Oatmeal Mincemeat Cookies

I confess to being a bit ‘old school’ when it comes to mincemeat. When I was a kid, it was always closely related to Christmas baking. Generations past made it with beef suet, but the only kind I’ve ever known is the ‘all-fruit variety’.

I realize its simple to make but there are so many fantastic mincemeats you can purchase ready made that are just as good if not better than homemade.

My favorite, is one I have used for years, PC Suet-Free 5 Minced Fruits Mincemeat. It contains apples, raisins, currants, orange & lemon peel, rum, brandy and molasses as well as a number of different spices. I like to add a bit more apple, nuts and lemon juice to it for my own personal taste.

Mincemeat is very versatile so there’s no need to limit your repertoire to tarts or pie. Swap the traditional date filling with mincemeat in any date square or use it in Christmas cake. It makes the prep work far easier and has similar flavors and a finer, cakier texture. Of course there are always muffins, cookies or an apple-cranberry mincemeat crumble.

I know that mincemeat is not for everyone but the combination of oatmeal and mincemeat makes these ‘retro’ cookies pretty tasty.

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Oatmeal Mincemeat Cookies
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Servings
Ingredients
Cookies
Filling
Servings
Ingredients
Cookies
Filling
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Cookies
  1. In a bowl, cream butter & sugars; add egg & rum extract.
  2. In another bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda & cinnamon.
  3. Add flour mixture to butter mixture & combine well. Place cookie dough in refrigerator to chill, (about 30 minutes) while you prepare the filling.
Filling
  1. Peel & chop apples. Chop nuts. Spoon jar of mincemeat into a bowl & combine with apples, nuts & lemon juice.
Assembly & Baking
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll chilled cookie dough into generous 1-inch size balls. Place on cookie sheets making sure to give them some room to spread a bit. Press your thumb down in the center making a dent big enough to hold a generous teaspoon of filling. Divide filling between cookies.
  3. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven & allow to rest on cookie sheet for 5 minutes then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sweet Cherry Cream Cheese Cakes

There are literally hundreds of ways to make cheesecake with so many recipes and ideas available today. When pairing fruit and cheese, the goal should be to highlight both elements equally. We enjoy fruit with cheese because the combination of flavors are so complimentary.

One of the first cheesecake pairings I recall was the ‘Cherry-O Cream Cheese Pie’ from the Borden company. I doubt there are very many people in North America who didn’t enjoy this dessert in the 60’s or 70’s. The recipe was placed in a magazine ad and was printed to promote two of their products … cream cheese and sweetened milk.

Part of the reason it became such a favorite was it tasted great and was a no-bake cheesecake. All you needed was the ingredients, a mixer, a can opener and a refrigerator. Borden is still in existence today, selling sweetened condensed milk under the name Eagle Brand.

With a cheesecake idea in mind, I picked up some frozen sweet, dark cherries when we were shopping. As usual, I like doing individuals since there’s just the two of us. The base is like cake batter which is topped with the cream cheese filling and cherries. The streusel and sliced almonds are the crowning touch.

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Sweet Cherry Cream Cheese Cakes
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Rating: 5
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
mini tarts
Ingredients
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
mini tarts
Ingredients
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Filling
  1. In a small bowl, with an electric mixer, combine cream cheese & sugar until creamy. Add egg white & mix just to combine. Set aside.
Streusel
  1. In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour & chilled butter. With finger tips or a pastry blender, combine until pea-size crumbles form. Set aside.
Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter 8- 4 X 3/4-inch mini tart pans.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter & sugar. Add egg, egg yolk & the 3 extracts. Fold in flour mixture alternating with the sour cream. DO NOT OVERMIX.
  3. Divide batter between the 8 mini tart pans. Spread batter over bottom & up the sides of pans. Spoon filling into center of cake batter 'shells'. Arrange cherry halves, cut side down, in a circle on top of filling. Sprinkle tarts with streusel topping then with sliced almonds.
  4. Place tart pans on a baking sheet & bake 25-30 minutes, or until they test done. Serve warm or cold.
Recipe Notes
  • The newspaper clipping looks to be from a full page promo for Borden's cream cheese & condensed milk. The coupon at the bottom expired May 31, 1965
  • Interesting ... there is part of an ad on the reverse side of the clipping for a new Scout vehicle priced at $1690.85 which looks similar to a Jeep. What a price!!

Zucchini ‘Hummingbird’ Squares with Lemon Drizzle

Created on the island of Jamaica, hummingbird cake was named after the islands national bird, the Red-billed Streamer-tail. These birds are members of the hummingbird family and are only found in Jamaica.

The cake typically has two or three layers with pecans, bananas, crushed pineapple, cinnamon and a cream cheese frosting. Most probably both cake and its name originated as a Jamaican marketing ploy. After Air Jamaica was established in October 1968, the new company chose this beloved hummingbird as its logo. Shortly thereafter, the Jamaica Tourist Board distributed ‘press kits’ to the foreign media. They showcased various ‘local’ dishes, focusing on American consumers, and was intended to attract American visitors to the island.

There are several theories about the origin of the cake’s name. One is that the cake is so delicious it makes you hum with happiness while another is that it is sweet enough for hummingbirds. Yet another theory is that people hover around the cake similar to the way hummingbirds hover around flowers. Foodtimeline.org notes that perhaps it was named after the way the cake draws people in and is eaten quickly similar to the eating pattern of those energetic little fliers.

Unlike traditional banana cakes, the bananas in hummingbird cake are usually left in pieces rather than mashed, providing texture and bursts of flavor along with the pineapple and nuts. 

I am making an adaption of the hummingbird cake but using zucchini instead of bananas and drizzling it with a lemon glaze. I’ve also noticed a few other variations that sound real good. One was with grated sweet potato and roasted bananas as well as a rhubarb one — Yum!


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Zucchini 'Hummingbird' Squares with Lemon Drizzle

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Course dessert
Cuisine American

Servings


Ingredients
Cake Batter

Lemon Drizzle

Course dessert
Cuisine American

Servings


Ingredients
Cake Batter

Lemon Drizzle

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Cake Batter
  1. Shred zucchini into a bowl & add 2 Tbsp sugar; stir to combine. Scrape zucchini into a mesh strainer, set over bowl, allowing zucchini to drain for about half an hour. Press to squeeze out excess juice, then place mixture onto paper towels & squeeze to get out as much moisture as you can.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter & flour a loaf pan ( or mini squares pan); set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt. Toss in walnuts & candied peel. Set aside.

  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining sugar, eggs, yogurt, butter, lemon juice, vanilla, drained pineapple & zucchini. Fold the wet mixture into dry ingredients, just until moistened. Scrape the batter into loaf pan, making sure to smooth the top of batter.

  4. Bake for about 50-55 minutes for loaf (25-30 for minis), or until batter tests done when toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow the loaf to cool slightly before drizzling with glaze.

Lemon Drizzle
  1. In a bowl, combine powdered sugar & lemon juice, mixing until smooth. Spoon over warm squares allowing drizzle to set up before (cutting &) serving.