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Festive Foodies and their sweets, treats & entertaining eats P LU S


and more!

Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Orange Shortbread from JELLY TOAST BLOG


H olida y ‘13

* click the pic to take you to the article *







Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Orange Shortbread created and photographed by Emily Caruso of Jelly Toast Blog. Check out the article Cookies for a Cause for the recipe.


It’s all about the giving. And the cookies. Let’s face it. When it comes to holiday eats, it’s all about desserts—baking them, giving them and definitely craving them. So why pretend to be interested in anything but the sweet stuff this time of year? That’s why in this issue you’ll find a bevy of sweet treats, including two food blogging gal pals who’ve teamed up to create the ultimate cookie swap, bringing food bloggers together online and off and in the process raising money for an amazing cause. You’ll also be introduced to six food bloggers who share traditional desserts that travel the distance from Croatia to Texas, plus a blogger (he’s a guy with a sweet tooth!) whose recipe for Peppermint Bark is worth every bite. But because we can’t subsist on sugar alone, we made sure to even the stakes and share some favorite cheese boards and party tips, plus some favorite swag that’s sure to get you and yours saying ho-ho-ho. Happy holidays, have fun and bake on.

xoxo, Heidi Larsen


PRIVACY POLICY AND DISCLAIMER All content copyright (c) FoodieCrush LLC unless otherwise specified. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without express written permission from the publisher. The opinions expressed by our contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent the of the publisher. We have sought to ensure accuracy and completeness of our content wherever possible, but neither FoodieCrush LLC nor the publisher assumes responsibility for claims or recipes submitted or reprinted by our contributors, errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or other inconsistencies, including those related to quotations. Neither FoodieCrush LLC nor the publisher is responsible for any statements, claims or representations made by contributiors, advertisers, or others, nor is FoodieCrush LLC or the publisher responsible for anyone’s reliance on the content herein.


is a contributor who writes and eats from Greensboro, N.C. She has a penchant for baking, travel, writing and banana puddin’ and often likes to sneak bourbon into her baked goods. She put her taste buds into overdrive while researching and writing “Around the World in Six Desserts,” featuring traditional sweets from about the globe. See more of Hayley’s foodie adventures at her blog Tiptoes in the Kitchen.


is literally counting down the days to receiving her BFA degree in Graphic Design. As a FoodieCrush intern, aka leftover blog post for lunch recipe taste tester, Courtney curated this issue’s product pages with a spiced twist. When she isn’t mountain biking with her husband, hiking with her kids or answering Heidi’s texts, she dreams of some quality “me” time at the spa. Catch her on Instagram @courtbankhead.


In the true sense of giving, food blogging pals LINDSAY LANDIS and JULIE DEILY have created a nationwide exchange of sweets that not only benefits the participants, but kids with cancer too.

Bourbon, Brown Butter, and Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies

The C ooki e An ge ls



portrait by ROBYN STONE of ADD A PINCH .com


ood bloggers Lindsay Landis of Love and Olive Oil and

Julie Deily of The Little Kitchen have taken the concept of a cookie swap party to a whole new level. Created by Lindsay and Julie, 2013 marks the third year of The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. Beginning with sugar, flour and a whole lot of organization, the event is a philanthropic endeavor that benefits more than just the cookie-loving recipients. It syncs hundreds of food blogging participants and their cookies in a massive, countrywide sweet-treat exchange, raising funds for the charity Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

How did the two of you become friends? We were online friends before we 'met' in real life. We actually missed our first chance to meet, in 2010 at Food Blog Forum Atlanta. We were both there and yet failed to meet. We finally did meet the following year when Julie organized Food Blog Forum Orlando where Lindsay spoke. We’ve been besties ever since. You’re both fierce bakers in the kitchen. What was the nugget of inspiration for you to start the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap? Honestly? The entire swap started with a single tweet and a late night cookie craving. Lindsay tweeted something like "Wouldn't it be great if we could have one big, giant cookie swap where food bloggers sent each other cookies?" Julie responded, and probably within 24 hours we had launched our very first cookie swap. Why did you choose Cookies for Kids Cancer to support via funds generated through the cookie swap? The second year (2012) we decided we wanted to add a charitable component to the swap and charge a participation fee (the idea was the fee would help

weed out the 'flakes' we had to deal with the first year). We hadn't yet started to research charities when a friend at OXO mentioned Cookies For Kids' Cancer. It was such a perfect fit we didn't even think twice. Every penny we raise goes directly to CFKC. We don't keep a cent and all of our time spent on the cookie swap is a purely volunteer basis. Honestly, we do it all for the cookies! You’ve achieved great success in the past 3 years, raising funds for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. What are your goals for this year, monetarily and otherwise? We set out to raise over $10,000 for CFKC this year, with the help of our generous brand partners (Dixie Crystals, Gold Medal Flour, Grandma's Molasses and OXO). And sure enough, we did it! Our total, with matching funds, came to over $13,700. That’s a total over of over $17,000 for an amazing charity. Other than the charity component, we really feel that the cookie swap brings the food blogging community together. People come away with not only a few dozen delicious cookies, but also friendships with bloggers they may not have fostered otherwise.

Lindsay // //


2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter ½ cup packed light brown sugar ½ vanilla bean, seeded 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons cornstarch ¹/8 teaspoon salt ¼ cup bourbon 1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter solids (the bits that separate in the bottom of the pan) turn a deep amber color. Watch this closely, as the butter will go from brown to burnt very quickly if you’re not careful. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes. 2. Line a heat-proof container with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Pour brown butter into container, then refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours or overnight, until butter has returned to its solid state. Remove from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, then dump into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium-high speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add brown sugar and continue to beat for 1 to 2 minutes more. Add vanilla bean seeds and mix until incorporated.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt until evenly blended. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 2-3 additions, and mix on low speed until incorporated. After about half of the dry ingredients have been added, mix in bourbon, then add remaining dry ingredients and beat until mixture comes together into a crumbly dough. 3. Divide dough into two portions, then place in the center of a sheet of plastic wrap, forming into a 10-inch log. Roll tightly with plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining dough. You should end up with two 10-inch logs approximately 1-3/4 inches in diameter (about the size of a paper towel tube). Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight, until firm. You can place the logs in a paper towel tube if you like, which will help them keep their round shape when refrigerated. 4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. 5. Remove logs from refrigerator; remove and discard plastic wrap. With a sharp knife, cut into 3/8-inch-thick slices and arrange on baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch of space between each cookie. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set and bottom edges are light golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies will keep, stored in an airtight container, for up to 1 week.

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Sea Salt

I think everyone wants to know, how do you manage the number of bloggers involved and choose whose cookies get delivered to who? One big, giant spreadsheet. After the first year—which was a huge logistical nightmare as we had to figure out how it would all work—it’s actually gone pretty smoothly. Once we format the spreadsheet and divide it into groups (by country and also by food allergy), we offset the rows and each person gets lined up with 3 other bloggers. The matches are totally random. We even split up the list so Lindsay’s name goes on Julie’s half and Julie’s name is on Lindsay’s half, so our own matches are total surprises too. We then email each blogger with the names and addresses of their three matches. As the creators of the swap, do you find yourselves putting extra pressure on yourselves to create a stunning cookie recipe for the swap? Of course! It's definitely a challenge to come up with a delicious cookie that holds up well for shipping. Many standard cookies dry out too quickly and so you're forced to think outside (er, inside?) the box. The web is full of some pretty creative food bloggers. Have you had a recipe come through that you thought, “Oh wow! Why didn’t I think of that?” Honestly it’s more that we’re just in awe of the sheer number of cookies that come about as a result of this swap. Last year we calculated there were over 22,000 cookies sent around the world.




Upon 2-year-old Liam Witt's diagnosis with neuroblastoma in 2007, his parents Gretchen and Larry Witt were shocked to learn of the lack of effective treatments for pediatric cancers due to lack of funding. That was all it took for them to pledge to support the development of research for safer, more effective treatments. It all began with a cookie drive. With the help of 250 volunteers, his mom Gretchen baked and sold 96,000 cookies, raising more than $400,000 for research. Word quickly spread, and people nationwide began asking, "What can I do to help?" With that they created Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, committed to raising funds for research to develop new, improved treatments for pediatric cancer, the #1 disease killer of children in the U.S. The Witts efforts have always been inspired by their son Liam’s battle with stage IV cancer. Tragically, Liam came to the end of his courageous 4-year fight with cancer on January 24, 2011 at just six years of age. How can you get involved? Become a Be a Good Cookie™ by hosting a fundraising event, order cookies as gifts, shop the online gift shop, make a donation, or create a fundraising page—every bit counts. Learn more about the kids who inspire the drive at excerpted from

le ar n m ore Watch a video about the history of Cookies for Kids Cancer and hear Gretchen’s own words by clicking here.



As a postal worker by day who loves receiving items in the mail, Veronica Miller knows the importance of keeping the age-old tradition alive. In 2011 she created the Postcard Project as a way to inspire others to do the same. Inspired by Lindsay and Julie’s efforts, Veronica has created an event for non-bloggers to participate in their own holiday cookie swap. I started the Postcard Project in 2011, just before the inaugural Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap was launched. My version is meant to rekindle interest in sending mail, and I thought a nation-wide cookie swap would be a perfect addition to the project since it generates many extra packages for the post office. Not to mention how much joy and cheer it spreads, another main goal of my project. Since the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap is for food bloggers only, I thought

it would be great to provide a separate swap for non-bloggers as part of my project. I am so glad Julie and Lindsay came up with this great idea, and that they were happy to let me piggy back it for many of us. We also support Cookies for Kids’ Cancer by reporting the number of cookies swapped, and Glad matches each cookie with $1 which resulted in raising $3,574 for kids cancer just by doing what we love and shipping that love around the country.

le ar n m ore

The thought of that many cookies flying through the air makes our hearts happy. The other amazing aspect of this is, Veronica, a blogger who organizes a non-blogger cookie swap (see sidebar.) She’s a postal service employee and has told us time and time again how appreciative she is of the sheer volume that food bloggers send packages through the US Postal Service. What happens if someone missed the opportunity to participate this year? We are definitely planning to do it again next year! Sign up to receive notifications here: We'll send out an email to this list when sign ups open for next years' swap. You two are both well respected recipe creators, photographers, designers and content creators. It seems like you do it all. How do you manage to create new initiatives like this, and the Food BlogForum conference, and keep up with it all? Um, we don't? Haha. We both have a habit of taking on too much at once. But we both seem to work quite well under pressure and somehow manage to get it all done. And honestly, we wouldn’t be able to do it without each other. We’re both hugely supportive and one another’s best sounding boards. What do you think The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap will look like in 5 years? I hope it's even bigger and better, with more cookies and more money raised for Cookies for Kids Cancer.

Julie // //


3 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder ¾teaspoon salt 1 cup unsalted butter (two sticks), softened 4 ounces cream cheese, softened ¾cup granulated sugar 1 ¼ cups light brown sugar 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 2 large eggs 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped 1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks sea salt 1. Mix dry ingredients to-

gether in a medium-sized mixing bowl. 2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (and using a flat beater) or large mixing bowl (and using an electric mixer), beat cream cheese and butter. Add both sugars and cream together thoroughly. Add vanilla extract and mix. Add eggs one at a time and

mix thoroughly until combined. 3. Add flour in two batches and mix with a rubber spatula. Add chocolate and mix just to combine. Don’t over mix. 4. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and using a medium (1.5 Tablespoon) cookie scoop, scoop cookie dough portions. Place portioned cookie dough into the freezer for 3 to 4 hours or overnight. If not baking immediately, after the dough is frozen, place in one or more zippered plastic bags and label with date and baking temperature and time. 5. Heat oven to 375° F. and place cookie dough on a parchment paper lined baking sheet at least 2 to 3 inches apart. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes until slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and place parchment paper with cookies on top directly on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container to maintain chewiness.

CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT CRACKLE COOKIES With hundreds of food bloggers participating in the Great Food Blog Cookie Swap, choosing a small selection of recipes to feature was no small task. Here are a few favorites that caught our eye.

Jessica // //

makes 36 cookies

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour ½ cup unsweetened baking cocoa 2 teaspoons baking powder ¼ teaspoons salt ½ cup butter, softened ¾cup brown sugar ½ cup sugar 2 eggs 1 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/3 cup milk 1c  up confectioner’s sugar, for rolling the dough in 1c  up Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips 1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone liner. 2. Melt chocolate in a small saucepan or double boiler over low heat. Set aside. 3. Sift together flour, baking cocoa, baking powder and salt. 4. Beat butter and sugars until creamy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined. Slowly beat in melted chocolate. 5. Alternate between beating in flour and milk until incorporated and dough forms. 6. Form dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 7. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Roll dough in confectioner’s sugar. 8. Place cookies on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. 9. Remove from oven. Sprinkle the tops with peppermint baking chips. Lightly press chips into tops of cookies. Return to oven and bake for another 4-7 minutes. 10. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.


2 cups butter (4 sticks) softened, 1 cup sugar 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla ½ teaspoon salt 5 cups all-purpose flour 1 large egg Red and green food coloring Sanding sugar 1. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until well blended. Add vanilla extract and salt. With the mixer on low, gradually add flour, scraping down the sides.

2. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface; it will be loose and crumbly. Knead dough together. Divide dough into 4 parts. Color one part green by drizzling a bit of the green color into the middle and knead until well blended. Add more color until you achieve the desired color. Repeat process with the red color with another

¼ of the dough. Leave the two other parts white. 3. Place each half of the kneaded dough between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin, shape dough into two 7-inch squares, about 3/8 inch thick. Using a sharp knife and a ruler, slice each square into nine ¾ inches-wide strips. 4. Whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon water. Cover work surface with plastic wrap. Place three strips of dough on plastic, alternating white and red for the first set, to create a checkerboard effect. Brush tops and in between the strips with the egg wash. Gently press strips together. Repeat, forming second and third layers, alternating colors to create a checkerboard effect. Wrap assembled log in plastic. Repeat process with green for second log. Refrigerate 30 minutes, or freeze 15 minutes. 5. If you have extra dough continue repeating the process until all dough is used. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with a parchment paper. Slice each log into ¼-inch thick slices; placing on baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until done, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven, and let cookies cool 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Lisa // authenticsuburbangourmet. //


2 ¼ sticks butter, at room temperature ¼ cup coconut oil 2 eggs, at room temperature 1 tablespoon lemon zest 1 teaspoon lemon juice ½ tablespoon freshly ground ginger 1 ½ cups granulated sugar ½ cup light brown sugar ½ cup light unsulphured molasses 4 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking soda 2 teaspoons ground ginger ½ teaspoon cloves 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1 teaspoon salt About a ¼ cup of turbinado sugar for rolling the balls of dough in before baking Pieces of crystallized ginger to top cookies with after they’re baked

Ashley // //

1. Preheat oven to 375° F. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt. Set aside. 2. With an electric mixer, beat together butter, coconut oil, and sugars until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add molasses, lemon zest, lemon juice, and fresh ginger, beat until combined. Then add in the dry ingredients, mix until just combined. 3. Roll the dough into small balls (about 1 inch in diameter). Fill a small bowl with turbinado sugar, and roll each ball in the sugar until it’s well coated. Place dough on cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart and bake for about 10 minutes. Once they are done, remove from the oven, press the crystallized ginger pieces lightly on top and let cool for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


1 cup butter, softened 1 ½ cups brown sugar 3 eggs 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 ½ cups self raising flour 1 ½ good quality chocolate covered honeycomb 1 cup roasted almonds

Chocolate covered honeycomb can be purchased as a candy bar in Australia. There are many recipes to make your own by searching online.

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line three large baking trays with non-stick baking paper. 2. Beat butter and sugar until very well combined. Add eggs and beat again until combined. Sift in flour and stir with a wooden spoon unitl well incorporated. 3. Roughly chop the honeycomb and almond and add to the mixing bowl. Stir gently until almonds and honeycomb are evenly distributed through the cookie dough. 4. Roll tablespoon sized balls with the cookie mixture. Place 12 balls on each baking tray (leaving enough room for them to spread out slightly) and flatten slightly with your hand. 5. Place trays in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until lightly golden, turning the trays and swapping their position in the oven halfway through.

Amanda // //


Chung-Ah // //

makes 34 cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened 1 ¾ cups sugar, divided 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon peppermint extract 34 Hershey’s Kisses Candy Cane Flavored Candies, unwrapped

1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. 2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. 3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, 1¼ cups sugar and espresso powder on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Beat in vanilla and peppermint extract until well com-

bined. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture at low speed, beating just until incorporated. 4. Roll tablespoons of dough into 1-inch balls and coat in remaining ½ cup sugar. Place onto baking sheet and bake until outside is crackly, but center is still moist, about 9-10 minutes. 5. Remove from oven and let cool 2-3 minutes before topping with a Candy Cane Kiss in the center of each cookie.


1 cup all-purpose flour ½ cup dark chocolate cocoa powder (or unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder ) ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 4 ounces coarsely chopped dark chocolate 1 cup dark chocolate chips 1 cup peanut butter chocolate chips 1 stick unsalted butter 1 ½ cups sugar 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract sea salt for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 325° F. 2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Melt coarsely chopped chocolate with the butter in a small heatproof bowl in a double-boiler or in the microwave, stirring frequently. 3. Once melted, transfer chocolate mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attach-

ment. Add sugar, eggs, and vanilla; mix on medium speed until combined. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Fold in chocolate and peanut butter chips. Round batter into heaping tablespoon-fulls, and place 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle each ball of dough with a pinch of sea salt. Bake until cookies are flat and surfaces begin to crack, about 12-15 minutes. (Do not overbake these, or they will dry out.) Transfer on parchment to wire racks and let cool. 4. Serve immediately, or store in a sealed container for up to 3 weeks.

Ali // //

The cream cheese in this recipe helps the cookies stay soft for a long time.

Lynna // //


8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter 1 1 /3 cup all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ cup granulated sugar ¾ cup golden brown sugar 1 large egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 ounces cream cheese, softened 1/3 cup chocolate chips 6 Oreo cookies, chopped 1. Preheat oven 350° F. Line baking sheet with a baking mat or parchment paper. 2. In a small saucepan, brown your butter: Over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisking frequently, let the butter turn into an amber color. It will foam a little. Once it subsides and brown specks appears at the bottom of the pan, it will begin to have a nutty aroma. Once butter turns a light golden brown color, transfer to a bowl to cool or stick it in the freezer to cool faster. 3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. 4. In a bowl with electric mixer attachment, mix the brown butter with sugars. 5. Add egg and vanilla, mix to combine. 6. Add the dry ingredients (flour, etc.) into wet ingredients (butter, etc). 7. Using a rubber spatula, mix in cream cheese slightly. Fold in chocolate chips and chopped Oreos. 8. Using a cookie scoop, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheet, about 2 minutes apart each. 9. Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden. Let cookies cool slightly on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely on cooling rack.


2 cups salted butter, softened ¾ cup light brown sugar 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour Zest of 1 navel orange 1 cup dark chocolate (chips or melting wafers are easiest) 1 cup whole, roasted and salted pistachios, chopped 1. In a large bowl, with a large wooden spoon, begin to work the butter until it is very soft, but not greasy. Spread and flatten it against the bowl with the back of the wooden spoon until it is creamy and very pliable, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Add the zest and sugar, all at once, and stir until the sugar is dissolved and no longer gritty. 2. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, incorporating it fully before adding more. After you have added the second or third cup, you may want to finish mixing with your hands. Once all 4½ cups of flour have been mixed in, the dough will be firm and uniform, not sticky, but only dry enough to crack slightly

when pressed. Leave the dough to rest for at least 1 hour at room temperature. This allows for the flavors to meld and for the butter to be completely absorbed by the flour. 3. Once it is rested, roll the dough out to ¼” thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut out cookies in whatever shape you like. Press the tines of a fork into each side of the squares, giving them a ridged effect. Lastly they are pierced three times with the fork, making 3 rows of 4 small holes in the top. If you choose to make round cookies or other shapes, pricking them will help ensure that they bake up flat and smooth. Not pricking them may result in some bubbling and warping of the surface. 4. Line a baking sheet with parchment or leave it ungreased if you prefer. Bake at 325° F. for 18-20 minutes until the bottoms and bottom edge are golden and the tops are dry looking. Cool the cookies on a wire rack. Do not dip in chocolate until they are fully

cooled. 5. Chop the pistachios finely and melt the chocolate (with 10 second intervals in the microwave, or in a heat proof bowl over simmering water). Dunk the cookies, shaking off excess (or dribble pools of chocolate on top) and roll through the finely chopped pistachios. Place the chocolate coated cookies on the same parchment lined cookie sheet and allow the chocolate to firm up. 6. To store, keep these tightly sealed for up to 2 weeks at room temperature. //



Kristen // //

Melissa // //



2 sticks butter, room temperature 1 ½ cups sugar 1 tablespoon light corn syrup 2 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste 2 ½ cups flour 1 4-ounce package French vanilla instant pudding mix 2 teaspoons cream of tartar 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt ½ cup red and green Christmas sprinkles

½ heaping cup dried sour cherries ½ cup orange juice 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature 1 cup sugar Zest of 1 lemon ¼ teaspoon salt 2 eggs 2 ½ teaspoons vanilla ½ teaspoon almond extract 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ cup shelled

makes about 36 cookies

1. Combine the butter, sugar and corn syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla bean paste and mix for 7-8 minutes, until mixture is light and fluffy.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, sift together the flour, French vanilla pudding mix, cream of tarter, baking soda and salt. Slowly add to the wet ingredients, mixing until the dough forms together. 3. With the mixer at low speed, add the sprinkles and mix just until incorporated. 4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour and up to overnight. 5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or baking mat. 6. Scoop dough out in rounded tablespoons, approximately one inch apart, on the baking sheet. 7. Bake for 18-20 minutes then remove from the oven. Allow to firm up on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then remove from cookie sheet onto a wire cooling rack.

makes 18 cookies

1. Combine cherries and orange juice in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Cover, remove from heat, and let sit. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, sugar, zest, and salt until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate, and beat in extracts. 2. Drain the cherries and gently fold them and the pistachios

into the cookie dough. Spread the dough on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, and refrigerate 1 hour. 3. When dough is thoroughly chilled, divide dough in half and roll each half into a 14-inch cylinder on a floured work surface. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a fresh cookie sheet with a clean sheet of parchment paper. Place the 2 chunks of dough on the cookie sheet and bake them for 30 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and turn the oven down to 275°F. 4. When the cookies are cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife to cut each log into 18 slices at a 45° angle. Transfer the cookies to a new parchment-lined cookie sheet, bottom-side down, and bake them at 275°F for 1 hour. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.


1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 1 cup powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ teaspoon salt 2 cups of all-purpose flour Zest of 2 oranges ½ cup of sweetened dried cranberries 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate chips 1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt until smooth. With mixer on low speed, add flour, mixing just until a dough forms. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to gently stir in cranberries and orange zest. Divide the dough in half and place each half on a piece of floured waxed paper. Lightly dust your hands with flour and gently roll each half of the dough into a 1½-inch-diameter log. Wrap logs tightly in the paper, twisting the ends up, and refrigerate until firm, 1 to 1½ hours. (To store longer, wrap log and paper tightly with plastic wrap.) 2. Preheat oven to 350° F. Unwrap the logs and use a serrated knife to slice the logs into 3/8 inch slices. If the dough doesn’t slice well, allow the it to sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes and try again. Arrange the slices,

about 1 inch apart, on baking sheets. 3. Bake until slightly puffed and lightly golden around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets for 1 to 2 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. 4. Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds and then stir. Microwave on high in 15 second intervals, stirring between each time, until chocolate is melted. 5. Dip cooled cookies halfway into the chocolate and then place dipped cookies onto parchment lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm. Cookies can be stored in an air tight container, at room temperature for 5 days.

Emily // //


Kelly // //

For the shortbread dough 1. Cream butter, sugar and salt in a bowl until well combined. 2. Sift flour and cocoa into butter mixture and blend just until mixture forms a soft dough. 3. Divide dough in half and place each half in between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll the dough out to roughly ¹/ 8”. Chill dough, uncovered, until firm, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F while dough chills.


For the shortbread 1 stick unsalted butter, softened ¼ cup superfine granulated sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ¹/ 8 teaspoon salt ¾c  up all-purpose flour ¼ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

For the filling cup shortening ¼ cup water 1 ¼ tablespoons peppermint extract 1 pound powdered sugar ½ teaspoon salt crushed candy canes, optional


For the filling 1. In a stand mixer or bowl, combine shortening, salt, peppermint and water. Mix on lowest speed with paddle attachment or handbeaters. As liquid gets incorporated into shortening, gradually increase speed until creamy and combined. 2. Reduce speed to low and gradually add ¼ of the powdered sugar until incorporated 3. Slowly add the rest of the sugar, working in four additions. Taste test. The cream should be spreadable, but not too thin. If the mixture is too thin, you can add more powdered sugar and if it is too stiff, you can add more water. 4. Remove one sheet of dough from the fridge. Cut circles with a 1” - 1.5” cookie cutter and place on cookie sheet. Bake shortbreads in middle of oven until centers are dry to the touch and edges are slightly darker, about 10-12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet on a rack 10 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool. Assembling cookies 1. Once the cookie shells are cool, take one circle, pipe with a piping bag and #7 tip or spread it with a layer of peppermint filling and top with another shortbread circle. Roll frosted edges in crushed candy canes, if desired.

CANDY CANE MACARONS makes 24 cookies

1 ¼ cup confectioners sugar 1 cup ground almond meal 3 egg whites, from large eggs, room temperature ¼ cup sugar ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1-2 drops food coloring or food gel (optional) Candy Cane Filling ½ cup unsalted butter, softened 1 cup confectioners sugar 4 ounces Wilton Candy Cane Colorburst Candy Melts, melted and slightly cooled 1. Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl sift confectioners sugar and almond meal and set aside. 2. Using an electric mixer whisk egg whites until foamy on medium speed. Sprinkle in sugar, vanilla and food coloring and whip on medium high speed until soft peaks form. 3. Gradually fold in almond mixture into egg whites a third at a time until mixture becomes glossy and has a ribbon like consistency. 4. Place batter into pastry bag fitted with a round tip and pipe about 48 1-inch circles on prepared baking sheets. Tap side of baking sheet to remove any air bubbles. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour until top can be touched without any batter coming up. 5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake in preheated oven for 12-16 minutes, rotating half way through. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

// Jennifer //

Candy Cane Filling 1. Using an electric mixer beat butter until fluffy. Gradually add in confectioners sugar until combined. Blend in melted chocolate until creamy. Place filling in pastry bag fitted with round tip. 2. Pair up same size macarons. Swirl a small amount of filling on macaron and gently sandwich paired macarons together. 3. Store in an airtight container.


½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature ½ cup granulated sugar ½ cup packed brown sugar 1 large egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1¼ cups all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup dried cranberries 1 cup roasted hazelnuts, half roughly chopped and half finely chopped into very tiny pieces Sea salt ¼ cup dark chocolate chips ¼ cup white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 2. In a bowl, beat the softened butter and sugars together with an electric hand-held mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy (about a minute). 3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat to incorporate for about 1 minute. 4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Dump the mixture slowly into the butter/ sugar mixture and mix (using a rubber spatula) until everything is thoroughly combined. 5. Add the dried cranberries and nuts. Mix well. 6. Using a cookie scoop, scoop 1 ½ tablespoons of dough at a time

onto the baking sheet. Repeat until the sheet is full (about 5-6 cookies). Make sure the dough is rounded so it bakes nicely and leave about 2 inches between each ball of dough. Then sprinkle each ball of dough with a little bit of sea salt. 7. Bake for 18-22 minutes. The cookies are ready when they start to get golden brown on the edges. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack. Let cookies cool completely. While cookies are cooling place the white and dark chocolate (in separate bowls) in the microwave. 8. Melt the chocolate for 30 seconds and then stir. Repeat until chocolate is just melted but not very hot. 9. Place the chocolate in individual piping bags (or ziplocks with a corner cut off). 10. Drizzle the chocolate over the cooled cookies and let the chocolate harden completely.

Stephanie // //

LINZER THUMBPRINT COOKIES makes 50-60 small cookies

¾ cup salted butter ¾ cup raw cane sugar 2 large egg yolks 2 teaspoons almond extract 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup almond meal, divided in half ½ teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon five spice 1 jar apple butter

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk flour, ½ cup almond meal, baking powder, and five spice together with a fork. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks one at a time, followed by almond extract. Gently fold in dry mixture in two parts, until just combined. 2. Roll dough into 1 teaspoon sized balls and roll each one in remaining almond meal. Place on Silpat liner or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Make a well in the middle of the dough with the end of a wooden spoon. You want to put what looks like too much apple butter into the well. Remember, the cookies are going to spread in the oven. A heaping ½ teaspoon is about the right amount. Bake for 18 minutes and cool on a wire cookie rack.

Hannah // //


¼ cup sweet cream butter, room temperature ½ cup granulated sugar 2 eggs, room temperature ¼ cup plain yogurt ¾ cup honey 4 cups all-purpose flour 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoons cinnamon ¼ teaspoons all-spice ¼ teaspoons nutmeg ½ teaspoons ginger Icing ingredients: 2 cups powdered sugar ¼ cup water 1 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoons cocoa powder

1. Combine flour, soda and spices in a medium bowl. Set aside. 2. Cream butter and sugar until well combined. Add in eggs, mixing well after each addition. 3. Stir in yogurt and honey. Slowly add in flour mixture and mix until well combine Chill for one hour or up to overnight 4. Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare cookie sheets with parchment or silicone bake mats. 5. Once dough is chilled, scoop about a tablespoon sized ball for the mushroom caps. Roll the dough balls around in your hands. Make an indent on the bottom with the end of a small round wooden spoon handle. Gently press so you don’t squish the dough too much. Place bottom side down on baking sheet. For the stems roll about a half of a tablespoon of dough about an inch and a

half long with one end pointed and the other slightly flat. Place stems on a separate baking sheet from the caps. 6. Bake 10-12 minutes for caps. 8-10 for stems, if the holes in the caps close up, once cooled, scrape a little back out with a sharp knife, just enough to fit the pointed end of the stem in it. Match up stems and caps so they are ready to “glue” together. For the icing 1. Combine sugar, water and lemon juice. Dip pointed end of stems in the icing, let excess drip off and insert into indent in caps. Place cap side down and let fully dry. 2. Add cocoa to the remaining icing and mix. Carefully dip the caps in the icing and lie on a wire drying rack and let fully dry. These keep well at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week or frozen for several months.

Shanna // //

First off there were no real mushroom harmed in the making of these, they are merely shaped like mushrooms, second they don’t taste like mushrooms either.


5 cups Cornflakes cereal 1 package (11 ounces) butterscotch chips ½ cup creamy peanut butter 1. Measure cereal into a very large bowl; set aside. 2. In a 1-quart microwaveable bowl, melt the chips and peanut butter in the microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir until smooth (microwave an additional 30 seconds, if needed). 3. Remove melted butterscotch from microwave and pour over the cereal. Use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to gently mix the cereal and coat with the butterscotch. 4. Drop by small spoonfuls onto wax paper. Allow to completely cool until hardened.

Nikki // //

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES makes 30 cookies

½ cup (1 stick) salted butter ½ cup peanut butter ½ cup sugar ½ cup brown sugar 1 large egg ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 1¼ cup flour ¾ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt Canola oil cooking spray 1. Preheat oven to 375°F. 2. In a large bowl, stir together first six ingredients until smooth and creamy. 3. Sift dry ingredients and add to peanut butter mixture; Stir until combined. 4. Shape mixture into balls (2 tablespoons each) and place on a greased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Press cookies with the tines of a fork and bake for about 10-12 minutes. Let sit on cookie sheet for about a minute before removing to a cooling rack.

Rachel // //

// Melissa //

// Alyssa //

RANGER COOKIES makes about 48 cookies

1 cup shortening ¾ cup sugar 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar 2 eggs 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 cup crushed corn flakes ½ cup coconut flakes 1 cup chopped pecans 1 teaspoon vanilla 1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper. 2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. Mix in the corn flakes, coconut, and pecans. Set aside. 3. Cream the shortening in the bowl of an electric mixer and slowly add the sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. 4. Gradually add the flour mixture. Mix in the vanilla. 5. Drop cookies (about 1” in size) using a spoon or cookie scoop onto a baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool.


¾ cup butter, softened ¼ cup sugar ¾ cup brown sugar 1 box (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding, dry 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon baking soda 2¼  cups all-purpose flour 1 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch pieces ½c  up White Chocolate Peppermint M&Ms 1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 2. In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar together. 3. Add the vanilla pudding mix and beat until incorporated. 4. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined. 5. In a small bowl combine the flour and baking soda. Slowly add this mixture to the wet ingredients until all ingredients are well incorporated. 6. Stir in the Peppermint Crunch pieces and M&Ms until they are all mixed into the dough. 7. Roll the dough into rounded teaspoonfuls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. 8. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown. Cool completely.

CHAI TEA SUGAR COOKIES makes 24 cookies

For the cookies 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour ½teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt ½cup vanilla sugar plus 2 tablespoons 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed 4 ounces good quality unsalted butter, room temperature 1 room temperature organic cage free egg 2 tablespoons chai tea powder (made from about 6 good quality chai tea bags, I used Tazo decaffeinated) Vanilla Chai Sugar (for rolling cookies in) ¼ cup vanilla sugar ¼ teaspoon chai tea powder For Chai Tea Powder (for use in cookie dough and Vanilla Chai Sugar) 1. In a food processor or powerful blender, add contents of 6 chai tea bags. I just simply removed bags, snipped off the top with kitchen shears, and dumped each bag’s tea into the

processor. 2. Process on high for about 30 seconds or until you have a fine powder. 3. Dump powder carefully into a bowl and set aside. For the cookies 1. Preheat oven to 350°F and set two racks in oven to the middle. Line two sheet pans with parchment or baking liners. Set aside. 2. Make vanilla chai sugar by mixing together ¼ cup of vanilla sugar and ¼ teaspoon of chai tea powder into a dish or pie pan. Set aside. 3. Add room temperature butter, vanilla sugar and brown sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium-high until light in color and fluffy for about 5 minutes. 4. While the butter and sugar is creaming, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside. 5. Scrape down sides of mixer bowl, and add room temperature egg. Mix again until fully combined. Scrape down

// Christina //

sides again. Next add 2 tablespoons of chai tea powder. Mix well. 6. With mixer on low, add the sifted flour mix. Combine until just incorporated. 7. With a ½” ice cream scoop, scoop out balls of dough. Roll in hands until smooth and round, then roll around in vanilla chai sugar. Make sure all of the surface of each ball is covered. 8. After the dough has been rolled in sugar,

place onto baking sheet, about 1 ½ -2” apart, about a dozen on each sheet pan. 9. Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven as soon as cookies have risen, cracked a little on top, and are just beginning to brown on the bottom. Do not let bottoms get darker than a light golden color—it will take away from the chai flavor. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and enjoy.


¾ cup unsalted butter, melted 1 cup brown sugar 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon baking soda 1 cup quick cook oats ¾ cup crispy rice cereal ¼cup Jif Mocha Cappuccino Hazelnut Spread 1 ½ cups white chocolate morsels, melted 1 bag (10 ounces) Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips 1. In a mixing bowl, add butter and brown sugar until combined. Stir in flour, salt and baking soda. Mix in hazelnut spread. Slowly fold in oats and cereal. 2. Press dough into a large, parchment paper lined cookie sheet. 3. Bake in a 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes, until browned. Allow to cool in pan completely. 4. To finish, spread melted white chocolate over top of cookie bark. Immediately sprinkle with Andes baking chips. Allow to set, about 15 minutes and cut into triangular pieces. Serve and enjoy.

// Aimee //


2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 cup dark cocoa powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 4 ounces dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt 2 ounces milk chocolate 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder 2 sticks butter plus 2 tablespoons butter or shortening for melting chocolate 2 ½ cups granulated sugar 4 large eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract Sea salt for sprinkling 1 bag Gharidelli 60% chips 48 rolos Fleur de sel for sprinkling

1. Sift dry ingredients together twice and whisk until completely combined. In a double boiler, melt chocolate with instant espresso powder and 2 tablespoons butter (or shortening). Cream remaining butter and sugar with paddle attachment in stand mixer. Beat in eggs one at a time, then vanilla. Add in chocolate mixture and continue mixing. 2. Add in dry mixture and beat until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. 3. Using a tablespoon sized scoop, fill half the scoop with dough, then place rolo face down in the center, then cover the rest so you have a heaping tbsp full. 4. Place on greased baking sheet and bake at 325°F. for 10 minutes per batch. Top with fleur de sel while still warm. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Laura //

Being part of the Great Food Blog Cookie Swap means a lot to me. I was blogging for two months when I joined my first Cookie Swap with you. That was the first time I ever felt part of the food blogging community. I met fabulous bloggers, whom I am still in contact with! This is my third year now, and as long as you have the swap I will join in.

~ Jennifer Drummond Peanut Butter and Peppers


sign up for updates here

Small gatherings don’t have to be a big affair as long as you have quality company, food and drink.


shares the secrets to her simple party style.

written and photographed by HEIDI LARSEN of FOODIECRUSH .com


ou could say food blogger

Becky Rosenthal and her husband Josh have a knack for making people feel like joining the party. As the creator of the food blog The Vintage Mixer, Becky shares seasonal fare and recipes, always with a connection to making the experience personal. But she doesn’t stop there. She also authors a guide to local food

and events in Salt Lake City, Utah at SLC Foodie and the duo is the force behind SLC Mixers, where Becky and Josh connect their community with local chefs and food purveyors through intimate food experiences and events. “We love small gatherings because it gives us the opportunity to engage deeper than with a big crowd, making the food experience one where we can connect with guests,” explains Becky.




Green olives Make sure and have a extra bowl for pits. Marcona almonds These are a little fancier than regular almonds with a more creamy, almost buttery, taste. Manchego & Wisconsin’s Roth Käse Affinee Blue cheeses Seeded crackers and the classic Negroni cocktail

With their extended families living in other states, Becky and Josh make weekly gatherings with friends at their home a priority and usually ground the gathering with a theme. “Cheese boards offer a fun eating experience because it puts the decision making and creating in the hands of our guests,” says Becky. “It elongates the dining experience and makes for a more relaxed time together.”

The couple also keep it simple by serving one signature cocktail that can be customized for new flavor experiences as the evening progresses. Josh suggests if you’re having an early afternoon cheese party, “Try serving an apertif cocktail like the Negroni.” The pair also suggests finding local cheese or meats to incorporate so you have a story to tell with the food, and if the maker is available invite them to the party too.

We’re partial to local Deer Valley Resort’s Flaxseed Crackers that make a crisp base of any size and go well with savory or sweet.

” TIP 1






Sliced D’Anjou pears Leave a knife on the platter and let the guests do the slicing. Fig spread or jam and local honey 3 soft cheeses We used Cana de Cabra—a softripened goat cheese—and Nocetto di Capra—a velvety white cheese—as well as the Deer Valley Resort Moon Shadow ash-ripened goats milk cheese. Seeded crackers and the Coccinella Negroni







Classic Negroni makes 1 cocktail

1 ounce Gin 1 ounce Sweet Vermouth 1 ounce Campari Twist of orange Build cocktail in the glass, stir. Garnish with a twist of orange


by Amy Eldredge, mixologist at Bar X, SLC, UT makes 1 cocktail

ounce lime ½ ounce simple syrup(1:1) 1 ounce Campari 1 ounce Dolin Sweet Vermouth 1 dash Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters Topped with club soda and an orange twist 3/ 4

Build cocktail in the glass, stir.

Served on the rocks and garnish with a twist of orange.


makes 1 cocktail

½ ounce Sweet Vermouth ½ ounce Campari Splash of sparkling water Twist of orange Build cocktail in the glass, stir. Garnish with a twist of orange


Pastrami House made by Frody Volgger of Caputo’s, Salt Lake City. Mustard Edmond Fallot Walnut Dijon from Becky and Josh’s travels to Beaune, France. Ossau Iraty Reserve Aged an extra 6 months in the cheese cave at Caputos, this cheese is intensely sweet and nutty, with a crystalline mouthfeel. Seeded crackers and the Americao A lighter version of the negroni.



When serving more than one cheese per board, try different shapes, sizes or textures of cheeses—like the wheel versus the wedge.

get more

Meet and get to know your local cheesemonger or grocery store cheese expert to find locally produced cheeses and favorites from around the world.


If you’re putting together several cheese boards, use boards of different textures. Stone, chalkboard, metal and wood offer variety. They don’t even have to be actual cheese boards and it’s more fun when they’re not.

Leave some things un-sliced and let the guests do the work so their experience is more interactive. Cutting into a big wedge of gooey cheese can be fun. And a great conversation starter.




h e W or ld Joy to t

AROUND THE WORLD IN SIX DESSERTS Love for desserts knows no boundaries as food bloggers’ traditional holiday sweets bring joy to the world.


ozying up to a favorite dessert is one of the best things

about the holidays, no matter where you live. Regular ingredients like sugar and flour take on entirely new meaning depending upon what traditional flavorings are added in. With the internet bridging boundaries by delivering recipes in every language to eager home bakers, these six food bloggers all put their stamp on delectable desserts from across the globe, showcasing their country’s traditions and cultures, and bringing good cheer with each and every bite. written by HAYLEY TEATER of TIPTOES IN THE KITCHEN

recipe & photography by

A N N A WI T KIEW IC Z everyday flavours. blogspot



y profession, Anna Witkiewicz is a civil engineer who lives in Poland, however she has always been attracted to photography. She perused blogs from around the world admiring culinary photos until one day she decided start her own blog, Everyday Flavours. On her blog you can find many sweet pastries because she likes to photograph them the most. “One of my favorite Christmas traditions that I’ve been cultivating for many years and without which I simply can’t imagine Christmas is getting together with friends and baking all kinds of gingerbreads. The most important thing about those gatherings is not the baking itself but spending that special time of year together, surrounded by friends. We usually meet in the morning, a few days before Christmas Eve, and spend the whole day baking and decorating the cookies. It is hard work as we have to bake enough for everyone to take a sizeable portion to their homes, so we lessen the burden with considerable amounts of gossip and hot tea. The result is always impressive—a whole room jam-packed with full plates of delicious cookies. Later, back at home, I pack the gingerbreads into plastic bags or thread them with ribbons so they can be hung on the Christmas tree, but some get eaten before Christmas comes.”


makes about 60 cookies

5 ounces butter 5 ounces treacle 3 ½ ounces brown sugar 2 ounces dark Muscavado sugar 1 /5 cup milk 2 cups all-purpose flour 4 ½ ounces whole meal flour ½ teaspoon baking powder 2 medium eggs 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon 3 teaspoons ground cloves 3 teaspoons ground ginger

5 cardamon seeds 1 teaspoon ground pepper ½ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg 1 white egg 1- 1 ½ cup caster sugar For the cookies 1. Put the butter, molasses, milk and brown sugar and Muscavado in a pot. Place the pot on medium heat and stir often until the sugar and butter dissolve. Leave to cool down. Place both types of flour, baking powder and spices in a bowl, add the cooled mass and eggs. Knead the dough

by hand or in a food processor and wrap in plastic wrap. Leave in the fridge for at least an hour. 2. Preheat the oven to 350° F., Roll out the dough thin and cut into different shapes. Then place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool completely then ice. For the icing 1. When the gingerbread cools prepare the frosting. Place the egg white and caster sugar into your food processor set to medium speed and mix until it gets snow-white.



recipe & photography by

Y V E TT E M A RQ U EZ muy bueno cookbook .CO M


vette Marquez is one third of the women behind Muy Bueno Cookbook, a collaborative effort and family affair. Between Yvette, her sister Veronica, who lives in Germany, and their mother Evangelina who resides in Texas, sharing traditional recipes of their Mexican heritage is a global affair. For Yvette, holiday time is family time and preparing food has always been a central focus, whether it’s with her family in Denver, Colorado or around the world.


Cuernitos de Nuez

“These cuernitos de nuez cookies are traditional Mexican cookies usually made for weddings, baby showers, and Christmas. They are called cuernitos because they are shaped like little “horns”. Last year was the first year I made them and gave them as Christmas gifts for friends and neighbors. I plan to make them again this year and will be sure to add them to my Christmas gift giving tradition. This year I also made homemade dulce de leche which I know people will flip over. I love that homemade gifts are appreciated and sharing

Cuernitos de Nuez (Butter Pecan Cookies) makes about 80 to 85 cookies

1 cup butter, softened ½ cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla 2 cups all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon salt 1 ½ cups finely chopped pecans Confectioner’s sugar 1. Preheat oven to 350° F. In a medium bowl beat butter, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually, beat in flour, salt, and chopped pecans. 2. To shape the cookies, take a gen-

my love of food with others makes me vey happy. Every year my kiddos and I make cookies together or a special dessert. I have a lot of fond memories in the kitchen with my mom and my goal is that my children will have the same simple and beautiful memories of their childhood. Memories made in the kitchen are memories that will last a lifetime. Every year we also make a gingerbread house and decorate sugar cookies. And every Christmas Eve we pick the prettiest cookies to leave for Santa’s plate.”

erous tablespoon of dough and roll it into a log. Place it on the prepared cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and shape it into a crescent by pressing the edges and bending them slightly. Repeat until all the dough is used 3. Space them about ½ inch apart on the cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until slightly golden. While cookies are still warm, dust with confectioner’s sugar. Dough can be prepared one day in advance. Keep dough in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. Once cookies are baked they can be stored for one week in an airtight container.



recipe & photography by

Honey Cookies

MO N IKA TOPOLKO bake noir .CO M

onika Topolko is an English teacher and occasional crafter, who bakes, cooks and writes for her blog Bake Noir. The mom-to-be lives with her husband in a small town in northwest Croatia.

“For me, Christmas is all about cookies and warm winter spices. Gingerbread cookies are by far my favorite type of holiday cookie, and traditional Croatian honey cookies are actually not that different from these gingerbreads. There are many variations of the honey cookie, and this particular recipe is the basic one. You need only a handful of basic ingredients and less than 30 minutes of your time to make them. But the real beauty of these spiced cookies lies in the fact that they can be made either weeks before Christmas, or quickly put together on Christmas Eve. This is my go to recipe when I’m behind with my holiday baking, or to be honest, whenever I feel like eating something sweet. I usually embel-

lish them with walnuts or almonds, but sometimes I skip the nuts altogether and just roll them in icing sugar, or cover them with a simple sugar glaze. In my family holidays are all about food. A good, hearty and, above all, generous meal is undoubtedly the leitmotif of all family festivities. Food has the power to bring us together, evoke loving memories and create new unforgettable moments. Every holiday meal, although essentially the same, is a unique experience. It tells a different version of the story you’ve heard so many times before, the story you love, and it can still surprise you in the most pleasant ways. It’s a tradition I look forward to every single holiday.”

Food has the power to bring us together, evoke loving memories and create new unforgettable moments.

Honey Cookies

makes about 80 cookies

4 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 1 heaping teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon cloves ½ heaping cup sugar 6 tablespoons honey 3 large eggs 1 egg white to brush the cookies 80 walnut halves

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and sugar. Add honey and eggs. Mix with a wooden spoon to form a dough. Take a teaspoon of the dough and form a small ball using the palms of your hands. Repeat with the rest of the dough. 3. Place the balls onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 cm apart.

Brush each ball with some egg white and press a walnut half on top of each ball. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Don’t over-bake them or else they will be too hard. They are done when they start browning at the bottom. The rest of the cookie should not get dark. Cool them on a rack and store in an airtight container. They can be stored for up to four weeks.

recipe & photography by

A L I SA PAL M ER family meal blog .CO M


lisa Palmer is a blogger and photographer based in Lubbock, Texas, and is a mom to a sweet red-headed little girl named Olive. She shares stories of how she nourishes her family on her blog, The Family Meal. “I cook all the time and am always looking for ways to use up every ingredient I have in the house before I go back to the grocery store for more! I first made this pie for a Cajun-themed dinner party we were having with friends. I had a surplus of sweet potatoes and I thought, What’s more Southern than sweet potato pie?! So I went to work and modified a very simple recipe I found online and created the butter rum sauce to go on the side because the pie itself is actually not very sweet—it was perfect! This pie is special to me because I shared it with my family—my daughter helped me roll out the dough and loved the pie crust leaves on the top, and it was a wonderful way to end a warm, fall meal with great friends. My favorite holiday tradition though is the eggnog my mom makes on


Sweet Potato Pie with Butter Rum Sauce

Christmas day. It is my favorite holiday drink and I ho any from the grocery store because I’m waiting for th at my mom’s house! It’s been several years since I’ve having that thick cup of eggnog after opening presen takes me back to being a kid, again, every time.”

old out and don’t buy he ultimate version lived at home, but nts on Christmas day

This pie is special to me because I shared it with my family. My daughter helped me roll out the dough and loved the pie crust leaves on the top.

Sweet Potato Pie with Butter Rum Sauce makes one 9” pie

3 cups cooked, peeled and mashed sweet potatoes (about 3 medium potatoes) 2 eggs 2 tablespoons melted butter ¼ teaspoon cinnamon 1/ 8 teaspoon nutmeg ½ cup cream ½ teaspoon lemon juice 2 teaspoons vanilla dash of salt ½ cup sugar 1. Boil the potatoes whole, in plenty of water (covering them by about two inches) for about 30 minutes, until tender all the way through. Peel them after they’ve cooled a bit and give them a rough dice. Mix the potatoes in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until they are smooth and very few lumps remain. 2. Mix the eggs with the cream and spices, lemon juice and vanilla until

smooth and gradually mix it into the potatoes while running on low. Add the salt and sugar and let the mixture blend on medium for about 5 minutes. 3. Pour filling into unbaked 9” pie shell, bake for 40-45 minutes at 350-325°F. Serve with butter rum sauce or whipped cream! (See my pie crust recipe below. It really is the best pie crust I’ve ever made and it’s pretty fool-proof!) Butter Rum Sauce 1 stick of butter 1 /3 cup heavy cream ½ cup sugar a few pinches of kosher salt to taste 2 tablespoons rum 1. In a saucepan, let the butter melt with the cream and sugar and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add salt until it tastes right to you—let it take some of the sweetness away and give it some depth. 2. Add the rum, mix well and serve.

The Best Pie Crust, Ever 1c  up (2 sticks) cold butter, chopped into little pieces 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 /8 cup ice water 1. Put a cup of flour in your stand mixer with a paddle attachment and add the salt. Mix to blend. Add half the butter by small handfuls, beating on low until all the butter is fully incorporated into that cup of flour. 2. Add the next cup of flour and beat on low until completely blended. 3. Add the water sprinkle by sprinkle until the dough comes together and stays together when pressed with your fingers. Flatten out into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap chill for at least one hour before use. Makes enough for one deep dish pie or a small double-crust pie.

recipe & photography by

M E E TA W O L F F whats for lunch honey



eeta Wolff is the brain behind the blog What’s for Lunch Honey? The food, photography and travel enthusiast lives in Weimar, Germany with her husband Tom and their son Soeren. “While Christmas is an adopted festivity for me, celebrating it with my husband and his family through the years, I have gladly embraced it and take delight in all its elaborateness as much as my 11-year old son does. I love this time of year—the sights of the sparkly fairy lights against the pureness of freshly fallen snow, the sounds of giggles and carols as children run pulling sledges behind them and throwing snowballs at each other, the aromas of peppery incense wrapping its warmth around us as we sit sipping sweet spiced mulled wine huddled by a crackling fire surrounded by glittering decoration. In Germany the Christmas trees usually go up around the 23rd but before that we countdown in style, decorating the house with candles, brushwood and some glitter. Each advent we light a candle, inviting friends and family for cake and cookies. The stollen is a must at the table. Each region in Germany has its own traditional variety. Some will have marzipan, some have candied fruit peel, others with nuts and raisins, while some include poppy seeds. I have deviated from the traditional stollens and given this my own twist. Sticky dates brought back from Dubai, dried figs, slivered hazelnuts, slatherings of orange marmalade and quark all make this stollen moist and rich. If there was no stollen on the would just not be Christmas.”



Stollen makes 12

For the Stollen 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ cup dates, roughly chopped ½ cup dried figs, roughly chopped ¼ cup sugar 2 tablespoons orange marmalade ¼ cup hazelnuts, sliced or slivered 1 egg 3 /4 cup quark ¼ cup butter

For the Glaze 1 tablespoons butter 4 tablespoons orange marmalade 2 tablespoons sugar Icing sugar 1. Preheat oven to 375° F. and line a baking tray with some baking paper. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl mix together dates, dried figs, sugar, marmalade, hazelnuts egg, quark and butter. Sprinkle the flour and

baking powder over the dried fruit mixture and knead into a smooth dough. 2. Shape the dough into an oblong loaf. With the edge of your hand make a groove down the middle of at least 1 cm deep. Place the loaf on the baking tray, brush with water and bake in the oven for approx. 40 minutes. Keep an eye on it so that the top does not brown too quickly. If it does cover the top with

some aluminum foil. 3. To make the glaze, melt the butter with the marmalade in a saucepan and stir well. Brush the warm stollen generously with the marmalade, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar. Allow to cool. Sieve a thick layer of icing sugar over top of the stollen just before serving. The stollen will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to a week.


na Djurdjevic is the author behind Prstohvat Soli (A Pinch of Salt) blog, and has contributed to Elle Magazine and Mezze Magazine. She lives in Belgrade, Serbia. “Art has always been my great love and to me, cooking is one of it’s genres. When combined with great photography, it becomes a masterpiece. Writing a blog gave me an opportunity to merge the two loves and opened a window to a world of new flavors, cultures and brought me close to people who share the same passions. My favorite holiday activity is baking. I love everything about it, making and shaping cookies, the intoxicating smell that fills the house, and of course, enjoying those sweet little bites. Speculaas are very special cookies. They’re actually Dutch, but they’re very similar to a traditional Croatian cookie called Paprenjaci, which date back to the Renaissance period. The secret to these cookies is in the mix of spices...a lot of very good spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, white pepper and cloves. Imagine, early Christmas morning, the smell of hot chocolate and a few speculaas cookies.”

recipe & photography by

A N A DJ URDJE V IC prstohvat soli .CO M

Art T foo

tistically, intimately, socially. These are just some of the many ways od blogging has touched my life.




makes about 36 cookies

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons cinnamon ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 teaspoon ground ginger ½ teaspoon ground cloves ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon white pepper 3 /4 cup butter, room temperature ½ cup dark Muscovado sugar 1 /3 cup milk 1. Mix flour, salt, baking soda, and spices. 2. In a separate bowl, mix butter, and gradually add sugar. To the butter mixture add 1/3 of the flour mixture and spices and milk. Combine all ingredients well, and add the rest of the flour and knead the dough. 3. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refridgerate 2 hours or overnight. 4. Remove dough from the refrigerator 45 minutes before preparation. Preheat oven to 375° F. 4. Divide the dough into 2 parts, using one part ata time. Roll dough to about 1/4” thick. Cut into desired shapes and arrange on a baking sheet with a small space between. 5. Bake 10-15 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned.

BRILLIANT Food blogger GERRY SPEIRS has the gift of curing a sweet tooth and is happy to share his favorite remedies. photos by

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aking the leap from working man to dadabout-town wasn’t a hard choice for food blogger and entrepreneur Gerry Speirs. Since leaving his native Scotland 13 years ago to join the love of his life in California, Gerry now authors the three-year-old blog Foodness Gracious and takes on the non-traditional role of stay at home dad to his two young children. Whether creating deliciously inspired sweet treats and savory kitchen creations for the blog or for his family, Gerry always makes sure there’s plenty of inspiration in the kitchen. “Whenever I see a recipe I like, I try to think of ways I can alter it and make it less traditional. A recipe doesn’t always have to be a certain way just because it’s been that way for years.” It’s no surprise then that Gerry takes a new twist on a classic holiday treat by creating a handful of flavorful Bark recipes. But first, let’s learn a little more about the man behind the blog. You have two young children and are a true man of the 21st century, taking on the role of stay-at-home-dad and homemaker of the household. What inspired you to make the move from career guy to food blogger? Being a stay-at-home dad was actually my wife’s idea. I had been working for Whole Foods Market for about 10 years as a bakery manager and was quite happy with it and working for

such a great company. Maura crunched some numbers and we decided it would be more beneficial to look after the kids and not pay for daycare. I originally started blogging with an idea of journaling my days with the kids, nothing to do with recipes. You’ve bucked the trend in other ways too, and have made a mark for yourself in a sea of female food bloggers. What’s your secret for breaking the mold? I think I can connect with most female bloggers out there due to my stay-athome gig. It’s still quite rare for the husband to be at home and I can talk diapers, fevers and outrageous store tantrums all day long. I think that helps me connect with the female blogging world and they see me going through some of the same things they go through. How does being a stay at home dad affect your role as a food blogger? Preparation is key. Usually I have a window of about 3-4 hours that are kidfree. I have to decide what I’m going to make and post the day before and have the ingredients on hand, ready to go. Once the kids come home from school then all bets are off, and that’s okay. How would you describe your blog, Foodness Gracious? And where did the name come from? Foodness Gracious is not a niche blog. One day I may post a pasta recipe followed by a post about French toast. The name came from me thinking I was cool

Cranberry & Pistachio Bark

Peppermint Bark

Espresso White Chocolate Bark

Candied Jalape単o with Ancho Chili Bark

A baker at heart, Gerry has developed a sweet technique and created another child to nurture: Toot Sweet Caramels. Using only quality ingredients including locally sourced California honey, these creamy, artisnal, small batch caramels are the toast of the town, with nary a teaspoon of corn syrup in sight. Available in flavors like Dark Chocolate, Pistachio plus Rosemary and Salted Honey, these caramels will cure every sweet tooth. Don’t miss Toot Sweet’s caramel sauce studded with chocolate to dress up your favorite dessert. Available at TootSweetCaramels

coming up with a play on words like “goodness gracious” but if I knew about SEO (search engine optimization) back then what I know now, I’d probably have put more thought into another name. But it’s still catchy…I like it Do you fancy yourself a sweet or savory cook? I’d say more sweet than savory, just because my background in kitchens and restaurants is in the pastry corner. I left school and spent years apprenticing as a scratch baker in a small local bakery. I also spent time under the watchful eye of one of Scotland’s top chefs, William Costley. We met at the Big Traveling Potluck in the summer of 2013 where I tasted your decadent caramels. How did you become such an expert? By boiling many pots of sugar and honey late at night and then screaming at them the next day when they were either too soft or teeth-breaking hard. Are you planning on sharing Toot Sweet Caramels with the world on a grander scale? I would love to! I have a website being designed which will be more appealing than my Etsy page. I’m also in the process of completing my vendor application for Whole Foods on a local scale. Just like blogging, where everything is done by the individual, Toot Sweet is only me and time is a huge endeavor. I’m convinced it’ll do well though. The caramels have a unique flavor due to the honey which is sourced locally. I have never tasted my version in any

other caramel, and I’ve tasted a lot! You’ve created some inspired Bark recipes to share for the holidays. Where did that idea come from? The holidays are busy enough and Bark is easy and it holds up well in packaging. Plus, there’s practically no cooking involved other than melting the chocolate. How did you come up with these flavor combinations? Peppermint is a classic, Espresso White Chocolate because I love my coffee, Pistachio Rosemary because it’s one of my caramel flavors and is probably the best tasting combo around, and Jalapeño

because I’m a spice freak, although the candied jalapeno’s taste sweet and spicy. Is there a secret to making bark? I like to score the bottom layer of the chocolate before pouring on the top layer. It’s supposed to help the two layers stick to each other. So, where will you be eating your sweets on Christmas day? At my house. I have a firm tradition of doing as little as possible on Christmas Day and just enjoying resting with the family. We’ll maybe go for a walk on the beach in the afternoon but I’m usually still in my pajamas until noon.

nt Peppermi

Espresso White Chocolate

Peppermint Bark

Espresso White Chocolate Bark

12 ounces Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting wafers 12 ounces Ghirardelli white chocolate melting wafers Âź cup crushed candy cane 1 teaspoon peppermint flavoring

12 o  unces Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting wafers 12 o  unces Ghirardelli white chocolate melting wafers 1 tablepsoon fine espresso powder

1. Line an 8x8 brownie pan with parchment paper with the edges hanging over the sides. 2. Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add the peppermint flavor and stir gently. Pour the chocolate into the prepared pan and shake gently to level it out. Place in the fridge. While the chocolate is cooling prepare the white chocolate in the same way. 3. Once the dark chocolate has cooled and became firm, roughly score the surface with a sharp knife in a grid–like pattern. Pour the white chocolate on top and gently tap the pan on your work surface to level. 4. Sprinkle with the crushed candy cane and let set until firm. Store in the refrigerator until ready to break into pieces or keep at room temperature and slice into squares.

1. Line an 8x8 brownie pan with parchment paper with the edges hanging over the sides. 2. Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add the espresso and stir through the melted chocolate. Pour the chocolate into the prepared pan. Place in the fridge to set. 3. Melt the white chocolate the same way. Once the dark chocolate is firm, score the chocolate with a sharp knife and pour the melted white chocolate on top, tap to level it out. Let set until firm. 4. Store in the refrigerator until ready to break into pieces or keep at room temperature and slice into squares.

Cranberry Pistachi o

Jalapeñ o Anch o Chili

Cranberry and Pistachio Bark

Candied Jalapeno with Ancho Chili Bark

18 ounces Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting wafers 1 tablepsoon fresh chopped rosemary ½ cup dried cranberries ¼ cup chopped pistachios Sea salt

18 ounces Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting wafers 1 ½ teaspoon ancho chil powder 1 large jalapeno ¼ cup sugar 1 tablepsoon water

1. Line an 8x8 brownie pan with parchment paper with the edges hanging over the sides. 2. Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add the chopped rosemary and stir to combine. Pour the chocolate into the prepared pan and tap gently on the work surface to level it. 3. Sprinkle the cranberries over the top of the melted chocolate followed by the chopped pistachios. Finally sprinkle with some sea salt. Let set until firm. 4. Store in the refrigerator until ready to break into pieces or keep at room temperature and slice into squares.

1. Line an 8x8 brownie pan with parchment paper with the edges hanging over the sides. 2. Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add the chili powder and stir well. In another pan combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Slice the jalapeno into rings and add to the sugar mixture. Simmer on low for about 10 minutes. Pour the melted chocolate into the pan and set aside. 3. Carefully pull the jalapeno slices from the sugar mixture and place on a plate until cool enough to handle. Randomly place pieces of the jalapeno on top of the chocolate and let set. 4. Store in the refrigerator until ready to break into pieces or keep at room temperature and slice into squares.

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FoodieCrush Holiday 2013