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MANhandlers, to the Island!

This week’s MANhandler photo is one meant to inspire. Inspire to what, you ask? Well, candlelight, wine, a roaring fire and, about an hour later, a shared cigarette. Enjoy!

Old [ohld] adjective:
far advanced in the years of one’s or its life: an old man; an old horse; an old tree.
(www.dictionary.com)

I’m not exactly old. Not really. And my hairstylist is well-paid to ensure no rogue grays foil my plot to defy the aging process as long as possible. There are some things, though, that simply can’t be modified to seem younger than they are. One of those things? My absolute favorite television shows from childhood. There are a few I loved — the original Scooby Doo, whose feet sort of slid along as he walked because it was a real cartoon, not a computer generated show; Flipper, the show that made me want to be a marine biologist; He-Man, who made riding a tiger cool, had long hair, wore a loincloth and was my first step toward falling in love with Sam Bond. But of all of the, ahem, not-new shows that were around in my youth, there’s one that stands out as a clear favorite, one I still watch every chance I get.

Gilligan’s Island

love this show. I wanted to be Ginger, who had kickass gowns and serious va-va-voom on a deserted island. I wanted to be Mary Ann because she was gorgeous and resourceful. I wanted to be the Professor because he was just too cool. I loved the Skipper’s temper. The Howells made me laugh at their ignorance and shallow attempts to remain socially elite. The island natives who were hysterical. And Gilligan? I loved Gilligan. I saw so much of myself in him–this kid trying to do all the right things and just bungling it regularly. He made me laugh out loud and cheer him on and sympathize, all at the same time. I never missed the show.

There was an innocence to the entertainment that I miss. Or maybe it’s my innocence I mourn. I’m not sure. Life was simpler then, and Gilligan’s Island personified for me what that meant — laughter, survival, friendship, camaraderie and, above all, hope. Pretty impressive impression to leave a kid with. High five, my lovely castaways.

Moravian Christmas Cookies

This may surprise some of you, but I am a CHRISTMAS NUT.

Nope, not religious. I’m talking the whole tacky ornament, Santa loving, Grinch adoring, stockings-and-ugly-sweaters kind of Christmas nut.

I ADORE Christmas. I love getting together with my family, giving them the most fabulous presents I can come up with, eating, cooking, laughing, and sneaking around playing Santa.

When I was little, my parents had to make a rule for me. We couldn’t open presents until 5:30am. That didn’t stop me getting up at 1:00, 2:30, 3:25, and 4:59.

Yeah. This is a lifelong condition.

So, it is with a sense of great jubilation that I share with you my single favorite Christmas cookie recipe.

OMNOMNOMNOM

OMNOMNOMNOM

 

Warning: These cookies taste like you just jammed a sleigh-full of delicious and spice into your mouth. Also, one batch makes about a trillion cookies. But, good news. The batter can stay refrigerated for up to two MONTHS. (not a typo.) Yay for liquor-laced cookie dough!!!

And, without further ado…

 

MORAVIAN CHRISTMAS COOKIES

Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 cups Shortening

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed Dark Brown Sugar

A five pound bag of flour (you won’t use all this in the dough, but you will need the vast majority by the time you’re done. Think of the rolling out. These cookies are a commitment, but it’s like marrying an ancient billionaire. Pain in the hoo-ha for the short term, but CRAZY AWESOME later!!)

4 cups of Molasses

3/4 cup Brandy

2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

2 tablespoons Milk

1 teaspoon White Vinegar

2 tablespoons Cinnamon

2 tablespoons Nutmeg

2 tablespoons Cloves

1 tablespoon Ginger

 

Directions, in case you’re not scared enough now. IT’S WORTH IT!!

 

In a big bowl, mix together shortening, brown sugar, and 3 cups flour. Add molasses and brandy. In a separate bowl, dissolve baking soda in milk and mix in vinegar. Add to molasses batter with all the assorted spices. Now here’s where it becomes a workout. Add enough flour to make a stiff dough. Your arms will be exhausted, and you may give up too soon. That is okay. Refrigerate at least overnight, but up to two months! Liquorrrrrrrrrrrrrr. 🙂

When you’re ready to bake, let a chunk of the dough come up to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. If your oven runs hot, you may want to knock it down to 260. You know your oven. I don’t. Moving on!

On a floured board roll out dough to 1/8 of an inch thick. If too sticky, add more flour. If too dry, add more dough. Cut 3 inch cookies. I recommend using parchment paper on your baking sheets, also, btw. Bake them for ten minutes total, the first five on the bottom rack, and the last five on the top rack. Remove and cool.

 

These cookies will turn you into a bakery, but they make your house smell of nutmeg and cinnamon and ginger and cloves. AMAZEBALLS. And the taste? They’re much better the next day. The spices ping your tongue. Yeah, so they’re a lot of work. Yeah, so they have about seventeen ingredients. THEY ARE SO WORTH IT.

 

Christmas is a commitment, people. Your December 25th can be just like every other day of your life, or it can be special. MINE WILL BE SPECIAL, DAMMIT!!

 

*omnomnomnomnomnom*

 

 

 

 

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