26 March 2011

Learning


“Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.”

—John Edgar Wideman

I learned this week that not everyone is thrilled to be mentioned in my blog, even obliquely and not by name, and even in posts that appear to have been read a total of three times, by people in Singapore and Jordan.  I am humbled and grateful for the important lesson.   I never stop learning, and everyone I meet teaches me something.  Sometimes the lessons are very painful and come from unexpected sources.  Being a writer is not about making friends or pleasing people.  It is about something deeper and more important than that.

Tomorrow, a dear friend is hosting a benefit bake sale for her home country of Japan.  I puzzled for a short time about what to contribute.  I asked the young boys who happened to be hanging around my house what I should make, and I was greeted with shouts of "Stained Glass Window Cookies!"

And so it is with great pride and no humility that I introduce you to the Japanese version of these delightful treats.



Here is the recipe.  I make no claim to originality; it's just basic sugar cookie dough with a crushed-candy design in the middle.  But, as you can see, it can be adapted to any situation or occasion.

Jennie's Stained Glass Window Cookies
(makes a couple of dozen, depending on size)

1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
hard candies (I use Jolly Ranchers), sorted by color and crushed to coarse dust. I do this with the back of a spoon in heavy-duty plastic sandwich bags. Good job for small boys...noisy and destructive...

Beat the butter until softened; add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the milk and vanilla and blend. Gradually beat in the flour. Form the dough into a disk and chill for about an hour.

Roll the dough out on a lightly-floured surface and cut into the shape of choice (a 2" round biscuit cutter works great). Using a smaller cookie-cutter, cut a hole in the middle. (For Christmas I use a star; for Valentine's Day, try a small heart. You get the idea.)

Note: for Japanese flags, I used a credit card and a spice jar...

Place cookies on a sheet lined with Silpat or aluminum foil. Fill the hole in the middle of each cookie with about a half a teaspoon of crushed candy. Bake in a 375-degree oven for about 8 minutes.

Cool about 10 minutes on the cookie sheet at room temperature and then transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy!!

I have been trying to figure out how to increase my readership.  It seems that sending my URL out into the world by means of Twitter, Facebook, and comments on articles and blogs that I enjoy is helpful.  I also applied to join a major blogging organization yesterday, though I think I am probably too new to qualify.  I'd like to shout out to that reader who clicked on one of my ads yesterday and bought my friend Karen's book for their Kindle.  I think I know who you are, but I think I know a lot of things that it turns out I don't really know at all.

A shout out to my readers in Singapore and Jordan, too, and to whoever is reading me in Sweden and Australia.  I am intensely grateful for your interest.

Have a good weekend.  Keep learning.

8 comments:

Sandra said...

Hi Jennie, I have a wonderful friend in Australia who blogs and is also a published writer - I shared your blog URL with her. She is Amanda Le Bas Plumtot (no kidding) aka Feathers. Here is her URL: http://amandale.net/blog
I'm researching findng my own blog host - some of the hosting companies will get your blog out there so that search engines will find it.
Cookies look wonderful. Thanks for the recipe! xo Sandy

susan said...

I have had your sugar cookies and they are delicious. What a great way to raise money for your friend and that they look like the Japanese Flag is great!.
I wish her luck with her bake sale.
Susan

feathers said...

I think your Japanese flag cookies are inspired.

You have my sympathy with the "mentioning people and not even by name" thing. I got into some terrible trouble with friends over this, some of whom forgave me and some of whom didn't (even though the ones who didn't forgive were not in any way mentioned in any of my blogs). It is all a bit of a learning curve, isn't it? These things should come with instruction manuals.

Nancy's Notes said...

What a nice thing to do! Thanks for the great recipe, they do look scrumptious!

Nancy

⚜ ↁℯℬℬᴵℰ⚜ said...

Those look so yummy Jennie and fun to make. Thanks for joining my newbie party.

emilysnan said...

hiya , i am visiting from debbies newbie party i am your newest follower ,those cookies look yum yum yum and i might give them a try at the weekend x tfs and hope to see you at mine sometime

nalyn said...

Sweet cookies baked by a sweet galpal.. keep putting your heart out there. the limb is treacherous, but the view...! How do you manage to squeak out blog time with socks to darn, and thin mints to sell and german to translate and pots to crock? LOL...haven't forgotten; i owe you dinner. xoxo

Chantelle {fat mum slim} said...

Ah learning. Life would be less colourful and rich without it.

We can't please everyone, but as long as we're content, that's what matters.

And those cookies would make me almost content right now! x