Archived entries for cookies and treats

Your Grandma’s Chirstmas Wreath Recipe

This is probably the most nostalgic holiday cookie of all time. For me, these glorified rice crispy treaties conjure up memories of 80′s grade school holiday parties.

These were never part of my family’s holiday cookie list, which is why I call this cookie “Your Grandma’s Christmas Wreath Recipe” because although my Grandma didn’t make these, yours did! Lets get green and sticky!

Your Grandma’s Christmas Wreath Cookies

  • 1/3 c. butter or margarine
  • 4 c. marshmallows  (10 ounce bag)
  • 1 teaspoon green food coloring
  • 6 c. cereal of your choice
  • red cinnamon candies

In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat.  Melt marshmallows into butter, stirring occasionally to keep from burning.  Mix in green food dye. Remove from heat.

Mix melted marshmallows into cereal.

Spoon cereal mixture onto baking trays lined with parchment or wax paper.  Using your fingers, shape cookies into wreath shapes.  Lightly coat your fingers with water to help shape the wreathes and keep the marshmallows from sticking to your fingers.  I suggest having a small dish of water near your work station.

Place wreaths in fridge until hardened.  Place in an air tight container layered with wax paper to keep from sticking together.  Good for up to 1 week.

Oatmeal Lace

Nothing fancies up a Christmas party like a little lace!  These delicate crispy confections are the perfect blend of cookie and candy.  Eat up!


Oatmeal Lace
makes 6 dozen

  • 1 1/3 c. butter, melted
  • 3 c. rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • parchment paper

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowls, combine oats, sugar, brown sugar, flour and salt.  Add melted butter, egg, and vanilla extract.  Mix until blended.

Line baking sheets in parchment paper.  Drop rounded tsps of batter 3 inches apart on parchment.  Bake for 5-8 minutes until lightly browned on edges.  Remove from oven.  Allow to cool for 1 minute.  Place tray in freezer for 5 minutes until cookies harden.

Place cookies in an air tight container and store in refrigerator or freezer.

 

 

Heirloom Maple Meltaways

Have you ever wondered if you would have had what it took to survive out on the homestead? Well, imagine yourself stoking the wood fire in your log cabin kitchen stove. You’re preparing to make your holiday cookies. You go to gather your ingredients. You may have fresh cream butter you just whipped up from your morning milking.  But, oh, no! Where is your processed granulated sugar? You forgot to plant a crop of sugar beats! Where is your Mexican vanilla, not to mention your cream of tartar?

Well, never fear. Here is a recipe, with only just 4 ingredients you would probably have in your food stuffs: butter, maple syrup, flour and salt. If you want to be real old timey, you can grind some wheat berries to get fresh milled flour. (A coffee grinder works well if you don’t have a flour mill). So get out your gingham apron and enjoy a taste of the good ol’ days.

Heirloom Maple Meltaways

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour-whole wheat pastry flour works great!
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Cream butter and maple syrup. Mix flour and salt. Mix together with butter.

On a cookie sheet lined with parchment , drop dough balls by the tablespoonful 2 inches apart. If you want, top with a whole shelled nut.

Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Keep cookies chilled for best texture. They can get crumbly at room temperature.

Bavarian Apple Kuchen

If you multiply the deliciousness of this cake times the easiness of its preparation your calculator will explode (or your head if you’re really good at math.)  Just try it and see.  I DARE YOU.

Bavarian Apple Kuchen
serves 12

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. veg oil
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 c. apples peeled and sliced.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with oil until creamy.  Add sugar, vanilla, flour, cinnamon, soda and salt. Mix well.  Batter will be stiff.  Fold in apples.  Pour in a greased 9×13 pan. Bake for 40-60 minutes until center tests done with a toothpick.

 

Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups: Raspberry Leather

Remember those super fun fruit snacks your loving and doting mother would pack in your school lunches?  Yes, I am talking about the much beloved fruit roll-up.  (Ok, I am probably dating myself here, but…) In the 80′s this was the jam.  Or dried jam really.  Well, if you wish to mix a bit of the nostalgia of your youth with the staunch DIYness of your hipster adulthood.  This post is for you.  This recipe is super simple, easy and will make you look very green and down homey.  Ok, lets make fruit roll-ups.

First though, I have to bullshit a bit about my life.  Anywho, for a few glorious days this summer, I was raspberry rich, after scoring cases of organic raspberries for $3 a piece.  However, the reason they were this cheap is because they were right on the verge of going bad.  Obviously.  So, as I am a total hedonist.  Nothing but 6 cases would do.  I used 4 up making freezer jam.  So, that leaves 2 to contend with.  What is a good way to make a good raspberry last?  Dry it into fruit leather!   Lets do it.

Raspberry Fruit Leather

  • Fresh Raspberries (or another berry of your choice)- at least 2-3 pints per tray.
  • honey (or another sweetener of your choice)
  • cheesecloth (optional)

Really the only ingredient which is mandatory is the fruit.  All else is up to you.

Short version: 

Process fruit until smooth.  Optional: Remove seeds with a cheesecloth.  Optional: Sweeten with the sweetener of your choice, honey, sugar, what have you.  Line baking sheets with syran wrap.  Pour raspberry mixture in and dry in oven for 12-24 hours at about 100 degrees.

Longer Version:

Here is the same basic recipe with a few more notes and directives for the worry wort in you.

Process the fruit: Crush your berries.  A food processor works best because you want to pulverize the berries and make your mixture as liquid as possible.  If you don’t have a food processor, a blender works well too.

Remove Seeds (Optional): I get sick of picking raspberry seeds out of my teeth, so I am option to remove as many seeds as possible.  To do this, simply line a bowl with cheesecloth, pour in your raspberry mixture and squeeze the pulp out. The cheesecloth will catch most of the seeds.

Sweeten To Your Taste (Optional): Depending on the flavor of your berries, you might want to add a bit of sweetness.  For this batch I added some honey to sweeten.  I suggest starting with 1 tsp a time, stir and taste.  Keep adding until it matches your mood.

Dry: Now to get the sweet roll-up feel, line a few baking sheets (depending on the amount of raspberries you are working with) with Syrian wrap.  Make sure to cover bottom and sides.  Pour raspberry mixture into the pans, so that the bottom is covered uniformly with a thin layer of raspberries.  You want it to be thick enough to cover the whole tray, but not too thick, as it will take longer for it to dry out.  I suggest going for thinner over thicker.  Shake/jiggle trays to get an even consistency.

Dry in oven at 100 degrees. If you have an oven with a warmer setting this is often around 100.  If you are like me and your lowest setting is 250, I suggest preheating the oven to 250.  And then turning it off when you put your trays in.  12-24 hours at 100 degrees will do the trick, depending on the humidity.  I was making my leather during a crazy heat wave in Chicago, so I didn’t worry about the oven temp.  I stacked them in my oven and allowed them to sit for about 24-48 hours with the oven off the whole time.

Assemble Roll-Ups: Peel syran wrap away from trays.  Roll up and cut into the desired width.  Store in air tight ziplock bags.  They should stay good for 3-6 months.

When you serve them, make sure to tell everyone you ONLY use locally sourced organic raspberries and  locally sourced organic lavender honey.  I don’t care if you really did or not.  I won’t tell.  Its just very important to keep up our obnoxious hipster cred.  That is all.  Have a great day.

Elmo Cupcakes!

Elmo is toddler crack.  I’ve never been the biggest fan.  I find his high pitched baby talk annoying of enough but add to that his way of always referring to himself in the 3rd person, and I just want to punch him in his red furry face.  HOWEVER, my daughter, Thora, cannot get enough of him.  I tried, and failed to keep her away from him.  But its pointless.  She LOOOOVES ELMO!  Ok, fine.  At least Elmo is not as bad as Baby Bear.

Saturday was Thora’s second birthday and I decided to make her supremely happy by combining two of her favorite things: cupcakes and Elmo!  I’m not going to take credit for this idea (its been done many times before) but it was a fun project, so I thought I would share my how-to. Everything about these cupcakes are red, from the red velvet cupcakes, to the red royal icing and the red cupcake holders.  Get ready to have red hands for the rest of the week.

Elmo Cupcakes
makes 32

Red Velvet Cupcakes:

  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 (1 ounce) red Food Color
  • 2 tsp vanilla

 Royal Icing

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar (optional)
  • 1 ounce red dye for icing

Elmo decorations

  • small marshmallows for eyes
  • black food color or cake gel for eyes
  • orange peanut m&ms for nose
  • oreos for mouth
  • Red food color for icing
  • pastry bag and large star tip

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients and set aside.  Using an electric hand or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together.  Add eggs one at a time into mixture, beating after each one.  Mix red food dye into milk.  Add milk, sour cream and vanilla, beat into mixture.  Gradually add dry ingredients, beat until mixed.

Place red cupcake holders into pans.  Fill cupcake holders 2/3 way full.  (An ice cream scoop works well for this.)

Bake for 20-25 minutes until cupcakes test done.  Allow to cool on wire rack.

Make Royal Icing

Beat egg whites until firm peaks form; about 5 minutes.

Add sugar, tartar and lemon.  Beat.  We want a firm frosting.  You may want to add more sugar or egg white to get the right consistency.  Add red dye to get the color desired.  I used the frosting dye because it is more like a gel and will not add extra moisture to the frosting.  If you are using the liquid dye, you will need extra sugar to make up for the added moisture.  Keep covered until needed.

Assemble Facial Elements

Eyes: Separate a small amount of frosting into a small bowl.  Add black dye and mix.  Apply a small dot of black frosting to the center of marshmallows to create the eye.

Noses: Separate out orange peanut m&ms and set aside.

Mouth: Spin off tops and bottoms of Oreos. Remove cream filling.  Cut mouths in half.  I actually cut them a bit smaller and discarded the excess.

Assemble Cupcakes

Spread a bit of frosting on top of each cupcake as a base layer.  Dip eyes, nose and mouth in frosting and place onto cupcake.

Spoon red frosting into pastry bag with the large star attachment and pipe onto cupcake around facial elements.  Pull away at sides to accentuate Elmo furry face.

DONE!  Now let your kiddos enjoy stuffing their faces with Elmo’s face!

Delicious Healthy Cookies. No Joke!

Everyone knows cookies are the best. But the guilt which goes along with eating something which isn’t very good for you isn’t so much fun. But there might be a way to have one without the other. And no, I’m not talking about those stupid Snackwells. My friend Sarah, recently turned me on to this recipe for cookies which are delicious and good for you. Not just low fat, but actually good for you! And they taste good!


Morning Glories.  Photo courtesy of MyNewRoots.Blogspot.com

Sarah Britton, the holistic nutritionist and vegetarian chef behind the blog My New Roots, developed the recipe for her Morning Glory’s as a healthy option for a breakfast cookie.  The main ingredient is Oats which is very high in a super fiber called Beta Glucan which is good for lowering cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar.  But the main kicker of this recipe is that it uses white beans as a binder instead of an oily fat like butter.  Although it sounds a bit nuts, these cookies have a great texture and a delicious flavor of anise.  Just try for yourself, I know you won’t be disappointed.

Check out the Morning Glory recipe here.

Christmas Pomegranate Bars

Every year I try to make a few new kinds of Christmas cookies to add to my tried and true. Sometimes I find amazing new cookies to add to my repertoire, and sometimes they’re a stink out. This year, I decided to try my hand at Martha Stewart’s Apricot Windows recipe. I put my own twist on them by using my homemade Pomegranate jelly.

While I wouldn’t describe these as a stink-out, as they are easy and very tasty, I learned through trial and error that if you don’t cut them while hot (not listed in the directions) you end up with a broken mess.  So here’s the recipe with a few of my own additions.

Christmas Pomegranate Bars

  • 4 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 1/3 c. cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 c. jam or jelly of your choice, I used Pomegranate
  • pastry bag with large round or star shaped tip

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment and generously grease sides; set aside.

Using a hand or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, mix dry ingredients and set aside.  Add eggs one at a time to creamed butter mixture, beating until smooth after each addition.  Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and beat until thoroughly combined.

Remove 1 3/4 cups of the dough; use it to fill a prepared pastry bag. Fold the end over to keep dough from drying out; set aside.

Spread the remaining dough into the prepared pan as evenly and smoothly as possible. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Remove pan from oven, and transfer to a heat-proof surface. In a small bowl, whisk jam until smooth.  Spread jam on top of baked crust in an even layer. Using the prepared pastry bag, pipe parallel lines of dough spaced approx. 1 inch apart over the jam. Pipe perpendicular lines of dough at 1-inch intervals over first lines. Place in oven, and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack.  Allow to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly, but while still warm, cut into bars. Store in an air tight container for two weeks or so.

Enjoy!

A New Take On Gingersnaps: Chewy Choco Gingersnappers

I love gingersnaps and of course nothing is more christmasy then a good ginger cookie. But if you find yourself getting bored with the same old gingersnap, why not try this delicious chocolatey take on the original. I guarantee you’ll love it!

Chewy Choco Gingersnappers
makes 4 dozen

  • 1 c. butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 Tbs fresh grated ginger
  • 1 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1 c. molasses
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 Tbs ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cininamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 Tbs cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbs boiling water
  • 16 0z. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4- 1/2 c. granulated sugar

Directions:

Make Dough: In a mixing bowl or using a stand mixer, cream butter and fresh ginger together until whipped, 2-4 minutes.  Add brown sugar and beat until mixed. Add Molasses, beat until mixed.  In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients and spices up until boiling water.  In a small bowl, mix together boiling water and baking soda.  Add half of flour mixture into sugar and butter; mix.  Add boiling water with baking soda and mix.  Add remainder of dry ingredients; mix. Add chocolate chips and mix.

Chill Dough: Separate dough into four balls and wrap each dough ball in plastic wrap.  Chill in refrigerator until firm: for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Assemble Cookies: Remove one dough ball, leaving the others to chill in the refrigerator.  Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheets lined in parchment paper about 2 inches apart.  Chill completed trays while rolling out other dough balls; about 20 mintues.  Roll chilled balls in sugar.

Bake cookies: 8-10 minutes until surfaces begin to crack.  Remove and chill on wire wracks.

Store in air tight container for 2 weeks.  Best served warm!

 

Our New Christmas Favorite: Lemon Cranberry Sandwiches

These delicate cookies are my absolute new favorite holiday treats!  The light sugary wafers with a bold dash of cranberry are topped off with a very lemony cream center.  What could be better!  Lets get baking!

Lemon Cranberry Sandwiches

  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1 c. shortening
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 c. flour
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c. dried cranberries

    Filling

  • 2/3 c. butter, softened
  • 2-3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 Tbs lemon zest

Make dough: In a large bowl, cream the butter, shortening and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, cream of tartar, lemon peel and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in cranberries. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Bake Cookies: Roll dough into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with a glass dipped in sugar. Twist glass after flattening to keep cookie from sticking.  Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Assmeble Cookies: In a small bowl, combine the filling ingredients; beat until smooth. Spread on the bottoms of half of the cookies; top with remaining cookies.



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