Juncos and Butter Nut Bars

IMG_6566I went out roaming with my camera this morning, noting that most birds were flitting around in some nearby serviceberry trees, still laden with berries.  Almost all of the birds were either sparrows or slate-colored juncos, who are members of the sparrow family. I soon found a junco willing to pose.

IMG_6563I love being able to see him close up.

IMG_6562It’s been a very cold morning, and his feathers are fluffed up.

IMG_6567In among the berries.

IMG_6561The remains of some asters.

IMG_6548Meanwhile, I’ve been baking. I have an old copy of The Christmas Cookie Book by Virginia Pasley, and decided to try her recipe for what she called “blitzkuchen” cookies. The “blitz” in the name indicated it was fast to make, and I liked that. Older cook books are often treacherous, though. For instance, she directed to spread the dough in “shallow cake pans.” This could be anything, and I made up the dough and spread it into a 13 x 9″ pan. The resultant cookie was unbelievably delicious, mainly because it was literally dripping in butter. Apparently, the wrong pan size!

So I tried again, this time using a 15 x 11″ pan, and this did the trick, resulting in a wonderfully buttery, crispy bar cookie, glittering with the sanding sugar I had sprinkled it with.

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Here is the recipe:

Butter Nut Bars

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped nuts, divided in half
sanding or sparkling sugar (I used Wilton’s “Sprinkles”)

Mix the butter, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla. Then stir in the flour, and then half a cup of the chopped nuts.

Pat into a greased 15 x 11″ pan. It will be about a 1/4″ layer. Brush on the lightly beaten egg white (you won’t have to use it all), and then sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup chopped nuts. It was my own touch to sprinkle the dough with sugar, which makes them sparkle beautifully. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Cut in bars when cool. This makes about 4-1/2 dozen 1-1/2″ square cookies.

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IMG_6550I loved the Christmas cookies shown in the flyleaf of The Christmas Cookie Book, which was published in 1949. Inspiration for a retro Christmas!

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I packed up these cookies to be taken to work by Jim ASAP!

Hope you have a good week! Fran

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