Today’s post is written by Ohio resident Debbie McCray. Debbie is a former engineer, current writer, blogger, editor—and friend. Most recently, she helped edit my next novel. I met Debbie in 1989 when we moved to Pendleton and shared a Sunday school class. Later we moved to her neighborhood and shared Carriage Lane for several years. Debbie welcomes you to visit her blog at www.wordpress.snowdrops4faith.com.
By Debbie McCray
As a new wife, I was eager to please my husband with my cooking abilities. I had big shoes to fill since my mother-in-law was an excellent cook. In early December, I decided to make my husband’s favorite cookie: thumbprint cookies with buttercream frosting.
Before I started, I called my mother-in-law to make sure I did everything the way she did. I used the right combination of butter, margarine, and Crisco. A sample batch helped me determine the perfect baking time. If effort and care ensured success, I knew these cookies would be a hit.
This was back in the days before I made my own frosting. I bought the flavor of frosting that my husband said “made the cookies.” Since these were festive cookies, I colored the frosting red, and frosted cookies covered the counters and kitchen table. They looked just like my mother-in-law’s cookies.
My husband was the willing taste-tester. He sat down with cookies and milk. I anticipated the kudos he would heap on his bride. I eagerly watched as he took the first bite. That’s when my perfect scenario of wedded bliss fell apart. “What did you do to these cookies?”
I didn’t hear the expected confirmation, but rather an accusation. It didn’t take long to figure out where I went wrong. I bought the wrong flavor of frosting! To this day, I swear my husband said thumbprint cookies with sour cream frosting were his favorite. My husband would have never said sour cream frosting as his mom always used buttercream frosting.
This distinction was noted on the recipe for future reference. I have not made that same mistake again since my first batch of thumbprint cookies twenty-seven years ago.
It was a good lesson for us as newlyweds: communication is more than just words. It is making sure that the other person has truly heard and understood what was said.
Good advice for our marriage and especially for the thumbprint cookie recipe passed down in the family. It was an easy fix for thumbprint cookies, but it is not always so easy to fix other things in our lives. We can follow directions, consult with others, do our best, and still fail epically.
In God’s eyes, this often describes the efforts we employ to fix our spiritual condition. It doesn’t work and it will fail every time because it is dependent on us.
Ephesians 2:8-9 explains the reason for our failure: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
The best paraphrase I have heard for these verses is: Saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
No amount of striving, competency, or resources apart from God will save us. The part we are responsible for is faith in Jesus Christ. Faith puts us on the path of salvation and guarantees our place in heaven.
We celebrate Christmas because God’s hope for us became flesh and blood. The Christ child grew up to be the Son of Man who died on the cross as the Son of God to save us. May we as Christians share this sweet victory with others.
½ Cup Parkay Margarine (or 1 Stick), Softened
½ Cup Butter (or 1 Stick), Softened
1 Cup Crisco Shortening
1 Cup Brown Sugar
4 Egg Yolks (Save Egg Whites)
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
4 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
4 Egg Whites
1½ Cups Finely Chopped Walnuts
One Batch of Buttercream Icing
Use mixer to beat together margarine, butter, shortening, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, vanilla, and salt. Mix together. Add flour one cup at a time. Mix after each addition. Roll dough into 1-inch balls.
Use a hand whisk to “beat” egg whites. Set out a bowl of egg whites and a bowl of finely chopped walnuts. Dip top and sides of dough ball into egg whites. (It is not necessary to dip the bottom of the dough ball.) Then dip dough ball into walnuts, covering the top and sides.
Place at least 1” apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Put thumbprint in cookie before placing in oven. Bake at 325o F for approximately 20 minutes. (Time will vary between 15-20 minutes depending on oven.) Bottoms will be golden brown when done. Recipe makes 5½ to 6 dozen cookies.
Before completely cool, fill thumbprint with buttercream frosting. One batch of frosting should frost one batch of thumbprint cookies. (It will be close!)
½ Cup Parkay Margarine (or 1 Stick)
1 Pound Powdered Sugar (or Approximately 3¼ Cup Powdered Sugar, Slightly Packed)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
3 Tablespoons Milk
In large bowl, beat together sugar, margarine, vanilla, and milk until smooth. It may be necessary to add more milk or powdered sugar to get the right spreading consistency.
If desired, add a few drops of food coloring. Stir to blend.