Christmas is about the birth of Christ.
When the Messiah was born, the first people who found out were the shepherds in the field. The lowly shepherds, who were looked down upon in regular society, were the first to find out that their people were to be saved and not only that, that they would save the entire cosmos. The Israelites, that small, proud nation on a small spit of land at the edge of the country wouldbe the saving grace of the whole universe.
And the shepherds were the first to hear about it. They would have been taught of the Messiah, they would know the history, the stories, the Scripture. They would remember the studying they had to do when they were small. They knew what was going on.
And they took what they had and they visited the royal family, the mother and father of the Son of Man, and they paid homage to the Saviour of the world.
Christmas reminds us that we are all human, that we are all the same. Jesus came to save every ordinary one of us, and he came in the form of a poor, illegitimate refugee from the sticks.
That’s something to celebrate.
Pumpkin Cake Cookies with Black and White Icing
Adapted from the Joy the Baker cookbook
300 g plain flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
250 g sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup/125 ml vegetable oil
425 g pumpkin puree (1 can)
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the white (cinnamon) glaze:
240 g icing sugar
20 g corn syrup
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
Up to 4 tsp water
For the black (chocolate) glaze:
85 g dark chocolate
30 g unsalted butter
15 g corn syrup
Preheat oven to 325°F/170°C. Line two baking trays with baking paper and set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl and set aside.
Whisk the sugar and eggs together for about two minutes, until pale. Add the oil, pumpkin and vanilla and whisk just until incorporated; add in the dry ingredients and whisk again just until incorporated.
Drop scant tablespoons of the mixture onto your baking trays and gently nudge into rounds. Bake in preheated oven for about fifteen minutes, until they spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted into the middle cookie comes out clean.
Let cool on trays for five minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before icing.
For the white glaze: Sift the icing sugar into a small bowl and whisk in all of the ingredients until they form a thickish paste. You want it to be able to spread easily on the soft cookie-cake but not soak in completely.
For the black glaze: Melt the chocolate and butter together in short bursts in the microwave. Whisk in the corn syrup and salt.
Spread the white glaze on half of a cookie, then black glaze on the other half. Repeat with all the cookies. Let the glaze set before wrapping each cookie-cake individually, or layering the cookies in between layers of baking paper, so they don’t stick together. Bring to a friend’s house to impress them with your dedication to individually wrapping small cakes.