An Awesome Way to Honor the "Unsung Heroes" in Your Life
My dear friend, Christy Bateman was telling me about a wonderful day she had with her sisters last week. She gathered them into her kitchen for a cookie exchange. But this exchange had a special twist.
First she fed them a delicious lunch. Then once all the lunch dishes, etc. were cleared away, the gals brought out the cookies they'd each made for the occasion. Christy provided assorted sizes of gift boxes, pretty ribbons, and gift tags.
And the fun began. Each box was filled with a variety of cookies, tied in a pretty bow and tagged. The point of this exchange? While each sister went home with a plate of yummy cookie choices, the real goal was to create lovely gifts for the unsung heroes in life.
Unsung heroes? Think about it: the person that delivers your mail or your daily newspaper, the person that picks up your garbage (rain or shine), the person that conscientiously has your dry cleaning ready on time, the person that cheerfully checks you out at the grocery store each week, and so on and so on. Folks just doin' their jobs, right?
But think about the disruption and frustration we'd experience if they didn't just do their jobs! Maybe we shouldn't take the daily doings of others so for granted. So that said, can you imagine the total joy we would add to their lives by going to the effort of gifting them with a little something that says "I appreciate you and all you do!"
I know you're reading this after Christmas-the time we usually think about giving and doing nice things for others. But hey, how about starting the New Year off with this idea? We could create a little card (using Clip Art or Google Images) that might say something such as "Here's a thank you for all you do that makes life so nice." (or something similar). Or maybe the card could say "Thanks for all you do and here's a little something to get your new year off to a good start!" (You get the idea.)
Christy's example inspired me, and I intend to do this. While I don't have any sisters around close, I have several friends that love the idea as much as I do, and we're gonna spread a little cheer to get the new year started right.
Meanwhile, if you like the idea as well, here's one of my very favorite cookie recipes that had to be created for just such a mission. Who doesn't love a shortbread cookie? But this has a special touch. So read on, and here's to remembering our "unsung heroes!"
ALICE'S SHORTBREAD WITH CRANBERRIES
1 1/3 cup salted butter
1 cup sugar
4 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup dried cranberries (not too finely chopped)
Additional: Flour for dusting, star-shaped cookie cutter (optional), parchment. Hearts would work well also.
Preheat your oven to 350°F (unless you have a convection oven, in which case, preheat to 320°F).
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter with a hand mixer with a whisk attachment for about 10 minutes (I would recommend a stand mixer). Afterward the mixture should be cream white and should have visibly increased in volume. Sprinkle the sugar in and continue stirring until the crystals have dissolved. (At this point I would switch to the paddle attachment.)
Add in the flour and cranberries, and then knead into a smooth dough. (Watch adding in the flour at the end, as you may not need it all. If you mixture is too dry, add more butter.) Roll dough out on a floured counter top (or board) to form a sheet approximately 1/3 inch (to be specific, 2/5 inch) or 1 cm. thick. Using cookie cutters, cut out small hearts (or stars), and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Place the baking sheet in a preheated oven (middle rack) and bake the shortbread for about 10 minutes, until they are very lightly colored. Remove to cooling rack when finished baking.
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