Catholic Convert Rebecca Spoolstra, with a Recipe for Cut-Out Cookies
Growing up Lutheran, she had many questions about the Catholic faith, and through prayer, the Holy Spirit, the Rosary and the help of her friends, she eventually found her way to the Church.
A native Texan born in the town of Rowlett outside of Dallas, Rebecca Spoolstra is now a devout Catholic. But as with many people, she walked the conversion pathway, becoming Catholic in 2007 when she was in college at the University of North Texas. What changed her life?
“It was the Eucharist,” she said, “and learning about the history of the Church and the Church Fathers. That’s what brought me in. My now-husband, my best friend and I lived in the same dorm and they started introducing me to the Catholic faith. They truly lived out and knew their faith, which intrigued me.”
Rebecca did have many questions, and through prayer, the Holy Spirit, the Rosary and the help of her friends, she eventually thought she was supposed to be Catholic. She then entered RCIA and was well on her way.
Becoming Catholic has had a very positive impact on her life. “I feel like I have a whole different world view,” she said, “how I see and do everything and live my everyday life, my priorities and how I treat people. Everything has changed. I have three little girls (and three saints in heaven) and they are a lot of fun. I stay home with them and homeschool, so life is very busy.”
She admitted that her conversion was a little challenging at first. “I was raised Lutheran,” she said, “and there’s so much that is similar. It was really easy for me to catch on to the liturgy. But there is a lot that’s very different and it caused some waves. But over the years, things have gotten much better.”
Baking as a child inspired Rebecca to eventually launch her own baking company in Fort Worth. She always loved to bake and for holidays and her family would decorate sugar cookies, spreading out big stacks of cookies with icing and sprinkles all over the kitchen counter.
“In my adulthood,” she said, “I had my own kitchen, so I was learning more about baking and cooking. I took a cake-decorating class and learned some basics and techniques. But then I was drawn to decorated cookies after I saw a picture from a Catholic cookie decorator who made saint cookies. (See the website at BakeAt350.net.)
“I was really inspired by her work and by reading her blog,” she said. “I thought I would give it a try. After having my first baby, baking became a creative outlet. I got the supplies and just tried it out. It is fun and I quickly got hooked. I practiced and practiced making cookies for family and friends. Before long, people asked if I sold them, and I got more requests.”
That inspired Rebecca to start her own home-based bakery. She bakes and decorates about 4 to 8 dozen on average each week for custom orders, adding that the process of decorating cookies is very time-consuming. “My standard is a vanilla sugar cookie with vanilla royal icing,” she added. “And over the years I have developed other cookie flavors that I make by request or for different holidays." She particularly enjoys making cookies for those celebrating the sacraments.
“Some of my favorite cookies to make are for Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation. I also love to make special cookies for feast days, like St. Nicholas day, and other things throughout the liturgical year. It’s so fun bringing elements of the faith into the cookie designs.”
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Recipe: Classic Cut-Out Cookie
Yield: about 2 dozen cookies
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup salted butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cream the sugar and butter with a mixer until incorporated. Add the egg and vanilla, mix to combine. Add the baking powder and flour, mix until totally incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. The dough will be ready once it pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too sticky, add a little extra flour until you get the right consistency.
Roll the dough onto a floured surface or between parchment paper and cut into shapes. Place on a lined baking sheet (parchment or silicone mat) and bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on the size/thickness of the cookie. Cookies are done when the edges are lightly browned. Let the cookies sit for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack. Once the cookies are completely cooled, store in an airtight container until ready to decorate. Enjoy!