage (of course). I love that you can piece together a fun and festive atmosphere for not a ton of dough! I'm most proud of the green tinsel wreaths, which I fashioned out of vintage garland wrapped around embroidery hoops (which you can find at thrifts a ton cheaper than wreath forms!).

How about you? How have you been thrifty this year as you welcome the holidays?


The Thrifted Kitchen :: Peppermint Stick Tree Cake

Well I've finally traded in the pumpkin as far as baking goes. Now it's all about peppermint! (Or at least today it is...). I'm definitely getting into the holiday baking a bit later than anticipated, but I've got some fun recipes coming up over the next couple weeks that will hopefully inspire some cheer into your end-of-year celebrations! :)

This tree cake recipe comes from an over-the-top cute children's cookbook that I picked up at that crazy packed sale (which I also went to again this past weekend). Anyway, the book is Betty Crocker's New Boys and Girls Cookbook, published in 1970. And since it's geared toward kids, there are a lot of themed recipes and simple concoctions that I'm sure some foodies would turn their noses at (my husband included, who basically said I was making a cake that no one would eat! How dare he... :), but I find them very inspiring and whimsical! Sure, I used a box cake mix and a can of frosting on this one (mostly to save time and money), but you can easily sub in your favorite from-scratch white cake recipe and buttercream frosting.

The original directions called for tinting the frosting light green and sprinkling it with green sugar sprinkles, but I wanted to give it a more modern look, so I trimmed the cake down into a thinner, more pointed triangle and left the frosting white. Then, inspired by this pin for a holiday card, I tracked down some peppermint sticks at the local Dollar Tree and lined the top of the cake with them.

I love how it turned out! Plus, the sticks give the server some cutting guidelines which, if you're terrible at cutting cake like I am, is a wonderfully helpful addition. :)

Some other ways to do it could be to add some peppermint extract to the batter for an extra shot of minty flavor. You could also make mini tree cakes and just cut the 9 x 13 in a bunch of triangles and stack together two at a time. How cute would that be?

Whatever way you do it, I hope you have fun!

Peppermint Stick Tree Cake
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker's New Boys and Girls Cookbook, 1970

1 box white cake mix (or your favorite homemade white cake recipe)
2 cans white fluffy frosting (or your favorite buttercream frosting recipe)
2 bags peppermint sticks (found mine at Dollar Tree)

Bake cake according to package directions in a 9x13 pan.

Once cooled, cut according to this diagram:

Take the two smaller pieces and place them together on the platter you'll be serving the cake. Frost the top and then place the big piece on top of that. (Now, here is where I decided to trim the cake to be more of a streamlined triangle. After I did that, I put it in the fridge for an hour before frosting the sides to try and reduce the odds of the frosting grabbing onto the cake crumbs.) Frost top and sides of cake.

Starting at the bottom, cut peppermint sticks to fit the width of the cake as you go. Then stick three half-sticks in the bottom to make the trunk.



Fav Freebie :: Mid-Century Christmas House Patterns

Earlier this week I caught a Facebook post from Modern STL — a local organization dedicated to preserving mid-century architecture in St. Louis — sharing an awesome post from Retro Renovation that shows us MCM-obsessed folk how to make three different MCM-style houses to decorate our real homes for the holidays! The patterns are free for download, and I'm pretty much smitten over the one pictured above on the right. I wonder how hard it would be to translate these designs into gingerbread? Then it would truly be a feast for the eyes (and the stomach!).

Which one do you like best?


Style Spots :: The Sale That Keeps Going

Happy, happy Monday all! How was your weekend? Holly and I had a great day down on Delmar on Saturday for the Artropy craft show, despite the fact I was freezing my buns off! I eventually had the hubs bring me a space heater so I could keep my fingers and toes from going numb, which certainly helped, but I think we're nearing the end of our outdoor selling season! We're booked for one more show, the Schlafly Winter Market and Holiday Sale on Dec. 22, so be sure and pay a visit for some last-minute holiday shopping!

Speaking of, can you believe we're already nearing the halfway point of December? I feel like I say this every year, but it still baffles me how fast 365 days can go by. I've been thrifting some great presents for Christmas, and I've also been going what I call "Christmas crazy" around the house, snatching up vintage decorations everywhere I go. Yesterday I went to an estate sale that was loaded with such treasures. It was the house's fourth sale (and also the one where I found that load of vintage cookbooks), and the company running it said it still has the whole third floor and the basement to clean out, so I know I'll be back for that! After that there was one other sale that yielded nothing for me, and then a quick stop at a thrift store, where I found a few things.

I'm going to take pictures this week to show you all how we've been decorating our place for the holidays, so today I'll just share what I found that isn't Christmas-related (except for a couple things...).

I forgot to share this chair with you last week! It's my first '70s piece, and I love the pattern of the cushions!

I scooped up a beautiful 2-quart Fire King jadeite dish earlier last week, too. So in love.

Now for Sunday's finds! Two brass deer figurines (which brings the count to six!)

A beautiful crochet blanket in shades of orange and pink, for sale.

Some more vintage saucers and plates for future tea parties and celebrations.

I found a ton of gold tinsel garland, which I've been swagging all over the house.

A pretty green-and-white scarf for the store.

A really cute mustard purse for the store.

And a cute handmade Christmas tree skirt!

The tree is my favorite part. :)

How about you? Find any treasures this weekend? Or any nice scores for holiday gift-giving? I would love to hear about it! :)


Style Spots :: One and Done

After I have an event (or in the case of this past weekend, two) on Saturdays, I always tell myself I'm going to take it easy on Sunday. You know, stay in bed late, make breakfast, stay in my pajamas until noon. But the call of estate sales always lures me from under the covers. I can hear the things that have yet to find a home calling to me, and this Sunday was no different, and I eventually made my way to one in the early afternoon, where I found some vintage Christmas goodies for our decorations this year and some other things for the shop...

Some pretty peach ornaments for our aluminum tree.

A gold glitter reindeer.

Some gorgeous navy heels in practically un-used condition, for sale. (Size 7 1/2)

Two vintage purses, both for sale.

A box of red silk ornaments, which have found a home on the dining table.

A box of vintage tinsel garland, which I've turned into six wreaths (I'll share more on Friday).

Two beautiful vintage wallets, for sale.

A Vera pillowcase.

And a ceiling medallion, of which I hope to accumulate more for that DIY I know we've all seen
where you paint them different shades and hang them in a group on the wall.

How about you guys and gals? Find anything good this past week?
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