Monthly Archives: December 2017

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Christmas Cookies & Recipes – 2017

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Hi Everyone,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Well, it seems as if I just posted Holiday Cookie Recipes and here we are again. 

This is the second year in a row that my son can’t come home for Christmas because he has to work the Christmas Eve to Christmas Day shift and so I am sending a taste of Christmas to him via cookies once again…..

Last year I sent eight varieties and this year with all the beautiful pictures and recipes on some of my Facebook food groups, I was inspired to add another eight to my cookie tray for a total of 16 varieties.

Me, the non-baker was a busy baker this year. I should have had Bob take pictures of me covered in flour next to the Kitchen Aid. 

I am very fortunate to obtain so many recipes from the great chefs and bakers that are members of my Facebook food groups and they have been gracious enough to share their recipes. The other recipes I have had for years or I copied from Pinterest.

So here they are…..

The ever popular Chocolate Crinkle. I think that this cookie is on everyone’s holiday tray. It’s one of my son’s favorites and I have been baking this for years.

Photo Dec 09, 11 29 38 AM - CHOCOLATE CRINKLE -1

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies


5 ounces UNSWEETENED chocolate, broken into pieces

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ tsp salt

4 large eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Confectioner’s sugar


  1. Melt chocolate and butter together in the top of a double boiler over simmering water or in a microwave until about ¾ melted. Remove from the heat and stir until completely melted and smooth,
  2. Meanwhile, stir together (or sift) flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on hand, beat eggs, granulated sugar and vanilla extract until creamy, about 2 minutes. Whisk chocolate –butter mixture until smooth, and beat into egg mixture until smooth. Add about 1/3 of flour mixture and mix on low. Gradually add remaining flour, mixing just until blended. Dough may be thin; that’s OK because it will firm up upon cooling. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to roll into balls, at least 6 hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the cookie sheets with parchment paper. Sift some confectioners’ sugar into a wide shallow bowl. Roll dough between your palms into 1-inch balls, and then roll in confectioners’ sugar. Place balls 1-inch apart on cookie sheets.
  5. Bake until puffed and crackled in appearance, and surface is dry to the touch, about 12 minutes; centers will still feel somewhat soft. Slide parchment paper onto racks to cool cookies completely. Makes 80 cookies.
  6. Store at room temperature in airtight containers.


The Pizzelle cookie. I received a pizzelle maker as a gift for Christmas last year and never used it, so I decided to try it this year. This is the easiest cookie to make. Now I am sorry I never tried it sooner. I used the recipe that came with the instruction booklet and it was smooth sailing- although you might ruin a few in the beginning until you get the timing right. 

Photo Dec 16, 10 32 54 PM PIZZELLE II- USE

Pizzelle Cookies


3 large eggs

¾ cup sugar

2 tsp. of vanilla extract

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted and cooled

½ tsp anise seed (optional)

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder


Melt butter and set aside. Beat eggs and sugar until light yellow, 2-3 minutes. Add melted butter and vanilla. Beat until blended.  Sift together the ingredients, fold until just blended, add remaining flour and fold again until just incorporated.

Heat pizzella iron, place about 1 tbsp. of batter on grid just behind the center of the pattern. Bake until golden brown, about 30-40 seconds. Remove and cool on a rack. Repeat with the remaining batter.


Using the basic recipe, omit the vanilla and anise flavors: add 3 tbsp. cocoa and 3 tbsp. sugar. Bake the same way with the iron.


Rum Balls. I received this recipe from my friend, Eleanor Travis years ago and I make them faithfully every Christmas.

This is my go to recipe whenever I have to attend a “Cookie Swap” party for Christmas. It is a nice change from cookies and looks nice on cookie trays. There should be a warning label for children (it is very strong) and it makes your entire house smell like rum as soon as you lift the cover of the air tight container when you are ready to serve. 

Photo Dec 15, 6 54 28 PM RUM BALLS WITH NAME AND FRAME -----

Rum Balls

Best to make a few weeks in advance to “marinate” .


5 Cups Nilla Wafers crushed (bread crumb consistency)

2 Cups finely chopped walnuts
2 Cups Chocolate chips, melted
1 Cup rum
6 Tbsp. light corn syrup
sugar for rolling


Finely chop wafers & nuts, add to bowl.
In a separate microwave safe bowl, melt the chips (stirring occasionally).  You can also use a double boiler.

Add corn syrup & rum. Mix well & add to the dry mix.

Roll into balls & roll in sugar. Let sit on parchment before packing in air tight container. Don’t let them sit out too long or the alcohol will evaporate.

Makes about 6 dozen, depending on size of balls.


Peppermint Fudge. This is always a requested addition to the Holiday cookie tray and this recipe was given to me by Elise Feiner. What can I say, there is no such thing as too much chocolate and you always need something peppermint for Christmas.


Peppermint Fudge


  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, about 1 ½ cups
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup candy cane crunch
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract


  • Combine the chocolate chips, milk, and marshmallows in a medium size saucepan over medium heat.
  • Stir frequently as the chocolate melts. Add the candy cane crunch and vanilla. Stir to combine
  • Remove from the heat
  • Lightly grease a 10-inch square pan or line with parchment.
  • Pour the fudge into the pan and spread with a spatula.
  • (optional- I decorated with additional candy cane pieces)
  • Chill in the refrigerator until firm
  • Slice into 1-inch pieces and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator

Cook’s Note: This fudge can be made ahead of time and kept in the freezer for several months. Thaw in the refrigerator when ready to serve.


This is a new addition, Limoncello Ricotta Cookies.  I received this recipe from John Amato who is the admin for “Italian Desserts” website. This cookie is a keeper. Light and delicate with a hint of lemon.


Limoncello-Glazed Ricotta Drops


Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Yield: about 3 dozen. 

These ricotta cheese cookies bake up cake-like, light and moist. They’re always a favorite with adults because they’re not too sweet, and the limoncello adds plenty of lemony tang without any pronounced alcohol flavor. Try serving them with espresso as a light dessert after a heavy meal.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon limoncello liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Glaze:
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons limoncello liqueur
  • Grated lemon zest (optional)


Preheat oven to 350°F.In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.

In large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat until the mixture become light and fluffy. Beat in the ricotta, vanilla extract, lemon extract, limoncello liqueur and lemon zest.

Add in the flour mixture and beat until well combined. Don’t over mix. Drop the dough using a tablespoon sized cookie scoop onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes until cookies appear set and edges turn a pale golden brown. Let cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before glazing. In small bowl, mix the confectioners’ sugar with 1 tablespoon of the limoncello. Slowly add up to 1 more tablespoon of the liqueur until the glaze reaches a spreading consistency. You may need to add a drop of water. Spread the glaze on the cookies using a butter knife. If desired, sprinkle with a bit of lemon zest while the glaze is still moist. Arrange in a single layer and allow the glaze to dry completely before covering. Store in refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.


Another new addition, Chocolate Nut Roll Cookies. Once again from Elise Feiner. She does it all. These are so good, trust me.

Photo Dec 17, 5 40 28 PM NUT LOGS- ELISE

Chocolate Nut Roll cookies

 Be careful not to over bake Dough


2 sticks soft margarine or unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt


1 (12 ounce) package chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped walnuts


Heat the chocolate chips, butter, and condensed milk until melted, add chopped walnuts and remove from heat and cool. 
Mix the butter, cream cheese, flour and salt together. Divide dough in half and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Roll into large rectangle (approximately 10 x 14-inch). Spread half of filling and roll lengthwise into a jellyroll. Repeat. Place on a parchment lines baking sheet. Bake 350° for 20 minutes. Cool, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, and slice. 

These can be frozen.


The next cookie is the Pignoli Cookie. This cookie is also on many cookie trays for Christmas. It has become a staple of Christmas baking, soft and chewy almond flavor and I love the pignoli nuts. When I was little, I used to pick the nuts off first and then eat the cookie.

Photo Dec 17, 7 34 06 PM PIGNOLI COOKIES

Pignoli Cookies (pine nuts)


  • 1 lb. almond paste
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 2 lemons, zest only
  • ¼ lb. pine nuts
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar, or as needed


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper

Crumble almond paste in bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix until finely crumbled.

Sprinkle the sugar and lemon zest over the almond paste and continue to beat until incorporated

Beat in the egg whites, one at a time and continue beating until the batter is smooth (not too wet or loose).

Spread pine nuts on a plate

Break off a tablespoon size piece of dough and roll to form a ball.

Roll the ball in the pine nuts and place on baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned

Remove and cool completely on wire racks and dust with confectioners’ sugar.


Sesame Seed or Regina cookies were my mom’s favorite. Soft with toasted sesame seeds and a taste of vanilla.

Photo Dec 17, 9 12 38 PM SESAME COOKIES

Sesame Cookies


1 cup Crisco or any other vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp of anise extract
3 lg eggs
approx. 2 cups of raw sesame seeds
1 cup of milk


Preheat oven to 375F.

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the eggs, sugar, Crisco, baking powder and the anise extract.  Mix everything well.
  2. Add the flour, a little at a time until a soft dough forms.
  3. Turn on a floured board and mix.
  4. Break off a small amount of dough, roll it to a ½ thick log and cut it every 2 inches.
  5. Take each piece and roll in milk and then roll in sesame seeds.
  6. Place all cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 15- 20 minutes or until bottom is light brown.
  7. Let them cool and then sprinkle with powdered sugar


The Pistachio Cookie. I received this cookie recipe from my friend Michael Gottuso last year and I my son called me as soon as he tasted these to tell me that he wants this cookie every year. I love pistachio anything and the glaze takes it over the top. Delicious.

Photo Dec 17, 9 26 03 PM PISTACHIO COOKIES


1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup water
1 egg
1 large package instant pistachio pudding
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups flour

Roll in balls. Bake 350 degrees. 13 – 15 minutes.
Drizzle with melted white chocolate and sprinkle with crystals.

Powdered Sugar Glaze:

1 ¼ cups powdered sugar

3 tbsp. milk

½ tsp vanilla extract

Step 1

In a medium bowl, stir milk into sugar. Add vanilla. Drizzle on your favorite dessert.

Step 2

May be thickened with confectioners’ sugar or thinned with milk or other flavored liquids.


This is a new addition, Tri-Color Christmas Cream Cheese Cookie. I took this recipe off of Pinterest and I have to be honest, I suffered with this. The dough was very sticky and took me much longer to prepare than I expected. The taste is fantastic, so please don’t be discouraged by my lack of baking abilities. A better more experienced baker would know how to handle this problem. I posted my troubles on my Facebook food group and many, many solutions were sent to me. I think they look so beautiful on the cookie tray. They just scream Christmas.

Photo Dec 17, 6 42 41 PM TRI-COLOR CREAM CHEESE


prep 10 mins –cook 10 mins – inactive 15 mins- total 35 mins

author sam @ the culinary compass- yield 44 cookies

These Christmas Cheesecake Cookies are the perfect, festive cookie to feed to Santa!


  • 8 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Red and green food coloring
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • Optional: powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. Beat cream cheese and butter together at high speed until fluffy and smooth; 1-2 minutes. Add sugar to the butter mixture and beat until fully incorporated and fluffy; 1-2 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla; 1 minute.
  3. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir just until incorporated. Do not over-mix.
  4. Separate the dough into three small bowls. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  5. Once chilled, add in food coloring and incorporate into the dough until your desired color is reached. Add the peppermint extract to the dough you’ll be adding the green food coloring to. Dough will still be sticky, but easier to work with! If you find it’s hard to work with, put back in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
  6. To create a cookie, take 1/2 tbsp. of each color dough into your hands and roll together between the palms of your hands to create the marbling effect of your choice. Be careful to not over incorporate to avoid mixing the colors too much. Repeat for the rest of the dough and place on prepared baking sheets.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-11 minutes. Cookies should be light in color, not browned, and just starting to brown on the bottom. *Length of baking time may vary from oven to oven.
  8. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Optional: Dust with powdered sugar!


  • Store in a tightly sealed container for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • The vanilla smooths out the flavor, but for a more tart, cheesy flavor, add a teaspoon of lemon juice or no extracts at all. The peppermint can also be left out or replaced.
  • Do not overbake. This can cause the cookies to come out drier and biscuit like.


This is my first year making this Saltine Chocolate Brittle and once again a recipe I found on Pinterest. Some people have written to me and said another name for this is Christmas Crack. It is so good. My husband became more than just the taste tester with this one and I finally had to make a second batch so I would have enough for all the trays.


Saltine Chocolate Brittle


1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, light or dark
1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips
40 saltine crackers
1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts. Sprinkles…mini m and m’s or chopped candy canes…or anything -your choose.


Line jelly roll pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray
lay crackers out to fit flat in tray.
Melt sugar and butter till foamy about 3 minutes
Pour over crackers and spread evenly to cover all crackers
Bake 10 minutes in 350 degree oven.
Remove from oven and while still hot sprinkle with chocolate chips and then let it soften and then spread to cover completely, while chocolate is still soft sprinkle nuts or candy canes or sprinkles of choice on top.
Let Cool… then refrigerate and then when hard break in pieces and enjoy!!!


I made Chocolate Biscotti, from a recipe given to me by my friend Michael Gottuso last year with an orange glaze, and then this year I received another biscotti recipe. Double Dark Chocolate Biscotti from my friend Marcia Haynes Bohle. My husband is in heaven, he loves biscotti and chocolate. A winning combination. Both are so delicious.


Double Dark Chocolate Biscotti by Marcia Haynes Bohle


6 TBSP soft butter

2 C flour
1 C sugar

1/2 C dark cocoa
2 eggs

1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp vanilla

1 tsp salt
1 C Semi-sweet chocolate chips OR 1 C DARK CHOCOLATE CHIPS


Preheat oven 350F
Cream butter & sugar together.

Add eggs, mixing well after each. Stir in vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda & salt.

Add dry ingredients 1/3 at a time, to the egg mixture. Fold in chocolate chips by hand, using a wooden spoon.
Shape dough into a log (12″ x 4″) and place on parchment lined baking sheet. (This is a stiff dough).
Bake 30 min., cool 5 min and cut slices about 3/4″ wide, on the diagonal. Lay the slices, cut side down onto the parchment paper and return to oven for 8 min.

Turn cookies over and bake 5 more minutes.

Cool on wire rack before drizzling with chocolate or dipping one end in dark chocolate ganache .

After chocolate is set, may be stored in airtight container or sometimes I make them and freeze them without the chocolate drizzle. Biscotti freeze perfectly, just don’t drizzle choc. on top until they are defrosted and ready to serve.

Makes about 18 biscotti. Hope you enjoy! Buon appetito!


Chocolate Biscotti by Michael Gottuso

Oven – 350 degrees

2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup nuts, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar


Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
Beat butter and sugar until light fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla to butter mixture and beat until well combined.
Gradually stir in flour mixture.
Add nuts and chocolate chips.
Scoop onto lined baking sheet, making two rough logs.
With lightly floured hands, smooth dough into log shapes, about 2 inches wide by 12 inches long. Slightly flatten logs.
Sprinkle tops of logs with confectioners’ sugar.
Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until logs are slightly firm to the touch. Do not overbake.
Let logs cool for at least 30 minutes.
Cut biscotti into 3/4 inch wide slices. Arrange slices standing up on lined baking sheet.
Bake until crisp, about 10 minutes.
Cool completely.


This cookie is one of my all time favorite all year long, Rainbow Cookies.  It’s a time consuming cookie to make but so worth it once you take your first bite.

Photo Dec 21, 1 07 11 AM RAINBOW COOKIES 2

Rainbow Cookies

Equipment needed – three quarter sheet pans (9 X 13)


Nonstick cooking spray

1 cup sugar

One 8-ounce can almond paste (not marzipan)

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened and divided

4 eggs separated

¼ cup milk

2 teaspoons almond extract

½ tsp kosher salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon red food coloring (gel or paste preferred) 

 1 teaspoon green food coloring (gel or paste preferred) 

One 15 oz jar smooth (not chunky) apricot jam

One 15 oz jar smooth seedless raspberry jam

1 ½ lbs. bittersweet chocolate, chopped


 Preheat the oven to 350° and grease three 9-by-13-inch quarter sheet pans with cooking spray and flour, then line each with parchment.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, almond paste and 1 stick of the butter.

Mix until smooth and lump free, being sure to break down the almond paste as best you can. Add the remaining 2 sticks of butter and continue to mix until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Gradually add the egg yolks, followed by the milk and almond extract. Mix until combined. Add the flour and slowly mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Once the flour is combined, set aside.

In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until they form stiff, fluffy peaks. Fold the whipped egg whites into the flour mixture to form a smooth batter.

Then divide the batter equally between 3 bowls (approx. 1 ½ cups of batter in each).

Stir the red food coloring into the first bowl of batter until evenly pink colored, then stir the green color into the second bowl of batter until evenly green colored, leaving the third bowl untouched. Keeping the batters separate, evenly spread them into the greased and parchment-lined quarter sheet pans (9 X 13), and bake, rotating halfway through, until set, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, let the cakes cool completely on wire racks, then remove from the pans.

Once cooled, trim each of the layers to even out the thickness of the cakes. Put the green cake layer, cut side up, into one of the lined pans. Spread 1 jar of raspberry jam over the cake, almost all the way to the edges. Place the undyed layer, making sure the parchment is discarded, directly on top, sandwiching the jam. Repeat this step by spreading the remaining apricot jam on top of the undyed layer and placing the pink layer directly on top of it, discarding the parchment.

Cover the cake with plastic wrap and top with another sheet pan. Weigh down the layers with heavy plates or cans, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler

Remove the weights and plastic wrap, and place on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Spread half of the melted chocolate over the top and sides of the cake and refrigerate until set, 30 minutes. Once solid, flip the cake onto a cutting board, discarding the bottom layer of parchment, and spread the remaining melted chocolate in an even layer over the surface. Return to the refrigerator and chill until set, 30 minutes.

Once set, trim the cake into a 7½-by-10½-inch rectangle. Using a serrated knife, cut the cake into 1½-inch squares, then serve.

(If while cutting through chocolate. And if it’s too hard. Dip knife in hot water and then cut. Wipe off any water before cutting, this will help knife cut through chocolate enabling you to have nice clean cutting lines)

Cook’s note: add 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil to chocolate to make it more pliable to cut.


This is my NEW ALL TIME FAVORITE cookie, Cannoli Cookies. OMG! Made with ricotta, pistachios, mini chocolate chips, cinnamon and orange zest. If you like cannoli pastries then you will absolutely love this recipe. I copied it from Pinterest.

Photo Dec 21, 2 55 13 PM CANNOLI COOKIES

Holy Cannoli Cookies, easy Italian Christmas cookies and fun twist on the Italian pastry! These one bowl cookies are full of flavor with ricotta cheese, chocolate chips, and pistachios and have a soft almost cake like texture!

Course Dessert

Cuisine American, Italian

Prep Time 15 minutes- Cook Time 11 minutes- Total Time 26 minutes

Yield 36 cookies


  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 10-ounce bag mini chocolate chips divided
  • 1 cup chopped pistachios


  1. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs then ricotta cheese until well combined then mix in the vanilla extract, cinnamon, and fresh orange zest.
  2. Next, mix in the baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Mix in the flour. Stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips and the pistachios. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least one hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease.
  4. Using a medium cookie scoopor spoon, drop about 1 1/2 tablespoons of cookie dough for each cookie leaving about 2 inches between each cookie.
  5. Bake cookies at 375 degrees F for about 8-11 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Cool slightly then move to wire racks to cool completely.
  6. Microwave remaining chocolate chips on high in a small microwave safe bowl in 20 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Spoon melted chocolate into a small resealable bag, clip one corner slightly, then drizzle melted chocolate over cookies. Let cool for chocolate to set.

Recipe Notes

SNAPPY TIPS: Some brands of chocolate chips melt better than others for drizzling. A semisweet (or dark) chocolate bar will also work well instead of chips for melting and drizzling. (These cookies do not need to be refrigerated after being baked. Store in an airtight bag or container like other cookies.)

SNAPPY SUBSTITUTIONS: Use your favorite baking chips and nuts instead of the mini chocolate chips and pistachios if you’d like.



Another new addition this year is Amaretto Raspberry Shortbread Cookies. I copied this from a website, Cooking Classy. The original recipe was for Almond Raspberry but I changed it up a bit. This is another keeper.

Photo Dec 21, 8 09 14 PM THUMB PRINTS 1

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

Prep Time: 30 minutes- Cook Time: 30 minutes- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Servings: 36 cookies


2 cups + 2 Tbsp. (300g) all-purpose flour*

  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, cold and diced into 1 Tbsp. pieces
  • 2/3 cup (140g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract *
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam, seedless if preferred
  • I substituted amaretto for the almond extract and it was 2 tbsp. of amaretto for every ½ tsp of extract.

Glaze (optional)

  • 1 cup (124g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 – 4 tsp water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour and salt, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together butter and sugar until combined (it will take a minute or two since the butter is cold. If you don’t have a paddle attachment that constantly scrapes bowl, then occasionally stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl). Mix in almond extract then add in flour blend until mixture comes together (it will take a bit of mixing since the butter is cold, so be patient, it will seem really dry at first).
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, about 1 Tbsp each, and place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Make a small indentation with thumb or forefinger in each cookie (large enough to fit 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of jam). Fill each with 1/4 – 1/2 tsp jam. Chill in refrigerator 20 minutes (or freezer for 10 minutes). Bake in preheated oven 14 – 18 minutes.
  4. Cool several minutes on baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool (at this point you can add a little more jam if you’d like to, it just won’t be set like the other is). Drizzle cookies with glaze when when cool. Store cookies in an airtight container.
  5. For the glaze:
  6. Whisk all glaze ingredients together in a small mixing bowl, adding enough water to reach desired consistency. Pour or spoon mixture into a sandwich size resealable bag, cut a small tip from one corner and drizzle over cookies.
  7. *To measure flour scoop with measuring cup and level with a butter knife. Don’t whisk or sift first and don’t spoon into the measuring cup.
  8. Recipe source: adapted from both Land O Lakesand MarcieJ’s review on


And although I didn’t have time to bake my Mother’s Honey Bow Tie Cookies this year, I wanted to include the recipe once again and pay tribute to Mom.


2016-12-21 08.31.30 BOW TIES - FB 11



  • 2 ½ lb all purpose flour
  • 8 or 10 eggs (depending on size)
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 oz vanilla extract *
  • 1/2 oz rum extract *
  • 1/2 oz lemon extract *
  • 1/2 oz orange extract *
  • 1/2 oz almond extract *
  • Honey (large jar) –approx 4 cups
  • Confetti sprinkles
  • Vegetable or Canola oil
  • Water – approx 1 cup
  • Sugar (optional)
  • * 1/2 oz = 3 tsp.


Make a well with the flour on a large pastry board. Beat the eggs and place in the well. Next add the 1-½ tsp baking powder and ½ oz each of the 5 extracts (1/2 a small bottle each or 3 tsp) and some cinnamon and sugar.

Work all this together and knead the dough. When the dough is ready for cutting and shaping the dough should have bubbles in the center (cut the dough to see if it ready).

When ready, cut into pieces and roll like a hot dog, and then run the dough through the manual pasta machine on the following settings:

First on # 1 then # 3 then # 4 then # 6

Cut in strips with a pizza cutter and shape into bow ties

After shaped, fry in Wesson vegetable /Canola oil until gold in color and drain (very quickly-be careful not to burn them and make them too dark)

Next, prepare the honey and water mixture (1 jar of honey to ½ jar of water) on a low flame to thin out the honey a bit. Place 4 bows at a time in the honey and dip the cookie. Layer the dipped cookies on a platter and sprinkle with the cinnamon and sprinkles. Continue this process layer after layer. (Store in aluminum foil in a cool place)


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Christmas_Fotolia_47685197_XS MERRY CHRISTMAS FOR BLOG 2


Thank you Linda

CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE and hit the back arrow to return to original size.

Hi Everyone, 

I posted this on my personal Facebook page today but I was so deeply touched that I had to share it with my Dishing with Diane family as well…

“I have to share this… I have been blessed with a true friend that is a treasure to me. Not only is she talented, she is thoughtful, caring and very loving. This is my friend Linda (Radziminski). Her husband Glen is as wonderful as she is and I consider him a treasure as well.
Today I received an unexpected package in the mail and it was from Linda. She saw my blog post about the vintage red truck and tree and made me this beautiful reversible table runner to match my dishes. 
I want to say “thank you” Linda from the bottom of my heart. You are one of a kind and I love you.”

Her talent is endless.

Photo Dec 21, 9 41 50 PM LINDA - PHOTO 1

Photo Dec 21, 9 41 17 PM LINDA 3 WITH FRAME

Photo Dec 21, 9 40 50 PM LINDA 4

Photo Dec 21, 9 41 29 PM LINDA 2

Gift Wrap Brunch- 2017

Photo Dec 17, 12 07 29 PM INTRO

(CLICK PHOTO to enlarge and then the back arrow to return to original size).

Hi Everyone,

Well the holidays are approaching and I am at my usual point of being backed up and in a panic that I won’t be ready for Christmas. Somehow it all comes together, but this year I wanted to try a little experiment to help myself.

I don’t mind gift shopping (because most of it is online), I don’t mind food shopping, because I love to cook and I especially look forward to the Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner each Christmas Eve, but I hate wrapping gifts. I even like baking better than wrapping gifts and we all know that I am not the baker.

I usually wait until the afternoon of December 24th to wrap all my gifts and then I am exhausted.

So this year, I invited a few friends over for brunch early in December and had a gift wrapping get together.

I had Christmas music on and we shared wrapping paper, bows and helped each other wrap all of our gifts. With all the talking and laughing going on, it was the first time I had a pleasant experience gift wrapping.

For all our hard work, I made brunch, and I used a new purchase for the 2017 holiday season that I just added to my collection (and just love). 

 Yes, new dishes of course.

I have been drawn to a very trendy theme for the holidays this year – the ” vintage red truck with a Christmas tree”.

I love vintage looking plates for Christmas and this new plate fits the bill – too cute.

I am sure you have seen the red truck & tree all over the place. I was in Homegoods, Target, Pottery Barn & Pier 1 and red trucks were everywhere.

I received various holiday catalogs in the mail the past few months with red trucks featured as well. Even Stonewall Kitchen had a red truck basket filled with jam. (BTW, Pottery Barn has the red truck as a shower curtain, if you’re interested).

I saw a red truck doormat that was very cute, but I forgot what catalog that was from. (I wish I remembered, I would have made that purchase).

Being the marketers dream that I am, I bought the salad plates, mugs, glasses, platter, salt and pepper shakers and a cookie jar from various stores and put my collection together to mix and match with items I already owned.

So let’s start the “Red truck” tablescape of 2017…

I am using a plaid holiday tablecloth in shades of green, cream and burgundy from my Christmas linens that I have collected over the years. I think the colors match the rim of both the dinner and salad plates perfectly.

Photo Dec 17, 12 41 39 PM TABLECLOTH

Napkins are dark green to pick up one of the colors in the tablecloth. I don’t know why I never purchased the matching napkins when I bought the tablecloth back in the day.

I am using wooden napkin rings to bring in that outdoor feel.

Photo Dec 17, 11 58 24 NAPKIN AND RING

Flatware is red to match the truck.

Photo Dec 17, 12 06 29 PM FLATWARE

I decided on NO placemat and only an off white charger. I felt a placemat on the plaid might be one layer too many so I chose a neutral charger instead. I really wanted your eye to be drawn to the salad plate.

Photo Dec 17, 11 59 53 AM CHARGER

The dinner plates are from 222 Fifth, the “Mount Holly” pattern. It is an off-white porcelain dish with dark red and white plaid (I love plaid) and pine tree sprigs along with a few pine cones around the rim. I bought them in Homegoods last year.

The colors on this dinner plate can really blend in with so many other Christmas dinnerware patterns, so you can change your tablescape with little effort.

Photo Dec 17, 12 00 15 PM DINNER PLATE

The salad plates are my NEW purchase. They are off-white ironstone and made for Pier 1 Imports as part of their Winter Wonders collection this year.

This plate also has pine tree sprigs, holly and pine cones around the rim and the cutest design of the vintage red truck surrounded by pups playing in the snow. I just fell in love with this plate.

Photo Dec 17, 12 01 43 PM SALAD PLATE

The complete set of old and new plates.

Photo Dec 17, 12 01 00 PM DINNERWARE SET

My mugs match the plates and then I added acrylic juice glasses with the red truck design found in Target.

Photo Dec 17, 12 04 29 PM MUG

Photo Dec 17, 12 04 37 PM GLASS

I bought the cookie jar from Pier 1 and when it’s not being used as a centerpiece it is proudly displayed on my kitchen counter.

Photo Dec 17, 11 55 26 AM     CENTERPIECE 2.png

The truck looked a little lonely as the centerpiece so I placed it on an acacia tray to bring in a woodsy element.

I wanted the smell of fresh pine in the house so I went outside and cut a few sprigs of my pine tree. The sprig I chose had mini pine cones attached (along with a few bugs we had to immediately get rid of) and then I added a full pine cone. Now the house smells wonderful.

Photo Dec 17, 12 09 30 PM CENTERPIECE

I received a 24 inch pine tree as an early Christmas gift so I set that up on my buffet along with a cute plaque that I found in Homegoods with the red truck design.

Photo Dec 17, 12 41 25 PM TREE AND PLAQUE

Santa watches over everything! I have had this particular Santa for many, many years since my son was a child and I just have to have him displayed every year.

Photo Dec 17, 11 57 49 AM SANTA

I have continued my love of salt and pepper shakers and added the cutest “red truck and tree” set found in Target, as a table accent.

Salt and pepper shakers are the easiest accent to a tablescape to enhance a theme.

Photo Dec 17, 11 54 19 AM SALT AND PEPPER

My menu for the red truck brunch was as follows…

French toast – served on a red truck platter that I found in Target.

Spinach quiche – an old standby

Granola – very simple

Fresh fruit– always welcome

BIG pot of coffee -enough said

Apple cider spiced tea– cheated and used a mix

and Cookies & Biscotti

I made biscotti and a few other Christmas cookies, (saving that for another post).

Photo Dec 17, 12 03 11 PM PLATTER

The fun continued and when we ladies get together with food, we forget the time.

This was a successful experiment and a great morning and I know I will be doing this next year. Give it a try.

I am now ready for some serious baking.

All of the Holiday Cookies recipes for 2017 will be posted shortly.


Place Setting

Photo Dec 17, 11 56 32 AM (1) PLACE SETTING

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,



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Photo Dec 17, 12 07 49 PM RED TRUCK 2


Saffron Fregola with Clams, Shrimp & Scallops

Photo Dec 11, 8 57 17 PM FREGOLA

(Click PHOTO to enlarge and then back arrow to return to original size).

Hi Everyone,

I found another recipe I wanted to share.

If you are Italian, like me, then you know that Christmas Eve is a big culinary feast for all Italian families.

It is the Feast of the Seven Fishes or La Viglia.  Personally my favorite meal of the year.

La Viglia was held until the midnight hour when baby Jesus was born. It is an extensive seafood dinner and there has to be seven varieties of fish.

Every year I basically prepare the same menu……

  • linguine with crab sauce
  • shrimp cocktail
  • fried calamari
  • fried shrimp
  • fried eel
  • coconut shrimp
  • stuffed calamari
  • baked clams
  • crab cakes
  • baccala (cod) with tomatoes and potatoes
  • cold seafood salad (shrimp, squid, scallops, scungilli, celery, olives in a lemon olive oil dressing)
  • stuffed shrimp
  • scungilli in hot sauce
  • cold broccoli salad

This year I wanted to add something different to the menu and I started searching for recipes. I finally found a recipe that looked interesting that was on the Williams Sonoma website and decided to give it a test run. It was made with fregola pasta which I haven’t had in years so I was all excited.

WE LOVED IT and I want to share it with you today. Easy to prepare too.

It will definitely be on my table Christmas Eve.

Saffron Fregola with Seafood

A bit of culinary exotica, fregola is a type of pasta from the Italian island of Sardinia. The more common Israeli couscous may be substituted. Serve this hearty stew with a refreshing butter lettuce and pear salad and plenty of crusty bread for dipping.


  • 1 tsp. saffron threads
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 lb. medium scallops, tough muscles removed
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup fregola (Sardinian couscous) or Israeli couscous
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 lb. clams, scrubbed
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley


Crush the saffron in a small bowl and add the wine. Set aside.

In a large, heavy pot over high heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. When the pan is very hot, add the shrimp and sear for 1 minute per side (do not cook all the way through). Transfer to a bowl. Add the scallops to the pot and sear for 1 minute per side, also without cooking all the way through. Transfer to the bowl with the shrimp.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil, the onion and garlic to the pot and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the saffron mixture and cook for 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the fregola and stir to combine, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the clams, discarding any that do not close to the touch. Cover the pot tightly and steam for 3 minutes. Remove the lid and quickly add the shrimp and scallops. Cover the pot tightly again and continue to cook just until the clams open and the shrimp and scallops are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Discard any clams that failed to open. Ladle the stew into warmed bowls, sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Soup of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2011).


I hope you try this dish and enjoy it as much as we did.


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to subscribe to 

Once you subscribe, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.



Roses…Sweet and Savory

Photo Dec 03, 2 09 55 AM SWEET AND SAVORY

(Click PHOTO to enlarge and then back arrow to return to original size).

Hi Everyone,

Well, I am back from my mini vacation visiting my son in upstate NY. In between going out and about on my visit, I spent my time cooking my son’s favorite foods along with a Thanksgiving dinner.

His refrigerator and freezer are stocked and now I am a happy mom.

He doesn’t have time to cook for himself with his work schedule and I feel better knowing that he is eating a home cooked meal instead of fast food.

While upstate, I had to visit my favorite grocery store, Wegmans. You all know by now that I just love that store. I am waiting for the day that they build one where I live.

Bob calls it Diane’s Disney for good reason. (I even went during snow flurries. Nothing was going to stop me.)

Anyway, we bought the most delicious (& huge) apples in Wegmans. On the way home, Bob asked if I wouldn’t mind making a dessert with them even though I had been cooking all week. So in the car, (I had eight hours to think driving home) I was trying to think of something to make with the apples. The usual apple pie and apple turnovers came to mind and then I thought about apple roses. They look beautiful and can be served warm with vanilla ice cream.

I always have puff pastry in the house and I had the other ingredients as well, so apple roses it is.

I had this recipe for a long time. I copied it from a post in Pinterest and I really don’t remember the original site I was on to tell you.

In addition, I have the perfect apple shaped dishes to serve them on.

I bought the apple dishes in Sur La Table when I went in to shop for a cast iron pan and found the dishes instead, along with an apple platter.

Here is a pic of my apple roses. They are Huge!

I told you the apples were big. Normally, I would serve 2, but with this size I chose to serve only one per plate. (Recipe will be at the end of the post.)

Photo Dec 03, 2 00 41 AM APPLE -CLOSE


Since I was making a sweet “rose”, I decided I should make a savory rose and complete the meal. I had the perfect entree in mind too.

On our last trip to Boston, Bob and I ate in a great restaurant in the North End of Boston on the Freedom Trail called “Restaurante Limoncello” and I highly recommend it. I loved everything about this restaurant.

I had the best mussels and clams Calabrese style (spicy) appetizer I ever had. No other restaurant ever came close to the taste of that dish.

On the menu, their signature dish was “Rosette Limoncello”,  rosette means rose. Pasta roses? I had to order it and a beautiful plate of pasta shaped like roses in a cream sauce filled with ham and fontina cheese came to the table-  just delicious.

One day while browsing the “Chowhound” website, there was an article by “farmersdaughter” about pasta roses using the renowned Italian cookbook author, Marcella Hazan’s recipe. I finally had my recipe.

All in all they didn’t look too difficult. Much easier than I had imagined, but time consuming. Of course I had to make a little tweak. Her recipe calls for ham and Fontina cheese; I made mine with prosciutto and Asiago cheese. A combination that Bob and I like a little better.

The roses make a beautiful presentation for a primo piatto (first course) for a dinner party or the holidays.

Two or three roses with some basil for a garnish and you are done.

Here is the pic of my Rosette di Pasta (Recipe at the end of the post)

Photo Dec 02, 7 14 00 PM CLOSE UP


I hope you try either of these recipes and add them to your holiday menu.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,




Apple Roses

Photo Dec 03, 2 00 06 AM APPLE ROSES

serves 6


2 apples (pink lady, braeburn, or honeycrisp)
Juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
Flour, for dusting
3 tablespoons apricot or strawberry preserves
Powdered sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a standard muffin tin.

Core the apples and slice in half. Using a very sharp knife or mandolin on the second setting, slice paper thin 1/8-inch slices and immediately sprinkle and toss in lemon juice prevent browning.

Toss in the butter, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Microwave the slices for 45 seconds, or until soft and pliable enough to mold.

Place the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out into a 9 by 12-inch rectangle. Cut six 2-inch wide strips of dough.

In a small bowl, combine the preserves with 2 tablespoons of water. Microwave for 30 seconds if it was refrigerated. Spread evenly over each strip of dough.

Arrange about 10 apple slices lengthwise in a straight line, overlapping slightly, on a strip of dough.

Fold up the bottom part of the dough and begin tightly rolling the dough to form the rose shape. Press the edge to seal. Repeat for all the pies and place in the muffin tin.

Make ahead: at this point the unbaked assembled roses can be covered and stored in the fridge for up to 1 day before baking as directed.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Pastries are best served the day they are baked but can be stored in an airtight container and rewarmed in a 300°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until warmed through and flaky again.


Pasta Roses

Photo Dec 02, 7 14 00 PM ROSES 2

Recipe for Roselline di Pasta alla Romagnola (Pasta Roses with Ham and Fontina) from the Chowhound article…

Serves 6


about 1 pound fresh pasta sheets, cut about 4″ wide and 10″ long
4 T unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 T tomato paste
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1 1/2 lbs boiled, unsmoked ham, sliced very thin
1 pound fontina, shredded
about 3 T grated parmigiano-reggiano

Cook the pasta strips 2 or 3 at a time in boiling salted water for a few seconds, then remove from the water with a spider and shock in ice water. Rinse each pasta strip well in cold water and rub together to remove as much starch as possible—as Marcella says, “as if you are doing a fine laundry.” Lay the strips out on the counter on a towel and repeat with the remaining strips.

Preheat the oven to 450. Put butter and cream in a small saucepan and heat to medium and reduce the cream a bit, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and the nutmeg and whisk lightly to dissolve the tomato paste, continuing to cook to thicken the sauce to about buttermilk consistency, about another 5 minutes. Spread a thin layer of the sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 pan.

On each pasta strip, place a single layer of sliced ham and then cover with a layer of cheese. My ham slices were exactly 4″ wide so no trimming was necessary, but the ham should fit the slice without overlapping it on the sides. Roll up the pasta like a jelly roll and place seam-side down on the towel while you do the other rolls. After you have done all the rolls, cut them in half so they are about 2″ thick. Then with a paring knife on one side of each ring, make an “X” about 1/2″ deep. This will help the roses “bloom.” (Mine didn’t bloom as much as I wanted, but they still looked very pretty.)

Put the roses in the baking dish with the cross cuts face up and distribute the remaining sauce over them with a pastry brush. Press down a bit on the roses to help them open slightly. Sprinkle with the parmigiano-reggiano and bake for about 15 minutes, until a light crust forms on top. Let them sit for about 5 minutes before serving. (Everything but the baking can be done in advance, just make sure that if you make it ahead and refrigerate it that it’s at room temperature before you put it in the oven.)


Give these recipes a try and let me know what you think.

Photo Dec 03, 2 09 55 AM SWEET AND SAVORY

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to subscribe to 

Once you subscribe, you’ll never miss a post…

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