4th of July Flag Cookies
I was laying across my bed, letting my hair drape down to the ground, using gravity to help me create a super tight, perfectly smooth pony tail. (Oh gosh how stupid it looks to have your hair so tightly plastered to your skull!) The radio was on and I was readying myself for school. At 8:48 am the broadcast was interrupted. It was September 11th, 2oo1. That’s when I knew I loved America.
I was in college when I was first eligible to vote for president. In black ink, I drew a line and cast my vote for president of the United States. That’s when I knew I loved America.
I had graduated college when my home state’s congressman called my nation’s president a liar. I stood up for what I believe in and that’s when I knew I loved America.
It was my first day of school – this time as a high school teacher – when the intercom sounded that it was time to say the Pledge of Allegiance. I said the Pledge of Allegiance every day for the 2011-2012 school year. I love America.
I asked my students to draw a few pictures to describe themselves. Most kids drew sports team emblems, clothing logos, and wrote their names. One girl, a small and shy Hispanic girl, drew an American flag and wrote Carolina Girl beneath it. That’s when I knew I loved America.
Another student, given the same assignment, drew a Mexican flag morphing into an American one. I’m happy to share my country with him.
I don’t agree with every political decision that’s been made. I don’t support every action my political party makes. I do know appreciate the land they’ve created for me, however, and love the freedom and benefits we have here. It is so easy to get caught up in the minutiae of our days and the details of why we dislike whom. Take a step back and consider, though, if you’d be where you are today had you been raised in any other country. Happy Birthday, America, and thank you.
What moment made you love America?
Roll Out Sugar Cookies (adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles)
2½ cups (12 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
red and blue food dye
In a medium bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a bowl large enough for a hand mixer), beat the butter and salt on medium speed until smooth. With the mixer running, gradually pour in the sugar.
Add the lemon zest.
Beat on medium until fluffy, about 1 minute. With the mixer running, add in the egg and the vanilla extract. Continue beating until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the mixer bowl if needed.
Press it into a disc 1-inch thick, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour.
Roll the red dough 1/4″ thick and large enough so that the template fits over the dough. Cut around the template so you are left only with a portion the size of your template. Use plenty of flour while rolling so that the dough can be moved. Place remaining unrolled red dough in the refrigerator. Place rolled out red dough on a piece of parchment in the refrigerator.
When full length stripes are complete, form the reserved blue dough into a block about 1″ wide and 3/4″ tall. Place on top of the left hand side of your stack of red and white dough.
Roll out enough remaining red and white dough to layer the right hand side of the block with red and white stripes so that it matches evenly in height with the blue dough.
Wrap entire dough block tightly in saran wrap and chill for two hours.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a sharp knife, slice cookies top to bottom and 1/4″ thick, discarding the first slice since the dough will be uneven. Bake for 9 minutes or until cookies no longer look wet on top.
Let the cookies rest for a couple minutes on the baking sheets before transferring them to cooling racks to finish cooling.