Archive for December, 2010

A friend of mine posted this weekend was “Cookiepalooza 2010” which I thought was a very apt title for me as well since I have spent the weekend making candy and cookies for the holidays.

Probably way too much; however, my husband disagrees with me on that point.

But, for this post I’ll discuss the cookies I made.  I’ll do the candies tomorrow.  🙂

I made 4 different kinds of cookies (although 2 are basically the same just with different toppings):

Sugar Cookies w/ Candied Ginger

Sugar Cookies w/ Candied Orange Peel

Oatmeal Peanut butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Double chocolate mint chip cookies

I’ll start with the easiest first – the sugar cookies.

Sugar Cookies with Candied Ginger or Candied Orange Peel

These are one of those “cheating” cookies as I used the Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookie dough.  I just sliced off rounds and sprinkled either the chopped up candied ginger or candied orange peel and pressed them down into the top of the cookies and baked according to the package directions.

It’s one of the easy ways to crank out some cookies that are pre-made but still have a nice personal touch.  And I had the candied ginger and candied orange peel from when I made fruitcake a few weeks ago.

The other two recipes aren’t too difficult.  Pretty much the same cookie making technique of creaming the fat & sugars, mixing the dry ingredients and adding the dry to the wet.

The recipe for the Oatmeal Peanut butter Chocolate Chip cookies is actually a gluten free cookie as it does not have flour.  And they’re good gluten free cookies!  However, if you are especially sensitive to gluten, make sure that your oatmeal is from somewhere that keeps it separate from their wheat products.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies by Debra Riermaier at justapinch.com


1/2 c. butter (softened)

1 18oz jar chunky peanut butter

1 1/2 c. sugar

1 1/2 c packed brown sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

6 c. quick cooking uncooked oats

2 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 c 6oz semi sweet chocolate chips


1) Beat butter and peanut butter at medium speed until fluffy.

2) Gradually add sugars, beating well.

3) Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well.

4) Combine oats and baking soda in a seperate bowl.

5) Add oats to butter mixture, mix well.

6) Stir in chocolate chips.

7) Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets.

8 ) Bake at 350 for 9 – 10 minutes.

9) Cool on cookie sheets at least 5 minutes.  Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

By the way, this recipe makes a ton of cookies.  I think I ended up making about 75 cookies out of this batch.   And they weren’t small cookies either.

In the next recipe, the original called for vanilla chips.  I substituted those with the Dark Chocolate – Mint Chips that Nestle makes.

Double Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies


3/4 c packed brown sugar

1/2 c sugar

3/4 c butter, softened

1/4 c. shortening

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 c. cocoa

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 c. dark chocolate & mint chips


1) Beat sugars, butter and shortening until fluffy.

2) Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat well.

3) In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

4) Add flour mixture into the sugar mixture.

5) Stir in the dark chocolate mint chips.

6) Drop by tablespoon full onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

7) Bake at 375 for 8 – 9 minutes.  Let cool for one minute before removing from the cookie sheet.

And so now I leave you since I am feeling a bit ill from “testing” the cookies and you probably have a sugar high just from reading the recipes.

So, I give you a nice healthy picture to leave you with.


Read Full Post »

To finish off my Swedish weekend (even though it is Monday), I fixed Skinkpaj (Smoked Ham Pie) and Pressgurka Sallad (Swedish Cucumber Salad) for dinner.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos.  Because we were really hungry and ate it before I thought to take pictures.

Ooops.  But, it was quite good.

The Smoked Ham Pie is basically a kind of quiche.  It was quite good but it needed to cook longer than the recipe stated.  However, I think I overcooked mine a bit because I think it was a bit watery because the eggs were slightly overcooked.  But, it still tasted good.

I used just a regular pie crust which I don’t think is the same kind of crust that mördeg (the crust called for in the recipe) is but it’s Monday night and I really didn’t feel like trying to make crust from scratch.  I’m not the best pie crust maker at the best of times and I figured regular crust would at least taste good.  🙂

The original recipe calls for gruyere or herrgårdsost cheese.  When I went to the store, they didn’t have gruyere (and I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard of herrgårdsost cheese before).  So, I ended up using just plain old swiss cheese.  I’m sure the flavor is different, but it was quite tasty nonetheless.

Smoked Ham Pie – Swedish Quiche (Skinkpaj) by diner524 at Food.com


1 pie crust (I used the Pillsbury ready made dough sheets – because I’m a pie crust cheater)

8 oz smoked ham, cubed

6 egg yolks

1 c. sour cream

1/4 lb Gruyere cheese, shredded (I used plain Swiss cheese)

1 tsp grated nutmeg

Salt & Pepper to taste


1) Press pastry dough into baking pan.

2) Set oven to 350 degrees F.

3) Combine egg yolks, sour cream, ham & cheese.  Pour over dough.

4) Bake for 20 minutes (I ended up baking mine for 40 minutes which I think might have been about 5 minutes too much).

Along with the Skinkpaj, I fixed a Pressgurka Sallad (cucumber salad).  It was a very nice, refreshing side to go along with the more rich ham pie.  Plus, my husband really likes cucumbers so it’s a win on the vegetable.

The original recipe calls for distilled white vinegar.  I only use distilled white vinegar to clean with because I personally think it is nasty to consume.  I ended up using a white balsalmic I had in my pantry but any white wine vinegar or an apple cider vinegar would do nicely.  I also did not add the caraway seeds since I’m not a huge fan and didn’t have any in my spice cabinet.

Swedish Cucumber Salad – Pressgurka by French Tart at Food.com


2 fresh cucumbers (I used 1 large English cucumber)

1 Tbsp parsley

1-2 tsp rough ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

3 Tbsp sugar

3 Tbsp white distilled vinegar (I used a white balsamic vinegar)

1 tsp caraway seeds – optional


1) Cut the cucumbers into the thinnest possible slices.

2) Arrange slices in a bowl.

3) Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper & parsley.

4) Pour over the cucumbers.

5) Place a plate with a weight over the cucumbers to squeeze out the liquid.

6) Chill for 1 hour.

Read Full Post »

In honor of St. Lucia Day, I made Lussekatter (St. Lucia Buns).  I’ve not made these before but they were pretty easy to make and quite tasty.  They are a slightly sweet bun with a strong saffron flavor.  The saffron also makes the dough bright yellow which is kinda fun.

I followed the original recipe I found except I did halve the recipe since I didn’t need to make that many buns.

Lussekatter (Saffron Buns) – recipe adapted by Ingrid Kroll from Stora Kokboken: Hushållets Uppslagsbok i Alla Matfrågor. Wezäta Göteborgslitografen. Göteborg, 1945


1 kg white flour

2 c. milk

45 – 50 g yeast

1 egg

2 g saffron

150 – 200 g butter

3/4 – 1 1/8 c. sugar



Dry saffron in warm oven. Grind fine with a little sugar in a mortar and pestle.

Dissolve yeast in warm water with a little sugar.

Melt butter in a pot and pour in milk and warm to lukewarm.  Blend saffron into milk. (The ground saffron can also be diluted in a little schnapps or cognac and poured into the milk mixture.)  Pour liquid into mixing bowl and stir in flour, a little at a time, until a loose, thick, smooth batter forms.  Blend in the yeast, sugar, egg and then more flour, a little at a time.  Knead vigorously, adding flour as needed until the dough is smooth, thick and shiny
and doesn’t stick to the bowl.

Sprinkle top of dough with a little flour and place a clean dishcloth over the bowl and leave it in a warm place and let rise until double in size.  Turn out onto board and break off pieces of dough and roll with hands into 4 in. (10 cm) long and ! in. (1.5 cm) thick ‘ropes’

Coil each end in, making a figure “S”.  Place one “S” cross-wise on top of another and place on a greased baking sheet.  Press a raisin into the center of each spiral.

Cover and let buns rise until about double in size (until they feel spongy when pressed lightly with finger).  Gently brush a lightly beaten egg onto the
buns.  Bake at 375°F (190°C).  The buns should have a nice golden brown
color and feel light when done (approximately 10 minutes).  Place buns on a soft cloth, cover with a clean towel and let cool.

I did weigh the items by grams, but I did use cups instead of dl (I don’t have a measuring cup which has dl).  I weighed by grams because some of the equivalents were a bit off – especially the flour.  So, I would recommend using the weight measurements.

St. Lucia Day (December 13) is commonly celebrated in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries.

St. Lucia (St. Lucy) was a 1st century girl Christian who lived in Syracuse, Sicily during a time when Christians were persecuted by the Romans.  She decided she did not want to marry a pagan and persuaded her mother for her to remain unmarried and to donate her dowry to the poor.  Her rejected betrothed wasn’t too happy about this arrangement so he turned her in as a Christian to the governor of Syracuse.  The governor ordered her to make a sacrifice to the image of the emperor.  She refused.  So he sentenced her to be defiled in a brothel (gotta love those ancient Romans).  When the guards came to take her away they found they couldn’t move her.  They tried to burn her but they found that she would not catch on fire.  Legend has it that they removed her eyes before finally causing her untimely demise.  St. Lucia is the patron saint of the blind and is often portrayed in art holding her eyes on a platter (yum).

Modernly, St. Lucia day in Sweden is celebrated by a young girl wearing a wreath and candles on her head.  Traditionally this girl brings Lussekatter and coffee in to her parents.  It is one of a very few saint days observed in Scandinavia, which is primarily Lutheran.  Since Lucia is associated with light/vision (apparently because of not being able to catch on fire) she is celebrated for the coming light (which I can imagine is a pretty big deal in Scandinavia with as dark as their winters tend to be).  St. Lucia Day used to be celebrated on the darkest day of the year until the shift to the Gregorian calendar (which assigns the darkest day of the year to December 21).

So, kick back and enjoy a saffron bun, even though it’s not winter solstice yet, it’s just around the corner and the days will soon be getting lighter.






Read Full Post »

As I forewarned, this weekend was going to be full of Swedish cooking!  Today I was baking up some cookies.  Most I’ll freeze to take over to family during the holidays, the rest are for more current consumption.

Today, I followed an old family recipe for Spritz and a new recipe I found online for Peppernotter.

I wanted to try a recipe for a Scandinavian spice cookie and these certainly fit the bill.  I did find my cookies very clove-y.  Either I got carried away or my cloves were stronger than the recipe writers cloves (which could be since I grind my own when I need them).

I pretty much followed the original recipe exactly since I had never made these before.  I did leave out the almonds (but the recipe says they’re optional).

Pepperknotter (Scandinavian Christmas Cookies) Submitted by S. Sundt on allrecipes.com


3 eggs

3/4 c. white sugar

3/4 c. brown sugar

2 tsp. lemon juice

2/3 c. finely chopped almonds (optional)

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1/2 tsp.  ground cloves (you may want to use less if you are grinding your own whole cloves)

3 c. all-purpose flour


1 c. confectioner’s sugar

2 Tbsp water (this is a correction to the original recipe.  The original says 2 tsp which just wasn’t working at all while 2 Tbsp seemed just right).


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease several baking sheets.  (I used parchment paper lined baking sheets).
  2. Beat the eggs, white sugar, and brown sugar in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved, then beat in lemon juice, almonds, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, allspice, and cloves until thoroughly combined. Mix in flour to make a sticky dough.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface, and knead the dough 1 to 2 minutes, adding more flour if needed, to make a smooth, workable dough. Pinch off pieces of dough and roll them into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and place the balls on the prepared baking sheets at least 1 inch apart.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Remove from sheets immediately to cooling racks to prevent cookies from getting too hard.
  5. Stir together confectioners’ sugar and water to make a glaze, and drizzle each cookie while slightly warm with about 1/2 teaspoon, spreading it around the top of the cookie.

These cookies were very interesting.  The black pepper gives them just a kick.  The cloves seem to overwhelm most of the other spices.  I like cloves, but I think next time I’ll cut back on the cloves.

In the picture at the top, these are the cookies with the white glaze.

The other cookie I made was the Spritz recipe from my great-grandmother, Eunice.  I’ve made these cookies several times and I really like them.  Despite the fact that the predominate flavoring is almond.  But, they are a very easy cookie to make but they do require a cookie press.

I have a love-hate relationship with my cookie press.  I think the trick is having the dough not too warm, but not too chilled either and to use a non covered, non-greased cookie sheet.

Spritz (Family Recipe)


1 c. butter, room temperature

3/4 c. sugar

1 egg

1 tsp almond extract

2 1/2 c. flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt


Cream butter and add sugar gradually.  Add egg, unbeaten, then add almond extract.  Sift together dry ingredients and gradually add to butter mixture.

Put dough in fridge for about 5 minutes while you assemble baking sheets and cookie press.  Do not grease your cookie sheets and it also does not tend to work well if you line the cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil.  The dough will stick to the cookie sheet when it comes out of the press.  They tend to have enough butter in them that they come off OK when they are done baking.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 7 – 8 minutes until just starting to turn golden around the edges.  Do NOT brown the cookies.  They pretty much look the same as when you put them in the oven but you can lift them up off the cookie sheet and they have firmed up a bit and aren’t sticky.

For the holidays, I generally will sprinkle them with some colored sugar before baking to make them look festive.

Now, I’m off to fill up a glass with cold milk and have a few cookies!

Read Full Post »

Since I have been trying to eat more in season & local produce I have been experimenting with the world of greens.

My family never really fixed greens, other than the occasional salad.  So, recipes for greens and preparation is a bit new for me.

But, I tried a new one tonight that I really liked.  And considering it was gone off my husband’s plate in about 30 seconds I guess he didn’t think it was too awful either.

What I fixed tonight was a Kale and Sweet Potato Saute.  I made it pretty much like the original recipe but I used a regular onion (instead of a red onion) because that’s what I had and I cut down on the spiciness.  My husband is not a fan of hot food, so I didn’t add cayenne and just added a tiny pinch of the chili flake.  I did instead add some cumin because I love cumin with sweet potato.

Kale and Sweet Potato Saute


8 c. kale, rinsed, ripped from stem and chopped into 1″ – 2″ pieces

1 large sweet potato, skinned & cut into 1/4″ – 1/2″ cubes

1 large onion, sliced

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. soy sauce (I use low sodium)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 pinch red pepper flakes

salt, to taste (and you do want to taste depending on how salty your soy sauce is.  I didn’t end up adding any additional salt to mine)


1) Saute diced sweet potato in olive oil over medium high heat for 8 – 10 minutes.

2) Add onions & garlic and cook until onions are translucent.







3) Add spices.  Add kale to pan and wilt down (2-3 minutes).

4) Once wilted, add soy sauce and saute for an additional 5 – 7 minutes.


This makes a very colorful and pretty side dish which is packed with great vitamins and minerals.




It went quite nicely with the stuffed pork chops that I prepared for dinner.



Read Full Post »

Bork! Bork! Bork!

I have dubbed this upcoming weekend as my Swedish weekend.  Of my various ancestors, I think that Swedish is probably the closest I have (most others came over in the early to mid 1700s as far as I know).

My great-great grandfather on my mother’s side immigrated to the US from Sweden.  So my Mom did grow up with certain Swedish traditional foods.  So, in honor of my Swedish ancestry I am going to devote this weekend to the making of Swedish goodies.

I am planning on making Spritz, which I always liked.  And I am going to try a new recipe for Peppernotter.

I am also planning on baking some Lussekatter (St. Lucia buns) to eat on Monday – St. Lucia Day.

Plus, another special treat for my parents.   And since this is a public blog I’ll wait until I actually give it to them before I do a post on that item.  But, don’t worry, I’ll take pictures.  🙂

To get you all in the mood, I offer you a clip of my favorite Muppet character: the Swedish Chef!

Read Full Post »

Tonight I wanted to try my broccoli a bit differently.  I wanted to roast it.

I’ve roasted lots of other veggies but I had yet to try broccoli and I have to say it was pretty tasty.  Since it was going along with my Crockpot Salsa Chicken I wanted to pep it up a bit which I did with some cumin and red pepper flakes.  But, roasting the broccoli gave it a nice texture and a slightly different flavor.  I think next time it needs a bit of garlic, didn’t think to add it when I was tossing it together but I think it will add a lot to the flavor.

So, here is what I did for my roasted broccoli:

Pepped Up Roasted Broccoli


1 large head of broccoli, cut the florets into bite size pieces

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp chopped garlic

salt & pepper to taste

Instructions: Toss it all together, spread on a sheet pan.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

I found the recipe for the Crockpot Salsa Chicken earlier this year on SparkRecipes. I’ve again tweaked the original recipe a bit to fit my tastes but it is seriously good eats.  The first time I made it I think my husband and I were fighting over the crockpot for seconds.  And given that it has been a bit chilly today, it should hit the spot!

Crockpot Salsa Chicken


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 cup salsa

1 package of reduced sodium taco seasoning

1 can reduced fat/reduced sodium condensed cream of chicken soup

1 cup reduced fat sour cream

Shredded cheese blend (I usually use colby jack or a mexican blend)


Mix salsa, soup and taco seasoning in the crockpot.  Add the chicken.  Cook on low for 6 – 8 hours.  Right before serving, take the chicken out and shred and add back to sauce.  Add the sour cream and stir to combine.  Serve over rice and sprinkler with shredded cheese.

Like most things out of a crock pot, it’s not going to win any beauty contests – but it sure is tasty!

And for dessert: apple-cranberry crisp.  I don’t normally fix desserts during the week but I had some apples that were starting to look a bit sad and really needed to be used.  This isn’t the first time I’ve made this recipe.  The first time was over Thanksgiving where it got rave reviews.  And I LOVE apple crisps.  And the lovely thing about crisps is they are darned easy to make.

Again, with most recipes, I tweaked the original recipe I found on tasteofhome.com.  I took out the nuts and added cinnamon.  Because I LOVE cinnamon!

FYI, I think this is about the best cinnamon ever.  Well, technically Cassia, but it is made of AWESOME!

Apple-Cranberry Crisp


4 cups chopped, peeled tart apples

2 cups fresh cranberries

1 cup sugar

3 Tbsp. all purpose flour

1 tsp. cinnamon


1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup butter, melted


Mix together the apples, cranberries, sugar, cinnamon and 3 T of flour.  Place in baking dish.

Combine oats, 1/2 cup flour, cinnamon, brown sugar.  Pour melted butter over oat mixture and stir to combine.  Sprinkle this mixture over crisp.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

I prefer to eat it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I certainly don’t think that this is too shabby for a weeknight meal and it honestly didn’t take me long to prepare.


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: