Tag Archives: Cookies

Mardi Gras Cookies, and Let’s Talk about Archaeology

Hi everyone! I’ve been kind of under the weather this week, so I decided to make a pretty simple cookie. They take almost no time to put together, they are delicious, and you can totally customize the colors to suit any occasion.

Since it’s a short and sweet recipe, I thought now would be the perfect time to talk a little about archaeology, and to show you some pictures from past projects I’ve been on. If you’re just here for the recipe, go ahead and scroll down to the bottom of the post – I won’t be offended. 🙂

For those of you who are interested in my “other” job, let’s run through a quick FAQ.

First, What is archaeology? Well, the biggest misconception is that archaeologists dig up dinosaurs. In fact, paleontologists deal with dinosaurs, while archaeologists deal with the human past. Specifically, the material remains left by humans. This includes everything from arrowheads and other stone tools to foundation remnants and broken plates and glasses.

Second, Why do archaeologists do what they do? There are a lot of ways to interpret this question, but here I am getting at the reason my job exists. Because of the Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and specifically Section 106, all federally funded or permitted projects have to undergo a historic and archaeological review to determine the impact that the project will have on any historic sites. That means if federal funds or permits are involved, archaeologists and/or historians have to survey the area to be impacted to determine if there are significant historic or archaeological sites that may be impacted. If there are, the project is either re-routed, or the site is excavated to retrieve any data possible.

So, finally, What do I actually do? The vast majority of the fieldwork that I do involves archaeological survey. In other words, I am out walking across the project area. In plowed fields, we simply look for artifacts that have been brought to the surface by the plowing. In pastures and other where the ground surface isn’t visible, we dig small holes at regular intervals, and pass the dirt through a mesh screen to look for artifacts. When we find artifacts or structure remnants like foundations, we record the site and report it’s location and any information we can gather to the state. If the state determines the site may be significant, we may have to return to do further testing on the site, and perhaps even full excavation, but this is rare. Many sites are not considered significant, that is, they won’t provide us new or important information. And those that are, or may be, or often avoided by the project by a re-route.

Ok. I’m sure I’ve bored you completely by now. 🙂  But now, its time for cookies. These really couldn’t be more simple. It’s a quick and easy dough to put together. Then you divide the dough in half, roll each half into a rectangle, and add sprinkles. Roll it up, chill it, slice it, and bake it. And like I said earlier, if you’re not celebrating Mardi Gras, or want to use the recipe for a different celebration, you can just change up the sprinkles. Think red, white, and blue for July 4th…or red and green for Christmas…or brown, yellow, and orange for the fall…or school colors for graduation. I could go on and on with all the ideas I have for this, but I’m sure you’ve got ideas too, so I’ll just give you the recipe so you can get baking!

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Mardi Gras Cookies
Course Dessert
Course Dessert
  1. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Add egg and vanilla, and mix well.
  3. Add salt and flour, and mix until combined.
  4. Divide dough in half. Place one half onto a lightly floured piece of waxed paper. Dust lightly with flour and cover with another piece of waxed paper. (Or chill until firm enough to roll without sticking to the rolling pin.)
  5. Roll into a 12-inch by 8-inch rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick.
  6. Using one color of sprinkles at a time, coat the dough with a long "stripe" of sprinkles, covering about a third of the rectangle. Repeat with the remaining colors, lined up next to each other.
  7. Roll the dough up tightly, starting from the long end.
  8. Wrap the dough cylinder in the waxed paper and refrigerate 1 hour, or freeze 15-20 minutes.
  9. Repeat with remaining half of dough.
  10. Remove waxed paper, and slice dough into 1/4-inch slices. Place on Silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  11. Bake at 350 degress F for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  12. Remove from baking sheet to cool completely. Store in airtight container up to one week.
Recipe Notes

Change the sprinkle colors to suit the celebration. For example, red, white, and blue for July 4th. Red and green for Christmas. School colors for a graduation, etc.

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Merry Christmas!

Sugar Cookies, Cran-Rasp Pinwheels, Gluten-Free Chocolate Spritz, Nut Balls, Cheesecake Stuffed Gingerbread, Browned Butter Apple Cider Shortbread

It’s just a few days before Christmas, and I am finally back in town for a little while. I will have to get some pictures of this last project together to share with you all soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to quickly share with you the cookies I made for Christmas this year. It is a shorter list than most years, since I didn’t have much time for baking. But, if you are still looking for a few ideas for this weekend, here you go!

Starting in the upper left corner, and moving clockwise:

Cheesecake Stuffed Gingerbread

Basic Sugar Cookies, decorated as snowflakes

Gluten-Free Chocolate Spritz

Nut Balls/ Russian Tea Cakes

Cran-Raspberry Pinwheels

Browned Butter Apple Cider Shortbread with Salted Caramel Drizzle

I hope you find something here that sounds good and give them a try. The Nut Balls are a long-time family favorite. I have used plain raspberry, plain cranberry, and this year a cran-raspberry filling for the pinwheels and they are always a hit. They look fancy, but are really pretty simple to make.

And the newcomer this year is the shortbread – browned butter, apple cider, and topped with a salted caramel drizzle. They were the absolute favorite of most of the people I shared them with. I had pinned a recipe for browned butter shortbread, and then I saw a recipe for apple cider shortbread. I decided they needed to be combined. And then I saw Wilton’s salted caramel candy melts (Hershey’s just came out with a salted caramel baking chip as well), and figured it was a natural match. It was a very good idea.


Merry Christmas! I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season!