Good Luck Black-Eyed Pea Soup

     Just home from the grocery store where I purchased a can of black-eyed peas as I figured we needed as much good luck as possible for the coming year!
    We had never eaten  black-eyed peaa until attending a New Year’s party in Junction City sometime during the early 1970s. Nor were we aware that a bowl of these legumes supposedly brings good luck for the year. I was even lucky enough to discover a dime in mine which was supposed to increase my luck ten times!
     Who can say if it worked? Although I didn’t win the lottery (was there even one back then?), I figured that maybe it helped a little. Well anyway, we haven’t taken a chance since or, is it that we just like keeping alive those silly little superstitutions associated with food?
      There have been times we’ve soaked the dry peas and created the traditional hoppin’ John dish (peas and rice) but several years ago we started doing a simple and quick version using the canned variety.
      Some eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Eve, others save them for New Year’s Day. We’re having them for lunch (New Year’s Eve) and will save some for tomorrow – hopefully doubling our luck in 2012!

Black-Eyed Pea Soup   About 4 servings
About 4 slices of  diced bacon
½ cup diced celery
½ cup diced onion
½ cup diced red bell pepper
½ cup diced carrots
1 medium or 2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 (15.5 oz.) can black-eyed peas with liquid
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
¼ cup white wine
1½ cups beef broth
½ cup instant brown rice (use ¾ cup if you want a thicker soup)

1. In a stock pot over medium high heat, sauté the bacon until crisp. Set aside the bacon. Add the celery, onion, pepper and carrots to the pot; sauté in the bacon fat for about 10 minutes, or until tender (add a little olive oil if there’s not enough fat); add minced garlic near the end of the cooking time.

2. Add the peas, tomatoes, broth, wine and rice. Cook until rice is tender. Or, let soup simmer for a longer period of time, adding rice during the last 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Top with crumbled bacon when serving. Other possible additions: additional chopped onions, red peppers and/or grated cheese.

Beef Tenderloin with Mustard Brown Sugar Glaze

     Debbie Meyer Gore’s cookbook, Good Friends Great Tastes, is the source of the beef tenderloin that my sister Marla prepared for Christmas Eve. Celebrating life, food and friendship, the book is a collection of both Debbie’s recipes and those of her friends.
     Joan and Rick Lewis were the actual contributors of the tenderloin recipe. Debbie and her husband, Joan and Rick, Marla and Steve, and several other couples all belong to a “Dinner Club” that dates back to 1989. In her book Debbie explained, “Joan held the annual holiday dinner club for the first few years. She made this special beef tenderloin and it is delicious.” She recommends allowing approximately ½ pound of tenderloin per person.
     Debbie’s book is full of delicious recipes and is also now available in a revised edition. Marla assisted with the editing of both books. In a recent note, Debbie also informed me that the book is "now available on Kindle--all the recipes and over 300 pages just $.99."
    Click on this link for Marla’s Christmas Eve menu and subsequent links to some of the other recipes she prepared.

Beef Tenderloin with Mustard Brown Sugar Glaze
1 (3 lb.)  beef tenderloin
Salt &pepper
Brown sugar
Yellow prepared mustard

1.     Use mustard and brown sugar in equal parts and make a paste of the mixture. It will not be as thick as paste because of the moisture in the mustard.
2.     Salt and pepper the tenderloin. Place it on a broiler pan and broil, in oven for, 10 minutes on each side.
3.     Turn oven back to 350°. Remove tenderloin from oven and brush with the mustard and brown sugar mixture.
4.     Return to oven and bake at 350° for 45 minutes.
5.     Turn off oven, leave door ajar while tenderloin remains in oven about 45 minutes to complete cooking. If using a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should be 140° for rare and 145° for medium rare.


Perfect potatoes for a special occasion - Smashed Potato Gratin

  
 Beef Tenderloin with Mustard Brown Sugar Glaze
Smashed Potato Gratin
Steamed Asparagus





     Perfect menu for a special occasion. My sister, Marla Newell Payne, made this for Christmas Eve and it was fantastic. We started with a festive green salad and my mom's delicious homemade rolls and then ended the meal with mom's yummy pecan pie.
    Of course, you table was perfect too -- set with heirloom china and silver . . . it was a magical Christmas Eve dinner.


     Will begin with the recipe Marla used for the potatoes (she found it on the internet, courtesy of Anne Burrell) and will follow-up in the next couple of day with the one for beef tenderloin.


Smashed Potato Gratin   6 servings
Prep Time: 25 min / Cook Time: 35 min

3 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes
3 garlic cloves, peeled
Kosher salt
1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 bunch chives

1.  Cut the potatoes into quarters and place in a large saucepan with the garlic cloves. Fill the pot with water and season generously with salt. Taste the water, it should taste salty. Bring the pot to a boil over medium heat and cook the potatoes until they are fork tender. (A fork, not a knife should slide in and out easily.)
2.  Preheat the oven to 350°.
3.  When the potatoes are tender, drain the water from them and return the potatoes and garlic to the pan. Add the milk and sour cream. Using a potato masher or big spoon, gently mash the potatoes. Stir in the Cheddar, then taste and season with salt, if needed. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish. Combine the panko, grated Parmesan and the cayenne in a small bowl. Sprinkle it over the top of the potato mixture and bake until hot all the way through and is crispy and brown on top, about 20 minutes.
4.  Remove from the oven, garnish with chopped chives and serve.

TOAST THE HOLIDAYS . . . with a Cranberry Martini

     It’s easy, festive and a great way to toast the season! Adjust the amounts to your liking but these are general guidelines I follow . . .

Cranberry Martini (Crantini)
Equal amounts of cranberry juice and gingerale
A shot of vodka to about 1 to 1 1/2 cup of juice and gingerale)
Garnish with frozen cranberries if desired

1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail sharer or mixing glass with ice.
2. Shake or stir well
3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
4. Garnish, if desired, with frozen cranberries.
Of course, you could also add a lime or lemon wedge or peel.

Festive Fruit & Nut Salad

      Dress up your holiday salad greens with fruit and sugared nuts, then drizzle with a sweet but tangy dressing.
     This is one of our favorite salads and it is actually good all year long. For variety, try other fruits (apples, blueberries, etc.) or any other type of nuts, sugared or just toasted.

Fruit & Nut Salad
For one salad . . .
   A handful of your favorite salad greens
   Mandarin oranges (fresh such as California Cuties or canned or jarred)
   Sugared nuts*
   Dried cranberries

1.  Add a handful of green to salad plate (place plates in refrigerator prior to making salad for a chilled plate that keeps the salad really crisp).
2.  Add several orange segments and a sprinkling of nuts and cranberries. Drizzle lightly with dressing.

Sugared Nuts
Nuts
Granulated sugar
(For about 1 cup of nuts, use about ½ to ¾ cup sugar – it’s a matter of personal preference so it’s kind of trial and error proportions)

1.  Place nuts in a skillet; add sugar.
I'm sugaring rough chopped whole almonds.
2.  Cook the nuts over medium heat (if heat is too high, the nuts will burn). Stir occasionally and watch carefully. The nuts will brown, the sugar will turn to syrup and the nuts will release a nutty fragrance.  Stir to evenly coat the nuts and remove from heat as soon as syrup starts to turn a light brown.
3.  Immediately pour onto a sheet of wax paper.
Be sure to immediately remove nuts to a waxed paper lined sheet;
if you leave them in the skillet they will stick and be very difficult to remove.
4.  Let cool and break apart.
5.  Store the sugared nuts in an air-tight container until ready to serve (they keep for a week or longer).  In addition to adding the nuts to lettuce salads, they can be sprinkled on top of ice cream or use to decorate other desserts.

Hints For Preparing Salad Greens
·  Clean greens by plunging in and out of cold water (prolonged soaking causes soggy greens).
·  Separate core from leaves; rinse and dry. Remove bad spots.
·  To store clean greens, layer in a plastic container with paper towels. 
·  Cut sturdy greens (Romaine) and tear delicate greens (Bib, Boston or Leaf) into bite-size pieces.
A general guide . . . allow about 1 handful of greens for each side salad. Using that guideline the yield for Romaine lettuce is usually 6 to 7 servings and loose-leaf lettuce generally yields 5 to 6 servings.

How Much Dressing To Use?
The general rule for dressing: Dress the greens with only enough dressing to lightly coat them right before serving. The normal ratio is one-third ounce (about 2 teaspoons) of dressing per ounce of greens (about 1 handful).
Of course, the salad dressing can be served from a small pitcher allowing each guest to add the amount desired.

'Tis the Season . . . for Christmas Torta

     ‘Tis the season for things decorative and delicious! Trimmed with walnuts, layered with Christmas colors, packed with flavor – this is a great offering for the cocktail hour.
     Although you could make one large torta, I prefer to make two smaller ones – that way you can either set them out in two different locations or you can trade them out, presenting a fresh one during the last half of a party,
     It can be made a couple of days ahead.

Christmas Torta Pesto & Tomato Cream Cheese Appetizer   About 12 to 15 servings
1 cup walnuts, chopped – divided use
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup finely diced white or yellow onions
3 to 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
½ to 1 cup basil pesto - homemade or purchased
½ to 1 cup purchased sun-dried tomato pesto (or 1 c. sun-dried tomatoes that are packed in oil, partially drained & finely chopped)

1.     Lay a large piece of plastic warp inside a small bowl – make sure it covers all sides and overlaps the top of the bowl.
2.     Mix cream cheese, finely diced onion and Parmesan cheese.
3.     Layer the torta in the following order:
·      Pour half the chopped walnuts on top of the wrap in the bowl.

·      Press 1/3 of cream cheese mixture on top of the nuts and spread out evenly.
Hint -- use a sheet of plastic to push the cream cheese into place.
·      Spread basil pesto over cream cheese.
·      Press 1/3 of cream cheese mixture on top of pesto; spread out evenly.

·      Spread tomato pesto or chopped sun-dried tomatoes over cream cheese.

·      Press last 1/3 of cream cheese into bowl; spread evenly and press remaining walnuts into the surface.

·      Press overlapping plastic wrap onto the finished torta with enough pressure so that the various layers adhere to one another. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

4.     When ready to serve, uncover the dip and carefully turn the bowl upside down on top of a serving dish. Remove the plastic wrap and serve torta with assorted crackers.

Barry's Christmas Caramels



     One December Barry came home from Solomon with a recipe for caramels. Despite the fact that he had never made any type of candy before, he was determined to give them a try.
     That was the year that Solomon High School FACS students were making candy and brought caramel samples to Barry’s Art room. Didn’t take long for him to look up Ellen Haslouer and talk her into sharing the recipe. He’s been making them ever since . . . hence the name “Barry’s Caramels.”
     Most caramels begin with heavy cream but this recipe calls for half-and-half. No matter what the ingredients, PATIENCE is required when making caramels and, a candy thermometer!

Barry’s Caramels    Makes 64 pieces / about 2 pounds
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

1.  Line an 8”x8”x2” baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan.  Butter the foil. 
2.  In a heavy 3-quart saucepan melt the 1 cup butter over low heat. Add the brown sugar, half-and-half, and corn syrup; mix well. Cook over medium-high heat to boiling, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to dissolve sugar. This should take 6 to 8 minutes. Avoid splashing the mixture on side of pan. Carefully clip candy thermometer to side of pan.
3.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until candy thermometer registers 248°, firm-ball stage.  Mixture should boil at moderate, steady rate over entire surface. Reaching firm-ball stage should take 45 to 55 minutes.
Barry is using a conventional and a digital thermometer to check the temperature.
4.  Remove saucepan from heat; remove candy thermometer from saucepan. Immediately stir in vanilla. Quickly pour the caramel mixture into the prepared pan. 

5.  When caramel is firm, use foil to lift it out of pan. Use a buttered knife to cut candy into 1” squares. Wrap each piece in a square of waxed paper.

Candy Stages
Many recipes call for the candy to be cooked to soft ball, hard ball, firm ball, soft crack, hard crack, or thread stage. These terms describe the consistency of a small amount of cooked syrup when it is dropped into cold water. 
To obtain consistent results when making candy, use a candy thermometer. And, to convert vintage recipes, use the chart that follows.
Stage
Fahrenheit
Thread
230°F to 234°F
Soft ball
234°F to 240°F
Firm ball
242°F to 248°F
Hard ball
250°F to 268°F
Soft crack
270°F to 290°F
Hard crack
300°F to 310°F

All About Candy Thermometers  . . .
Using  a Candy Thermometer
Generally, a candy thermometer is clipped to the side of the pan after the sugar has been dissolved or the ingredients are incorporated.  Make sure the bulb of the thermometer does not rest on the bottom of the pan or the reading will be higher than that of the candy solution. 

Calibrating a Candy Thermometer
Before you start making candy, calibrate your candy thermometer.  To do this:  Immerse the thermometer in a pan of water, and bring the water to a boil (do not immerse the thermometer into already boiling water as this can cause the thermometer to break).  The temperature should read 212° F -- that is the temperature at which water boils;  if it does not, you will need to adjust  the reading to reflect this. For example, if your thermometer reads 215° F. in boiling water, and the recipe requires that you cook the candy to 250° F, you will need to cook the mixture to 253° F.

Peanut Butter Christmas Mice

    My mom came out this afternoon and we made “mice” for Leslie Hoffman’s class at Kennedy Grade School. Mom thought the first graders (in the class where she volunteers) would get a kick out of them.
     Actually this was a recipe Barry and I included in a kid’s holiday class that we taught at the Culinary Center of Kansas City a couple of weeks ago . . . and it would be a fun at-home project. 
      For our class I had the dough made so the kids just shaped and decorated the mice. The licorice “tails” are added after the mice come out of the oven; that means the cookie sheets are hot to handle – an accident ready to happen, we surmised.  So, we lined the cookie sheets with parchment paper and then simply transferred the paper from the hot cookie sheets  to counters so we didn’t have to worry about burns.
  
    Point of Comparison: I made one batch of dough several days ahead and another batch this morning and refrigerated it several hours prior to shaping. The older dough seemed a little dry when I was shaping and as we added “body parts;” however, the mouse bodies sagged less during the baking process. Therefore, I would recommend making the mouse dough several days in advance and then pulling it out about 20 to 30 minutes before it is to be shaped.

Shoestring licorice is hard to find!
Finally located it in the candy store
at the mall in Salina.
Peanut Butter Christmas Mice     Yield: about 5 dozen
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
About 1/2 cup peanut halves (need 120 to 132 peanut halves)
Miniature red and green M&M’s® (need 60 + pieces)
Miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips (need 120 to 132 chips)
60 to 66 pieces red or black shoestring licorice – each piece cut to a 2” length

1.     In a large mixing bowl, cream peanut butter, butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar.
I used our BeaterBlade® to cream the mixture. 
2.     Beat in egg and vanilla.
3.     In another bowl, combine the flour and baking soda; gradually add to the creamed mixture.
4.     Refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.
5.     Preheat oven to 350°.
6.     Shape 1 level tablespoon of dough into 1” balls. Place 2” apart on spayed baking sheets. (If you have parchment paper on hand, use it to line the baking sheet before spraying. It helps brown the cookies makes for easy clean up and helps with safety issues when it's time to insert the tails,)  Of course you can always make the balls a little bigger if you prefer.
7.     To create a mouse shape: pinch each ball at one end to create a tapered nose; press the sides of the dough in to raise the 'backs' of the mice, as dough will spread slightly during baking. Add an M&M for nose and 2 chocolate chips for eyes; gently insert 2 peanut halves for ears (in about the center of the mouse’s back). 
The bodies have been shaped.
Body parts have been added & the cookie sheet is ready to go into the oven.
8.     Bake in 350° oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are set.
9.     Remove baking sheet to cooling rack and let cookies set a couple of minutes (at this point you can pull the parchment paper off the tray). With a toothpick, make a hole about 1/2” deep where the tail will be inserted; carefully insert a licorice piece into each warm cookie for tail.
10.  When cool, use a spatula to remove cookies from baking sheet.
They're finished and ready to take to the kids!

Cran-Ginger Granita -- a light dessert

   Yum! Easy, festive and delicious. For the holidays, we prepared this light dessert and served it with an assortment of our Christmas cookies. It was a refreshing way to end a somewhat heavy meal.
     However, Barry warns, “Don’t eat it too fast or you’ll get brain freeze!”


Cran-Ginger Granita     Makes 8 servings
3 cups cranberry juice drink, divided
1/2 cup granulated sugar or use less (1/3 cup is plenty for me)
1 (12 oz.) can ginger ale

1.     Combine 1 cup cranberry juice drink and sugar in a 2-qt. saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool completely.
Heat just long enough to dissolve sugar.
2.     Combine cran-syrup with remaining 2 cups juice and ginger ale.
3.     Pour into 3 ice cube trays, and freeze about 1 1/2 hours or until almost frozen (may take longer).
A good use for ice cube trays! If you don't have any, pour a shallow layer of liquid into a pan.
4.     Transfer cubes to a blender or food processor, and pulse until slushy.
Blending incorporated air and lightens the color of the granita.
5.     Pour slush into a 9” x 9" pan, and freeze about 3 1/2 hours or until frozen.
6.     To serve, scrape granita (in pan) with tines of a fork until fluffy. Spoon into dessert glasses, garnish with a mint leaf if desired, and serve immediately.
Scraping the fork across the frozen mixture creates a fluffy, icy dessert. 

Stirring up . . . Pumpkin Bread

     This time of year reminds me of all the baking we used to do in the foods classes at Abilene High School. Advanced Foods and later the Catering Class would offer baked goods for sale right before the holidays . . . cookies, rolls, quickbreads, candies and other specialities. This moist and delicious bread was always a good seller.

Pumpkin Bread          Makes two 9"x5" loaves
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1 lb. canned pumpkin (without added sugar & spices) or 16 oz. (2 cups) pumpkin puree
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt (scant measure)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon each -- ground cinnamon, allspice & nutmeg
2/3 cup water

1.  Mix sugar, oil and eggs together. Add pumpkin. Then add dry ingredients, then water, stirring until mixed. 

2.  Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 9”x5" loaf pans.
Fill pans about 3/4 full.
3.    Bake in preheated oven at 350° for one hour or until toothpick (stuck in center) comes out clean.  

Why do many quick bread get a crack in the top?
In the last few years, I’ve been judging foods at the local fair so downloaded some 4-H judging standards from the University of Nebrask-Lincoln Extension so I could brush up. Here’s what they say about the crack that often develops in quick breads . . .
The crack in the top of the loaf is characteristic.
"Some recipes may have a crack and others do not. Baked products should not be scored down because of a crack. The crack develops because there is a large mass of batter in the loaf pan that heats slowly. Smoother crusts develop when there is a longer time for the leavening agent to react. This results in an increase in volume before the crust sets, resulting in a smooth crust. If the baking is rapid, a crust with a cracked top and a more solid crumb will develop. Using long, narrow pans will also result in a crease or crack on top. Consistency of the batter will influence the depth of the crack. Batter touches the edge of the pan first. As the batter warms to baking temperature, it thins and allows a film of fat and sugar to run towards the center of the crust. This shiny line or sticky crack then forms down the center of the loaf. A crack may also form when the underlayer or unbaked batter 'erupts' when the leavening agent reacts.”

Sensational Scones

     Barry is not much of a scone fan . . . execpt for these! They are moist, tender and packed with flavor. The recipe came from one of our favorite cooking magazines.

     We bought our first issue of CUISINE athome Magazine in March of 2000 at a cooking store in Manhattan, Kansas; it was their 19th issue. We’ve subscribed to the magazine ever since and have fouund some wonderful recipes – they provide detailed instructions and lots of step-by-step photos + related cooking advice.
     This is one of those recipes that we found – our favorite version is Cran-Orange scones. 

Sensational Cran-Orange Scones   Makes 8 large scones or 16 to 18 smaller ones
Dried cranberries cut into
small pieces.
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, cold, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 cup chopped dried cranberries (or use dried currant or any dried fruit chopped into small pieces or mini chocolate chips or toasted nuts)
1 tablespoon orange or lemon zest, minced (lemon zest could be substituted)
1 cup heavy cream, cold
--
1 egg blended w/ 1 tablespoon water
Coarse or granulated sugar

1.     Preheat oven to 375°.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper. 
2.     Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
3.     Blend in butter with your fingers, smashing cubes into flour -- dough should end up looking and feeling like very coarse cornmeal with some larger lumps of butter. 
(Although you can use a mixer, hands seem to be the best tool for this task.
A mixer warms the butter and one of the secrets to "good" scones, is chilled dough.)
4.     Add cranberries and zest; toss to combine. Add cream and mix together with your hands just until blended. Knead and pat dough into a large circle and cut into 8 wedges or . . .
·      divide dough into two rounds and cut each into 8 wedges or,
(I formed the dough into 2 rounds.)
·      divide dough into three rounds and cut each round into 6 pieces for a total of 18 smaller tea-size scones.

5.     Transfer to a baking sheet, spacing 2” apart. (I often make the scones the night before, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate; the next morning, simply proceed with the remaining directions.)
6.     Brush with egg and water mixture, then sprinkle with sugar. Bake 25 to 30 mintues or until golden brown and set. Cool briefly on racks; serve warm.
Baked and ready to serve.

We also have a recipe for Buttermilk Scones on our blog.

Santa Claus Cookies


     “Cookies on Call” was the title of an article in the December 1982 issue of Woman’s Day magazine. It was all about refrigerator cookies and the author ( Jinx Morgan) proclaimed, “They’re ideal for the hectic holidays: You can make the dough, freeze it—then slice and bake for quick desserts. Or freeze these cookies after they’re baked and decorated for almost instant treats that keep for weeks, thaw in minutes.”
     That year I made the Oatmeal Spice Cookies and decorated them with the Santa theme Jinx actually used on another oookie. Since my family loves oatmeal cookies, they were an instant success and I’ve made them every year since. Sometime along the way, I began saving a few to decorate with the family – my dad (who couldn’t boil water) even tried his hand at it a few times.
     When niece Erin turned four, she began helping me with this seasonal task; if it’s not the year that we spend Christmas with the Payne family, we decorate them at Thanksgiving. Last year I cut back on the oatmeal cookies and made gingerbread cut-outs to decorate; the rest of the family veoted that idea so this year I have lots of oatmeal cookies in the freezer . . . just waiting to be decorated.
     In the early days I always used margarine but now I rarely buy the stuff. However, even though they taste great, butter does cause them to spread . . . so use margarine if you prefer.

Here we are, several years ago, in full
decorating mode!
Santa Claus Cookies
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda                     
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon                                            
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg                
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (fill a 1/4 teaspoon half full)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs                      
1 teaspoon vanilla
And, here we are this year (2011)!
3 cup old fashioned or instant oats
1 cup chopped walnuts

1.  In medium bowl combine flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves; set aside.
2.  In large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
3.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until well mixed. Stir in flour mixture, then oats and nuts until blended.
4.  Shape dough in two 2"diameter rolls (if dough is sticky, I add more oats).  Wrap rolls in plastic wrap; chill 4 hours or until firm. Or, rolls may be wrapped in foil and frozen (thaw at room temperature when ready to use.)
5.  With sharp, thin knife, using sawing motion, slice dough 1/4" thick. 
6.  Place slices 1" apart on lightly greased cookie sheet.
7.  Bake in preheated 350°oven 10 minutes or until lightly browned. 
8.  Remove to rack to cool. 
9.  Use decorator frosting and a decorator bag and tips to create 'Santa' cookies. Follow design on graphic below or be creative and make desired changes . . . we always find new ways to adapt the design.
For this version, we use a star tip (#18 or 29 ) for the beard, eyes, nose & pom-pom on the hat;
#101 tip was used for the hat but we often just use the star tip for that, too.
For tips on how to use decorating bags, couplers and tips, go to . . .