Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Baking Christmas Cookies!

This past Sunday my friends Dave & Esther Allen who are with Elim Missions came over to the RAP home on Sunday afternoon to do some Christmas baking with the young women at RAP. Dave is a baker by trade and he has already been helping out one of our partner organizations who run a cafe so we were grateful Esther and he could spare their Sunday afternoon to come and teach the young women how to make shortbread cookies for Christmas. They came with all the ingredients needs to make the cookies as well as the cookie cutters and their portable mix master.
Young women measuring out the flour for the cookies
Not all the young women participated as we make these social events optional. After all, not everyone has a desire to cook. Some just have a desire to eat (like me). Nonetheless, those who have a passion to bake and cook were ready and waiting. One young woman was a note taker, writing down the recipe in Khmer for future reference as she wants to eventually experiment on her own to make all of these different desserts. First up was converting all the ingredients from ounces to grams. Esther pulled out her Ipad and started doing some calculations and then we realized we had no butter. So Dave went off to our local supermarket to buy the butter. Our home advisors were helping the girls and I was left to be the translator --- fun stuff learning all the baking names in Khmer and crucifying the words such that the young women give me these confusing looks before figuring out what I was saying.
Dave mixing the ingredients
Dave returned and began to show the young women how to use the portable mix master machine that he had. Then it was Esther's turn helping the young women as they began to mix all the ingredients together.

Shortly thereafter, the young women were doing it all, first mixing the ingredients and then following Dave's lead as he demonstrated how to knead the cookie dough, they followed suit. It was one big production line.

Young women using cookie cutters 

Shortbread biscuits ready to go into the oven
Soon enough there were cookies in different sizes and shapes representing Christmas trees, angels, and ginger bread men. However some of the more creative young women decided to do their own version of cookies and began creating hearts and one even made a cradle and a figure representing the baby Jesus.
Baby Jesus in a cradle cookie!
Some of the finished product!
From start to finish it was clear who were the real bakers -- 3 young women who are discovering their passion for baking and making food. Since most Cambodians do not like a lot of sweet foods, we made about 70 short bread biscuits but the bulk of them did not have any icing. The young women simply enjoyed just eating the plain shortbread biscuits.

All in all these fun activities are ways to help build up the self confidence and self esteem in the young women and reinforces our desire to encourage them that they can achieve their goals step by step as they learn different skills and discover God's gifts within themselves that they never knew about before.

That day, two other young women had made plans to go and visit their former caregivers and were quite disappointed that they could not be there to participate in the baking activities. They kept asking if we could change the time or date as they looked at me with there big brown Cambodian eyes.  It is neat to see such eagerness to learn a new skill and thankfully Dave and Esther have offered to come back once a month and bake with the young women. We are grateful that they are willing to do this and no doubt the young women at RAP will be excited to participate in what was a fun filled activity that resulted in more opportunities for them to taste new foods but most of all, to discover that they can do all things through Christ who has given them the abilities and the skills to accomplish far more than they can ever imagine!

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