Angel Kisses

Yes Sarah, it’s true. We don’t have to travel far to find angels with hearts of gold. Especially at this time of year.

One walked in my front door this morning.

After she said hello, she went straight to the kitchen. Without a word, she opened the cookie jar, grabbed a freshly made Angel Kiss and gave one to her niece who was with her.

“Here try this. It’s Nancy’s Christmas baking,” she said to her niece.

She popped the cookie in her mouth and broke into a beautiful smile.

“Will you teach me how to make these things?” She asked with wonder in her eye. “I just love them.”

So for my dear friend and all of you,  here is my simple recipe for Angel Kisses.

Artwork by Ava

Angel Kisses                                      

2 eggs whites at room temperature

8 tablespoons white granulated sugar (superfine if you have it)

1-teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 250° F. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Beat eggs whites until stiff but not too dry. Then add sugar, SLOWLY, a tablespoon at a time, beating constantly. Add the vanilla about half way through the beating.

The eggs white should now stand up in little peaks, like angel wings. Drop the mixture by teaspoonfuls on the prepared cookie sheet. Sprinkle with stardust (coloured sugar.)

Bake for about an hour until they are a very pale golden. WATCH carefully (timing depends on the size.)

Turn OFF the oven and leave the cookies in the oven to dry out for two or three hours.

Enjoy the season. It’s the time to look for hearts of gold, and angels. I’ll look forward to your stories and comments.

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For Hearts of Gold an Angel Pie

There are not hundreds of them. It’s not like you meet them everyday when you’re travelling. But there are people with hearts of gold. And there are angels. One day I’ll write about them. But for this week, to honour the angels in my life, and people I’ve met with hearts of gold, here is a favourite family recipe.

Like angels, this is simple and just little bit different – heavenly and sure to be memorable.

Angel Pie

Preheat the oven to 275ºF. Line a small pizza pan with parchment paper.

4 eggs separated

1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup of whipping cream

1/3 cup icing sugar

The Meringue.

Combine egg whites and cream of tarter in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric beater until soft peaks form. SLOWLY beat in 1 cup of sugar and continue beating the egg whites until the peaks are stiff and shiny. Spread the mixture on the parchment paper, lining the pizza pan, to make about a ten-inch round base. Bake for an hour or until very lightly brown and firm to touch. Cool. This is your base. Don’t worry if the meringue is cracked or falls apart, just push it back together.

The Lemon Custard.

In a small saucepan beat the egg yolks until they are pale yellow and thick. SLOWLY beat in the rest of the sugar (i.e. ½ cup) Add the lemon juice. Cook over medium heat STIRRING CONSTANTLY until the mixture thickens. This is your lemon custard.

The Assembly.

Spread the lemon custard on the cooked meringue shell. Whip the cream, adding icing sugar to taste (I hardly add any sugar to the whipping cream.) Spread over the top and decorate, as you like, perhaps with a couple of thin lemon slices or two or three strawberries. Keep in the fridge until you are ready to serve it. I place it on a pretty serving dish, and cut it at the table.
Best wishes for a peaceful holiday          season.

Artwork by Ava

Coming next:  My blogging resolutions

What did you bring home? Some stories, some tangibles and some things that are alive.

The plane dips, floats, touches, bumps, and stops. “This is the termination of flight…Welcome to Calgary.” I made it. Again.

Is this the end of my trip?  No. The end of my short trip becomes the beginning of another journey. My memories are wild and untamed. I wind back the days, reassess the experience, embellish my notes and write. Things I’ve brought home begin to take on a life of their own.

Some of those things are stories about people. Other things are more tangible, like my coffee pot. And some things stay outside.

            My suitcase and everything in it stays outside.

            For once I hope it’s cold. Really cold. It takes seven minutes at -35’C to wipe out bedbugs or four 4 days at -10’C. I Google to learn more facts.

The speedy, light-brown devils are flat and oval. Adults are about the size of a grain of cooked brown rice but bed bugs swell in size as they feast. To prove they’ve enjoyed my warm human blood exclusively for their breakfast, lunch and dinner, I’ve brought home lines of itchy red welts along the most tender and tasty parts of my body. The side effects of bedbug bites are “not serious.” My research explains that I shouldn’t worry, the bites are itchy for only a week or two but, I am warned, “the psychological effects can remain for a long time.” Anxiety, stress and insomnia are common. So true.

I want to cope with the psychological effects in a positive way so I’ve brought home my list of recommendations to use the next time I travel.

1.  When travelling do not leave the suitcase on the bed or the floor. Put it on a dresser or a table, to keep the little beasts at bay. Be especially wary that bed bugs might be lingering around if the beds are wrapped in plastic. The bugs are under the plastic.

2. Pack everything in zip lock bags and throw in a couple extra plastic bags for laundry.

3. Wear long underwear, like a suit of amour, at night. My long johns are incredibly comforting, even if they don’t protect me all that well.

4. Smear on insect repellent with DEET. Although it may foil Malaria and Dengue fever, it is not proven to keep those prehistoric-dinosaur-like bed bugs away. But I’ll try it anyway, for moral support. And I’ll spray the bed for extra good luck.

5. Don’t forget anti-itch lotion, hydrocortisone cream and antihistamine pills. They may help the itch.

6. Pay attention to all bed bug advice and rumours.

Bon Voyage!

Coming next week:   “Desert Coffee”    A story from the Silk Road.