Category Archives: Cookies

Whole-Wheat Almond Butter Sandwich Cookies

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WW Almond cookie
Have you ever heard the term “you can’t out give a giver?”  That saying totally describes my neighbor and friend Gaye. Isn’t she beautiful?  Imagine this — she is even more beautiful “inside” and her love of God is unsurpassed.

Gaye
Recently I baked some fresh strawberry cupcakes (recipe coming soon) and couldn’t wait to take them to Gaye and her family. But, as is usual, before I could take them down the road she showed up at my door with these outstanding Whole-wheat almond butter sandwich cookies! Gaye saw the recipe in the April copy of Living magazine and knew they would be a perfect treat for her family. You can find the recipe on Martha Stewart’s website here.

ww almond butter cookieCan you just taste the crunchy, buttery almonds?  I can and I did!  The best part is these cookies aren’t overly sweet.  Actually not too sweet at all, but packed full of taste!

Thank you Gaye and happy baking!
Blessings, Catherine

John 15:12-15

English Standard Version (ESV)

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

 

 

Peppermint Patties

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peppermint pattie plate
Jet-Puffed JUMBO Peppermint Mallows are back!  Why is this important to you? Because if you want to be the hit of the Christmas goodie parade you are going to want to use these super-charged, JUMBO peppermint-infused marshmallows to make some awesome Peppermint Patties!
jumbo peppermint mallows
In December 2011 I stumbled upon these mallows while shopping for groceries that really mattered – like meat, vegetables, milk, and chocolate. :)

I absently threw a bag into my cart thinking they might be good for something during the Christmas baking craze I was about to cause in my kitchen.

peppermint pattie snowman
A few days later I mixed a little almond bark with a few chocolate chips and tossed a couple jumbo peppermint mallows into the warm, dripping, chocolately mixture.  What happened after that only happens say, every two years.  That is because Kraft in their infinite wisdom chose not to produce these awesome Jet-Puffed JUMBO Peppermint Mallows in 2012. :(

peppermint pat bite
Fast forward to today, December 15, 2013.  I did the really unthinkable and actually ventured into Wal-Mart after church to pick up a few items.  Even my smarter-than-the-average hillbilly husband said, “you want to go to Wal-Mart on Sunday afternoon?  Are you crazy?”

“Yes I am, now let’s get going.”

Kismet. Serendipity. God smiling on me.  Call it whatever you want because I was casually walking down the middle aisle when my eyes dropped to the bottom shelf of all the baking goodies and there I saw them — Jet-Puffed JUMBO Peppermint Mallows.

I am pretty sure I could go on some more about today’s super-find, but I am heading to the kitchen. I’ve got chocolate and almond bark to melt, mallows to dip, friends and family to make happy.  Very, very happy.

Happy Dipping!
Catherine

P.S.  On the back of the package is a recipe for … Peppermint Patties.  That recipe wasn’t there two years ago.  Might they have read my blog post?  ha! ha!

Peppermint Patties

Peppermint Patties

You will be the hit of the Christmas parade when you serve these awesome homemade peppermint patties. Every chocolate lover's delight!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 8 oz. chocolate almond bark
  • 30 +/- Jumbo Peppermint Marshmallows

Directions

  1. Combine chocolate chips and chocolate almond bark and microwave for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir. Cook on high for another 30 seconds. Do not over cook.
  2. Dip each marshmallow in the melted chocolate. Shake gently and place on foil. Leave plain or sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy.
  3. Share with every chocolate lover you know!
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Key Lime Cookies or What Goes Around Comes Around!

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Key Lime Cookies
Once upon a time we were sitting at a big oval table festively decorated for Thanksgiving.  The honored guests that day included friends and family.  After eating ourselves silly with roasted turkey, baked, ham, and all the trimmings I proudly began to serve the homemade pies that my sous-chef dish-washing mom had lovingly slaved over the day before.  There was the southern favorite pecan pie, the family favorite fresh pumpkin pie, and a chocolate chip and walnut pie for those chocolate lovers at the table.

After just a bite or two, our Aunt Mattie Lou exclaimed “Alice! This is the best pie crust I have ever tasted — you must give me the recipe!”  It was at that very moment that I shot my mother a knowing glance.  Without a word my look said, “don’t say a word, just let it go … ignore the request.”  Mattie Lou persisted raving about the pie.  Mother squirmed in her chair staring down at her plate. In the end other conversation took the pressure off and the pie crust wasn’t mentioned again.

refrigerated-pie-crustThe truth is, mom makes great pie crust.  However, this particular Thanksgiving we opted to hit the easy button and use our favorite easy pie crust.

Sprinkled Key Lime
Fast forward to October 2013.  I returned home from our Alaskan cruise bringing with me — the flu!  It was during my recovery week we received a lovely care package of Key Lime cookies from one of our Community Bible Study friends.  I will confess, it was very timely because the Chief and my sous-chef dish-washing mom had just about enough of light meals, no dessert, and my napping all day long!

The key lime cookies were just packed with tart and sweet flavor in every bite.  I knew I just had to have the recipe.  I asked my friend for the recipe.  They said, “I will give it to you, but it isn’t what you are expecting.”

Key Lime Mix
I didn’t understand what that meant until I was handed a grocery bag complete with a box of cookie mix and a can of frosting, “you know I like to bake, but this is my favorite way to do it!”

Key Lime Ingredients
I understood completely.  AND we got another batch of cookies out of the deal.  The Chief and my sous-chef dish-washing mom were thrilled I had “gotten the recipe”!

As we are quickly approaching the holiday season, filled with pressures inside the kitchen and out,  I highly recommend this is the time of year to hit the easy button.  Don’t be hard on yourself. Everything does not need to have that homemade stamp on it.  If you have time to start from scratch, great. If you don’t, that is okay too.

Many blessings and happy baking!
Catherine

Thanksgiving_7We Give Thanks

Our Father in Heaven,
We give thanks for the pleasure
Of gathering together for this occasion.
We give thanks for this food
Prepared by loving hands.
We give thanks for life,
The freedom to enjoy it all
And all other blessings.
As we partake of this food,
We pray for health and strength
To carry on and try to live as You would have us.
This we ask in the name of Christ,
Our Heavenly Father.

- Harry Jewell

 

Blueberry Crumb Bars

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blueberry bars plate and panful
Even though I had just baked up Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars, I saw a picture of these blueberry crumb bars on three different websites within just a few days of each other and I knew I just had to make them.

blueberries layered
Thanks to a bumper crop this year, we have a fresh stock of blueberries in our freezer.  I didn’t mind a bit letting go of 4 cups to make these bars.  The crust and the topping are the same and so it goes together very fast.  Half the mixture goes on the bottom, then the blueberries combined with lemon juice, sugar, and corn starch layers next.  The crumb topping is crumbled over the blueberries.  The bars are baked for 40 to 45 minutes.

blueberry bars upclose
Once cooled I drizzled a bit of vanilla frosting on top.  It turned out to be a perfect crowning touch!

blueberry crumb bars plated
This is a short post –  I’ve gotta go — I’ve got just enough time to make up a batch of these before dinner! :)

blueberry crumb panfull
Happy Baking,
Blessings, Catherine

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah 1:4-5

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Feed a crowd with these fruity, tasty bars!

Ingredients

    Crust/Topping
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Filling
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a 13x9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the bowl and whisk to combine. Add the butter and egg to the bowl, and use a pastry cutter to cut them in until the pieces of butter are no larger than small peas - the mixture should look like coarse meal. Transfer half of the mixture to the prepared pan and pat into an even layer to form the crust.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch. Add the blueberries, and toss gently to coat them evenly. Pour the blueberry mixture over the crust and spread evenly. Crumble the remaining crust/topping mixture over the blueberries to cover.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and the filling bubbles around the edges. Remove the pan to a wire rack and allow the bars to cool completely in the pan.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  6. Drizzle with vanilla frosting, optional - but a crowning touch!
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Fig Newton Knock-Offs

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fig newton upclose
You’re darn tootin’ he loves fig newton!
We cannot even mention fig newtons in our house without someone breaking out into this little jingle.  So let’s just say there was a chorus of singing going on when I ventured into the do-it-yourself fig newton land. This is my third figgy recipe to share.  I started off with Fig Preserves, then jumped right in with a Ham and Fig Grilled Cheese Sandwich and these Fig Newton Cookies ended up thrilling my Chief Culinary Consultant and my sous-chef dish-washing mom to no end!

bowl of fig
After picking fresh figs the end of August, I knew I just had to surprise The Chief and make one of his all-time favorite cookies — Fig Newtons. A quick Google search and I began to read about this famed cookie.

Fig Newtons were introduced in 1891 by the Kennedy Biscuit Company, one of a number of regional bakeries that merged in 1898 to form the National Biscuit Company, later known as Nabisco. “The Kennedy Biscuit Company named all their products after surrounding communities, including cookies and crackers called ‘Shrewsbury,’ ‘Harvard,’ ‘Beacon Hill,’ and so on. According to the folks at Nabisco “There is no doubt (in our minds) whatsoever that the Fig Newton is named for Newton, Massachusetts.”  Studying my map of the commonwealth, all I can say is, thank heavens Kennedy Biscuit wasn’t near Belchertown.

Cooking Figs
Since Newtons get their unusual shape from an extrusion process, it really never dawned on me that I might actually make Fig Newtons. But lo and behold give me a pot full of simmering figs and figgy newtons start dancing in my head!

fig cookie rolled
While the figs simmered away in a mixture of water, apple juice, and sugar, I creamed together butter, sugar, and orange zest in my food processor.  Adding an egg, vanilla and flour I get a wonderfully soft dough.  I rolled the dough out on a piece of plastic laying on my counter top.  Then I covered it with another piece of plastic and let it rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

This gave me time to finish cooking the figs, cooling them down, and making them into fig puree using my food processor.

Baking fig newtons
I was so intent in making my Fig Newton knock-offs that I completely forgot the camera sitting 2 feet from me!  Luckily I was following a recipe from the blog Oh Nuts! and you can click here and see step by step pictures of this process! Once you have four filled log rolls they are placed 2 to a cookie sheet.  Each log is cut into 1 1/2″ slices.  After cutting into slices, I left the log roll together and didn’t separate out each cookie.  I am glad I did because they baked up very even and only needed a gentle slicing once they were cooled.

fig newton and milk
My sweet husband feasted on this plate of cookies just as soon as they were cool enough to handle.  A big glass of milk completed the indulgence!

fig newton plateful
My sous-chef dish-washing mom was completely surprised when I delivered these to her door.  Both cookie aficionados declared these diy Fig Newtons to be Set 'em up fig pastethe best they had ever eaten.  (I realize they say that just to keep me in the kitchen, but for what it’s worth – I always believe them!)

Since making these cookies I canned 23 half-pints of fig paste and I am quite sure we have another batch of Fig Newton Knock-offs in our future!

Happy Baking!
Blessings, Catherine

Fig Newton Knock-Offs

Fig Newton Knock-Offs

Yes you can make delicious Fig Newtons at home!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups finely chopped figs, fresh or dried
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon grated orange zest, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the chopped figs, 1 1/2 cups of water, apple juice and one-fourth cup of sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook at a bare simmer for 1 hour, until the figs are so soft that they're spreadable. Transfer to a food processor fitted with the steel blade, add 1/4 teaspoon orange zest and process until smooth. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. While the figs are cooking, cream together the butter, remaining one-half cup sugar and one-half teaspoon orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a food processor for 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl and paddle or beaters. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and beat in. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle. Add the flour and beat on low speed until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into a flat rectangle, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  3. Place racks in the middle and lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Unwrap the dough and center it on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper measuring 12 inches by 16 inches. Lightly flour the surface of the dough and place a large piece of plastic wrap over the dough to prevent it from sticking while it is rolled out. Roll out the dough to the dimensions of the parchment; it will be less than one-eighth-inch thick.
  5. Cut the dough lengthwise into four (12-by-4-inch) strips. Spoon a line of filling down the center of each strip, leaving one-half-inch of room on either side. To roll the dough over the filling: Gently lift the long edge of the parchment under the first strip and roll it, along with the dough, over the filling, carefully peeling the parchment away as you go. Roll half-way over filling, then roll half way over filling from the opposite side. You should have a sort of log-shaped roll. Because the dough is thin, it may crack; if this happens, allow the dough to sit so it warms a little, then try again, being gentle and using the parchment under the dough to force it to fold over. When the roll is complete, gently slide a flat cookie sheet under the log and transfer it to the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Pinch the ends of the log closed. Repeat with the three remaining strips, placing 2 logs lengthwise per cookie sheet.
  6. Using a serrated knife, slice each log on the diagonal into 1 1/2" pieces. Bake, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through, for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack. Cut bars apart and enjoy! The bars will keep, stored airtight, for 2 days.

Notes

You will most likely have extra fig paste left over. Use it for toast, biscuits, or as a tasty moist addition to cake. Recipe adapted from www.gonuts.com

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