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Legends and cookies of Christmas 2: Evergreen trees and Spritz holiday cookies

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This is the second in a series of articles regarding some of the Legends of Christmas, each of which will be accompanied with a Christmas cookie recipe. Share these legends with your family as you make your cookies for special family times.

It seems that the birds were headed south for the warm weather when one little bird broke its wing and was left behind. Before long, frost and snow covered the forest, leaving the little bird cold and hungry. Having nowhere else to turn, she asked the trees for help.

The birch tree was so proud of being beautiful it felt he could not help the little bird because he had a greater responsibility to first look after the birds of the forest. The strong oak tree would not assist for he feared the little bird would want to remain until spring and would eat some of its acorns. Even the gentle willow tree would not help because she would not even talk to strangers.

The little bird became so distressed she tried to fly again, but her wing had not yet healed. The spruce tree, noticing her distress, offered her its thickest, softest and warmest branch once it knew the little bird’s story. The pine tree offered to protect the spruce tree and the little bird from the North Wind all through the winter. The little juniper offered its berries for the little bird to eat. So it was the little bird was able to live comfortably all through the winter.

The Frost King, noting the generous behavior of the spruce, pine and juniper trees, instructed the North Wind not to touch so much as a single leaf on any of those kind of trees – however, he could do as he wished with all the others. It is from this kindness that spruce, pine and juniper trees are green year-round and became known as evergreen trees

Remind your family of this story as you make these spritz holiday cookies with them.

Ingredients:

1 cup margarine or butter (softened)

½ cup sugar

2 ¼ cups flour

Salt (pinch)

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ᵒF.
  2. Cream sugar and butter. Mix in the remaining ingredients.
  3. Place dough in a cookie press. Press out onto cookie sheet. Sprinkle with jimmies or colored sugar (let the kids to do this part!).
  4. Watch closely while baking, and don’t brown them.

Suggestion: Put the dough in the refrigerator for 5 or 10 minutes to help with its consistency in the cookie press.

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