Thursday, December 18, 2014

Holiday Cookie Recipes from Hatquarters

Hershey's Triple Chocolate Cookies From Maiden of Merriment (and Mayhem!) Donna Hempel

Donna not only passed along this sweet recipe for us to share here on Red Hat Chat, but she also baked a batch for us to sample. Take it from us- these cookies are just as decadent as they look! One bite will send you into chocolate heaven.

Donna spotted this recipe on the back of a flour bag when she was searching for a new cookie recipe to make for a holiday party many years ago. From that night on, her family and friends asked her to keep these chocolate cookies in her holiday cookie rotation. Enjoy!

Hershey's Triple Chocolate Cookies 
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter softened
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 tbsp milk
2 1/4 c. Pillsbury BEST All-Purpose Flour
1/3 c. Hershey's Cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. Hershey's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 bag (9 oz.) Hershey's Kisses Milk Chocolates, unwrapped

Heat oven to 350° F. In a mixer bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until blended. Add eggs and milk; beat well. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, blending well. Stir in chocolate chips. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-11 minutes. Cool 1 minute; remove to wire rack. Press kisses in the center of each cookie. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Instant JELL-O Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies From Princess Buku Christina Roman 

My Grandpa
"This is a recipe that is very close to my heart. Every year, for as long as I can remember, my mother baked chocolate chip cookies for the holidays. But these were not just any chocolate chip cookies! These cookies were thick and fluffy, and they had an almost brownie-like consistency. The secret ingredient was the JELL-O instant pudding.

They were a hit in my family- especially with my grandfather. He looked forward to those cookies and would sneak one at any chance he could. My grandfather had Parkinson's Disease and was not allowed to eat a lot of sugar because of the medication he was on. We were supposed to keep on eye on him to make sure he didn't overdo it, but I would always just give him a wink if I caught him in the corner with one. We lost my grandfather at the beginning of the year, and this will be my first Christmas without him. Although he will not be there physically, he will be in all of our hearts on Christmas day, and we are going to have his cookies on the table for everyone to enjoy. I will definitely be eating one for him.

I hope you give this recipe a try!"

Instant JELL-O Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 c. flour
1tsp. baking soda
1 c. softened butter
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 pkg (4 oz. serving) instant vanilla pudding
2 eggs
1 pkg. (12 oz.) chocolate chips
1 c. nuts (optional)

Heat oven to 375° F. Combine the butter, the sugars, vanilla and pudding mix in a large bowl. Beat until creamy. Then beat in the eggs. Gradually add flour, baking soda, chocolate chips and the nuts. The batter will be stiff. Drop by the teaspoonful, about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Makes 7 dozen.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

She's the Queen of the Month!

Constance Frazier 
Dazzling Queen Divas of West Houston, The Red Hat Sosa Sisters and the Red Hat Roadrunners
Houston, Texas 

Constance Frazier was born and raised in Hanford, California.  After graduating from Hanford High School, she moved to Southern California to attend Southwest Community College.  She and her husband actually grew up together.  Apparently the early friendship stuck even after the marriage ended; Connie says she and her ex-husband remain the best of friends.
Her career began with a job with the Navy Exchange in Lemoore, California, followed by another job working for the federal government's Defense Contract Administration.  After her divorce she went to work in the Accounting Department for the Housing Authority of San Bernardino County, where she stayed for 18 years before retiring and moving to Cypress,Texas in order to be near to her son and his two children.
After living there for a short time she confessed to her former daughter-in-law that she was bored in her new environment.  Her young friend suggested that she join a Red Hat Chapter, which she did.  After a time that Chapter went out of existence, leaving Constance high and dry.  Rather than give up Hatting, she followed her former Queen's advice and started her own Chapter – and now she reigns over three!  She says she never expected to find herself in the position of running not one, but three Chapters – in three different locations, "but here I am, keeping up with all three."  She reigns benevolently over the Dazzling Queen Divas of West Houston, The Red Hat Sosa Sisters and the Red Hat Roadrunners, all in the general Houston area.
Constance has derived some wonderful benefits from her RHS membership.  She says, "I have enjoyed the sisterhood and sharing, laughing and sometimes crying and just being with a bunch of wonderful ladies."  Her favorite project is putting on an event in the Houston area in order to celebrate the birthday of the RHS.  She and her helpers invite between 150 and 210 ladies and have a great time enjoying entertainment, eating yummy things and sharing happy times together.
Constance's hobbies include taking pictures of as many gathered Red Hatters as possible.  She adds, "Believe it or not, one of my hobbies is working on the computer and preparing my own spreadsheets, and the many agendas and travel sheets for my 3 chapters."  She also likes to participate in the annual Senior Box Car Derby in her area, always enjoying herself immensely as she zooms down the hill.
Constance has given much thought to sharing her secret for keeping her Chapters strong and healthy.  She frankly states that it has been challenging keeping each Chapter strong and happy. She says that it is important for a Queen to listen to each Member and be open to changes.  When faced with a difficult situation she gives herself time to think though her options before making her decision, rather than acting without careful deliberation.  She enjoys helping women who are single, divorced or widowed as well as women who are new to her area and looking for a way to connect with others.  Constance has a genuine desire to help these women "enjoy all the things that I can think up to assure that they have a good time."
Sounds like the epitome of an excellent, caring Queen to us! Congratulations, Queen Constance!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Guest Post from International Partner HATalk e-magazine

Are you looking for a quick and inexpensive gift ideas so you can cross those last few names off your Christmas list? Check out this fun project from international partner HATalk e-magazine...
Yo-Yos are fabric circles which are gathered to produce shapes such as the ones shown here. These yo-yos were made by Francine Schokker (an artist originally from the Netherlands, who teaches exhibits and sells her crafts in Birmingham, UK) using red and white cotton prints, some brass buttons and a length of ribbon.

To make a yo-yo, you need to cut a circle out of a light-weight fabric such as silk, cotton or polyester. Before cutting the circles, first create a cardboard pattern to use as a guide.

The template shown in this photo is a circle with a diameter of 4 inches (10cm) - a good size to practice with. Beginning at any point around the edge, turn just a small hem over to the wrong side with your fingers and using a doubled, knotted thread, make running stitches around the circle near the fold, continuing to turn the edge over as you go. Make your stitches about 1/8 inch (3mm) apart. When you come back to the beginning, don't finish off or cut the thread, but draw it gently through the stitches, gathering them up as tightly as they'll go. When you have drawn them right up, secure the shape with a double stitch out of sight underneath the edge, the side where the raw edge is. It's worth mentioning that yo-yos can have a very different look if they are turned over and lightly stuffed and stitched.

Once you have mastered the technique, experiment with other fabrics and sizes. Now you can begin to visualize how these lovely little pieces could become a hat adornment - perhaps using fabric to match an outfit. Or they could be added to some ribbon to create a necklace or mounted on a hair band, making the perfect gift for gorgeous granddaughters or fabulous fellow Hatters!

This project was originally published in Issue 64 of HATalk e-magazine . For more creative inspiration, subscribe to HATalk today. Red Hatters get a huge discount!!!