Archive for January 2012

Cinnamon Bun Cookies


There’s this little boy at school who, I think, may have a crush on Morgan. Well, he’s not really a little boy, but work with me here. Little boy sounds tolerable and non-threatening, while teenage boy sounds disturbing and nightmarish. At least when it comes to Morgan, who is of course just a little girl.

A little girl who is 16. Though this photo was taken when she was 15. I think I’ll keep using it as affirmation of my denial of her growing maturity.

Anyway, now that we’re all on the same page and understand that we are just talking about little children–

He likes her. For her birthday, he gave her a small cookbook called “Cookies” from Gifts for Giving, along with a spatula. And a meat mallet. (???) Now, Morgan doesn’t like to cook and mostly refuses to cook. This is a position she has taken explicitly to cause me pain. It’s similar to the steadfast stance she took for several years during elementary school on reading. She only read if she was forced to read at school, and she adamantly and repeatedly stated that she hated reading. Since I’m an avid reader and a writer, this was a difficult cross to bear. How could I go so wrong? Did I not read her stories every night from the time she was a baby? I was about ready to fall on my sword when suddenly in middle school she became an obsessive reader. Now, and for the past few years, you can hardly pull her nose out of a book. In fact, what inspired my interest in getting Kindles, for her and Weston and myself as well, was that she and Weston were amassing books in their rooms at an alarming rate and I needed to stop the amassing by converting their reading obsessions into digital form that didn’t take up so much space.

I can only hope that her aversion to cooking will take the same path, so I don’t push her about it. And I can only wonder if this boy knows her BUT AT ALL to get her a cookbook as a birthday present. He was lucky she didn’t take the meat mallet and pop him on the head with it.

Or maybe he knows her after all because when I perused the cookbook I found that some of the recipes were take-offs on refrigerated store-bought cookie dough, so there was actually a limited amount of real cooking involved. But even that was too much for Morgan, so she handed me the cookbook and the spatula and bounded up to her room with her new fun toy, the meat mallet.

And that’s all right. If she’s going to have boys interested in her, she might as well be carrying something with which to whop them.

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, I decided to try out one of the recipes and convert it to a from-scratch recipe. This is a “cinnamon roll” take on the classic pinwheel cookie. Rather than use refrigerated store-bought dough for the base, I used homemade sugar cookie dough.

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How to make Cinnamon Bun Cookies:

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
dash of salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; blend. Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt. Divide dough in half. Set aside one half, leaving the other half in the mixing bowl. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon to the bowl. Mix with an electric mixer until the brown sugar and cinnamon is completely incorporated. Wrap each half separately and chill for at least an hour.

Remove the dough from the fridge and divide each half into two more halves so that you have two parts plain dough and two parts brown sugar/cinnamon dough.

Roll the first plain half into an 8-inch by 8-inch square on a lightly floured surface. Look, I even measured.

Roll the first brown sugar/cinnamon half the same way.

The easiest way for me to transfer the dough was to fold the brown sugar/cinnamon dough over.

Carefully lift it up and move it on top of the plain dough.

Unfold it and spread it out.

I lightly rolled it also to press the two pieces together. Now roll it up.

Repeat with the second plain half and the second brown sugar/cinnamon half to make two rolls of dough. Wrap and place rolls in the freezer until very firm (which makes slicing easier without mangling the dough). You can leave it in the freezer for 30 minutes or leave it in the freezer for a month–up to you! This is a good make-ahead recipe if you want it to be.

When you’re ready to bake, take the frozen dough from the freezer and let sit at room temp for a few minutes, just to soften enough to slice–but not get too soft. Preheat oven to 400-degrees.

Slice the dough into cookies and place on greased baking sheets.

Bake for 6-8 minutes. Let cool completely before icing.

Powdered Sugar Icing:
Combine 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and enough milk (about three to four teaspoons) for drizzling consistency. Drizzle decadently over cookies. And wow, these do look like little cinnamon buns, don’t they?

And they taste like little cinnamon buns, too! This recipe makes about 3-4 dozen cookies. I gave a third of the cookies to my cousin for helping me with my furnace. I sent another third of the cookies to school with Morgan to give to the “little” boy, and kept the rest hanging around here for our snacking pleasure. I think Clover would like one, too.

Clover: “Sometimes, Woman, you are pretty smart.”

P.S. Let the icing set completely then they are stackable.

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.
See All My Recipes
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Retreat Update


A Hands-On Experience
in the
West Virginia Mountains

September 13th-15th
Camp Sheppard, located in
Roane County, West Virginia.

2012 Party on the Farm follows
on September 16th at
Sassafras Farm.

I know it’s still only January, and the retreat isn’t until September, but we’re filling up fast. Even with an increased attendee limit from last year, we’re already nearly two-thirds filled on available spaces and we can’t add more. Workshops this year include cheesemaking, preserving, soapmaking, breadbaking, candlemaking, natural skin care, spinning, felting and fulling, quilting, container gardening, mushroom log inoculating, apron making, dulcimer playing, painting, goat milking/husbandry, and how-to for power tools.

Evenings will be “freestyle” with craft-sharing time and some very special entertainment. West Virginia dulcimer player and maker Jim Good will entertain us with his music on Friday evening (September 14) and Granny Sue, a real live old-fashioned folk storyteller will regale us with her tales on Saturday night (September 15).

Don’t miss it! Get all the info and details: Your adventure starts here!

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....

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