Recently I was thumbing through my Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies magazine. It’s been in my recipe collection for 17 years. It’s worn and torn in places, showing its age and constant use. It has been one of my favorite magazines to find cookie recipes all year. I say all year because many of the recipes are good for all through the year and why limit them to December and Christmas?
It was a Saturday afternoon and I wanted to whip up these peanut butter oatmeal cream pies ( cookies) for Tom and the girls at school. I try to bake for them all weekly and the weekend off is a great time to do it! I gathered my ingredients, lit my kitchen candles and away I baked!
Homemade Peanut Butter Oatmeal Pies
Taken from Better Homes and Garden Christmas Cookies publication
1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. quick cooking oats
2 tsps. hot water
1/4 tsp salt
1- 7 oz. jar marshmallow cream ( Fluff)
1/2 c. shortening
1/3 c. powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. In a large bowl combine butter and peanut butter. Beat on medium until combined. ( I used my Kitchen aid mixer but you could use a hand mixer) Beat in sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until just combined. Stir in flour mixture and oats.
2. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet. Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes or until edges are light brown and centers are set. Cool for one minute and then transfer to wire cooling rack.
3. In a medium bowl combine hot water and salt. Stir until dissolved. Add marshmallow cream, shortening ( I’m not crazy about shortening and may use butter next time) and powdered sugar. Beat until well combined.
4. Spread filling mixture onto flat side of half of cookies. Top each frosted cookie with another cookie. Makes 13 sandwich cookies.
I store my cookies at room temperature in my plastic cookie keeper that’s air tight. These are so much better than store-bought cream pies…look out Little Debbie’s!
Enjoy your week and take time to bake for your friends and loved ones!
I remember that many years ago my mom made a cream cheese Bisquick Raspberry coffee cake for Christmas morning. She had a special book in the eighties with the recipe and now my sister has the book. It’s a delicious and easy coffee cake to try for your family.
I’ve made it several Christmases, switching the raspberry jam for strawberry and it still had the same delicious taste! It’s been a few Christmases since I’ve made this , so this weekend I decided to try it again. It’s yummy warm and accompanied with a cup of coffee.
The recipe- Bisquick Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
You will need for the cake:
1 ( 3 oz) pkg. cream cheese
4 Tbsp. butter
2 c. Bisquick mix
1/3 c. milk ( I used Lactose free for Lactose Intolerance)
1/2 c. raspberry jam ( can substitute strawberry)
For the Glaze:
1-2 Tbsp. milk
1 c. confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Cut cream cheese and butter into Bisquick. Mix until crumbly. Blend in milk. Knead with hands into a smooth ball. Tear off two pieces of waxed paper the size of a cookie sheet. Place the dough on one piece of paper with the second piece on top. Roll out dough to a 12 x 8 rectangle. Remove the top paper and flip the dough on a greased cookie sheet. Spread jam down the center. Make 2 1/2 inch cuts at one inch intervals on each side of the dough. Fold the strips over the jam. Press lightly so that the strips seal together. Seal ends so the jam doesn’t seep out. If you noticed I didn’t seal it up on one end by mistake but it came out okay.
Bake at a preheated 425 degrees F oven for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool. Drizzle coffee cake with the icing. Garnish with cherries or walnuts if desired.
Do you have a favorite coffee cake recipe? Is there a story with it?
I battled a flu-like cold the last few weeks and finally I’m on the other side. After almost three days inside resting, I had a bout of cabin fever from being cooped up. It was quite liberating going to town yesterday. Then I came home, fashioned my trusty apron, plugged in my new Kitchenaid mixer ( which I love by the way) and baked this coffee cake.
There’s nothing as comforting as a plate of homemade cookie concoctions baked fresh out of the oven! With a glass of milk or coffee a cookie is a special treat, especially around Christmas. Recently I’ve spent much busy time in my kitchen baking different cookies for fundraisers, co-workers and family. It has been a peaceful and fun week as I listened to my Spotify Christmas playlist and baked my heart away.
I found this Chocolate Thumbprint recipe on Pinterest, from Shanon at The Curvy Carrot. She is a physician and enjoys cooking and baking while at home. I’m sharing her recipe for this delicious and beautiful cookie. I doubled the recipe and it made about four dozen. It will be a steadfast addition to my annual cookie list. They are also pretty easy to make and that means a lot this time of year!
I used parchment paper and love the results!
Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
Servings: about 20 cookies
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chocolate or multicolored sprinkles
20 (or however many cookies you end up with….) milk chocolate kisses, unwrapped
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium-high speed for 30 seconds.
3. Add sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
4. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined.
5. Beat in the flour.
6. Your dough should be at ball-rolling consistency at this point. If it’s not, let it chill in the refrigerator for a while to firm up a little.
7. Once easily handled, roll dough into 1-inch balls.
8. Roll balls in sprinkles to coat.
9. Place balls 2 inches apart on your lined cookie sheets, and, using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each cookie.
10. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are firm. Immediately press a chocolate kiss into each cookie’s center. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
Next I made Melt in your Mouth Pumpkin Cookies with frosting to top them off. I love pumpkin cookies and believe they are not just for fall but would be great to add to a Christmas cookie tray. I got this recipe on Pinterest, from Crissy at Dearcrissy.com. She’s a mom and wife, writer and food photographer. This recipe is the best pumpkin cookie I’ve ever tasted and baked! It will be a hit at parties, work or just at home.
Melt-In-Your-Mouth Pumpkin Cookies Recipe
YIELD: 60 COOKIES PREP TIME: 30 MINUTES COOK TIME: 10 MINUTES PER BATCH
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 to 4 cups powdered sugar (add until desired consistency/firmness)
ground cinnamon sprinkled on top (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl beat the 2 cups of butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking powder,baking soda,salt,the 1 teaspoon cinnamon,and the nutmeg. Beat until combined. Beat in the eggs and 2 teaspoons of vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin. Beat in as much of the four as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour with a wooden spoon.
Drop dough by heaping teaspoons 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until tops are set. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
For frosting, in a small saucepan heat the 1/2 cup butter and brown sugar until melted and smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Beat in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread frosting on cookies. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon if desired.
Every year I write my cookie list to bake for family, friends, co-workers and neighbors this year. It varies from year to year. Most years I make peanut butter chocolate kiss cookies nicknamed Black eyed Susans, a family favorite. My son Branden and I still make sugar cookie cut outs every year. Since he was about 7 or 8, he has had a keen interest in creating and decorating these beauties. I asked him a message recently if he wanted to continue the tradition when he gets home for college break. He said yes, he would love it and so I look forward to this time with him in the kitchen.
Today my sister Barb, niece Ella Kate and my sweet mom are coming for Cookie day, a tradition we started a few years ago. Each of us will bake a batch of our favorites and then we split them up between us. We play music, laugh, reminisce and just enjoy each other while baking cookies. It’s a special day for me and I hope the tradition lasts with my future grandchildren.
Are you baking Christmas cookies soon? What are your favorites?
The other day I searched high and low for decorative gourds to adorn my Thanksgiving table. The supermarket must have had a rush for them because there wasn’t any left. Walking around the corner where they should have been, suddenly I discovered some unique squashes that could stand in for the gourds and serve my purpose.
I chose a golden acorn, an orange squash I’ve never seen before, a bright yellow acorn, and a slender squash and that resembled a gourd. With a little research I discovered that the slender tan squash is called a Delicata squash. The multi colored acorn shaped squash is a Carnival squash. The orange round one resembles a pumpkin and is called a Golden Acorn. I threw in my home-grown Buttercup squash from our garden to add a little dark color and complete my display.
We had eleven diners so we had two long tables. On each table I scattered the colorful squashes amid my pilgrim people and turkey leaf display. My one regret is that I didn’t have time to snap a photo because I was deep into a cooking mode but they did look beautiful! Interspersed with the plates were my niece’s lovely thankful turkeys and artwork.
Now I have all these squashes and it’s fun to search for different uses. I plan to make all of them within the next couple weeks. In years past I’ve baked squash wedges with a little brown sugar and butter or boiled it. Winter squash is tasty either way and a healthy side dish to any meal! Tonight I baked the golden squash with butter and salt and pepper. It was yummy and accompanied my spiral pasta with local sausage. ( See my side note)
A Little Side Note:
Recently my husband and I started buying meat from a local farm in our town. I saw the post on our town blog from a local farm. They are selling a holiday package of a variety of meats all from their farm and processed in a FDA facility. We were excited to invest locally with GMO free and grass-fed meat and will continue buying from this farm. It feels good to abandon grocery shopping for meat that has traveled many miles from who knows where. Not knowing where your food comes from is pretty scary…especially in this day and age of additives and the Genetically Modified Organisms nightmare.
I hope you all enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday and spent it with people you love! I did…it was a special day of feasting, love and family.
Here is a photo of the dinner crew after eating and indulging in these desserts, pumpkin pie, apple pie, apple crisp, Reese’s peanut butter pie, cherry pie and chocolate cream pie. Wow, there were lots of desserts and leftovers!
This will be my third year hosting Thanksgiving at our home. It’s been a learning process and it still continues as I work on planning the cooking. Somehow it all comes together in the end like a perfect wrapped package, despite anxiety over the details. While I have planned on how things will go, my go to for organization is to make many lists. I jotted down a simple menu and as the big day approaches it’s been tweaked a bit. It changed as I discovered which relatives will bring what dishes. Next I wrote a grocery list. This year I had two, one for a week ago and one for fresh veggies for today. I picked up chicken broth, pickles, olives and the turkey last week and today shopped for fresh veggies and last-minute additions.
I brushed up on recipes, talked to my mother-in-law about her tasty sausage stuffing and my sister-in-law Bev on her fabulous gravy. I will make these dishes the best I can in the next few days and every year it should get easier and become a science.
I’ve already made my son’s cookies since he prefers them to pie and tomorrow I’ll make deviled eggs and start roasting veggies for the gravy. I’ve planned what I’ll make on which day and the big pie baking day will be Wednesday. Wahoo!
Here’s some advice for your Thanksgiving planning that have helped me. I always love to read my blogging friends holiday tips!
* Go early to the grocery store to avoid crowds. The next few days will be hectic
* Write a list of dishes you wish to prepare and a separate list of items needed for them
* Communicate with family and friends to see what they are bringing
* Ask your spouse and family members to help peel veggies, vacuum the house or other tasks you may need done while you cook and bake
* Light the candles, wear your favorite apron and play Christmas tunes as you cook. It will lighten the mood and relax you.
Laugh with your loved ones. Doesn’t Dylan look happy?
* Most Important, have fun and thank your blessings as you plan and prepare the feast!
As I wrap this post up I wish you all a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving! Indulge in good food, company and remember to acknowledge what you are grateful for! I’m beyond thankful for my loving family, they are my anchor and life is so sweet with them! I’m thankful that my son Dylan proposed to his girlfriend Alexis this month and will marry her in August! I’m so thrilled to be gaining a sweet daughter in law! I’m also grateful for my friends, my little job at school and the children there.
When I mention lunch ladies, what comes to your mind? Long ago memories fleeting by of hairnets and flowery aprons? Sometimes kind and sweet ladies but many times grumpy stressed ladies stood before you to serve what you thought was food but you weren’t really sure of it’s contents. I remember one lunch lady from elementary school, Mary Allbee. She always smiled at me and made me feel warm inside. I sure appreciated that during a hectic day of school and peer pressure, even in fifth and sixth grades.
When I remnisce about Mary, I think of the plain white bread she served with smooth and sweet peanut butter topping. It just was bread but the peanut butter sure tasted much better than ours at home. What was her secret? To this day I don’t know but it was delicous and that ‘s one of the few elementary lunch memories I have, besides the soggy limp carrot sticks my mom lovingly packed in my brown paper sack.
This Lunch Lady brownies recipe was shared on Facebook a few weeks back in the depth of summer. At first I thought, hmmm, I never remember great brownies baked by the lunch ladies, but maybe there were at other schools. The recipe intrigued me and I read the ingredients with a restrained awe. Then I tried them, baked them for my family and frosted them with the yummy chocolate buttercream frosting. I think the frosting made them even more delicous but I refrain from thinking that they would be good bake sale items. The frosting may be too messy to sell but great at home. The brownies are just as delicious without the frosting as well!
I share this recipe with you in hopes that you have good lunch lady memories and if you don’t, perhaps these delicious brownies can soothe your wounds. I stumbled upon this delicious recipe on Life-in-the-Lofthouse.com. Holly Lofthouse is the owner, wife and mother and has a great collection of recipes. Check it out!
Lunch Lady Brownies
1 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla
Chocolate Frosting, if desired
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup milk ( I used Lactose free but you could use 1 or 2%)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.
Combine melted butter and cocoa powder. I mix them together with a hand mixer.
Add the flour and sugar. Beat together then add eggs and vanilla. Mix just until combined. Don’t over mix. (Batter will be thick)
Pour batter into prepared baking dish and spread out evenly.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove brownies from oven and let stand 15 minutes before frosting. You want the brownies still warm when you frost them!
Beat together all the frosting ingredients until smooth. Pour and spread over warm brownies. Let cool completely before cutting and serving.
Enjoy this little dose of chocolate…for we all know that women have to have their chocolate!
Every year I bake zucchini muffins for my family. They are easy to put together and my family loves them. Just yesterday I was browsing zucchini recipes on Pinterest and found a new muffin recipe that sounded good, so I had to try it.
This Apple carrot and zucchini muffin recipe is borrowed from the blog at wineandglue.com. Lisa is a mom “ with a glue gun in one hand and a glass of wine in the other”. That’s my kind of mom, honest with a sense of humor! Check out her blog.
Apple Carrot Zucchini Muffins
Yield: About 18 muffins
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup oil
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp.baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup shredded zucchini (about half a medium zucchini)
1 cup shredded carrot (about two carrots)
1 cup shredded apple (about one apple)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners or spray with Pam.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and oil.
3. In another large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar and egg mixture. The batter will be very thick.
5. Mix in the zucchini, apple, and carrot.
6. Fill the muffin tins 2/3 full.
7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
Enjoy! My family ate these for a snack or breakfast. Either way they are moist and delicious!
I want to share with you all how I store muffins, cupcakes, cookies and other baked goods. About six years ago I saw these snap it plastic storage containers on QVC. They were selling a set of two and I don’t remember what I paid for them but they are handy and convenient to own. I have a handy deep one with a traveling handle and a shallow one without the handle. I’ve also seen similar containers at T.J. Maxx.
They keep baked goods fresh for me. I also store veggies like lettuce and beet greens in the refrigerator in them. Look them up if you need great storage containers for your kitchen.