kerstkrantjes (christmas shortbreads)

Hey! So today on YouTube is the Project for Awesome. The Project for Awesome began in 2007 when the vlogbrothers decided to take over YouTube so that for one day, instead of it being about cats and memes and random music videos and people making fools of themselves in front of their cameras alone in their bedrooms, it was all about charity.

I only have a YouTube account so I can comment on other videos, so my part in the Project for Awesome is pretty much just about commenting and favouriting and liking as many P4A videos as I can in the timeframe (limited by my massive sleep-in this morning).

Now I think that the only real way to change the world is to change yourself but  while you’re on that journey it can’t help to support other people who are changing the world, who are making a difference. It’s coming up to Christmas and so people are spending money all over the place for their loved ones but there are people out there who can’t do that. People who are just trying to survive out there.

There are a lot of charities that do really good things and who really work with people who struggle to survive so that the difference isn’t limited to how long the charity itself sustains it. There are charities who work to make sustainable differences, differences that will last long after they leave. Differences that change the world for the better, not just the lives of the few that exist at that time.

One of these, one I’m particularly attached to, is called TEAR Australia which stands for Transformation Empowerment Advocacy Relief, and they don’t have any projects of their own in Third World countries. They partner with organisations in the countries that need help with the aim being that they can leave that organisation better off with sustainable aid.

Please watch these videos, visit the Project for Awesome website and donate some holiday money to something that counts this Christmas.

Kerstkrantjes (Christmas Shortbreads)

This recipe is pretty special, I have to say. My mum’s family’s Dutch, and as it turns out, we have family friends who’s maternal grandparents are also Dutch. We live a little way away from them and we don’t get to see them very often, with our hectic lives and their hectic lives and way too long to drive from one house to the other. When we do get to see them, it’s always amazing.

This particular time, we went to watch the AFL Grand Final. I missed it, catching the radio broadcast of the game as I drove the two hours to their place, but I did get a few very special recipes. The mum of the family, her great grandfather (I think) was a baker in Holland and passed down the recipes to his family. She knows I’m a baking type person and gave some of them to me. These ones are great for any time of the year but are traditionally made at Christmas (because we all have more time at Christmas to bake cookies!) They’re great if you cut them into heart shapes and dip half of them into dark chocolate, but I just sprinkled coloured sugar over them to make them pretty.

I used regular sugar but I definitely recommend caster sugar for this one. If you don’t have self raising flour, the general ratio is one teaspoon of baking powder replaces 1 teaspoon in every cup of plain flour.

170g caster sugar
250g butter, unsalted
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
200g plain flour
200g s.r. flour

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and scrape down sides, then beat to combine.

Sift together flours. Fold into wet ingredients. (At this point you can freeze or refrigerate the dough, wrapped in plastic wrap. Leave it out until it reaches room temperature, then continue)

Preheat oven to 160°Celsius and line baking trays with baking paper.

Roll out to about 1/4″ thick (three twenty cent pieces stacked up on top of each other is approximately the thickness you want) and cut out into shapes. The traditional shape is doughnut, brushed with milk and sprinkled with sugar. I didn’t brush with milk (silly me!) but I did sprinkle with sugar. If you do cut them into doughnuts you can put them on your tree.

Bake about ten minutes in your oven – you may need twelve or even fifteen. You know your oven. They will have the barest pale brown blush.

Don’t forget to leave some out for Santa!

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