Gingerbread Cookies for the Birds

IMG_6836The days between Christmas and New Year’s always seem a bit unsettling to me–the excitement of Christmas is over, but the new year hasn’t yet begun. So it’s a neither here nor there time of year.  What better time to get into the kitchen and make more cookies, but this time for the birds and not the human residents of this house, who feel like they ate one (delicious) cookie too many on Christmas. I found an easy whole wheat gingerbread cookie recipe from the Pillsbury website, tinkered with it a bit, and came up with some cookies for the birds.

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Gingerbread Cookies for the Birds

1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
1-1/4 whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

one egg white
bird seed/chopped nuts/raisins

Beat the sugar with the butter or margarine and shortening until well combined. Add the molasses and egg, and beat well. Mix together the flours and the baking soda, and add to the butter mixture. Refrigerate for one hour. Roll out to 1/4″ thickness and cut out with cookie cutters.  Brush cookies with the egg white, and sprinkle and decorate with bird seed, nuts, and raisins. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. While the cookies are still warm, make a hole with a skewer. When the cookie is cool, thread a 12″ length of wool or twine through the hole, and hang in a tree for the birds.

Baking notes: As far as I know, birds don’t have much in the way of tastebuds, so I left out any spices or salt. I used margarine and a stick of butter-flavored shortening (left over from Christmas baking) in this recipe. This is a really nice cookie dough–smooth and easy to roll out. As well as using cookie cutters, you can simply use a clean, empty tin can to cut out cookies. For the round cookies shown, I used an empty 8-ounce tomato sauce can. This is a great way to use up dribs and drabs of nuts and raisins–birds aren’t fussy. Be sure to make the hole large enough–about 1/4″ in diameter is good. I used a twelve inch length of red wool for the hangers.

IMG_6828These were made with cow cookie cutters, but they look like guinea pigs to me!

IMG_6829This would be a good recipe to remember for next year–these almost look like German lebkuchen. Not sure if the birds will appreciate this!

IMG_6832Threading with the wool.

IMG_6835Or you can use twine.

IMG_6842Hanging in a pine tree.

Meanwhile, I hope you don’t mind if I share a few goldfinch photos with you. I keep thinking they are the most charming little birds ever.

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And here is a junco taking a bath this morning in a puddle.

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Hope you are enjoying your day. Namaste. Fran

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