Pretzels and Easter Cookies.

Catherine Fournier

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In our family, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday are busy days of last minute cooking and cleaning to prepare for the glory of Easter Sunday. The house must be spotless, top to bottom, not so much for the guests we can see, but for the guest Who is always here, and welcome in our home - Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord.

The activity helps keep our mind off our hungry stomachs while we fast, but at the same time, reminds us of our brothers and sisters around the world who must work everyday on an empty stomach.

Baking rich cakes and breads is an essential part of Easter preparation, as are colouring eggs, grating horseradish and roasting a huge ham. Pretzels, made from simple flour, salt and water, are an ancient fasting food, baked in the shape of arms folded in prayer. Traditionally they appeared on Ash Wednesday and often constituted midday meals until Easter Sunday, when they disappeared for the year, or were transformed into great Easter pretzels, rich with eggs, cheese and butter, and sometimes even dipped in chocolate! Even if you don't make them throughout Lent, pretzels are great to bake and eat on Good Friday.

Easter cookies tell a story, and can be the first food to break the Lenten fast on Easter Sunday morning!

Grease two baking sheets and sprinkle them with coarse salt.
In a large bowl, dissolve 1 packet dry yeast in 2 tablespoons warm water.
Add 1 1/3 cup warm water and 1/3 cup brown sugar.
Work in 5 cups flour and knead to a smooth ball.
Continue kneading 10 minutes
Divide dough into 24 equal pieces.
Roll each into a 14 inch strand and twist into a pretzel shape
Heat oven to 475*F
Fill a large skillet with water, adding 1 tablespoon baking soda for each cup water. Bring to a simmer
With a spatula, lower a pretzel into the simmering water; cook 30 seconds.
Transfer to a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.
Repeat with each pretzel.
Bake 8 minutes until golden.
Easter Story Cookies
Ingredients Directions
  Begin on Easter Saturday.
  Preheat oven to 300*F
1 cup whole pecans Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break them into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested he was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19: 1-3.
1 teaspoon vinegar Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon vinegar into the mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30
3 egg whites Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10: 10-11
pinch salt Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus's followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23: 27
1 cup sugar So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar to the bowl. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16.
zipper baggie Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isa. 1: 18 and John 3: 1-3.
wooden spoon Fold in broken nuts.
duct tape Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheets. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus's body was laid. Read Matt. 27: 57-60.
Bible Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matt. 27: 65-66.
  GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followeres were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16: 20 and 22.
  On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter morning, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matt. 28:1-9
  (This recipe is by Wanda Long and appeared in Home Life magazine.)

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