For veteran December cookie bakers (I’m not using the word old here), there are always those few special recipes that make it into the oven lineup every year. They’re one of the kid’s or neighbor’s favorites or maybe it’s the cookie that always disappears most quickly out of the tin on the counter. If nothing else gets baked the whole month, we’re stirring up these particular goodies.Continue reading
Cranberry Jam Thumbprint Cookies
There’s no doubt it’s a blog record to post three cranberry recipes in a row and I promise you it not only wasn’t planned, I had little idea it had happened until this morning. Perhaps cranberries were on the brain, on sale, or in my heart, but I don’t think so though I adore them unabashedly. Just an oh-so-odd coincidence. Right then.Continue reading
If you asked me what my favorite dessert was, those who know me are sure I would not say, “apple pie.” When a friend bakes one, naturally I’ll have a small piece. Without regret. But it’s pretty darned weird there are two apple pies on the blog within a month. I’m not a betting woman, but if I were, I sure as heck would have betted against that happening.Continue reading
I know without question I cannot bake and cook at the same time. Disaster awaits. Or at the very least, serious unhappiness. There must be either a baking morning and a cooking afternoon or some variation thereof. This doesn’t mean I won’t stir up a pan of cornbread while my beans finish cooking at 5:30 or that I’d refuse to bake cookies if the slow cooker was on. No, no, no–not at all. But it does mean I shouldn’t be chopping and adding ingredients to a soup and think I can also whip up a loaf or two of quick bread in the the short minutes between soup chores. Because if I do, the bread will be missing its cinnamon, for instance, or in this case, its very necessary salt. And I might serve the soup without making sure all of its ingredients were just as tender as they should be. Which I did — and sent it to ill neighbors like that. (I hope the carrots weren’t crunchy. God, Alyce.)Continue reading
When fall finally arrives (not sure it’s here yet), it’s time to bake again — and by November, it’s time to think of baking for Thanksgiving and Christmas. If I am anything in life, I am a pie baker. I’m not a county fair blue ribbon winner, but I’m something better — I’m the person folks like to see walking into their house or the church potluck with a pie basket on her arm. It wasn’t always that way, but pie baking is a progressive art or one that is a lifelong undertaking. I began with pies that didn’t taste badly, but were pale and puny at best and were luckily called out by older, experienced pie bakers in the mid-70’s. (“You could have left that in the oven a while longer.”) Even now, hundreds and hundreds of pies later, there’s the occasional crust that won’t hold together, for example, and gets ceremoniously dumped straight into the garbage can. It doesn’t faze me anymore, but pies continue to be educational as long as you’re willing to bake them. If you don’t bake one for a while and then assume you’ll be fine, that pie may or may not bake into something worth eating with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream.Continue reading
Each December for the last several years, I’ve dreamed up a Christmas cookie for the blog. This time, I might have found my very favorite–just in time for your weekend last-minute baking. “Peaknut” Crinkles are a twist on the always-favorite Chocolate Crinkles so often made at holiday time.
My own crinkle recipe– pictured above–and this is a riff on that– is one I’ve made for years and I have no idea from whence it came. More than once, I’ve really searched to discover its provenance, but the crinkle recipes I find are not like mine and so I have no idea. Thanks to that cookie baker I’ve never found!! Now, just so you know: the difference between “my” recipe and the others is this: mine uses melted chocolate and ALSO chocolate chips; every other one I locate is made with only cocoa. So. “My” Chocolate Crinkle Recipe.
Chocolate Bottom Cranberry Muffins
These muffins–and muffins they be– are not an excuse to eat cake for breakfast. Not too sweet and with a pebbly-crunchy mouthfeel, they still hold a holiday-ishly decadent pizzaz with the very best bittersweet chocolate baked right into the bottom of the muffin. You can also add it at the top if a frosting effect is more to your liking (see Cook’s Notes), but I do very much like the little secret chocolate that’s perfectly hidden until you take your first bite. If you’ve been roaring on about trying not to eat all those goodies this month (waa, waa, waa), take heart; read on…
Christmas Green Bean Salad
It’s the week before Christmas...and life begins to be a bit hairy-scary.
There’s a messy corner full of little shopping bags that need to be sorted out for wrapping and a basket containing odd baking ingredients–still unused–in the middle of the kitchen counter.Continue reading
Suzy’s Lemon-Almond Shortbread Bars
Shortbread’s a Scots thing. Good with tea in the afternoon or a wee dram late at night.
Chocolate-Peppermint Shortbread Cookies
For anyone with Scots background, shortbread is the Christmas cookie. In whatever “shape or form”, to quote my Dad, it might come. It also happens to be my very favorite cookie of any season and you can find it on the blog in a few incarnations... The endless variations are a large part of its intrinsic attraction for this baker:
Raspberry Shortbread Sandwich Cookies and Valrhona Chocolate Shortbreads with Sea Salt: