Advertisements
RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Josiah Venture

Candy-coated Cut-out Cookies!

Posted on

My Message5

These buttery cut-out cookies are decorated in melted candy and designed to replicate our Josiah Venture Camps Theme for 2016!

There is so much to talk about with these little cookies! I will start with the WHY.

I work for an organization named Josiah Venture. We are a movement of God among the youth of Eastern and Central Europe that finds its home in the local church and transforms society. We plan over 100 evangelical camps each summer in 13 different countries, and each camp has the same theme. This year the theme is “Did You Get My Message?”, and this is the camp logo- on all of the t-shirts and banners and materials.

A3_Camp_Poster_2016_FINAL_EDITABLE_ENGLISH

Last year, I made cookies that replicated our camp theme “You are Here” and they were such a hit that people asked if I planned to do this again… I’m starting to be a little afraid of the next year’s design!!! THIS year was pretty easy- and a lot of fun!

My Message3

Now for the HOW.

Have you ever pieced two cookie parts together to make a shape not available in the cookie cutter world?

Me neither. When I was challenged to re-create this design in cookie form I knew I could get a hexagon cookie cutter- but how to add that cute little circle at the top? Then, how to decorate them without using Royal Icing? I’m not a fan of all the waiting for it to harden between colors.

Here’s what I did- and it worked (and tasted) GREAT. I realize you will want to make your own shapes and decorations- just adjust the amounts and colors of Wilton’s candy Melts accordingly.  (For a printable cookie recipe, click here)

My Message6

 INGREDIENTS: (makes about 24 cookies)

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon of butter flavoring
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 bags of Wilton Candy Melts in blue (or in whatever colors you want to decorate in!)
  • 1 bag of Wilton Candy Melts in white
  • 1 bag of Wilton Candy Melts in red

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.
  • Add eggs, vanilla and butter flavoring and mix well.
  • Add all dry ingredients and mix until able to knead into a firm ball of dough (add additional flour if necessary).
  • Roll out on a floured counter with a flour coated rolling pin to desired thickness (I made them fairly thick)
  • Cut into whatever shape you want- and if you want to join two shapes like I did, gently set one piece against the other on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and press gently together.
  • Bake at 350F degrees for 8-10 minutes and slide off the cookie sheet (leaving on parchment paper) to cool.
  • I needed a full circle on top of each cookie, so I used a cookie marker to trace the cookie cutter as pictured.

My Message 10My Message9

  • I needed 2 items drawn on top of each cookie- an envelope and an question mark. I drew the envelopes out on my computer, found a good bold font for the question marks, and printed several sheets of these. I taped them under parchment paper and used melted white candy melts to trace them. To melt candy melts, you heat them in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring until smooth.
  • Then I took that same melted white chocolate and outlined the circle- using my lines as a guide.
  • Melted blue candy was used to outline the hexagon.

My Message8My Message11

  • Finally, red candy melts are piped into the circle, filling it completely. I tapped the cookie gently on the table to get rid of bubbles before gently setting a question mark in the center. This step further cements those cookie pieces together.
  • The last step is to completely fill the hexagon with blue, tap out bubbles, and gently set an envelope in the center. I swirled a little white in the blue to copy the logo’s wave look.

My Message13

Any squeeze bottle that can be fitted with a small round decorating tip will work, but aren’t these so fun? These are from the Kuhn Rikon Decorating Set. That’s a link to find them on Amazon, but I got mine in a clearance bin at Marshall’s and didn’t even know how much I would love them!

The best part about working in candy melts rather than frosting is that they harden up SO fast. No waiting between colors- and no bleeding of one color into another. Plus they taste like a cookie covered in white chocolate! The cons are color choice. You are fairly limited in what colors you can use- although the Wilton’s site does have this handy chart to help you mix colors. I will use this again- for sure. I loved it.

My Message1

So. Fun. *smile*  ~enjoy!!!

My role with Josiah Venture is as their intern coordinator. Every year we have over 100 college age interns that spend the summer in Eastern and Central Europe. They partner with local churches and help them reach young people through English, Music, and Sports camps, with the message that God loves them. We also invite churches from the US, Canada and the UK to bring groups of young people over to serve short term. I’ve taken two college-age groups over to Slovakia, and it is a life-changing experience! If you are a part of a church that might be interested in helping next summer, or you might be interested in being a summer intern- check out our website for more info. Applications for 2017 internships will be available in July!

Here’s a link to internship opportunities.

Here’s a link to short-term opportunities.

Here’s a link to a great video that explains more about who Josiah Venture is and what God is doing in Eastern and Central Europe.

JV Interns 2017- cropped

Our 2016 interns!

My message4

Other cut-out cookie recipes you will love! (click on a photo to see the recipe)

Sugar cookie cut-outsGingerbread Cookies!Honey cut-out cookiesChocolate cut-out cookies

Advertisements

The *BEST* Chocolate Cut-out Cookies Ever!!

Posted on

URHERE Cookies1They taste…like rich chocolate brownies. They cut…perfectly, no refrigeration needed. The recipe…is so simple to make! Absolutely perfect cookies!

Well. Here we are. It has been over a month since I have posted a recipe here, and I miss you all! It’s funny how blogging creates community, isn’t it? I’ve really missed hearing from you all, and reading many of your blogs!

So, what have I been doing? These cookies are more than just a recipe- they tell the story of summer in Eastern and Central Europe, and they tell the story of new chapter in my life.

URHERE Cookies3

For those of you who have followed Easybaked for years, you know I spent most of my life working in the field of medicine. You also know that I spent most of last year in Arizona, working with a small church on the Navajo Nation~ a journey and experience I absolutely LOVED. Saying goodbye- square

When my time drew to a close with the Navajo, I wondered if I’d return to medicine, but God had other plans, and I was invited to join a mission organization called Josiah Venture as their Intern Coordinator. Josiah Venture’s vision is to be a movement of God among the young people of Eastern and Central Europe, that finds its home in the local church and transforms society. We have missionaries in 14 countries, and this summer there were over 100 college age interns sent to help local churches host camps and outreach events in their cities. My job is to recruit, resource and prepare these interns to go each year.

I’ve spent the 1st part of this year training for this position and raising the financial support I need to be able to do this job full-time. I was able to be in the Czech Republic at the end of May to welcome this year’s interns. It was incredible to see so many young people giving up their summer to serve God overseas. I loved it!

11401348_10206413075913364_1281614915403877430_n

Each year, Josiah Venture has a theme for the summer camps hosted by local churches. This year it was “You are Here”. The logo was a Metro map. They used #urhere on Instagram and Twitter to connect people, and if you visit these hashtags you will see incredible testimonies of God’s faithfulness this summer!

I was invited to a cookout this summer with some missionaries visiting the US from Slovakia.  I was asked to bring dessert- because when you have a baking blog, everyone asks you to bring dessert! 😉 I made these cookies for them, and they were SO much fun. I keep saying that I hate royal icing, but there are some times when it is your only option.

URHERE Cookies4

So… this is what I’ve been doing. It has been a struggle to keep baking and sharing with you all because it has been such a busy summer with so much travel. I keep telling myself that Easybaked is a HOBBY, and I am allowed to take a break for awhile. But I will be back- I promise! My head is swimming with new ideas 🙂

Before I share this recipe, I want to ask a favor. If you are reading this post, and you are a follower of Christ that wants to see the incredible news of God’s love shared around the world, would you consider becoming a part of my support team? I am slated to begin this position on September 1st and I am not fully funded yet- but I’m SO close! I am looking for people who are able to give toward this ministry on a monthly basis, and to pray.

If you are interested in learning more, here are a few links:

More about Josiah Venture here.

More about how to become a part of this ministry (and how to contact me with questions) here.

More about summer internships for college students interested in missions here.

More about me (my personal/ ministry blog) here.

Thank you dear followers, fellow bloggers, and friends. I have been asking God fervently to provide what I need before September 1, and who knows? Maybe he will answer my prayers through you!!!

Now, that cookie recipe!

Chocolate Espresso Cookies!!!

It is the best cut-out cookie recipe ever. Plus it’s chocolate, which is bonus in my book!

I’ve shared this recipe many, many times on this blog. I’ve added espresso to the recipe for the delicious cookies posted above, I’ve made them into cookie cups to be filled with all sort of sweet happiness, and I’ve even made them into cookie lollipops. I don’t even feel bad re-sharing this recipe with you because it is one I keep returning to as a staple for so many ideas.

Triple Chocolate Truffle CupsChocolate Football Cookies!Cut out cookie pops

I simply cut this particular batch into squares, and decorated them using royal icing (click here for icing recipe) with the actual camp logo as a guide!

Here’s the cookie recipe (printer friendly recipe -by the way, this says to chill the dough, but you definitely don’t need to. Experimentation has proved otherwise! :))

INGREDIENTS: (makes 30-32 medium square cookies)

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • Add butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa together in  large mixing bowl.
  • Blend on medium speed with a mixer until smooth.
  • Gradually add dry ingredients and mix until smooth (use clean hands at the end, to knead into a soft ball of dough)
  • Roll out cookie dough on floured counter.  I like them fairly thick.
  • Cut into squares and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. 
  • Bake for 8 to 11 minutes until the edges are firm.
  • Gently slide parchment paper off of cookie sheet and onto a flat surface. 
  • Frost as desired.  A simple powdered sugar glaze would be delicious on these, or if you want to get fancy, use royal icing to create whatever your heart desires!

URHERE Cookies2

I hope you enjoy these delicious little cookies! Thank you for letting me share with you a little beyond the recipe today! *hugs* ~r

Here’s a few more of my non-baking stories from the past 2 years!

az-441dsc_0333dsc_0820the-faces-of-jv-interns

Bajadera Torte (a recipe from Croatia)

Posted on

Bajadera Torte

Layers of cookies, almonds, and chocolate make this dessert recipe from the country of Croatia a beautiful, and totally unique treat!

There are so many of you who check in here on Easybaked every week for my latest dessert creation, and I feel like we have become friends, you and I. I follow many of your blogs and I’ve heard about your celebrations and sadnesses.

Blog friendships are a strange thing though. Most of you only know me as a baker. With a cute little white dog. That is a part of who I am, but it is really just a tiny little sliver of my life here on planet earth.

  • Did you know that about 2 years ago I lost my job in Genetics? I’d worked in medicine for 23 years and budget cuts did us in.
  • Did you know that instead of staying in medicine I spent 8 months in Rough Rock Arizona, working as a missionary with a little Navajo church?
  • Did you know that last fall I began raising support to be a full-time missionary with Josiah Venture- reaching out to young people in Eastern and Central Europe with God’s love for them?

Some of you who have faithfully followed Easybaked over the years know bits and pieces about these parts of my life, but the rest of you probably didn’t know those things. Today, I’d like to introduce you to the mission organization I am working with by sharing a recipe from one of the countries we are in: Croatia!

Bajadera Torte

Aren’t those just so much fun? I can tell you, they are absolutely delicious too- very buttery and flakey.

These are a no-bake dessert and I think they are a perfect recipe for kids to help with! I read about 20 recipes for these online and there are a ton of different ways to make these (and lots of opinions about which version is the most authentic!) I will tell you that these are NOT authentic because rather than using “tea biscuits” or “butter cookies” I used good ol’ Nilla Wafers! You can certainly try the recipe with a more European-type cookie base, but I wanted to be practical, and every American family can get their hands on a box of Nilla Wafers!

Here is how we made them: (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

TORTE:

  • 3 cups of vanilla wafers (or another plain tea-biscuit sort of cookie)
  • 1 1/2 cups of blanched, peeled almonds (I found these in produce at my grocery)
  • 1 1/4 cups of sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

GLAZE:

  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 Tablespoons of butter

DIRECTIONS:

  • Line an 8 inch square pan with aluminum foil.
  • Place vanilla wafers and almonds into the bowl of a food processor or food chopper and pulse until both are finely ground.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, add sugar, 6 Tablespoons of butter and water and microwave on high in one minute increments (stirring in between) until butter is melted and sugar is mostly dissolved (mine took about 4 minutes)
  • Pour cookie and nut mixture into bowl with hot sugar mixture and mix well.
  • Divide out about 1/3 of the dough into a separate bowl.
  • Melt 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in the microwave and stir into 1/3 of the dough.
  • Press half of the “plain” dough into the bottom of the foil-lined pan.
  • Press all of the “chocolate” dough on top.
  • Press remaining “plain” dough on top of the chocolate layer.
  • Make glaze by melting 1 cup of chocolate chips with 6 Tablespoon of butter in the microwave.
  • Stir well and pour over top.
  • Refrigerate until glaze hardens, cut into pieces and enjoy!!!

Bajadera Torte

My thoughts: These are absolutely delicious. If you want your version to be a little less sweet, use bittersweet or dark chocolate instead. Let’s hear it for Croatia, and a perfectly wonderful dessert!

Croatia is just one of 14 countries in Eastern and Central Europe that Josiah Venture is working in. Josiah Venture began just over 20 years ago, and now they have over 300 missionaries in 14 countries. Over half of those missionaries are nationals, because one of Josiah Venture’s firmly held beliefs is that our job is to partner with churches in each country and equip nationals to lead and serve in their own country. The focus is reaching out to young people with the good news that God loves them.

This is done in practical ways that provide for other needs in these countries. Most of these countries have excellent educational systems, but they lack extracurricular activities, like music and sports. Josiah Venture partners with a local church and the school to provide training in those things and to offer, at the same time, information about who God is and how to know Him. This has been, and continues to be, an incredibly effective way to encourage positive activities along with a relationship with God in this young generation.

In 2010 and 2011, I took the college ministry I led over to serve at a Josiah Venture camp in Slovakia, and I just loved meeting the young people who are becoming a positive influence in the lives of others in their country. It was incredible.

When I was preparing to leave the Navajo Nation last fall, I was invited to join Josiah Venture full-time as the coordinator of a program that offers internships to college-age students. We invite young people to spend 3 to 6 months overseas, partnered with one of our missionaries, to see if they might be interested in full-time work with youth overseas.

Amazing Race Josiah Venture

A picture of last year’s interns during training.

 

I’ve been raising the support I need to begin this position full-time, and I’ve been learning the systems in place for getting these interns prepared to serve overseas. We have just over 90 interns this year, and we are hoping to increase our capacity to invite more!

It’s a really exciting and new part of my life, and I’m really SO thankful for the opportunity to be a part of such an incredible movement of God both here- in the lives of these college students- and overseas.

I know that you are here for a recipe~ but maybe today you are here for more- to learn about what God is doing in another part of the world. There are several ways you can connect with Josiah Venture and with the intern ministry I am helping to lead.

1. The Josiah Venture Website is a wealth of information about each country, each ministry and each missionary.

2. My personal blog began out on the Navajo reservation and has been all about my journey from there to here.

3. My newsletter  sends you updates on what God is doing with my little part of Josiah Venture. It is published monthly.

4. Josiah Venture on Vimeo has incredible videos of what God is doing in the lives of these students.

Hey~thanks for letting me tell you a little about something that really matters to me. Not that desserts don’t matter…but these other things matter for eternity.

Now, settle in with a piece of this beautiful torte and read a little about what God is doing in Croatia, and in all the other countries of Eastern and Central Europe!   Enjoy!! ~r

Bajadera Torte

 

I usually leave you with links to my favorite recipes here- but today, here are a few memorable moments from the past year: Preparing to leave for Arizona…Lessons from real-life shepherds…Learning about JV…and a Christmas we will never forget.

az-441sheep-squareNavajo392067_10151247110872513_1568830611_n-2

 

 

Summer adventures…

Posted on

Yay!!!!  It is time again for English Camp!  For those of you who have followed Easybaked for at least one year, you will remember my two week break from blogging last summer to take a group of college students to Slovakia to teach English.  We are going again this year, and our trip is about to begin.  I am taking a team of 16 people over via an organization called Josiah Venture to teach English and work with a team from a local church there to teach about God.  I’m so excited to see the students I met last year and to meet new ones!

Never fear— I have created ahead for you and have yummy treats/recipes that will automatically post for me while I’m gone.  I will have very limited access to internet to approve/moderate your comments and questions though.  I just wanted to let you know that I haven’t forgotten you– and I will be excited to catch up when we are back!

Happy July to each of you!  R-

 

%d bloggers like this: