Imagine a fireside scene…
Logs crackle,
Sparks dance,
Conversation stirs…
The air is tinged with the warm scents of fresh-baked cookies.

That’s where we invite you this week…

To a place of sweet fellowship, sharing not just the recipes of a traditional cookie exchange, but also the corners of our hearts where we hold cherished scriptures.

Our hope through this blog hop is to join with you in starting the holiday season off in gentle, truth-filled simplicity, and perhaps even inspiring a new tradition in your home.

The Way It Works: Readers who “hop” from blog to blog this week will have five printed recipes and scriptures by the end of the week. The scriptures can be crafted into the beginning of a scripture garland– a place to gather verses close to the hearts of those you love. They can also be used as ornaments or gift tags.

Read on for more information, and be sure to check the list of all five stops at the bottom of this post!

Welcome to my little kitchen in the mountains!

Whether it’s over an old iron stove, with a crackling fire, or in a 21st century kitchen while carols play on the radio, cast iron cookies can bring warmth to any table. I first began using cast iron while working on the Cadence of Grace series and it made me think of my characters Elsie and Lonnie and their cozy kitchen where they stirred up all kinds of goodness. With it’s layer method, this one-pan-wonder is a cinch to make– and fun for the little ones to help! The cookies nestle perfectly into the pan with an easy layer method…But what makes the pioneer spirit so special, isn’t so much about following a tight set of guidelines, but about making it your own. So if you don’t have cast iron, use whatever you have on hand! Happy baking, friends!

Cast Iron Cookie Bars

Ingredients:

½ c. butter

1 ½ c. graham cracker crumbs

1 (14. Oz ) can sweetened condensed milk

½ cup white chocolate chips

½ cup butterscotch chips

½ cup sweetened dried cranberries

½ cup pecans

 

 

Directions:

About cast iron: we cook all our meals on cast iron and clean the pans with hot water only. Between uses, we smear the iron pans with coconut oil while still warm and they keep great.

In your seasoned cast iron pan* (the one I used was 10” in diameter), melt the butter on medium-low heat and then turn off the heat. Into the pan goes the graham cracker crumbs. Stir these together until combined and then press down with your fingers or a measuring cup until the crust mixture is flat and moved into all the edges of the pan.

Next drizzle on the sweetened condensed milk, then sprinkle on the white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, dried cranberries and pecans. Slide the pan into a pre-heated oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and the edges are golden brown.  For the best cut bars, allow to cool completely, then cut and serve. These are a rich cookie, so about 1 ½ inch squares is a nice serving size.

 

* If you don’t have a cast iron pan, you can make this in a regular baking pan and just melt the butter in a little pot and then pour it in. 

 

For the printable recipe, click here!

 

 

 

If you’ve been following the blog hop this week, you know we’re each sharing a scripture that’s dear to our heart. You can cut out the strip and create a paper chain/garland with them, or cut out the wreaths that bear the scriptures, to use as ornaments, gift tags, or to adorn pine garlands, etc. The hope is to create a simple but meaningful reminder of the life that this season celebrates, and the Life Eternal that we share, as a result.

My verse is “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14)

If there is anything that keeps the JOY in Christmas, it’s remembering what is most important: bringing Glory to God and loving others. By keeping that focus, my prayer is that all of our Christmas seasons will be filled with peace and all the warmth of the Christmas season.

 

In the comments, will you share a favorite scripture of yours?

At the end of the week, each of the five of us will pick one of the scriptures from our comments, and put them together on one last printable for you in the days that follow. When all is said and done, you’ll have 10 scriptures total to begin your scripture garland, and we’ll provide you with a blank template as well, should you wish to carry on the tradition and include more friends-and-family-favorite scriptures in your garland.

Check back here next week for information on where to find those last printables!

 

Wishing you and your family joy this holiday season!

Heartfelt Recipes released this week and a VERY special thank you to everyone who celebrated with me! If you’d been wanting to get a copy for your Kindle or iPad, the $2.99 cookbooklet includes 10 original recipes, plus a bonus fiction read. You can learn more here. 🙂

See you tomorrow at Melissa K. Norris’ blog!

The Mountain Hearth Christmas Line-up:

Monday 11/4: Laura Frantz~ http://LauraFrantz.net/journal/

Tuesday 11/5: Joanne Bischof ~ https://joannebischof.com/blog/

Wednesday 11/6: Melissa K. Norris ~ http://melissaknorris.com/

Thursday 11/7: Amanda Dykes ~ http://amandadykes.com/hearth/

Friday 11/8: Lauraine Snelling ~ http://amandadykes.com/lauraine/