just a smidgen


Grace 11grace

“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”
{ Anne Lamott }


Gracein loving memory of
Philip John Carroll 
1.28.60 ~ 12.14.12

wishing you all grace and peace this holiday season
may you enjoy
time with loved ones and cherished memories of those who’ve
left us momentarily…

there was a flurry of Christmas baking in the
Smidgen’s Kitchen
that had to be accomplished in just one day..
thankfully, my daughter’s willing and able hands joined mine

as we

shaped cookies, spread layers, and dolloped pie fillings to bake

My trusty Christmas baking was complemented with a few new recipes to add to my
“must bake” list.. here are a few..

grace 13grace 10Crackle Top Snowy Mountain Cookies

grace 9Mabel’s Nanaimo Bars

Pam’s Butter Tarts
Pam and I taught at the same Elementary School for years and I was delighted when she joined our orchestra. These tarts and their recipe were the talk of the staff room, I was overjoyed when she shared her recipe with me!

Pam's Best Butter Tarts
Cook time
Total time
  • Crust
  • Ingredients
  • 1 lb Tenderflake Lard (room temperature)
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour (5 Roses if possible)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
Smidge’s Alternate Filling
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  1. Tart Shells
  2. Mix everything but the milk with 2 knives or a pastry blender. Cut the lard in a bit at a time. Keep at it until the lard is small pea size. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (I skipped this step.)
  3. Add the milk and mix. (This takes a lot of time and effort due to it being in the fridge, but eventually it will all mix. Because I skipped the “fridge” step, I didn’t find this difficult at all.) Make into four balls, flatten to discs, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
  4. Roll out one disc and cut with a round cutter. Place in 12 muffin tins, gently pressing sides in.
  5. Makes 4 double crust pies or 4 dozen butter tarts.
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Mix all ingredients together, adding the butter last and whipping with a fork until bubbles appear.
  3. Spoon into tarts, filling 3/4 full. Bake for 16 minutes at 375F until the pastry has nicely browned.
  4. The filling will bubble up and may go over the sides of the tart pastry shells.
  5. Set aside to cool for a while before removing from the pan. Cool before eating.

These little cookies have a mildly spicy flavor and fragrant bouquet.. And they remind me of mounds of snow. { Martha Stewart }

  • 1 1/4 cups confectioner’s icing sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, pepper, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, blend butter, brown sugar and molasses at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture, mix just until combined.
  5. Scoop or pinch off dough, about a tablespoon size, roll into balls (about 1 1/4? size). Place on lined cookie sheets, about 1 1/2? apart.
  6. Bake until cookies are golden and firm to touch with some slight cracking of the tops, about 12-15 minutes. Rotate sheets half-way through to ensure even baking. When done, transfer to a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Toss cookies a few at a time in a bowl or paper bag filled with confectioner’s sugar. Place back on wire rack to finish cooling.
by Martha Stewart


{ Who else.. but The Barefoot Contessa }

Jam Thumprint Cookies
Cook time
Total time
  • 3/4 lb (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water (egg wash)
  • 7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
  • Strawberry or apricot jam
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until just combined. Add the vanilla and mix again.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Put the mixer on a low speed and gradually add the sifted flour to the butter mixture. Continue to mix just until the dough starts to come together. Pour the mixture onto the counter, work with your hands to form one or two balls of dough then flatten. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the dough from the fridge, scoop 1 1/4? balls of dough, shaping with your warm hands. Dip into egg wash then into the coconut, pressing it to stick. Place the ball on silpat or parchment lined cookie sheets. Gently press an indentation into the tops with your finger, pressing sides together to avoid cracking. Dollop a small bit of jam into the top indentation.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, just until the coconut is lightly golden. Remove, allow to cool slightly then move to wire racks to finish cooling.



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