COOKIE CUTTER GARLAND
• flat surface to work on
• corn starch
• small stove safe, cooking pot
• baking soda
• star cookie cutter
• thin wire or twine
• essential oils (optional)
• food coloring (optional)
• 1 cup baking soda
• 1/4 cup cornstarch
• 3/4 cup water
• 10 drops of essential oils (optional)
1. Mix baking soda and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Add water, stir until smooth. Add 10 drops of each oil (optional). The scent will be strong, but it all works out in the end.
2. Put this soup-like mixture on the stove and cook on medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for about 3-5 minutes. As you stir, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. The mixture will first get bubbly before it gets thicker and thicker and you need to scrape the pot to get all of that combined.
3. Once the mixture is very thick, it will resemble a dense, sticky lump of dough. Remove it from the stove at this point.
4. Transfer dough to a cool plate and let cool to room temperature. It gets cold fairly quickly. Once it’s cool, knead this lump into a smooth dough. If it’s sticky or too wet add more cornstarch (like you would flour when making regular dough).
5. Add food coloring and knead into dough (optional).
6. Lightly dust the dough with cornstarch and roll it out to no less than 6mm (1/4 inch) thick. Cut out desired shapes and transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut out holes (for hanging the ornaments) with a straw.
7. (Air dry option) Let ornaments dry out in a warm space for a day, flip them over the next day and let them dry until they’re completely set, ideally another day. The longer you wait the better.
8. (Oven option) If you choose to bake your stars, you can do so by baking them at 170F degrees for 2 hours. Don’t turn your oven any hotter than that as you don’t want to burn your stars or create air bubbles.
9. Finally, add some twine and hang them up!
SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE WITH COCONUT AND PECANS
from the kitchen of Amber Adams
• 3-4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
• kosher salt (about a 1⁄2 teaspoon)
• 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut (You can use unsweetened if you don’t like it too sweet)
• 1⁄2 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1⁄2 cup chopped pecans
• 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
• 1⁄3 cup whole milk
• 1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
• 3 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Place the potatoes in a large pot and add water to cover. Add salt to taste. Reduce heat and simmer until very tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. You can also bake the potatoes till tender and then remove skin.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 325°F. In a small bowl, combine the coconut, brown sugar, pecans, and 1⁄2 tea-spoon salt.
3. Add the granulated sugar, milk, butter, eggs, vanilla, and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt to the potatoes and mash until smooth.
4. Transfer the mixture to an 8-inch square or another shallow 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle with the coconut mixture. Bake until heated through (tent loosely with foil if the top browns too quickly), 30 to 35 minutes.