Saturday, December 3, 2011

German Straw Stars & Molasses Cookies

I had hoped to do this post Thursday evening, unfortunately I have been mostly stopped in my Christmas preparations by an annoying cold and an uncooperative back. So instead of decorating or baking I have been mostly lying around and watching endless Hallmark Christmas movies and TLC cooking shows. It was nice to have time to watch the the 4 hour long Love Comes Softly Christmas movie- Love's Christmas Journey on the Hallmark Channel- you can check out a preview here. I really enjoyed this movie, and my two labs kept me company the entire time, curled up on the bed, my dogs are great!

Although my cold is still hanging on, I have felt well enough today to get some decorating done. I decided to rearrange things this year, so decorating is taking more time, because I am still deciding where I want everything. I finished my mantel today, I decorated it in brown and red with old world Santas and German Straw Stars.

Here's how it turned out.

Here are some closer pictures of my old world Santas.

I first learned about German Straw Stars from my wonderful German teacher in High School - Herr Schumacher. Herr Schumacher did a wonderful job teaching us about German culture, every Christmas he would order the special straw used to make these ornaments and we would spend a couple of days making them in class. Although it's been 20 years I still have a few of these ornaments.

Here are two of the German Straw Stars I made in High School.

You can also buy these in big packs, along with other ornaments made from Straw, I love the way these look on the tree, I have collected many over the years. Here's a close up of one on my little mantel tree.

I was looking online for a a place to buy some of the straw used to make these ornaments, and I found a place online that sells from right here in Oregon, I will be placing an order for some straw so me and the kids can make these. Here is the link I found for Straw Star Crafting Kits.

I also decided to whip up a batch of cookies today, I love this cookie recipe I found it years ago, I'm not sure where. They are easy to make, and fill the house with yummy Christmas spice smell. They are a nice soft Molasses cookie.

Here's the recipe:

Molasses Cookies

3/4 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup Molasses
2 cups Flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg or Allspice

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy, add egg and molasses and mix well. Mix dry ingredients then add to the wet ingredients, mix well. Chill for 1 hour. Shape into balls, then slightly flatten the balls (I use the bottom of a juice glass) onto a greased or parchment lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-9 minutes, let the cookies rest on baking sheet for 1 minute them transfer to cooling rack. When cooled sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Tonight Sarah and Joseph are off to their Winter Formal Dance, I can't wait to get pictures of them all dressed up. I look forward to spending the evening relaxing with some cookies and tea. Hope everyone is enjoying their December.


  1. Lovely Old World Santas. The straw ornaments are very pretty.
    Thanks for the recipe too. :-)
    Blessings to you and hope you get to feeling better soon.

  2. I've never come across the straw ornaments before but they are so lovely! And your mantel looks wonderfully festive :-)

  3. Thanks for the link to the straw ornament kits, April! I think they'd be the perfect thing for hanging in my kitchen window. And it looks like they'd be fun to make too. It's so nice to see Christmas decorations again. Just makes you feel good! And thank you for the recipe, anything that has molasses in it has to be good!

  4. hi april
    i love your santas,they are so beautiful.the straw stars are very pretty.the cookies looks delicious.
    thanks for sharing the recipe.
    have a wonderful sunday,
    love regina

  5. My husband is of German blood and I have always tried to incorporate some of the culture into our daughters life and his. I have never seen the straw stars and am so excited to order a kit for a family project! Thank you! Charming Santas as well!

  6. Thanks everyone for all of the kind comments! I placed and order for some straw and a kit last night, I look forward to trying out this craft again. Hope everyone is having a nice Sunday!

  7. April, I love your blog! I'm your newest follower.

    Thanks for visiting The Turquoise Piano and for your comment.


  8. Those cookies look awesome. I still have a whole pile of Christmas baking to get done. New follower on GFC from blog hop. Hoping you will check out my blog and follow back.


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