Sunday, November 30, 2014


I made Champurradas today.  Actually, I baked them today.  I made the dough the other day and refrigerated it until today when I had time to bake.

Last spring, I exchanged several postcards (through a direct swap) with a man in Guatemala.  Eight months later, when I decided to teach a Christmas Around the World unit, I contacted him.  I explained to him that I was hoping to bake a dessert (cookies or a cake) typically made at Christmastime in Guatemala, and that I had chosen to bake Champurradas.

My first discovery regarding Champurradas:

First, he told me that Champurradas can be found any time in Guatemala...not just at Christmastime!  Then, he suggested that I prepare their typical Ponche NavideƱo (Christmas Fruit Punch).

He provided this website for a recipe:
He provided this website for a demonstration video:

He explained that his mom adds some sugarcane and papaya, and sometimes coconut and hibiscus (Jamaican rose tea).  He said that it is "sooo good!!"

He went on to explain that instead of sugar, they use panela, which is what gives the punch its brown color.

I discovered the following about panela:

  • Panela is unrefined whole cane sugar, which is a solid form of sucrose derived from the boiling and evaporation of sugarcane juice.
  • Panela is sold in many forms, such as granulated, liquid, and solid blocks of different weights.

source:  Wikipedia

My second discovery regarding Champurradas:

Originally, I thought Champurradas were a cookie...the kind one eats for dessert at the end of a lunch or supper meal.  Since, I have discovered that Champurradas are a "cookie"...the kind one eats for breakfast, dunked in a morning cup of coffee!

My postcard-exchanging friend in Guatemala also said this about Champurradas:

     "I really like to eat them with coffee.  I never thought about Champurradas as
     cookies!!  But it's true!!  hahaha!  :D"

After baking and tasting Champurradas, I understand!  :D  They are large, crunchy, and not too sweet!  (My husband commented that they taste like shortbread cookies, only not as sweet and not as buttery.  I agree.)

They are delicious!  In retrospect, I think I should have made them a little bigger (in diameter)...and possibly should have baked them a little longer?  However, I am happy with my first attempt.  :)


Here is the recipe I used:


4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 ounce sesame seeds (approximately 3 tablespoons)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, cream the butter, shortening, and sugar.  Add the eggs and mix thoroughly.  Add the dry ingredients one cup at a time, and mix thoroughly after each addition.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough as thin as possible, dusting the rolling pin and surface with flour to prevent sticking.  Cut circles using a 3 1/4 inch cookie cutter.  Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and press in lightly.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until they begin to brown.  Remove from the cookie sheet to a rack to cool.

Yield:  approximately 3 1/2 dozen

You can find the original version of this recipe here.

P.S.  Thank you, dear friend in Guatemala, for the insight!  :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Candied Lemon Peel

I made Candied Lemon Peel today...for the same reasons I made Candied Orange Peel last week!

I used the same recipe.  The only difference I noticed was that it didn't seem to take as long for the Candied Lemon Peel to cook.



Sunday, November 23, 2014

Galletas de Mantequilla

I made Galletas de Mantequilla today.

Ring-shaped butter cookies like these are a popular holiday treat in Mexico. Typically, they are decorated with chocolate jimmies; however, red, white, and green nonpareils transform them into festive Christmas wreaths.

Here is the recipe I used:

Galletas de Mantequilla

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
1 egg white, lightly beaten
chocolate jimmies
red, white, and green nonpareils

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy.  Add the yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Mix in the dry ingredients.

Chill the dough for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls.  Transfer the balls of dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Flatten each ball of dough with the bottom of a drinking glass.  Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, poke a hole in the center of each.  Brush the top of each cookie with egg white, and sprinkle with chocolate jimmies or with red, white, and green nonpareils.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Yield:  2 1/2 dozen

You can find the original version of this recipe here.

Linked to:
   Recipe of the Week
   Tasty Tuesdays
   Titus 2 Tuesday
   Family Fun Friday

Friday, November 21, 2014

Candied Orange Peel

I made Candied Orange Peel today...not because I particularly wanted to make Candied Orange Peel, but because I wanted to make a recipe that called for candied orange peel as one of the ingredients.  I could not find it in any store in my area.  I did find European Candied Orange Peel on the Internet here, but I decided I wanted neither to pay $14.95 for 8 ounces plus the cost of shipping nor to wait days or weeks for it to arrive.  So...make Candied Orange Peel, I did!

I found these two recipes on the Internet:
   Food Network
   Bright-Eyed Baker

Here is the recipe I used:

Candied Orange Peel

       3 navel oranges
       1 1/2 cups sugar
       3/4 cup water
       additional sugar (to coat)

1.    Rinse the oranges.
2.    Cut off the top and bottom of each orange.  Score the skin into quarters.
3.    Remove the skin (peel and pith).  Cut the skin into strips about 1/8-inch
       wide.  (Refrigerate the oranges for another use.)
4.    Place the strips of peel in a large saucepan and cover with cold water.
5.    Bring to a full boil on high heat.
6.    Drain the water from the strips of peel.
7.    Repeat steps 4-6 two more times.
8.    In a medium saucepan, whisk together the 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 3/4 cup
       of water.  Bring to a simmer.
9.    Let the mixture cook for 8-9 minutes at a constant simmer.
10.  Add the strips of peel and cook for 45-60 minutes at a constant simmer,
       without stirring.  (If necessary, swirl the pan to make sure all of the strips
       of peel get covered with the syrup.)  At the end of the cooking time, the
       strips of peel will be translucent.


11.  Drain any remaining syrup.
12.  Spread the strips of peel on a drying rack.  Allow them to dry for 4-5 hours.


13.  Cut the strips of peel into small pieces and toss with additional sugar to


14.  Store the Candied Orange Peel in an airtight container.

Yield:  approximately 2 1/2 cups

The aroma of the cooking orange peel is lovely!  :)

Linked to:
   Best Recipes & DIY Projects
   Tasty Tuesdays
   Titus 2 Tuesday
   Fun Food Friday
   Family Fun Friday

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Anzac Biscuits

I made Anzac biscuits today.

     An Anzac biscuit is a sweet biscuit popular in Australia.  Anzac biscuits have long been associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War I.
     Anzac biscuit recipes omitted eggs because of the scarcity of them during the war.  It has been claimed the biscuits were sent by wives to soldiers abroad because the ingredients did not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation.*

There are many recipes for Anzac biscuits on the Internet.  Here is the recipe I used:

Anzac biscuits

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup butter
4 teaspoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons molasses
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon boiling water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, and coconut.

In a saucepan, melt the butter, corn syrup, and molasses.  In a measuring cup, mix the baking soda with boiling water and add immediately to the butter mixture.  Add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to mix thoroughly.

Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.  Place a spoonful (approximately 1 tablespoon) of the dough 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven.  Remove from the baking sheet to a rack to cool.

Yield:  2 1/2 dozen

Mmmm...delicious!!  ~Crispy and chewy, both at the same time!

You can find the original version of this recipe here.

*source:  Wikipedia

Linked to:

Monday, November 17, 2014

Advent Calendar

I just became aware of a 2014 Advent calendar that can be downloaded for free.   It is "Journey to the Manger:  2014 Advent Activity Calendar" and is offered by Thriving Family magazine which is a Focus on the Family publication that encourages, teaches, celebrates, and inspires families to thrive in Christ.

You can prepare for Christmas as a family and learn more about Bible characters related to the Nativity.  Scripture, a lesson, an activity, a prayer, and a puzzle is provided for each day of Advent.  The downloads include:

  • Advent poster - full-color and black-and-white versions
  • character cutouts - 26 individual Bible characters
  • parents' guide - for 26 days of Advent
  • kids' puzzles - 26 different puzzles

1.  Print out the Advent poster and assemble it.  Hang it in a central location in your home.

2.  Print out the characters of Christmas.  Each day of Advent, your child can cut out the Bible character for that day and attach it to the poster.  It might take a bit of searching to find the correct location!  (The character's background should be matched to the image on the poster.)

3.  Each day, plan the Scripture reading, short lesson, child-friendly activity, and prayer that highlights a different person or animal related to the Nativity.  The parents' guide has it all laid out!

4.  After enjoying a time of family fun and reflection, let your child work on a puzzle page.  For each day of Advent, there is a related puzzle, interesting Bible fact, and suggestions for discovering more!

Treasure the season of Advent as you lead your family on a faith-filled journey to the manger.  You can find the free downloads here.

Advent starts on November 30th!

photos source:  Thriving Family

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Election Day Results

The results of working the polls on Election Day??  ~A very tired body!  haha.

I wore comfortable shoes...but not my most comfortable shoes.  I'll know better next time.  It was a great experience...and yes, I would (and hopefully, will) do it again.

I learned a lot.  In addition to practicing what I learned in the training class, I learned how to handle situations (nothing serious) that came up but were not a part of the actual training beforehand.

Note to self:  Take ChapStick next time!   My lips became so chapped and sore from all of that talking, talking, talking!

Do I need to mention that I came home, crashed, and slept for more than 12 hours straight??!  :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Election Day

Tomorrow, November 4th, is Election Day.

Election Day in the United States of America is the Tuesday following the first Monday in November.  It can fall on or between November 2nd and November 8th.  It is the day when popular ballots are held to select public officials.  These include national, state, and local government representatives at all levels.*

I'm going to be a poll worker.  This will be a new experience for me.  I'm excited to learn something new!

I took my mandatory three-hour training class the week before last.  ~Lots of information to absorb!  I passed my test at the end of the class.  

I have to be at the precinct to which I've been assigned at 6:00 am.  I will work until sometime after approximately 7:30 pm.  I'm sure it will be a looong day!

See you at the polls!  :)

*source:  Time and Date