Snowy Vanilla Chip Cookies and a Little Brown Bird


I’ve settled into my wintertime after-supper routine of taking down a big pile of Christmas books from where they perch on the topmost bookshelf, settling down onto the sofa,  and leafing through them. Our cat Puff often settles down with me, his head on my leg, and gets irritated when I turn a page. So that’s how I found myself reading through a recipe for Vanilla Chip Cookies from “Home for Christmas,” by John Hadamuscin–Puff would not allow me to turn the page!

Made with vanilla chips and dusted with powdered sugar, the cookies sounded somehow snowy, and with the cool light of winter flooding our house, this morning I made a batch. As it turns out, the cookies are crisp and buttery, full of vanilla (one tablespoon!), toasty nuts, and a nice little kick of cinnamon. Thank you, Puff!

Update: These cookies come into their own after cooling completely and mellowing for a few hours: the vanilla and cinnamon flavors blossom together, and are simply amazing. Maybe I should let Puff choose all of my recipes!

Here is the recipe.

Vanilla Chip Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1-1/4 cups white baking chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until smooth, then add the eggs and vanilla. Beat well. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture and stir just until mixed. Then add the walnuts and baking chips.

Drop by spoonfuls (I used a small Wilton cookie scoop) about 2 inches apart (they will spread a bit) onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake until brown around the edges, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if you wish.

img_6896Baking notes: You could used white chocolate chips instead of the “premier white morsels.” Roast the walnuts at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until they smell toasty.

Waxed Paper Origami

I have been doing origami lately–it’s like a fever that hits me now and then–and I have to start folding! The other day I had the bright idea of doing origami with waxed paper instead of the usual origami paper, and it’s so fun! You can see the folded object outside and inside!

I also cut some waxed paper banners to hang in the window. The patterns came from “Making Magic Windows” by Carmen Lomas Garza. The book can be purchased from Amazon for one penny plus shipping–a bargain.

Patterns for origami moths and butterflies can be found at


A Little Brown Bird

I almost didn’t post the pictures of this little brown bird, who you could say is pretty undistinguished. But after listening to airwaves filled with bombast  and bullying, the sweet humbleness of this little bird has brought tears to my eyes. And, really, when looked at closely, his feathers are amazingly complex and beautiful. (Love his little tail feather.) Actually, he’s (or she?) extraordinary! Hope you enjoy. Fran


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2 thoughts on “Snowy Vanilla Chip Cookies and a Little Brown Bird

  1. It’s all looking beautiful and/or delicious.

    For my birthday my daughter Brittany made some sandwiches from one of your recipes. I can’t find the post right now but they had eggs and peppers. Delicious!

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