Baileys Irish Cream Biscotti

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

Chocolate and Baileys Irish Cream are a natural combo for St. Patrick’s Day food goodness. Wrap it all up into a biscotti and you have a little bit of Irish perfection.

St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and has been a cause for celebration each spring since the 17th century. Irish people have migrated worldwide, and wherever there’s an Irish community, you can count on a legendary St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

St. Patrick’s Day parades, dyed green rivers, overcrowded ‘taverns’, festive green drinks mark the March holiday. Many wear green and Irish imagery abounds. St. Patrick’s Day is also a great excuse to feast. While boiled bacon and cabbage may not be everyone’s favorite, desserts are always welcome.

Baileys is not just for St. Patrick’s Day. Speaking of, it’s also not just for mixing drinks either! You might be most familiar with the magical combo that is Baileys + chocolate. It took two years of trial and error but by 1974, the founders had added the finest spirits, rich chocolate and vanilla flavors along with a little magic, to create the famous Baileys recipe. The Irish have been distilling whiskey since somewhere around 1000 A.D., when Irish monks brought the technique home from their visits to Mediterranean countries. The word whiskey translates from the Irish language to ‘water of life’. Mixing the ‘water of life’ with other fine spirits and luscious cream, then adding rich chocolate & vanilla flavors with other flavors and ingredients made such an incredibly delicious treat.

Whether you dunk, drizzle, shake or bake. Adding some Baileys liqueur can be a total game-changer. These Irish Cream Biscotti served with some Irish coffee will be a perfect treat for the day.

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Baileys Irish Cream Cookies
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt; mix well. Add eggs and 1/4 cup liqueur; mix well.
  3. Cut dough into 4 equal pieces. Place 2 pieces of dough on each baking sheet, leaving space between them. Form a slightly rounded 2-1/2- x 8-inch loaf that is about 1/2 inch thick.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow loaves to cool 5 minutes. Cut each loaf into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Lay slices cut side down on baking sheets and bake an additional 15 minutes. Turn biscotti over and bake an additional 15 minutes. Let cool.
  5. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, Irish cream liqueur, mix well. Take a small amount of the prepared icing, place in a cup & add food coloring, mix well.
  6. When biscotti is cool, place white icing in a piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe a line about 1/8 in from edge of biscotti. Flood inside with white icing. With green icing make 3 shamrock designs on each biscotti on top of white icing.
  7. Melt chocolate & place in a small piping bag with a round tip. Outline the edge of each biscotti with a line of chocolate. Set aside to dry before storing in an airtight container.
  8. Serve with Irish Coffee!

Banana Cream Pie Cookie Cups

It’s hard to pin down the origin of banana cream pie, but it seems adding bananas to the pie happened around the end of the 19th century, when bananas went from exotic to commonplace. Until then, most North Americans have never seen, never mind eaten, a banana.

The turning point in the banana business came with technological advances in transportation and refrigeration. Steamships and railroad cars brought the fruit to market faster, and refrigeration slowed the ripening process. The combination was a bonanza for the industry.

One of the earliest known published recipes for banana cream pie called for sliced bananas and powdered sugar placed in a pre-baked pie shell. The ‘Woman’s Exchange Cook Book’ from 1901 advises cooks to then put the filled pie in the oven for a few minutes and then remove it once the bananas have been softened. After the pie is removed from the oven, the cookbook instructs the cook to cover the filling with whipped cream and to flavor it with lemon juice.

A recipe published just five years later in ‘The Blue-Ribbon Cookbook’ provided a banana and custard filling, but the two were not blended together into today’s familiar, creamy banana filling. Instead, sliced bananas lined the bottom of the crust, and the custard was poured over it. By 1950 we get a version covered with whipped cream and toasted coconut.

An old fashioned dessert , but one of the most comforting treats, banana cream pie offers a rich, sweet and velvety filling. If you like bananas like I do, it’s one of those desserts where you put a spoonful in your mouth and can’t help but lean back and close your eyes as you savor the buttery crust and creamy filling.

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Banana Cream Pie Cookie Cups
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Banana Cream Mousse Filling
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Ingredients
Banana Cream Mousse Filling
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Instructions
Base
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 12 muffin tins with paper cups.
  2. Use a food processor to grind gingersnap cookies into a fine crumb. Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl until melted. Combine melted butter with cookie crumbs and stir until there are no dry crumbs left. Divide ginger snap crumbs between the 12 muffin cups. Press down with a spoon or tart shaper.
Banana Cream Mousse Filling
  1. While the cookie cups are cooling, prepare the banana cream mousse filling. Whisk together the box of dry pudding mix and the milk. Add in the whipped topping and stir GENTLY until combined. Transfer to a pastry bag or a zip lock bag and store in the fridge until the cookies are fully cool.
  2. Take cookie cups out of muffin tin. Pipe banana cream mousse into each cup and top with a slice of banana. Sprinkle with a small amount of gingersnap cookie crumbles.
  3. Store in the refrigerator.

Sour Cream Rice Pancakes

ENJOYING SHROVE TUESDAY!

Whether you call it Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, or Pancake Day, Tuesday is the day of feasting and celebration before 40 days of fasting known as Lent. Celebrated by Anglo-Saxon Christians, participants would attend confession in order to be ‘shriven’ (forgiven for their sins). A bell rang to call everyone to church. This bell came to be known as the Pancake Bell and is still rung today.

Shrove Tuesday was the last day to use up eggs, sugar and fats before the fast, and making pancakes was the perfect way to do it! The ingredients of pancakes also symbolize four pillars of the Christian Faith. Flour for sustenance, eggs for creation, salt for wholesomeness, and milk for purity.

While other countries celebrate Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, with extravagant and exotic parades, in England, people race around towns and villages wielding frying pans that hold pancakes. The tradition was created in 1445 when a woman of Olney, Buckinghamshire was making pancakes when she heard the bell summoning her to church. In a rush to get to church, she ran, still in her apron and holding her frying pan. The Olney Pancake Race is now the most popular pancake race in the world. Participants must be local housewives and they must wear an apron. The goal of the race is to run while carrying a frying pan with a cooked pancake inside flipping it as you run. In order to win, the woman must successfully toss the pancake three times throughout the race, reach the church and serve the pancake to the bell ringer. Hundreds of people gather every year to participate in this fun tradition!

Mardi Gras, which translates to Fat Tuesday in French, is largely celebrated in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. Parades, parties, and feasts dazzled in colors of green, gold, and purple fill the city for two weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday.

Personally, I have always liked pancakes, so in keeping with the Shrove Tuesday tradition Brion & I will be enjoying some today. Although I can’t quite picture myself running in a pancake race, I’m making some sour cream rice pancakes … if you like rice pudding as well as pancakes, these are for you!

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Sour Cream Rice Pancakes
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
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Pancakes
Blueberry Sauce
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Pancakes
Blueberry Sauce
Votes: 1
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Instructions
Pancakes
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, milk, sour cream, butter & vanilla.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cooked rice, baking powder, baking soda & salt.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture & whisk together. Let batter sit for 15 minutes.
  4. Heat a nonstick griddle to medium-low heat. Spray with oil. Using a 1/4 cup measure, portion out batter on griddle. Cook for about 2 minutes per side.
  5. Serve immediately garnished with blueberry sauce or your choice of topping.
Blueberry Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, combine cornstarch, sugar & salt. Add water & blueberries & cook until 'clear' & bubbling. Remove from heat & stir in butter & lemon juice. Serve warm over pancakes.

Mini Tarts w/ Roast Beef & Gruyere

The holiday season always seems to creep up on us each year. You’ve probably got the mains and desserts figured out for your big Christmas dinner. Now, it’s time to nail down the appetizers or hors d’oeuvres, aka the real reason everyone loves the holidays. Hors d’ oeuvres are part of the holiday party tradition. I think that the best appetizers are ‘finger foods’ where you can eat them easily and with very little mess. Each culture has its own collection of favorite appetizer recipes which have evolved over the years.

If you’re looking for a sophisticated, bite-sized appetizer for Christmas or New Year’s Eve, look no further than mini appetizer tarts. Tartlets can be sweet or savory, hot or cold, and are a perfect choice if you’re looking for a vegetarian option. Think of your favorite flavor combination and you can find a way to serve it in these tiny pastry cups — try brie and raspberry, chicken cordon bleu, cranberry and goat cheese, pear and blue cheese, buffalo chicken and ranch or roast beef and gruyere.

Not only do mini tarts make for a chic presentation, but they also make it easy to time your guests’ arrival with taking the tarts out of the oven if you are serving them hot. Most recipes require a short cooking time, which allows you to pop the tartlets in the oven half an hour before your guests arrive and serve a warm appetizer as soon as they walk through the door.

These mini tarts are filled with roast beef, shallot-sautéed mushrooms, cream cheese, horseradish and Gruyère. You will love the nutty aroma when the tarts come out of the oven. I think  they are the perfect Christmas appetizer or party food idea.

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Mini Tarts w/ Roast Beef & Gruyere
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Instructions
Pastry
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt. With fingertips, cut in cold butter until mixture resembles small peas. In a measuring cup, whisk together water, egg & vinegar. Make a well in dry mixture & pour wet mixture into it all at once. With hands, mix until JUST combined. Roll out pastry & cut 24 squares with a pastry cutter. Fit squares into 24 mini tart pan cups. Set aside in refrigerator until ready to fill.
Filling
  1. In a skillet, over medium heat, melt butter, then add shallots & mushrooms. Add thyme, salt & pepper; sauté until browned. Remove from heat. Divide roast beef between the 24 pastry shells. Spoon mushrooms onto the mounds of roast beef followed by a tiny dollop of horseradish.
  2. Place cream cheese & eggs into a small bowl & whisk until smooth. Season with salt & pepper. Spoon into tart shells, allowing the mixture to settle down into them.
  3. Sprinkle each cup with some grated cheese before transferring to the oven & bake for 20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes
  • If you prefer, you can always use frozen prepared mini tart shells instead of homemade for a quick shortcut.

Apple Maple Boursin Muffins w/ Sweet Potato

Boursin’s story began in 1957, in a small Normandy village, located in France, when cheese maker François Boursin set up a factory producing soft cheese. At that time, he had no idea his name would become internationally famous.

Boursin Garlic & Herbs was launched in 1963 and quickly became a household name across France. Sixty years later, the original recipe remains unchanged and food lovers in more than 35 countries have spread their passion for Boursin all around the world. Perfect on bread, as appetizers or in a creamy sauce for main or side dishes. Since 2011, Boursin has been made in Canada in St. Hyacinthe, Québec, by Agropur, the Canadian dairy co-operative, for Bel Cheese Canada, the Canadian arm of Bel Group, the France-based multinational. 

There are seven flavors of Boursin Cheese sold in Canada: Garlic & Fine Herbs, Shallot & Chive, Bouquet of Basil & Chive, Cranberry & Pepper, Cracked Black Pepper, Fig & Balsamic, Apple & Maple.

Boursin is sometimes dubbed a Gournay cheese, Gournay being the name of the region in Normandy where Boursin was first made. The cheesemaker used the name when he was first asked to classify the cheese for customs purposes.

Today, I am doing a bit of recipe development with Apple Maple Boursin. The apple flavor and the silkiness of maple syrup perfectly complement Boursin’s incomparable texture along with some sweet potato, dates and dried cranberries. The whole combination creates an exceptional sweet and savory cheese muffin. Brion & I really enjoyed my new muffin creation.

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Apple Maple Boursin Muffins w/ Sweet Potato
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Instructions
Topping
  1. In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients. Spread out on a large plate & place in freezer until; ready to use.
Muffin Batter
  1. Cook, peel & mash sweet potato. Chop dates. Slice, core & grate apple. Grate orange (zest). Chop pecans. Crumble Boursin.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin tin with baking cups.
  3. In a large bowl, combine first 12 ingredients using a fork. Make a well in center.
  4. Beat egg until frothy. Whisk in sugar, oil, sweet potato & sour cream. Crumble in 75 gm of the Boursin cheese.
  5. Pour into well & stir only to moisten. Divide between the 12 muffin cups. Remove topping from freezer & place some on top of each muffin.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes then remove from pan. BEST SERVED WARM!

Spice Balls w/ Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting

The weather is cooling, and fall baking fills the air with the warm aromas of cinnamon and pumpkin spice. Spice cake recipes from turn-of-the-century cookbooks call for early forms of baking soda, which require an acid and the presence of heat to create a reaction that generates carbon dioxide bubbles. Tomato soup being acidic, provides the acid to make that reaction occur, the same way applesauce does. These spice cake balls are using both applesauce and tomato soup, making them super moist and full of flavor.

Who knew that a can of tomato soup could be turned into a cake? Condensed tomato soup appeared in stores in the late 1890s, and recipes for tomato soup cake began appearing in cookbooks in the late 1920s, early 1930s. This cake gained popularity likely in response to the depression, since the original recipe didn’t contain eggs or milk, which were in short supply during that time. Canned goods were an important staple during the depression, and like mayonnaise, the soup serves to bring moisture and bind the cake together. While it does not leave a tomato flavor in the cake, it does give the cake a lovely reddish color.

The Campbell Soup Company didn’t actually produce a recipe until 1940 and by 1960 it was featured on a Campbell’s soup label, making it the first recipe ever to appear on a soup can.

Tomato soup cake has moved beyond its humble origins. It is truly a recipe for all ages and for all seasons, a recipe that has been revised and modified to suit changing needs and tastes, a recipe that has stood and triumphed over the test of time. Around 1966, a cream cheese–frosted version surfaced, which remains the most popular version to this day.

The pumpkin spice cream cheese frosting is truly the ‘icing on the cake‘.

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Spice Cupcakes w/ Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting
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Servings
OR 12 CUPCAKES
Ingredients
Spice Cake
Cream Cheese Frosting, Divided
Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings
OR 12 CUPCAKES
Ingredients
Spice Cake
Cream Cheese Frosting, Divided
Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting
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Instructions
Spice Cake Balls
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. If you are using cake pop pans it is not necessary to grease them. If you are using muffin cups, line with paper cups.
  2. In a large bowl, cream sugar & butter. Mix in applesauce & tomato soup.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking powder & baking soda.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients along with walnuts or pepitas. Fold together, mixing lightly. Do not overmix batter.
  5. Bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Place cream cheese in a bowl & beat with mixer until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar, vanilla & salt. Combine well.
  2. For Pumpkin Spice Frosting: Divide cream cheese mixture (from recipe above) in half. To one half of the mixture add the pumpkin pie spice.
  3. In a piping bag, fitted with a star piping tip, place the white cream cheese frosting on one side & the pumpkin spice frosting on the other side of the bag, Pipe a swirl over each 'spice cake pop'. Decorate with some whole pepitas if desired.

Apple Hand Pies

We are now entering the last month of the autumn season here in Canada.  Fall air is light and crisp—and it carries a signature scent …. a mix of rain, earth, tree bark, and leaves. It’s a scent that always makes you want to take deeper, longer breaths, and just fill your lungs with all the smells of nature. Fall is nature’s most prolific and imaginative painter who loves to splash stunning shades of red, orange, and yellow splash across this canvas we call planet earth.

If fall recipes are known for two things, those things are pumpkin and apples. The smell of the spices in our fall desserts, things like pumpkin spice and apple cinnamon, bring back memories of family Thanksgivings. Not only are these flavors generally found in hot drinks and foods, which are comforting in themselves, their smells are what actually makes them so coveted. 

With the abundance of apples available to us this time of year, it’s no surprise our kitchens are often full of the aromas of wonderful baked apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the plethora of smells that often accompany apple dishes. There are just so many ways to incorporate apples into our dishes, both savory and sweet.

Over the years, I have posted many different hand pies, both sweet and savory. So, just as a salute to ‘apple season’, I’m making some apple hand pies topped with a fall motif.

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Apple Hand Pies
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword apple hand pies
Servings
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Instructions
Pastry
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt. Cut in white & yellow shortening until it resembles small peas. In a one cup measure, place egg & vinegar; combine. Add enough cold water to make 3/4 cup. Pour all at once over flour mixture, mixing quickly, until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. This should only take a couple of minutes; DO NOT OVERMIX PASTRY. Cover with plastic wrap & place in refrigerator until filling is ready.
Apple Filling
  1. Peel & dice apples, toss with lemon juice, brown sugar, spice of choice & salt in a mixing bowl.
  2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, add apple mixture & cook until sugar dissolves completely & the apple pieces are starting to soften.
  3. Mix cornstarch with cold water & add this slurry to the saucepan. Stir until filling thickens, about 1 minute. Take off the heat & set aside to cool completely.
Assembly
  1. Prepare egg wash. Remove pastry from fridge & roll out to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 4-inch cookie cutter, cut into 16 rounds. If you wish cut out some fall designs such as acorns or maple leaves for the top of the hand pies. On each round place a scoop of apple filling (I weighed my filling & divided it between the 16 pastry rounds). Fold in half & seal with a fork or alternately use a perogy cutter to cut, fold & seal.
  2. Place the mini turnovers on a parchment lined baking sheet & keep in the fridge or freezer while you continue to make the rest of the pastries.
Baking
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Brush egg wash all over the pastry crusts. Sprinkle with a tiny bit of coarse sugar. Bake for about 14 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
  3. Remove from oven & place pastries on a wire rack to cool.

Apricot Couscous Cupcakes

Want an unusual dessert? Try swapping out some of the flour for couscous in a cupcake batter. You’ll be amazed at the result.

A major complaint about couscous sometimes is the lack of flavor but this is where having it as dessert comes in handy. Incorporating apricot puree and spices into the couscous batter gives the cupcakes an amazing flavor and texture.

Couscous, the justly celebrated masterpiece of Moroccan cooking, is actually a pasta, though it`s often mistaken for a grain.

Couscous (pronounced ‘koos-koos‘) is now widely available in packaged form in most supermarkets. Couscous are the yellow granules of semolina made from durum wheat. Durum is the hardest variety of the six classes of wheat and has the highest protein content of all wheat. Because of this, it’s ideal for making high quality pasta and is used by both American and Italian manufacturers. It’s also used to make couscous in America and Latin America. If these pastas were made of the softer white wheat flour that egg noodles use, they would lose their shape.

There are three types of couscous:

  • Moroccan couscous -Fine, used for savory as well as dessert couscous.
  • Israeli couscous – Medium, used for savory dishes also called pearl couscous.
  • Lebanese couscous – Coarse, more difficult to work with, used for savory dishes.

Adding some cream cheese frosting topped with apricot puree and sprinkled with couscous rolled in cinnamon takes this dessert to the next level!

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Apricot Couscous Cupcakes
Instructions
Couscous
  1. In a saucepan, bring 1 cup water & 1/2 tsp salt to boiling. Add couscous, cover & remove from heat. Allow to sit 5 minutes then fluff with a fork & set aside to cool.
Apricot Puree
  1. Place water, sugar & apricots in a saucepan. Bring to a boil & simmer until soft. Place in a food processor & pulse to make a puree.
Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 2 cups cooled couscous (reserve a small amount for topping), flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices & salt; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter & sugar. Add 1 cup apricot puree & whip until light & fluffy. Add vanilla & egg yolks; whip well.
  4. Gradually add couscous mixture then buttermilk & combine only until blended. Whip egg whites until frothy, adding a pinch of salt. Using a spatula, blend egg whites into the batter.
  5. Bake 12-15 minutes or until testing with a toothpick & it comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
Frosting
  1. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese & butter until completely smooth, about 3 minutes on medium speed. Scrape down sides to ensure that the mixture is mixed evenly.
  2. On low speed, slowly add in powdered sugar. Once combined, scrape down sides of bowl & increase the speed to medium, beating just until well combined & creamy.
Decorating
  1. Place cream cheese topping in a piping bag with a star tip. Pipe a swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake. With another smaller piping bag, using a round tip, drizzle apricot puree then sprinkle with cinnamon coated (cooked) couscous.

Fig & Flax Swirl Cookies

Ideal for fall, fig & flax swirl cookies have beautiful warm flavors from the fig preserves and spices and a little crunch from the flax seeds. Figs flavor has been described as kind of a honey-taste with hints of berry. And of course, they give a crunchy-crisp texture from the seeds.

Figs are a distinctive and vibrant fruit that work with sweet and savory dishes. There are so many ways to use them in autumnal bakes, salads, meat dishes and more. Then there’s an added dimension to take it a bit further by using figs in preserve form such as:

  • Homemade Fig Newtons.
  • Swirl into a cheesecake batter for a fig cheesecake.
  • Spread on melted baked brie fresh from the oven.
  • Spread it on toast, English muffins, or biscuits instead of jelly.
  • Spread on crostini with goat cheese, prosciutto & balsamic vinegar for an appetizer.
  • Combine with rosemary and balsamic vinegar & use as a glaze for chicken, pork, or kebabs.
  • Mix with softened cream cheese as a crepe filling.
  • Mix with oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper to make a vinaigrette.
  • Use it in grilled ham & cheese sandwiches.
  • Swirl it into ice cream.
  • Use in lieu of syrup for a topping for pancakes.

If you like fig preserves, you will love these cookies.

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Fig & Flax Swirl Cookies
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
COOKIES
Ingredients
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
COOKIES
Ingredients
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
  1. Combine flour, baking soda & salt in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, cream the butter with the brown & white sugar. Mix on medium speed for a minute or two. Add the egg & vanilla and continue mixing until well incorporated.
  3. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture & stir with a spoon until combined & forms a ball. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap & refrigerate for an hour.
  4. Roll chilled dough out on a lightly floured piece of waxed paper to a 16 x 10-inch rectangle. Spread smooth fig preserves on the dough to within about 1/2-inch of the edges. Starting at one of the long ends, begin to carefully roll the dough into a log.
  5. Place egg white in a small bowl. Combine 2 Tbsp each brown sugar & ground flax seeds in a shallow dish. Brush log with egg white then roll in the flax/sugar mixture. Wrap the rolled dough in the wax paper & refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 F.
  7. Slice roll, (using a piece of floss for easier slicing), into 1/4-inch slices. Place on a parchment lined baking sheets & bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven & allow to cool on baking sheets for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Citron Anise Pudding Cookies

Although pudding cookies have been around forever, it’s always interesting to take a basic recipe and personalize with flavors that appeal to you especially. I have always had loved the flavor of both citron and anise, so I decided to incorporate them in this cookie. I have very vivid memories of my mothers’ huge, wonderful garden, on our farm in southern Alberta. Citron was one of the melons that she grew and made it into a nice, preserved fruit for the winter months. I just loved it, but it seems this melon has become extinct these days. The reason can be deduced from historical seed catalogues. Throughout the period of about 1910 to 1950, whenever imported winter fruit and reliable refrigeration arrived in a region, the local seed companies tended to drop citron melon seeds from their catalogues.

The real value of citron melons was that they kept for nearly a year with no special storage, which means a rural family could depend on them for winter food (with some boiling and sugar), and they could be processed into sweet desserts at any time of year when there was less outdoor work to do. Combined with the fact that the plants require very little care, and can yield a decent crop in poor soil, citron melons were a very practical source of useful fruit for farm families and rural communities.

Citrons were a preserving melon, not meant for fresh eating that were widely grown by farm families and gardeners in the 1800s and early 1900s, all across Canada.

Since the flesh of the citron has no color or flavor of its own, it could be combined with other fruit to ‘extend’ them, making more jam, pies, and preserves. I recall my mother putting raisins with hers.

Anise can be a bit of a polarizing spice. It has the flavor that most people associate with licorice and tends to be something you either like or you don’t. I have always enjoyed the taste, so combining with citron makes a match made in heaven.

The tradition of using anise seeds to flavor meals and desserts dates to the time of the ancient Romans. It is said that the Romans would serve large cakes flavored with anise at the end of their feasts in order to enhance their digestion. 

Now this brings us to the question ‘why use pudding mix in cookies’? Added to cookie dough, pudding mix yields unbelievable texture and depth. They come out of the oven nice and crunchy on the outside, but they maintain that delicious soft, chewy texture on the inside. Cornstarch is a key main ingredient in instant pudding, so it probably makes sense that it helps make pudding cookies super soft and chewy. And when it comes to the recipe, you’ll want to choose your pudding mix carefully. An instant pudding mix is required.

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Citron Anise Pudding Cookies
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Ingredients
Servings
DOZEN
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together flour & baking soda; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter & sugar until light & fluffy. Add pudding & beat until well blended. Add eggs & vanilla, mix well.
  4. Add flour mixture slowly until well incorporated. Add anise seed & citron peel; beat just until incorporated.
  5. Roll into 60 - 1-inch balls & place on baking sheet. They don't spread much but still need a bit of room .
  6. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until set in the center. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to completely cool.