Orange and Walnut Biscotti

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I like this biscotti better than any I have had in a bakery or coffee shop.  They are not too sweet, have a light orange flavor and a lot of crunchy walnuts, and are very easy to make.

Everything is mixed by hand in one bowl – no mixer – and takes just a little handling to form.  The dough is divided and plopped in big globs on a parchment-lined cookie sheet to make two piles.  Then, with water-dampened hands, the dough is formed into two rustic-looking logs.

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The slow baking takes a little time – 25 minutes @ 300 degrees F and then 30 minutes @ 275 degrees to make the crispy slices.

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I enjoy these very much just as a quick snack  (they travel well) or dunked in tea or coffee.

Orange and Walnut Biscotti


¼ cup light olive oil
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. orange extract
1 tsp. grated orange peel
2 eggs
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1-¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sugar, orange extract, orange peel and 2 eggs.  Whisk in salt and baking powder, then with a spoon, stir in the flour and chopped walnuts until blended.

Spoon half of the batter onto one side of the prepared baking sheet, making a rough cylinder.  Spoon the remaining half of batter onto the other side of the baking sheet, making a rough cylinder.  With water-moistened hands, form each cylinder into a a log about 12 inches long x 2 inches wide, allowing a space between the two logs.

Bake @ 300 degrees F for 25 minutes until dough is just cooked through and lightly browned.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.  REDUCE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 275 DEGREES F.

Remove each loaf to a cutting board and with a serrated knife, cut diagonally into ¾ inch wide slices.  Place the slices on their sides on a rack that has been placed on the baking sheet.  Leave a little space between slices.  Bake @ 275 degrees F for 15 minutes, turn slices to the other side and bake for another 15 minutes.  Biscotti should feel dry and be golden brown.  Remove rack from pan and allow to cool completely.

Makes about 16 biscotti. 

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Lemon Shortbread with Dried Cherries

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I had bought some dried cherries for a certain dish and was looking for a way to use up some of the leftovers.  I combined several ideas in this version of lemony-good shortbread with the sharp tang of dried cherries which had been soaked in cherry liqueur.  Brandy would also be fine for soaking the cherries, but I happened to have some cherry liqueur left from another recipe and this gave me the chance to use a some more of it.

It takes a little planning ahead to make the cookies since the cherries are soaked for 4-5 hours and then the dough is refrigerated for 3-4 hours.  The cookies are well worth it.

LEMON SHORTBREAD WITH DRIED CHERRIES

  • Servings: 28 small cookies
  • Print

  • ½ cup dried Montmorency cherries
  • ½ cup cherry liqueur or brandy
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel
  • 2 tsp. lemon extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

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Place dried cherries in a half-pint jar and pour the cherry liqueur or brandy over them.  Cover with a lid and allow to soak for 4-5 hours or overnight.

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When ready to use, drain the cherries, reserving the juice for another recipe in the future.

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Place the drained cherries on a paper towel.

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Using the paper towel, blot the cherries.  Chop the cherries coarsely with a knife.  Set aside.

In the large bowl of a mixer, cream butter and powdered sugar.  Beat in lemon peel and lemon extract.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture until the dry ingredients have been incorporated.
By hand, stir in the brandied cherries.

Divide dough into two portions, shaping each portion into a 7-½  inch long roll.

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Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Unwrap dough and cut each roll crosswise into 14 half- inch slices.  Place the slices on ungreased baking sheets about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until edges are golden brown.

Remove shortbread from baking sheets to racks to cool.

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Yield:  28 small shortbread cookies.

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No-Bake Chocolate Chai Cookies

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I found this recipe on The Hungry Mum blog (her recipe is here).   I was intrigued by the Chai spice mixture and since I had all of the ingredients on hand, couldn’t wait to try the recipe.  My only changes were to cut the recipe in half to make a smaller amount, to add chopped nuts to a portion of the mixture and to use a slightly different way of forming them.  This is a  very simple cookie to make and a delicious little morsel.

NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE CHAI COOKIES

  • Servings: 12 cookies
  • Print
  • 1-½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1-½ tsp chai spice ( recipe below for homemade chai spice)*
  • 1-½ cups slow-cooking/old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup coconut
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan, place sugar, milk, vanilla and butter.

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Heat over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil, then boil for 3 more minutes exactly, using a timer, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and mix in chai spice and oats.
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Place half of batter in a separate small bowl.  In this bowl, mix in the coconut.

With buttered hands, form batter into six  balls and place on prepared baking sheet.

In the remaining batter, mix in chopped nuts and form into six balls – place on prepared baking sheet.

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Place sheet in refrigerator to cool for at least one-half hour.

Makes 12 Chocolate Chai Coconut and Walnut Cookies.

*Chai Spice  (Please note:  This makes 3-¾ tsp. of spice mix.  Use only 1-½ tsp. in the above recipe.   Save the rest in a small closed container for another time.)
In a small bowl mix:

  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground all spice 

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My Black Forest Crinkle Cookies

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My blogger friend, Susan at Desert Sky Quilts, posted the original recipe for these cookies here.  The cookies sounded so good and I had never used dried cherries before.  I made a couple of changes.  The original dough had to be chilled before forming into balls, so I omitted the 2 Tblsp. of water to avoid this waiting period and to make the dough very easy to handle.  Also, the original recipe called for rolling the cookies in the powdered sugar twice.  I wanted to cut down on the extra sugar and my version calls for less powdered sugar and just one rolling.

These are really delicious cookies – crisp on the outside and fudgy inside with an occasional flavor jolt of the tart cherries.  The yield is small – about 14 cookies, which is probably just as well – they’re just too hard to resist.

BLACK FOREST CRINKLE COOKIES

  • Servings: 14 cookies
  • Print
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup dried tart cherries (1.5 ounces)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tblsp. sifted powdered sugar

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Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a bowl – set aside.
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In a separate bowl, mix together the melted butter and cocoa until cocoa is dissolved.  Stir in egg and vanilla until well blended.  Stir chocolate mixture into flour mixture just until combined, then add chocolate chips and cherries into the dough until evenly distributed.  Use your hands to completely mix dough and form into a ball.

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Pinch off pieces of dough and form into 1-½ inch balls.
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Roll balls in powdered sugar,

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…then arrange on prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.

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Bake for approximately 14 minutes or until cookies are cracked, yet still soft – do not overbake.

Let cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack.

Yield:  14 cookies 


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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Coookies

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I was looking for a quick, easy cookie to bake for lunch and came across this one on Annie’s Eats.

The cookies sounded interesting, but I didn’t want such a large batch.  I cut the ingredients in half and compensated for the whole egg by omitting the milk.  I also reduced the amount of peanut butter cups to keep them at a reasonable nutritional count.  I made the cookies smaller and four cookies made a nice, satisfying serving.  My two daughters and I loved the cookies with all of the peanut butter flavor and didn’t feel too  guilty about eating them.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CUP COOKIES

  • Servings: 30 small cookies
  • Print

¾ cup all-purpose flour
3 Tblsp. cocoa
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tblsp. butter, at room temperature
3 Tblsp. creamy peanut butter
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 large egg
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup coarsely chopped peanut butter cups* (about 8 pieces)

*For easier handling in unwrapping and chopping, freeze wrapped peanut butter cups for 30 minutes before preparing.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, peanut butter, and sugars. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla extract.  Blend until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Add in 1/2 cup of chopped peanut butter cups and fold in gently with a spatula.

Form dough into one-inch balls and place on baking sheet 2 inches apart.

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Bake approximately 9 minutes until tops of cookies begin to crack.  Don’t over-bake.  Place cookies on a rack to cool.
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Yield:  30 small cookies 

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Chocolate Almond Roca Cookies


I made these rich candy-like cookies last year on a sunny Sunday before Christmas.  My daughters and grandchildren were here for lunch and I was looking for something to serve that would be “holly jolly”.   This delicious confection adapted from a recipe on Mennonite Girls Can Cook was perfect.

CHOCOLATE ALMOND ROCA COOKIES

  • Servings: Depends on size of bars
  • Print
  •     12 long graham crackers
  •     1-1/2 cups sliced almonds
  •     1 cup butter (not margarine)
  •     1 cup dark brown sugar
  •     1-1/2 cups milk chocolate chips (Ghirardelli)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Line an 11×16 inch jelly roll pan (with lips to catch spills) with parchment paper.  Lay the graham crackers in the pan to fit snugly.  Sprinkle with almonds and set aside.


Place the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.


Bring to a full rolling boil – bubbles across the top surface of the mixture.  Pour hot mixture carefully over the almond/graham cracker base, spreading to cover all of the crackers and nuts.


Place in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until bubbly all over.  Remove from oven and sprinkle even with chocolate chips. Let cookies stand for a minute to melt the chocolate, then use a spatula to spread the chocolate in a thin layer.


Cool in the pan on a rack to room temperature.  Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to harden chocolate topping.

Using the spatula, lift and break the cookies in random size pieces.

This makes a large batch of delicious, rich cookies. 


No-Bake Club Cookie Squares

This recipe is adapted from one on Delightful Country Cookin’.   It’s easy to mix and heat in just one pan and requires no baking – just 30 minutes of chilling time.  The squares are delicious – crispy with a sweet, creamy peanut butter topping.

NO-BAKE CLUB COOKIE SQUARES

  • 24 Club crackers
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (3 graham strips)
  • 2 Tblsp. undiluted evaporated milk
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup milk chocolate chips (Ghirardelli)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter chips

Butter an 8×8 inch pan

Line the bottom of a buttered 8x 8 inch baking pan with a single layer of 12 crackers; set aside.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat; add sugars, graham cracker crumbs and milk.  Heat over medium-high heat until sugars dissolve, stirring often – about 1 minute.  Spread over mixture crackers in pan.  Arrange another single layer of 12 crackers on top; set aside.

In the same medium saucepan combine peanut butter, chocolate chips and peanut butter chips and heat over low heat until melted, stirring until smooth and creamy.  Spread over crackers and chill about 30 minutes until firm.

Cut into 16 squares to serve. 


Can be stored without refrigeration at temperatures under 75 degrees.

Peanut Butter Cookies – A 1940s Recipe

One of my Christmas gifts this year was a small 4-½ x 6 inch leather bound book engraved “Cooking Recipes”, purchased at an antique mall in Sugar Creek, Ohio.  The pages are edged in gold and there are 10 index tabs for food categories.  

The real gold in this book, though, is the collection of handwritten recipes.  There aren’t a lot of recipes – just 25, 22 of which are desserts.  The book itself could have been from the 1930s, but I believe the recipes are from the 1945-1950 era.  This is based on a lot of recipes calling for shortening, for using the word “oleo” rather than margarine in most recipes and the attention given to oven temperatures.  I believe it’s post-World War II because of all of the sugar-laden desserts.

The handwriting is clear and ingredients are listed correctly, although most of the recipes give no idea of how the item is to be prepared, what kind of pan to use or how long to bake.  That’s why I’ve decided to make each of the recipes, using the products specified, and adding my own instructions.  I like to think that the woman from the 1940s kitchen (who would have been about my mother’s age) would enjoy having someone fuss around with these recipes again and turn out some delicious food for the family.

This is the very popular peanut butter cookie kids have been eating for generations.  Our book writer got this recipe from her friend, Shirley, and probably made the cookies a lot for her own family.  My version is half of the original recipe and makes about 2 dozen 3-inch diameter delicious, peanut-buttery cookies.

I have a small collection of vintage oven thermometers and although I love to see them displayed, I’m so grateful I have an oven with a reliable thermostat to do my baking.

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES - A 1940s RECIPE

  • Servings: Approximately 2 doz. 3-inch cookies
  • Print
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1-½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • Dash salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Cream shortening, granulated sugar and vanilla.  Add egg, brown sugar and peanut butter.  Mix until smooth.

Whisk together the flour, soda and salt.

Add to creamed mixture and mix until well blended.

Form a measuring tablespoon of dough into a ball and place on ungreased baking sheet.

Press a cross-hatch pattern on top of the cookie with a fork dipped in flour.

The unbaked cookies will be 2 inches diameter.  Place cookies 2 inches apart on the sheet and bake @ 375 degrees F for approximately 10 minutes until golden brown.

Remove immediately to a wire rack to cool.

Yield:  Approximately 2 dozen 3-inch diameter cookies

Filled Cookies – a 1940s Recipe

One of my Christmas gifts this year was a small 4-½ x 6 inch leather bound book engraved “Cooking Recipes”, purchased at an antique mall in Sugar Creek, Ohio.  The pages are edged in gold and there are 10 index tabs for food categories.  

The real gold in this book, though, is the collection of handwritten recipes.  There aren’t a lot of recipes – just 25, 22 of which are desserts.  The book itself could have been from the 1930s, but I believe the recipes are from the 1945-1950 era.  This is based on a lot of recipes calling for shortening, for using the word “oleo” rather than margarine in most recipes and the attention given to oven temperatures.  I believe it’s post-World War II because of all of the sugar-laden desserts.  

The handwriting is clear and ingredients are listed correctly, although most of the recipes give no idea of how the item is to be prepared, what kind of pan to use or how long to bake.  That’s why I’ve decided to make each of the recipes, using the products specified, and adding my own instructions.  I like to think that the woman from the 1940s kitchen (who would have been about my mother’s age) would enjoy having someone fuss around with these recipes again and turn out some delicious food for the family.

These are big, old-fashioned 3-½ inch diameter filled cookies – perfect for the lunchbox – and one is enough.

I was surprised at how good this cookie is.  It is crunchy, lemon-flavored and delicious with that surprise bite or two of raisin filling in the center.  This cookie was a big hit with my two taster-daughters.

Filled Cookies A 1940s Recipe

  • Servings: 14 large cookies
  • Print

Cookie Dough:

  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2-¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ tsp. lemon flavoring or extract

Filling:

  • ¾ cup raisins
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2-½ tsp. all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Lightly grease two cookie sheets

First, prepare the filling:  In a saucepan over medium heat, mix together the raisins, sugar and flour; add water.  Stir until mixture comes to a boil and continue stirring for about 8 minutes until mixture has thickened.  The mixture should look like thick jam.  Let mixture cool while preparing cookies.

To make the cookies:

In a large mixer bowl, cream shortening, sugar and egg.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add half of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat to incorporate dry ingredients.  Add the milk, beat to incorporate the milk, then add the remaining flour mixture and lemon flavoring.  Beat until mixed.

On a lightly floured board, roll dough to ¼ inch thickness and cut out with floured 2-½ inch cookie cutter.

Place half of the rounds on a lightly greased cookie sheet, leaving about 2 inches between rounds.  Place 1 teaspoon of raisin filling in the center of the cookie round.

Place another cookie round on top and press edges with a fork to seal and press tines into top of cookie to make 4 small holes..

Repeat with remaining dough/filling.

Bake for approximately 12-14 minutes @ 375 degrees F until the cookies are golden on brown on top and bottom.  Remove cookies to a rack to cool.

Yield about 14 large cookies (3-½ inches diameter). 

A 1953 Birthday Gift

Baby Ruth Bars–Cookie or Candy?

My husband, David, was so proud of the 40 years he worked for Good Samaritan Hospital (Cincinnati) and he was proud of anything that Good Sam did such as distributing a small cookbook in 1982.  I found this recipe for Baby Ruth Bars in the book and made them for him to take in his lunchbox.  It’s a cross between cookie and candy, but either way makes a nice snack.

BABY RUTH BARS

  • 3-1/2 cups corn flakes
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white Karo syrup
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips)
  • 1-1/2 Tblsp. peanut butter
  • 2 Tblsp. butter

To make the bars: In a buttered 9×9 dish place the cornflakes.  Sprinkle the peanuts evenly over the top.  Set aside.

In a small pan over medium high heat combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar and Karo syrup.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and boil for one minute without stirring.

Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter.  Pour this over the cornflake/nut mixture.  Butter your hands and gently press down on the mixture.

To make the frosting: In a small saucepan over low heat, stir until melted the chocolate chips, 1-1/2 Tblsp. peanut butter and the butter.  Mix well and spread over mixture in baking dish.  It’s OK if some of the peanuts peek through.

Place on a wire rack and while still warm, cut into 16 bars and remove from baking dish.  If you forget to get them out and the caramel is sticking to the bottom, place the glass dish in the microwave for 30 seconds or so.

These are really good.