Advent-ures: Going Nutty!

So, What Do Nativities Have  To Do With Nut Cookies?

Bear with me, they connect in my mind (somehow ) . . .

Not everyone knows that the French nativity scene, or La Crèche de Noël, is more than just your average Mary-Joseph-BabyJesus-Shepherds-Angel deal. Most American people (like me) grew up with your average nativity scene, which has about nine people and assorted barnyard animals.

traditional nativity

This nativity-tradition-thing all started back in the 6th century  as a way to help people see what the actual birth of Jesus looked like (or at least, what they thought it looked like). THEN, during the French Revolution, outdoor  Nativity Scenes were outlawed, and the innovative French people started carving their own figures, but they took on a kind of nutty spin (if you will). Instead of just the traditional figurines, all sorts of funky people started showing up in in the mix! The Cow and The Donkey got promoted in importance and started being seen as watch-guards for the Baby Jesus! On top of that, fishermen and town criers, musicians and bakers, lantern-bearers and lavender-farmers . . . you name a small-town role and it pretty much cropped up in the Crèche de Noël.

des santons

Now, how this relates to my nut-cookies. WELL . . . 

You know how the purest intentions of celebrating a season with an observed tradition (like having a nativity scene) sometimes get a little bit of the individualized flavor of the celebrants mixed in? Wellllll, my family mixed various traditions in with our more reason-for-the-season traditions, and one of those lovely not-biblical-but-still-enjoyable advent traditions is Cookie Baking!

Today, I tackled two delicious Christmas Cookie Treats, both acceptably nutty!!

First Up: Christmas Crescents


These are pretty straightforward – I barely follow the directions anymore, because all you really need to do is mix it all together play-dough style (aka, wash you hands and then smash it all up!). Then you roll it into crescents, or that’s what my family did, you can also do other shapes if you want!

the line-up!

Once they’re in the oven, you have only one last step to prepare for: The Powder. You pour a slew of confectioner’s sugar into a bowl and get ready to roll the still-hot cookies in it to complete the process!


Something magical happens when the hot cookies get all mixed up in powdered sugar – It’s like a kind of frosting forms from the melted sugar, and (in addition to being highly powdery) there is a little sweet layer that winds up being on the cookies! So tasty!


Second: Pecan Pie Bars

Simple and Scrumptious

This recipe is new to me – a pass-along from a coworker who was kind enough to share after I ate about 5 of the ones he brought in to school! The first step is making the “crust”, which is a lot like a sweet shortbread.

How firm a foundation. . .

Then, while that is baking, you throw together the other filling-like ingredients in a bowl (in no particular order!). It’s quick going, so you might actually wait until the base-layer is almost done!

I'm obsessed with Pecans.

When you’re ready, you pour the “filling” onto the “crust” and bake for another 20. Then you have to let them cool a little before you cut them, but not totally, or they “set” a little too much! The result is unbelievably delicious.

Gah, so darn delicious!

Seriously, let’s take another look at this:


(I’m sold. But then, I love pecans like it’s my job.)

I hope you make these cookies and enjoy them as much as my roommates and I have been. . . Don’t lose sight of the real reason behind all the preparations for Christmas (aka the coming of Jesus to earth!), but all the same, I think it’s fitting to appreciate the sweet traditions that have cropped up over the years! They are our way of setting this season apart as particularly wondrous!

All I Want For Christmas. . .


Okay, maybe sacrilege is  a strong word. But making a Christmas list is an action taken by greedy, demanding, bratty little children who should chill out and learn how to be thankful for whatever they receive and stop stealing the joy/surprise and fun out of Christmas gifting practices. . . or at least, that’s what I was led to believe.

Now don’t you feel like a jerk for writing Christmas lists growing up? Or maybe you just think I’m insane, sheltered or plain old small-minded! Never fear! I don’t ACTUALLY think all this about you if you are a Christmas Lister. None of you are heretics in my book . . . and actually, my family probably doesn’t actually ascribe to the extreme views expressed above . . . not really. True, we were never allowed to write Christmas lists and we never believed in Santa, but that was more a symptom of my Family’s traditional, Christian, financially-strapped family-of-seven status! Just imagine if all five of your children made wish lists and included i-pods. Yeesh. I think I just got disoriented and saw money-signs.

You have to hand it to my parents. They never even had a sit-down-talk with us about this no-list-policy. . . it just slowly seeped its way into our family’s NO-NO list!

This year, however, I am doing the unthinkable. Paint me blue and call me Veruca Salt, because this year I am breaking all the rules and writing a “DADDY- I WANT THAT GOOSE!” list for “Santa”.  

I’m an adult, right? I’m forging my own way in the world! I’m at liberty to write whatever lists I want to whomever I wish. This year I am exercising those liberties . . . especially since few or no family members know about my blog!

Get ready, Santa!