Happy December Everyone!

In December, the long, dark, short days change. After the shortesy day or the darkest day, the sunlight begins to slowly return to the Northern Hemisphere. This year the shortest, darkest day is December 21st. Each year the longest night is on a different day, usually anywhere from December 20th through December 23rd.
 

The Northern Hemisphere contains all of the places on the planet north of the equator. These northern hemisphere locations experience shorter days and longer nights.  In Decemebr, there will be more sunlight! And sunlight is a nutrient or food for plants.
 

Locations in the southern hemisphere experience the opposite effect. Their days become shorter and their nights become longer.  The have less sunlight in December.
 

Since New Jersey is north of the equator, we celebrate the return of sunlight in December. Glorious light! Glorious warmth! After December 20th this year, sunrise will occur one minute sooner each day.

One minute more of sunlight every day!

One minute more of warmth and heat every day!

Even though December is a winter month, it also is a month to celebrate the return of sunlight.  In honor of the coming light, warmth and heat, I have shared a recipe for Guatemalan Ice Box Cookies.
 

These cookies have a hot spice called, cayenne pepper. This spice reminds us of the warmth to come. And these cookies must be frozen before you can slice the cookie dough into circles. This reminds us of the cold winter of December.
 

The Guatemalan Ice Box Cookie is the perfect example for December. Enjoy the changing month of December and the Guatemalan Ice Box Cookies!

GUATEMALAN ICE BOX COOKIES
By Papagayita on December 10, 2006
http://www.food.com/recipe/guatemalan-icebox-cookies-199986
• 1 1/2 cups flour
• 3/4 cup cocoa powder
• 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
• 1 egg
• 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
• wax paper
Directions:
Prep Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
1.  Mix egg, vanilla and sugar on medium speed until mixture is white and creamy.
2. Using cold butter, cut into small pieces and add to mixture stirring well.
3. Mix together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and slowly add to egg/sugar/butter mixture being careful to not over mix.
4. Make half of mixture into 8 inch log on wax paper and roll paper around it. repeat with other half of mixture. place in freezer for at least 4 hours, ideally 8 hours.
5. Remove from freezer, preheat oven to 350°F.
6. Slice into 1/4 inch thick rounds.
7. Place on greased cookie sheet 1 inch apart.
8. Bake at 350°F for 8-12 minutes or until small cracks appear on tops. Should have between 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on thickness.

Nutrition Facts
Guatemalan Icebox Cookies
Serving Size: 1 (26 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 30
Amount Per Serving                     % Daily Value
Calories 97.4
Calories from Fat 46                      47%
Total Fat 5.1 g                                  7%
Saturated Fat 3.1 g                         15%

Monounsaturated Fat 1.3 g                 6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g                   1%
Trans Fat 0.0 g                                   0%
Cholesterol 19.2 mg                         6%
Sodium 22.9 mg                                  0%
Potassium 44.3 mg                           1%
Magnesium 12.5 mg                          0%
Total Carbohydrate 12.7 g               4%
Dietary Fiber 0.9 g                           3%
Sugars 6.7 g                                    27%
Protein 1.3 g                                   2%

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