Barbie Butz is an independent columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email her at barbiewb@hotmail.com.

The holidays are always busy days for us, but we love this time of the year. The rain certainly added another dimension to our celebrating. I had to look through the closets to find my old reliable red rain jacket with the hood before I felt ready to face the elements.

John and I shared Christmas Eve in Paso Robles with our son Dave, his wife Shannon, their daughter Maddie and her friend Jason, who were visiting from the Bay area.

Dave and Shannon’s daughter, Meredith, who lives and goes to college in Olympia, Washington, was unable to join us. However, with our two grand-dogs also present (Buffy and Harley), we had a “small” crowd just enjoying being together.

Shannon served a prime rib roast, with Yorkshire pudding, a British pastry made with flour, eggs, and milk, a delicious cheesy-cauliflower casserole, baked potatoes with all the “good” toppings, and a nice green salad. I added the raw cranberry-jello-crushed pineapple side dish that is a tradition with our family.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

For dessert, Shannon had made a chocolate cake layered with peppermint ice cream that was perfect after the roast and baked potatoes.

After dinner, Jason (Keiser), who is a professional musician and music educator, entertained us with his guitar. He played a selection of Christmas music along with other familiar pieces. He plays the Mandolin and Banjo and keys in on Jazz, Salsa, Bossa Nova, and Bluegrass with all of the instruments. His music made for a very special evening.

You probably still have your cookie-making supplies and equipment handy, so this next recipe will be one that you can use to make a batch of these “little bites” that everyone will enjoy after the heavier desserts of the holidays. 

Cardamom Orange Buttons

Ingredients:
3½ cups all-purpose flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
½ cup sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
Juice of 1 large orange
Colored candy sprinkles, sanding sugar, or orange sugar dots 

Directions:

In a small bowl, sift flour and baking powder together. In a mixing bowl, beat salt, eggs, and sugar until light and lemon-colored, about 2 minutes on medium speed. Add butter, orange zest, and cardamon. Slowly add flour mixture, beating on low until combined. Gradually add milk and vanilla. Dough should be soft. Divide dough into four sections. Roll out dough on floured work surface to ½ inch thickness. Cut into 1-inch-round buttons with biscuit cutter. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 212 minutes until light brown. Do not over-bake. Remove from oven and cool. 

In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar with orange juice to form spreading consistency icing. Add a little more juice or a teaspoon milk to thin, if needed.

Brush tops of each cookie with glaze, sprinkle with sanding sugar or use tweezers to place dots (3 to 5) on each. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Note: Remember this recipe for Valentine’s Day!

Happy New Year, everyone! 

Cheers!