Snowed in! Finally!!!! Oh yes, I love snow days! While others get cabin fever, I revel in it like a child! In truth, I fluctuate between child like glee, a zen like meditative state and complete awe. Clay says it’s because on lazy days, we normally feel guilty but snow days give us an excuse to be. I agree!
Oh, but isn’t it mystical, enchanting, ethereal? Autumn arrives in such vibrant array yet departs leaving the earth drab and gray. The trees, stripped of leaves, stand stark against the gloom of wooly skies. But a winter snow, transforms the world into every child’s dream of a snow globe briskly shaken, the earth glistening like diamonds strewn across white velvet folds. Who can resist this wonderland, resist snow angel’s and rosey red cheeks and noses? Who doesn’t love cable knit sweaters, fat scarves, toboggans and wooly mittens?
We prepared for the weather ahead of time, stocking up the pantry and Clay filled the basket near the fireplace with wood so our days have been cozy by the fire. Again, there is something so wonderful, I can barely find words for, the crackle of the fire, it’s warmth spreading throughout the room and the smell! There’s nothing quite like the aroma of a fire in the hearth and breathing it in on the frigid air outside.
The dogs love it too! All four of them frolick like children in the snow, set alight with frisk and wonder. Oh yes, we now have four dogs. It appears my husband is an animal hoarder and myself, being an animal lover….well, this combo may be trouble! Our newest family addition is an 8 week old miniature Australian shepherd we’ve named Rowdy. The great danes have adopted him and Bella, our 10 yr old mini schnauzer, AKA The Sheriff, is patient yet leary. He is Rowdy after all.
My days have been spent in fuzzy slippers, in my kitchen while watching the snow fall through the glass doors. I’ve stewed chicken and rolled out dumplings that I made from scratch.
I baked loads of cookies, mint chocolate chip, peppermint meringue cookies dipped in chocolate and toppings, decorated sugar cookies, linzer cookies and dipped giant marshmallows in chocolate and toppings for hot cocoa. I boxed them and delivered to my nieghbors with the best of my holiday wishes and love to brighten their day.
Spreading cheer doesn’t have to put you in the poor house. I actually used what I had on hand save for a $2 package of cookie boxes. Something as small as a plate of cookies, a christmas card or even just stopping by to wish a happy holiday can warm the heart and strengthen community. At a time of year when so many feel depressed, lonely, blue, a simple gesture can mean so much. Be neighborly my friends, spread your warmth and cheer…everywhere! And don’t forget your mail carrier! Mine will find cookies and a card in the mailbox just for them.
Always with Love – Laura
Peppermint Merengue Cookies
4 large egg whites room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 225F and line a large cookie sheet (or two regular-sized cookie sheets — make sure they will fit in your oven together) with parchment paper. Set aside.
Combine egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in a large bowl.
Using an electric mixer stir on low speed until mixture becomes foamy. Increase speed to high.
With mixer on high, gradually add sugar, about 1 Tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition until sugar is dissolved (about 15-20 seconds between each addition).
Beat until mixture is thick, shiny, and has increased in volume. Mixture should have stiff peaks and sugar should be completely dissolved.
Stir in peppermint extract or any other extract you may like to use.
Fit a large disposable piping bag with a large tip. (I applied 2 thin stripes of pink food coloring gel down the inside of the bag) transfer meringue to prepared piping bag and pipe onto prepared cookie sheet in a circular twist. The meringue cookies can be pretty close to each other as they won’t spread, and you will want to bake all of the cookies at the same time, so make sure you make enough space.
Bake on 225F for 1 hour. Turn off the oven once the baking time has passed, and do not open the oven. Leave the oven door closed and allow cookies to cool completely in the oven (1-2 hours) before removing.
Meringue cookies should be crisp and can be stored in an airtight container. Keep away from heat and moisture as it can soften your meringues.
Melt chocolate candy melts according to package in the microwave. Gently dip the bottom of the cookie in the chocolate then dip into topping of your choice, nuts, coconut or crushed candy canes.