Posts made in December, 2012

Just in time…

Posted by on Dec 19, 2012 in Desserts | 2 comments

Christmas is about a week away.

Do sugarplums and figgy puddings (reeking of dried fruit and booze on fire) dance around in your dreams?

You are going to take a dessert somewhere—

You are finished with the cookie scene—

Your gills are stuffed—and so are his, hers, and theirs.

I am here to rescue you.

Step by step.

The credit for this recipe goes to Jane Brody who enamored me in the 1980’s with her fresh approach to healthful eating.

Cranberry Apple Crisp

I make this during the holiday season because it combines seasonal cranberries, glorious apples, walnuts, and whole grains into a fine dessert.

Dress it up with whipped cream or ice cream.

Serve it up by itself for brunch--

Combine the fruits with sugar, cinnamon, and a little whole wheat flour.

I love Honeycrisp or Pink Lady apples for baking.  I peel them.  Jane doesn't.








Toss the fruit into a buttered baking dish.








The remaining whole wheat flour, oats, and walnuts come together with a touch of brown sugar








and pure melted butter.








The topping is added over the simple fruit to be baked.







Caution.  A  missing corner will be noticed...








Sweet, tart, crunchy, Christmas goodness.








For thirty more years...

Cranberry Apple Crisp


  • 1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
  • 3 large apples, peeled and sliced
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour, divided use
  • 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup butter, melted


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cranberries, apples, sugar, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of the flour. Place the apples in a buttered baking dish.
  3. In the same bowl, combine the remaining flour, brown sugar, oats and walnuts. Stir in the melted butter and mix the ingredients with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle the oat mixture over the fruit.
  4. Bake the crisp for 40 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the crisp is lightly browned.
  5. Serves 6-8
  6. --adapted from Jane Brody's Good Food Book





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Dear Santa,

Posted by on Dec 17, 2012 in New | 4 comments




Oh, those boxes.

They sit here year after year goading me to lift the lid; unfold the tattered pages and rest awhile.





Because of you, I climbed the ladder into the loft.

Sitting on the gray tile, I drew one overflowing pink plastic shoebox towards me.

I entered that carton of memories like an invisible looter.

He said, "Open the floodgates of Heaven. Let it rain."






I wonder if I can find a Scuiqurptuf Maker before Christmas...




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The New Cookie

Posted by on Dec 14, 2012 in Cookies | 1 comment

MP broke the Peppermint Bark into a sweet stack-- but before it was eaten-- I made Garrett McCord's dense, fudgy, chocolate-y Peppermint Bark Cookies.










Most of the ingredients are on hand once you have made or purchased the bark.











It is always important to use room temperature butter.









Equal parts of white sugar and brown sugar are creamed together









before adding the egg and vanilla extract.








Room temperature butter is important because the granules of butter and sugar combine and become smooth and creamy.









Another step I never skip is sifting the dry ingredients together.








Equal distribution.








Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the creamed butter just until combined.  You can over mix the dough.








Here the recipe calls for the addition of 1 cup of peppermint bark cut into small chips.  MP and I decided after a taste test and mobile conference call with the girls, that the cookie needed more bark to rightfully announce the marriage of chocolate to peppermint bark.








Fold the bark into the dough and roll into balls.








Another tip.  It is difficult to tell when chocolate cookies are done because there is no way to see if they are "golden" around the edge . Right?

Check the cookies at the least amount of recommended baking time.  When the surface of the cookie looks dry and slightly cracked--they are done.

Thanks Garrett!








Peppermint Bark Chocolate Cookies


  • 1 cup of butter
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup of white granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of peppermint bark, broken into little chip size pieces


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars together for about two minutes at medium speed or until well incorporated and light in color. Add the egg and the vanilla extract until well incorporated, about a minute. Be sure to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl halfway through.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Add to the butter mixture slowly, and beating at medium speed, stopping once all of it is incorporated (do not over mix).
  4. Fold in the peppermint bark chips.
  5. Take small spoonfuls of the dough and roll into one inch sized balls and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for -12 minutes. Let cool on the pan for a few minutes; then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.
  7. --Garrett McCord, Vanilla Garlic



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Peppermint Bark alla coco

Posted by on Dec 12, 2012 in Holiday | 4 comments

Peppermint Bark alla coco

Peppermint Bark.

Silly me.

I had never seen it until I spotted it at Trader Joe's last year. $10 per pound.

Later I found a recipe for Peppermint Bark cookies on Vanilla Garlic, a blog by Garrett Mc Cord.




It calls for only a cup of peppermint bark-- and looks fairly simple.

I have an hour, dark  and white chocolate and candy canes too.

Here I go.








I drew an 8 x 12 inch rectangle on parchment paper and flipped it over so the pencil lead wouldn't be part of my candy.  Thank you Ina for that tip.








I flipped a quarter sheet pan too








and folded the paper over the edges.

I consulted a video about tempering chocolate so it would harden properly.

I trust my microwave to temper the chocolate.



I heat it in a dry glass bowl in 30 second increments, stirring after each one.




The dark chocolate took 2 minutes total.








The temperature was close ...








and spread easily on the prepared paper.





Into the fridge to harden as I moved to the white layer.








I had only Bakers white chocolate and it worked well--but next time I will use a finer quality.








Same drill.



Meanwhile, have ready





6 Candy Canes







to wallop.







Stir 1/3 cup of the crushed candy into




the melted white  chocolate.




Reserve the remaining candy.








This is the tricky part.  Even though the dark layer is firm, work quickly with a light hand as you spread the white peppermint layer.

If you linger too long-- the warm white chocolate may begin to melt the dark layer.








Sprinkle the reserved crushed candy evenly on top with a handful of mini chocolate morsels

(because I had some).









Peppermint Bark

10 ounces good quality dark chocolate

10 ounces good quality white chocolate

Peppermint Candy Canes 12 Pieces: 3 Count

6  Bob's Peppermint Candy Canes (5 1/2 inch)

2-3 Tablespoons mini semi-sweet chocolate morsels

Next stop cookies!

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This Little Piggy Came Home

Posted by on Dec 10, 2012 in Soup | 1 comment

While MP and I were traveling to Montana through the Thanksgiving holidays, I experienced lament for the Farmers’ Market.

When we returned I went a little “hog wild”.

Devoid of restraint, I bought too many beautiful vegetables.



The tender white turnips looked too polished to leave behind.

The hefty, colorful bouquets of Swiss Chard were the market centerpieces that Saturday.



By the end of the week I was challenged by turnips and chard as dinner ingredient prospects.


In my fridge and pantry were fresh buckwheat noodles, a few carrots, a couple of scallions, and ginger to add to the thought bubble.




MP set up the Christmas Tree




I made soup.








I sauted the onion, ginger, and scallions in coconut oil.








The sliced carrots went in...








and I deglazed the pan with Mirin, a mild Japanese Rice Wine.








At this point it began looking like dinner.








Peeled and sliced turnips were added and then








covered with water.

I brought the soup to a boil, seasoned it; reduced it to simmer, and cooked it until the turnips were fork tender.








Chopped Swiss Chard and  fresh soba noodles completed the soup.








Light and delicately sweet from the turnips, the gingered broth held the drizzle of toasted sesame oil, cashews, noodles, and nourishing chard in Christmas concert.



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