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Cookies/Bars

Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Crisp Lavender Cookies

What does lemon verbena have to do with bike riding and Lavender Cookies? Let me tell you…

It all started with my husband’s bike riding and running (he is so addicted to it). A couple of years ago after his bike rides or runs he would come in and tell me about a beautifully landscaped yard just one block from our house. He would stop look and sometimes take pictures. Not too long afterwards I became friends with Susan, the homeowner and person responsible for this beautiful yard. She’s a Master Gardener so that explains what is going on in her front and back yard. Susan joined our bunco group then garden club and I always look to her for advice on plants.

I have always said my husband is the one who should be in our garden club because he does ALL our yard work. Sure, I buy plants, tend my herbs and fairy garden but he’s the one responsible for any green thumb activity going on in our yard.

So, on a recent garden club field trip, Susan brought along these wonderful, crunchy Lemon Verbena cookies, which taste somewhere between a pecan sandy and a shortbread cookie and a buttery flavor (they have 2 cups butter) that had you wanting a second and third cookie (I was good that day and had 1/2 a cookie.). If my husband didn’t exercise so much, I might not have ever met Susan who gave me this recipe. Susan got the recipe from Henry Flowers who is the Garden Director at the Round Top Festival Institute and coordinator of the Herbal Forum.

I planned on making these with grandsons Oliver and Charlie while we were visiting in Chicago a couple of weeks ago. The recipe called for lemon verbena leaves and I knew I wouldn’t find on our visit to the windy city and I wasn’t home to go bum some off Susan.

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Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Thanks Sherry K for this great recipe.

There’s a funny story about biscotti I have to share with you. Years ago when I was doing a lot of corporate catering I liked to try new recipes and drop them off at offices. Well, once I made some biscotti and dropped it by a company and the next time I went in I asked the secretary how her boss liked them and she said he did but they were a little hard and crunchy. That was so funny, I guess he had never eaten a biscotti before and didn’t realize they are dipping cookies to be dipped in either coffee, hot tea or even a good cup of hot chocolate will do the job.

These are so easy to make and keep so well I don’t know why I don’t make them more often. When I worked at Williams Sonoma I worked with another Sherry which I always called “the other Sherry”. Everyone said her recipe for biscotti was one of the best they had ever tried. I worked there 6 1/2 years and never tried the recipe and years later I have finally make them and, in fact, several times.

Who wants to pay $2 for one biscotti from Starbucks when you can have a jar full at home just waiting to be dunked in your favorite hot beverage.

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Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Lemon Raspberry Bars

Lemon and raspberries make this a sweet delight.

Don’t you think lemon desserts make for the perfect sweet ending to a summer meal. I do and lemon happens to one of my husband’s favorite flavors. I’m sorry he didn’t get to finish off the bars after I took a few pictures (he did get one). I took them to share with a group of ladies and they were gone by lunchtime.

I use to make lemon bars for catering jobs all the time. Whether it was a luncheon or for a sweet pickup to go with a cocktail party, I knew these would be eaten and I did them so often I never looked at a recipe. Those days are gone and I have to refer back to most of the recipes I use to make from memory. Not that my memory is going, I just haven’t made these lemon bars in years.

With a freezer full of raspberries I was looking for something to do with them. I happened up on this Raspberry Lemon Bar recipe from Lovely Little Kitchen but decided not to use my frozen berries and bought fresh ones instead. I think the frozen berries would have too much moisture in them for this recipe and I found raspberries on sale again but I only bought one package. I used my favorite lemon bar recipe that I have used for over 20 years but added the raspberries to them.

The above picture was taken as soon as they were sprinkled with the sugar. If they sit too long, the raspberries that were on top soaked up the sugar; so the next time I make these, I’m putting the raspberries on the top of the crust and then pouring on the lemon filling.

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Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Almond Butter Cookies

These are low carb and delicious.

I love my little button plate.  I bought two of these at the Biltmore Estate gift shop. I can’t go anyplace without bringing back a souvenir to remember the trip by.

Over Labor Day I was looking for a delicate little cookie to serve beneath a pile of sweetened strawberries and cream when I came across this butter cookie recipe from a low carb site. Usually my first instinct is “yuck, low carb desserts and baked goods are terrible.” Of course I always have a supple of almond flour and the other ingredients are just waiting to be used so, why not give them a try.

My husband got the first one off the cooling rack and he almost choked on it. I have to say it is because he put it in his mouth all at once. I’m usually not much of a taster because I want someone else to try it first; kind of like that last bit of milk in a carton and I don’t want to be the one to find out it has soured. So, I’m forced to come in and try one myself. By this time, they have cooled to a nice crispy cookie and I’m thinking they are delicious and will work perfectly for the dessert I had planned for dinner that night; and they will be perfect with a nice cup of tea in the morning or any tea time pause during my day.

I’m already thinking of ways to change these up; maybe add some orange extract and orange zest or some lemon extract and zest or even coconut extract and finely grated coconut would be wonderful.  Thank you Linda for this recipe. According to her calculations these are 1g carbohydrate per cookie.

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Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Frosted Molasses Cookies

Nice and spicy and for my Christmas Baby who turns 40 on Christmas day.

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you all are spending the holidays with family and friends and enjoying some of the recipes I have posted here.  My son and his family in Chicago will be spending their Christmas in Minnesota this year and I sent a box of these cookies to the in-laws house for him to enjoy on his birthday — ohhh, my Christmas baby. Seems like just yesterday we were rushing to the hospital in Louisville to meet our first born. He was born 12:26 a.m. on 12-25-73 (I was one minute too late to match his birth date).

I have always loved baking, and making cookies has always been the top of my list of baked goods. My kids mostly grew up on homemade cookies because that’s what I did — baked. Occasionally I would slip and buy some Oreo’s or Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chip but the chocolate chip of course never measured up to homemade.

Didn’t all kids have hot cookies and milk waiting for them when they came home from school. My daughter, Alexis was always our sugar cookie baker because I never had the patience to cut and decorate that type of cookie. I have my share of cookie cutters and probably have over 75 for sure but I’m usually looking for a quick way to decorate them.

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Candy/ Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Pecan Divinity

Little clouds of sweetness.

(Happy last day shopping everyone. I’m checking my list and checking it twice. I did almost 100% of shopping online and now just waiting for things to start rolling in. I love ordering, it’s like Christmas everyday when packages start rolling in. I always wish I got an earlier start though because I start getting nervous if I know we are leaving and everything hasn’t made it to my door step.) MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I think anyone who has eaten my mother-in-law’s divinity would call these little pieces of candy “pillows from heaven”. I would wager to say she has been making divinity for at least 50 years probably longer and what amazes me is she makes the most wonderful divinity and never uses a candy thermometer.

On a recent trip back to Missouri I talked her into showing me how she does her divinity. I think just about everyone in our hometown probably has tried her divinity and hers is always the first one to sell out at any bake sale.

I remember a life time ago, making some divinity to send to my husband at college. You know how roommates and fraternity brothers can be, of course someone stole some of his divinity. To his misfortune he got a piece that had a pecan shell in it and he broke a tooth. Needless to say, he never took any of my husbands food again.

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Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Cherries for the pickin and perfect for these cookies.

A few weeks ago while my husband was off fishing in Alaska, my sister and I decided to get away to beautiful Door County, Wisconsin.  It was a wonderful week with temperatures in the low 70’s and we stayed in the little town of Fish Creek, which was one of our favorite harbor towns we visited.

Before I get to the cookies I have to give you a few details about the trip. I can’t say I was always the adventurous twin, that would for sure be Terry. So, we decided that we were going to try the segway tour. We didn’t want to do the orchard tour on the segways because we thought that might be a little boring just going up and down cherry orchard rows. In hindsight we should have rethought that decision. We chose the Peninsula State Park tour and were along for the ride with a family of five. The first hour we were really doing pretty goods. The state park has quite a few hills that bikers come roaring down at 40-50 mph. We got the hang of going down hill but going uphill was a whole another thing. If you don’t lean far enough to the front then you kind of just stop and at that point your thinking you are going to fall and when you step off, the thing starts spinning.  Between the two of us we fell 5 times. Funny thing is we had identical cuts on our right calves in exactly the same location. Go figure. Don’t know if we would do this again or not (maybe on flat ground). I would have to have my mind examined first. I think my new knees survived but I still have a little bit of a sore shoulder.

We had some wonderful meals while there and one of our favorites was at Alexander’s on our last night. One night we went to a theatre out in the woods — Penisula Players and saw “George In The Park”. A beautiful setting where you can take your wine and dinner and eat out on tables overlooking the lake before the play starts in a 7 million dollar indoor facility.

We bought so many sourvenigns and could not come home without some dried cherries, chocolate covered dried cherries and some of their wine (not cherry). We also bought back about 4 kinds of cheeses and we have eaten most of what I brought back.

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Cookies/Bars

Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Cookie

“C” is for cookie and that’s good enough for me!

Chocolate, Coconut and Cookie, those are three “c” words I love.

We went back home for my grandmother’s funeral a couple of weeks ago. She lived to be 98 years, 7 months and 30 days; a long life and to live it in her own home until the end was amazing.

I have so many memories of food and family dinners at her house and we will never forget her. When I see  an ice cream machine, I will always think of the rich sweet vanilla ice cream she always made my grandfather, or just thinking of a simple pot roast reminds me of Sunday lunch she would have ready to pull out of the oven after church. She was never a cookie maker, that was something my mother loved doing. My grandmother did make good fried chicken, milk gravy and homemade biscuits and the best fried cream corn. Her style of cooking may have been more like Paula Deen’s but hey, she almost made it to 99 drinking cultured buttermilk, eating souse, pickled pigs feet and the occasional Twinkie.

While staying at my sister’s for a week, she and I had a chance to stop by their local Grandad’s Deli and had a wonderful reuben sandwich (we halved it) and potato soup. Sharon, the owner, had a mouth watering selection of desserts but the thing we both zoomed in on was a big fat cookie (Cookie Monster size for sure) that we knew was going to be delicious as soon as we saw the big macadamia nuts studding the cookies.  I knew this was one recipe I was going to have to recreate. My daughter and husband had been there earlier and she brought back remnants of her cookie and shared a bite with me. That’s when I knew I had to have one and I WOULD NOT BE SHARING IT–not one bite.

I think any recipe is only as good as it’s ingredients, so for these cookies I decided to use an organic salted butter, my vanilla bean paste (for a more vanilla taste) and of course the macadamia nuts and dark chocolate chips. I also splurged for organic eggs even though I never buy them. I’m not sure if someone could actually tell whether something was made with organic products or not but look at the picture below. The organic egg yolk does look darker in color and the white whiter than the penned up non-exercised hen’s egg. I wasn’t taking any chances in this recipe. I wanted it to be delicious so why not use the best.

(Note: these were delicious cookies, but still not the same as the ones from the deli that I loved so much. I guess that means the next time I’m up there I will have to go try another one and then tweak this recipe.)

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Candy/ Cookies/Bars

Purple Kiss

“A kiss is just a kiss” ♫♫♫♫♫

You must remember this
A kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh ♫♫♫♫♫
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by
And when two lovers woo
They still say, “I love you”
On that you can rely
No matter what the future brings
As time goes by  ♫♫♫♫♫

So, the wedding is over and how time did go by. Seems like just yesterday that my daughter was on her way to kindergarten and I remember the tears and saying goodbye and what it felt like to have all three kids out of the house — sad, but in a good way.

Oh, how times flies. A new baby, diapers, school, lots of sporting events like swim team, tennis, volleyball, college and then marriage. I made these little “kisses” for treat bags for hotel guest at the wedding last weekend. Purple M&M’s, of course, and I was surprised when I found bags of colored ones at our local Party City store.

So this little treat was something I saw at Pinterest. One can find the most interesting little tidbits there.

These are are as easy as they look and would look just as cute with mixed colored M&M’s. Pretzel, topped with a chocolate kiss, 3 minutes in the oven, and press in an M&M, chill a little, and you are ready to go.

Hope you will try these soon. Orange and brown for Thanksgiving or red and green for Christmas. Cute and yummy little treats.

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Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Cowboy Cookies

So you wanna be a cowboy!

Recently my husband and I were at the movie watching Cowboys and Aliens and he turned to me and said “I wanna be a cowboy”.

My first thought was “Am I going to be his cowgirl”. Now according to the lyrics of that song I will be riding on the chuck wagon following my man.  I guess that means I’m going to be cooking and blogging from a bumpy ride in a wooden wagon sleeping under the stars, fighting off the bad guys and making our espressos over an open fire. Now, whose going out to kill our dinner for the night. Not me, I’m inside the wagon whipping up some delicious menus to try over the dusty trail.

I think he may have watched too many western TV shows when he was a kid. I’m sure he was a fan of Roy Rogers, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, Bonanza and of course Have Gun Will Travel. I picture him sitting in front of the tv with his cowboy hat on, gun in hands and even spurs on his boots (or shoes) saying “I wanna be a cowboy when I grow up.”

This is my cowboy. He knew at a very young age he wanted to be a cowboy.

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Cookies/Bars

Baby Button Cookies

Oh so cute and tasty!

I came across this recipe in a Food and Wine magazine and just had to make these for a baby shower I catered last weekend.

This recipe is so buttery and delicious you will not be able to resist a handful of them.  Like the article said, these make nice little favors when packed in small plastic bags tied with ribbons.

It’s kind of weird that I photographed these in my mother’s old button/sewing box. I remember my mother using this box to hold miscellaneous buttons and pins/needles. She kept her threads all displayed on some sort of wooden thing that she hung on the wall with little spikes. I have that and have arranged the threads in waves of color and have hung it on my bedroom wall. I have the little red sewing box tucked away in one of my dresser drawers and think of her every time I pull it out to mend something.

My mother won her one and only sewing machine back in 1952 by counting dots in an advertisement in a local newspaper. I guess the person who got closest to the exact number of dots in this square won the machine.

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Cookies/ Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Santa Kisses

Just about any kind of kiss is a good kiss!

But, for the holidays, these are especially nice and so easy to make, and, for some reason, I keep hearing Marilyn Monroe singing “Santa Baby” —

Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree, for me

I’ve been an awful good girl

Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight”

(I have some Santa Kisses for you!)

Find a you tube version of this song — you’ll love it!

 

I remember when I was a kid my grandmother would buy these certain peppermint sticks that my grandfather liked. I think the brand was Bob’s and they were twisted sticks and they were so much fun to twirl in your mouth until you had a really sharp point on the end of the stick. My grandmother always seemed to like the peppermint balls that kind of melted in your mouth. And, my little brother use to love peppermint canes and sometimes at Christmas we would try and buy the biggest stick we could find and I’m sure it took months for him to eat the whole thing.

I made this recipe for two parties I catered this season and will be making them for my family as well.

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