Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

Time for an original recipe.  I based this off another recipe I developed for an oatmeal raisin cookie contest several years back.  That recipe was a spiced rum raisin oatmeal cookie.  This recipe is pretty much the same except I use dried cranberries and brandy…because that’s what I had on hand.  Plus the cranberries look a bit more festive and will hopefully avoid being mistaken for a chocolate chip cookie.  I like oatmeal raisin, but there is something very wrong about thinking you are biting into a chocolate chip cookie only to discover what you thought was chocolaty-goodness is a raisin.

Brandied Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cup brandy


  1. Soak cranberries in brandy, preferably overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Mix together the dry ingredients.
  4. Beat together the butter and sugars.  Add the vanilla and eggs one at a time.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.
  6. Drain the cranberries and add to the batter.
  7. Drop cookies onto sheet with a spoon.  Bake 10 – 12 minutes.

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I love molasses cookies and this is actually the first time I’ve made them (instead of getting my Archway fix) and I certainly don’t think it will be my last because they weren’t difficult at all and I could probably eat my weight in these cookies.

The original recipe comes from http://shortordermom.wordpress.com.

Soft Molasses Cookies


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2/3 cup turbinado sugar (for coating the cookies)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the vanilla and molasses.  Add the eggs one at a time.
  4. Gradually add in flour mixture.
  5. Chill dough for 1 hour.
  6. Form dough into walnut-sized balls and roll in turbinado sugar.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes.

Edited 12/22/13: Added flour amount to recipe above (Ooops!)

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I wanted to try something different, and I saw this recipe and thought it sounded interesting.  How can you go wrong with apples and caramel?

On a side note, if you are unwrapping the caramels or cutting them into smaller pieces before hand, coat them in powdered sugar or cornstarch or something.  Otherwise you will relive my experience yelling and cursing at a bowl of caramels that had glued themselves to each other and the bowl.  It also resulted in some caramels flying across the room as little sweet projectiles as I tried to lever them out of the bowl with a butter knife.  So, take my advice and either unwrap as you are forming the cookies or coat each piece to keep them from sticking.

The original recipe comes from http://www.sixsistersstuff.com.

Apple Cider Caramel Cookies


  • 8 individual packets of Spiced Apple Cider Drink Mix
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 14-oz bag caramels (the soft, chewy kind, not the hard candies)


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients.
  3. In another bowl, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs one at a time.
  4. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture.
  5. Form dough into walnut sized balls and place a piece of caramel inside (I cut my caramels in half).
  6. Bake 12 – 14 minutes.  Use parchment paper lined baking sheets to help the cookies come off cleanly.

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A couple holidays ago I did a similar recipe for Double Chocolate Mint Cookies.  I actually think I like this recipe better.  Both are quite tasty.  I pretty much stuck to the original recipe from bakedperfection.com for this one except I added a few more chips (I had a few extra in the cupboard) and I think the chocolate pudding mix size is not correct as I could not find a 1.4 oz package of instant pudding mix, I just used the small box which is 3.4 oz (so I think that was a typo on the original recipe).

Mint Chocolate Delight Cookies


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 3.4oz package of chocolate instant pudding mix
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 10-oz package Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels


  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Combine dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat together flour and sugars until fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs one at a time.
  4. Gradually add in flour mixture.  Add in chips.
  5. This creates a very thick dough.  I just scooped a bit out and created dough balls and placed about 1-2″ apart on a cookie sheet.  They don’t spread much so you don’t have to leave a lot of room between cookies.
  6. Bake 11-13 minutes.   Some of the cookies will looked a bit cracked on the top.  That is how I could tell they were done since they end up looking similar to how they went in the oven.

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For the holidays I made two different candies.  I made Oreo balls and I made Cranberry-Almond Fudge.  I was going to make Peanut butter balls instead but didn’t have enough peanut butter and my husband mentioned his Mom really liked my fudge (and I had all of those ingredients) so I made that instead.

The fudge recipe I use is the basic recipe located on the back of the Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk.  It’s super easy and tastes good.  I take that basic recipe and will add my own twists using dried fruit or crushed candies or different flavorings.   One could use nuts (I don’t like nuts – so I don’t use them).  Here is the recipe for the fudge I made this year.  I used semi-sweet chocolate, but I think that this recipe would also be quite good with white chocolate.

Cherry-Almond Fudge


3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk

1/2 tsp almond extract

1/2 cup dried cherries

dash salt


1) Line an 8″ or 9″ square pan (I normally use parchment paper or aluminum foil).

2) Melt the chocolate chips with the sweetened condensed milk and salt.  Remove from heat.  Add almond extract and dried cherries.

3) Pour into lined pan and chill a couple hours until set.

4) Remove from pan and cut into individual pieces.

I think a lot of folks tend to like this recipe because it is creamier than a lot of fudges are.  It doesn’t have that crystalline texture that some do.  And it’s wonderful to make because there is no candy thermometer or candy water test to mess with.  Just melt, mix and set.  In past years I have made fudge with toffee pieces or pepperment pieces or dried cranberries.  Really, your imagination is the limit.  You can use different kinds of chips (white chocolate, milk chocolate, peanut butter, butterscotch) to make different kinds of fudge too!

The Oreo Balls I had not made before.  I kept seeing an ad for the recipe on Facebook and it kept taunting me so I decided to make them.  I thought they were OK but my husband and family definitely liked them.  And they also go under the easy candy category too.  For this recipe, I mostly followed the original from Just A Pinch.com except I dipped them in semi-sweet chocolate instead of white.

Oreo Balls submitted by Lisa Boger at www.justapinch.com


1 pkg Oreo sandwich cookies

1 (8oz) package of cream cheese (I used the low-fat variety)

1 large package white chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips)


1) In a food processor, grind the Oreos until they look like dirt.

2) Place cookie crumbs in a bowl and add the softened cream cheese.  Blend until mixture is wet.

3) Take cookie mixture and form into 1″ balls and set on wax paper.

4) Melt chocolate.  Dip Oreo balls into chocolate and put back on the waxed paper.

5) Chill until chocolate hardens.

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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.

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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.






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