Tag Archives: Cookies

Key Lime Cookies or What Goes Around Comes Around!

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!

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


Fig Newton Knock-Offs

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
Yes you can make delicious Fig Newtons at home!
  • 2 cups finely chopped figs, fresh or dried
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • ¾ cup sugar, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon grated orange zest, divided
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups flour
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the chopped figs, 1½ 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 ¼ 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 1½" 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.
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

TWD: Madeleines

twd madelines and teaIt’s Tuesdays With Dorie — where a whole bunch of bakers around the world all bake the same recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, Baking With Julia and then blog the results.  Today we are featuring Madeleines.  The Madeleine (french pronunciation: ​[mad.lɛn], English /ˈmædln/  is a traditional small cake from the Lorraine region in northeastern France.

TWD Mad pan
I bought my petite-madeleine pan from Amazon last year in anticipation of today’s recipe.  My mini Madeleine pan makes 18 small shell-shaped tea cakes.

Contributing baker Flo Braker joined Julia when making Ladyfingers and Madeleines on her PBS TV show, Baking With Julia.  Both of these sponge cakes use the same genoise batter.  A genoise is a whole egg sponge cake. That is, it gets its lift from air retained in a whole egg and sugar mixture that is well-beaten. Our Tuesdays With Dorie hosts this week are Katie and Amy from Counter Dog. They have posted the recipe in its entirety and I hope you will check out there blog post!

TWD Mad batter
Meanwhile, my rebellious streak took hold of me this weekend and when I got my mini Madeleine pan off the shelf I noticed the Almond Lemon Madeleine recipe that came with the pan. Ahhhh, I have almonds, I love lemon flavor, and in a sponge cake cookie-looking thing — yes!  Eggs make up a big part of the success of a Madeleine.  My eggs are from a neighboring farm and much more yellow-orange than store-bought eggs.

twd madeliene piping
Pipe the batter into the molds for quick, even filling.  If you don’t have a piping bag you can use a Ziploc bag, snipping off a corner for easy piping once it’s filled with batter.

twd mad spoon
I also used a couple teaspoons and dropped the batter onto the pan to see if the little cakes baked up differently than when I piped the batter.

twd madeline cooling
I didn’t notice any difference.  Either way they turned out great.  These were baked for 8 minutes. I gently turned the pan upside-down over the cooling tray and the little sponge cakes dropped right out.

twd madeline powdered
French Madeleines are known by their heavy powdered sugar-coating.

twd  madeline chocolateFor my Chief Culinary Consultant I drizzled melted milk chocolate on a few.
twd fin madeline dof
My recipe made 72 little maddies.  I saved a few for the Chief and the rest will be delivered to two neighbors and one cousin!  A fun recipe I will no-doubt make again.

~Blessings, Catherine

Almond Lemon Madeleines
Is it a sponge cake or a cookie? You decide as you savor these delectable little treats!
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly grated lemon rind
  • 1 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • Confectioner's sugar, candy sugar sprinkles, drizzled chocolate
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spray Madeleine pan molds with nonstick spray.
  3. Using chopper or food processor, grind the almonds with the sugar until very fine in texture.
  4. Cream butter. Continue beating butter, adding almond and sugar mixture gradually. Beat until mixture is light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until completely combined with other ingredients. Add in lemon rind.
  6. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternating gradually with lemon juice.
  7. Spread batter into the molds of Madeleine pan or petite-madeleine pan. This can be done by piping into the mold or dropping by teaspoon. Do not over-fill each mold.
  8. Bake in the lower third of the oven for 8 minutes.
  9. Turn Madeleines onto a cooling rack.
  10. Wash and dry pan and repeat process. Makes 4 pans full or 72 cookies.
  11. Garnish with confectioner's sugar or as desired.

Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies

TWD cookie mound
Cookies are not my “thing”.  Mostly because they just never turn out that well.  You know, soft and chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside.  So when, Tuesdays With Dorie baking group chose Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies for this week’s recipe I thought, “yawn.”

twd coffee granules
Then there are the ingredients … apricots (not my favorite) coffee powder – not a coffee drinker.  I haven’t found any espresso powder in my travels and so I use instant coffee granules ground into a fine powder.

twd mocha chip cookie book
Oh ya, and 1 pound of chocolate. I decided to go with Ghirardelli all the way.

twd choc chips 1 lb.
Cookies were made the usual way. Dry ingredients mixed into the butter, sugar, egg mixture.  Stir well. Add the rest. Important step — refrigerate, a couple hours or overnight.  BTW- ground coffee granules worked beautifully.

TWD Cookie Tower
The cookies baked up stunningly delicious.  I absolutely love the mocha flavor! I used 1 tablespoon of the ground coffee granules and it was just the right amount! I gave away as many as I could and had to freeze the rest to keep from eating them all!  This recipe makes 4 dozen cookies.

TWD cookies coffee stop
The apricots added just the right amount of softness to the cookie.  According to our neighbor who received the first pan full right out of the oven, “they were great with a cup of coffee!”

Rick Katz is the contributing baker who baked these cookies alongside Julia Childs on her PBS series, Baking With Julia.  Dorie Greenspan is the author of the cookbook we are cooking our way through, Baking With Julia.  Hosting this recipe is Peggy of Galettista.  She will post the full recipe and details.  Check it out there and add to your chocolate chip cookie arsenal.  You will want to make these asap!
~Blessings, Catherine



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