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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 07/31/13

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

CHOCOLATE AND MARASHINO CHERRY SHORTBREAD COOKIES!

Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies





Shortbread has to be one of my favourite holiday cookies, I mean it is so easy to make and that melt in your mouth buttery goodness is almost impossible to resist! Although plain shortbread is amazing you can fill it with pretty much anything from simple to gourmet and from sweet to savoury even. Taking a queue from my candied orange peel shortbread I had been wanting to try a festive version with bright red maraschino cherries, though instead of coating them with chocolate this time I was going to add the chocolate to the cookies along with the cherries. I was however a little torn between whether to use white or dark chocolate as white chocolate seemed more festive but dark chocolate goes so well with cherries. In the end the easiest solution was to make a batch of both and besides you can't have too much shortbread.

The chocolate and maraschino cherry shortbread cookies did not disappoint! I was quite pleased at how the red from the cherries swirled into the cookie dough and both the white and dark chocolate versions turned out amazingly well!






Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies







Feel free to drizzle them with or dip them in even more chocolate! 






Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies

Chocolate and Maraschino Cherry Shortbread Cookies
Shortbread filled with maraschino cherries and chocolate and optionally drizzled with or dipped in more chocolate.

Servings: makes 24+ cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Printable Recipe
Ingredients



  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup maraschino cherries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white and/or dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces white and/or dark chocolate, chopped (optional)
Directions



  1. Cream the butter and the sugar.
  2. Mix the flour and the salt.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet until it starts forming larger clumps.
  4. Mix in the maraschino cherries, white chocolate and vanilla extract.
  5. Form the dough into the shape that you want, wrap it in plastic and let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour. (I did a rectangular log but you could also do a circular log.)
  6. Cut the log into 1/4 inch thick slices and place them on a parchment lined baking pan with one inch of space between them.
  7. Bake in a preheated 325F oven until they just start to turn lightly golden brown on top, about 10-15 minutes.
  8. Let cool completely.
  9. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. (optional)
  10. Dip the cookies into the chocolate and place on a sheet of parchment paper and let cool until the chocolate sets. (optional)

13 FACTS ABOUT VAMPIRES!





    Almost every culture in the world has its own vampire legend, and some date back thousands of years. Today, we are most familiar with Count Dracula and other folklore from Eastern Europe. Do you want to learn more? Here is a wealth of juicy trivia to sink your fangs into sink your fangs into this Halloween season.

1. Was the first vampire a woman? The oldest known vampire legends come from Babylonian and Sumerian mythology. Female demons called the Lilu were said to hunt women and children at night, and drink their blood.

2. Vlad III Tepes, also known as Vlad Dracul, was known for his incredible cruelty; he was alleged to have killed up to 30,000 people at one time! His bloodthirsty reputation inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula.

3. The National Retail Federation listed "Vampire" as the second most popular adult Halloween costume in 2005. Vampires were the sixteenth most popular children's costume for the same year.








4. While modern pop culture usually portrays vampires as sensual and romantic, other countries don't see them that way: the Ghanan Asasabonsam vampire has iron teeth and hooks for feet - which they drop from treetops onto unsuspecting victims.

5. Some believe that Cain was the first vampire, cursed by God for slaying his brother, Abel. This theory is frequently found in popular films and games.

6. In 1992, Francis Ford Coppola's "Dracula" movie won seven awards, including three Oscars.






7. Stakes, fire and sunlight aren't the only ways to kill a vampire. Other cultures recommend beheading a vampire, boiling it in vinegar, pounding a nail through its navel, or scattering birdseed on its tomb.

8. In Latin American folklore, El Chupacabras is a supernatural creature that drinks the blood of animals - usually chickens and goats.

9. According to popular tradition, vampires can shape-shift into wolves, bats, or clouds of mist.

10. In March 2007, self-proclaimed vampire hunters entered the tomb of Slobodan Milosevic and staked his body through the heart.








11. The medical condition porphyria has been blamed for many reports of vampirism. Its victims develop pale skin, sensitivity to sunlight, receding gums which make their teeth appear larger, and severe anemia- the cure for which, in ages past, might have included drinking animals' blood.

12. In the 17th Century, Countess Bathory of Hungary was said to bathe in human blood in order to preserve her beauty. Some even accused her of vampirism.





13. Vampire bats were named after vampires, not vice-versa.

THE FOURTH OF JULY AND THE SIGNING OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE!!





    A little known fact is that fifty-four of the fifty-six signatories of the Declaration of Independence were believers. These men understood the powerful influence that the Savior God had on each and every individual who had signed this and pledged allegiance to it. Their signatures could have possibly sealed their deaths and they were all fully aware of it.
    In their framework of the Declaration, they sought God's wisdom in creating a document that would become this great nation's most important testament. Little did the signers of the Declaration of Independence know that with the signing of this Declaration, the birth of a new nation had begun, and "the shot that was heard around the world", the first shot fired against a British soldier, would be the beginning of the end for Great Britain's rule over the American colonies.






The Declaration of Independence
   With the signing of the Declaration of Independence, on July 4th, 1776, the United States of America declared to England, its demand for independence from England. The Declaration contained two parts. One was the preamble, which stated that man was due his god-given rights to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". The second part of the Declaration was a list of grievances against England and a declaration that the American colonies should be separate from Great Britain.







    The Declaration of Independence was actually first debated on June 7th, 1776, in the 
Continental Congress. On June 11th of this same year, the Congress chose a committee to write a formal document to prepare as a formal declaration of separation from England. The original committee consisted of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, John Adams and Robert Livingston. The Committee selected Thomas Jefferson to write the first draft which was to be presented to the Continental Congress.
think rather than calling it the "4th of July", it is actually Independence Day. We don't call Christmas the "25th of December". I believe it is more honorable to call it what it is: Independence Day. It rightfully ought to follow as Independence Day and dependence upon god.








The First Draft of the Declaration of Independence

   The original author of the Declaration of Independence, 
Thomas Jefferson, used much of the language of the English philosopher, John Locke (1632-1704). Locke's philosophy was sweeping through the American colonies at the time. Locke's assertion was that man's natural rights were a right to have a free life, liberty to live that life, and happiness, which Locke felt was even more important than a guarantee of being able to own personal property.







    John Adams and Benjamin Franklin made some minor changes in the language of the Declaration before it was submitted to the Congress on July 2nd, 1776. Congress adopted Richard Henry Lee's resolution, which officially called for the separation from England. Part of what was taken out of the Declaration was a strong statement condemning slave trade, since Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner. The Declaration may have never passed the Continental Congress if this prohibition of slavery was left in; because many Southern colonists already owned slaves and a majority of Northern merchants had ships that were operated by slaves. After this revision, the Declaration was approved by Congress on July 4th, 1776. It wasn't until July 8th that the Declaration was made public by reading it aloud from the balcony of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.






Hidden Identities


    The Continental Congress worried about the safety of those who had signed the Declaration, so the names of the men who signed it were not made public until January 18th, 1777. The original Declaration of Independence today is displayed at the Library of Congress. The real author of the Declaration of Independence may have actually been Benjamin Franklin, who in 1775, spoke about the need for a "United Colonies of North America", which was to be an alignment for common defense, where each of the 13 colonies would have its own territories and be independent of the other colonies. Congress would only have authority of affairs outside of each colony. The colonists were still concerned about a central government having too much power of the colonies, since that is the reason many of the colonists came to the New World in the first place, to escape a strong ruling government over all the people.






    A national revival is not scheduled for a certain date like a church posts a sign that a revival is coming up on such and such a date. No, revival begins with prayer and supplication to God. Revival starts with me and with you, in the heart and with prayer. This nation needs a national revival like the Great Revivals in the 18th and 19th Century.
A pastor in the 1700's preached expositional preaching out of the Bible. In time, pastors began to start questioning the deity of Jesus and the veracity or truthfulness of the Bible. At the same time, the culture, not ironically, started to deteriorate morally. One way to turn this nation back into a prosperous one is found in the Old Testament and the movement towards prosperity starts on our knees. God changes not and will answer a national repentance today as He did thousands of years ago. If we, as a nation, and if all individual Christians would return to the Lord our God in prayer, these words can ring true again. They are still as relevant today for America as they were then for ancient Israel: "I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (2 Chron. 7:14). So pray for God once again to bless America.