Category Archives: Cookies, Bars & Snacks

Italian Christmas Cookies

Italian Christmas Cookie

4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cup flour
4 tsp. baking powder

Sift dry ingredients. Cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs; add vanilla and dry ingredients.

Knead and add flour as needed to keep dough from sticking to hands. Pinch off dough, roll in your hands to form a log and then twirl into shape. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.

2 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
6 tsp. water
Stir until creamy

Dip cookies into icing and sprinkle with trim. Place on wire rack with wax paper on counter to collect the dripping icing and sprinkles.


The Best Butter Tarts Recipe (Placed 3rd in a Baking Contest!)

Cooking with Alison

Butter tarts are a wonderful Canadian dessert.  (Speaking of wonderful Canadian things, have you tried ice cider?)  Butter tarts are individually portion sized tarts that have a flaky pastry shell and a sweet and gooey filling.  If desired, the filling can include raisins or pecans.  I made both variations in the photo above.  If you like pecan pie (see my recipe here), you’ll probably like butter pecan tarts.  Personally, I prefer the tarts.  I made these butter tarts for the first time over Thanksgiving, 2011.  We were amazed by how good the pastry was.  This was the best, buttery and flaky pastry I have ever made and these were the best butter tarts we had ever had.  Although they can be a bit messy to eat, this pastry is the perfect compliment for this type and size of tart.  The filling is soft and gooey, you won’t get…

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Classic Gingerbread Men (and Women!)

Crumbs and Nibbles


Happy holidays! In case you’ve been looking for a last minute treat to whip up for Christmas, I thought I’d share this recipe for Gingerbread Men from Taste of Home. I made these with a family friend (and fellow baker) last weekend, along with two other cookie recipes (Chocolate Mint cookies and Peanut Butter Blossoms, for those who are wondering). These, like roll-out sugar cookies, are fun to make and cut, but they’re even more fun to decorate! Let’s just say we got very creative with some of ours; you’ll see what I mean in a moment.

This won’t be a step-by-step recipe, mostly because of the fact that I was in the midst of making two other batches of cookies while assembling these. And maybe because of the fact that I had flour and cocoa and cinnamon ingrained into my hands throughout this process.


But anyway, here’s the…

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The Quickest and Easiest Mincemeat Christmas Cookies!

Lucy Daniels

mincemeat christmas cookies

So it’s Christmas eve eve and I bet your a little sick of the traditional mince pie by now right? They have been passed around the office, offered to you at every relatives house you’ve been to and eaten as dessert at every pre christmas christmas lunch! Well, I have a solution, whilst still keeping in the festive spirit, but steering clear of pies, I bring you Mincemeat Cookies. You can forget about having to kneed and rest that dough for your pies, because these are the easiest cookies in the world, yet they taste like you’ve been baking all day! These are kind of like your oatmeal and raisin cookies with added festive-ness. I originally saw this recipe in the Sainsburys magazine and adapted the recipe from there. Whilst I used my own home made mincemeat, i’ve tried with good quality shop bought and it works just as well.

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Maple Butter Tarts

Butter tarts are a Canadian classic. How to make them more Canadian? Why, add a little maple syrup! If your family does not like raisins, leave them out- buttertarts are equally delicious without them.

Maple Buttertarts

Serves: 12 | Dish Type: Desserts  |  Preparation: Bake  |  Skill Level: Intermediate  |  Ready In: 45 Minutes

1 1/2 cups (375 mL)all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp (1 mL)salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) PC Country Churned Butter – Unsalted , cubed
1egg yolk
1 tsp (5 mL) distilled white vinegar
1/3 cup (75 mL) ice water

1/2 cup (125 mL) packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) light corn syrup
2 tbsp (25 mL) maple syrup
2 eggs
2 tbsp (25 mL) PC Country Churned Butter – Unsalted , melted
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1 tsp (5 mL) distilled white vinegar
Pinch salt
1/4 cup (50 mL) golden raisins

In large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Using pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until coarse crumb consistency with some pea-size pieces. Make a small well in centre.

In small bowl, whisk together egg yolk, vinegar and water; pour into well in flour mixture. Using fork, gently turn flour into the centre where the liquid is. Once all liquid is absorbed, knead dough with your hands a few times until it comes together. Form into a ball. Flatten into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, eggs, butter, vanilla, vinegar and salt until smooth; set aside.

Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Remove pastry dough from refrigerator; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin.

On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch (3 mm) thickness. Using a 4-inch (10 cm) round cookie cutter, cut out 12 circles, re-rolling dough scraps as needed. Place a dough circle into each muffin cup, pressing sides and bottom gently to fit; sprinkle raisins equally over top of each tart shell. Spoon filling into each tart shell, filling about ¾ full. Bake in bottom third of oven for about 11 to 13 minutes or until golden; let stand for 3 minutes. Run a knife around tart edges; gently transfer to rack to cool completely.

Source: Presidents Choice

Mincemeat Pinwheel Cookies

Pinwheel cookies are a Christmas classic. This version uses pre-rolled puff pastry as the dough, and seasonal mincemeat as the filling. Much easier than the traditional version with two colours of home-made cookie dough stacked and rolled.

Mincemeat Pinwheel Cookies

Makes: 44   
Preparation: Bake 
Ready In: 25 Minutes 
Skill Level: Intermediate

2 tsp (10 mL)granulated sugar
1 pkg (450 g) PC Butter Puff Pastry , thawed
3/4 cup (175 mL) PC Mincemeat

In food processor, purée mincemeat for 15 seconds or until smooth. Set aside.

Unroll one sheet of puff pastry onto counter, leaving it on the parchment paper. Spread with half of the mincemeat, leaving a 1/2-inch (1 cm) border bare on all sides. Using parchment paper to help, roll up jelly-roll fashion into a long tube. Gently press on seam of pastry to seal. Wrap in parchment paper, twirling ends to hold in place. Repeat with remaining pastry and mincemeat. Freeze for 3 hours or until firm.

Arrange oven racks so one is in top third of oven and other in bottom third. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Remove puff pastry from freezer; let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Pour sugar onto rimmed baking sheet.

Unwrap pastry tubes. Use parchment paper to line two baking sheets. Gently roll pastry tubes in sugar to coat. Using sharp knife, trim ends and discard. Cut into 22 slices, each a scant 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick and place flat on prepared baking sheets. Discard remaining sugar.Place one baking sheet in top third of oven and other in bottom third. Bake for 6 minutes. Switch baking sheets from top to bottom, rotating them from front to back as well when you switch places. Bake for a further 6 to 8 minutes or until puffed and golden. Transfer to wire rack to cool.


Melt in Your Mouth Shortbread Cookies

Melt in Your Mouth Shortbread Cookies

 This fabulously tender shortbread is made in the food processor to ease preparation; be careful though as over processing dough will cause the dough to become greasy and the butter will melt out as they bake.

Serves: 48   
Preparation: Bake 
Skill Level: Intermediate 
Ready In: 60 Minutes    
See more at: President’s Choice

1 pkg (250 g), at room temperature Salted Country Churned Butter
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) All Purpose Flour – Unbleach
1/2 cup (125 mL) icing sugar
1/4 cup (125 mL) Cornstarch
1 tsp (5 mL)Pure Vanilla
Coloured sugar (optional)

1. Arrange oven racks so one is in top third of oven and other in bottom third. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In bowl of food processor, place butter, flour, icing sugar, cornstarch and vanilla. Process for 30 seconds. Using rubber spatula, scrape down side of bowl. Process another 30 seconds or until smooth. Do not over process dough.

3. Drop level tablespoon (15 mL) amounts onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches (5 cm) apart, about 12 cookies per baking sheet. (Alternatively, place dough in piping bag fitted with 1/2-inch (1 cm) plain or star tip and pipe dough into small circles about 1-1/2 inches (4 cm) across. You can leave a hole in centre of circle or not, as you prefer.) Sprinkle with decorative sugar, if using.

4. Place one baking sheet in top third of oven and other in bottom third. Bake for 15 minutes. Switch baking sheets from top to bottom, rotating them from front to back as well when you switch places. Bake for a further 10 minutes or until slightly coloured. Cool cookies on baking sheets for 2 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool. Allow baking sheets to cool for 10 minutes before baking off rest of dough on same parchment paper.

Use red and green coloured sugars on piped dough to make cookies look like mini Christmas wreaths.

Chocolate Pepper Cookies

This recipe is a chocolate ball that is moist and full of flavor.

Difficulty Level: Easy
Makes: 40 to 50 cookies

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/8 cup sugar
1/4 cup dry Hershey baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (or cayenne for extra zip)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup of any kind of whiskey
1/2 cup crisco shortening (do not use the butter type)
1/2 cup milk (can use whole or skim)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Frosting for chocolate balls
1/2 pound 10 x white powdered sugar
2 tablespoons dry baking cocoa
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Cold coffee about 4 to 5 tablespoons and keep adding til it is smooth. (You are going to dip the cookies and let the frosting drape over the cookie)

Preheat oven to 375F.
Mix flour, sugar cocoa and all spices in a large bowl. Then add whiskey, shortening and milk and mix together.
Add walnuts and roll into small golfball size balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 minutes or until bottoms are a nice light brown. Then cool on racks and frost.

Additional Tips
If the dough is too dry just add more milk in small increments until it is incorporated and the dough is smooth and dough like. Add the walnuts after you get the dough mixed and if the dough is too sticky then just add a small amount of flour.

60’s Indoor S’mores with Homemade Graham Crackers Recipe


Total Time: 1 hr 21 min
Prep: 1 hr
Inactive: 1 min
Cook: 20 min

Yield: 4 servings
Level: Intermediate

12 marshmallows, recipe follows or store bought
8 graham cracker squares, recipe follows
2 milk chocolate bars, the kind that can be broken into squares

Homemade Marshmallows:
4 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons light corn syrup
12 tablespoons sugar
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Graham Crackers courtesy Wayne Harley Brachman, Retro Desserts by Wayne Harley Brachman: William Morrow Publishers, 2000

Homemade Graham Crackers:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup light rye flour ( rye flour can be found in health food stores)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into pea-size bits
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoon molasses
1/4 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Homemade Marshmallows:
Marshmallows: Combine the water, the corn syrup, and the sugar in a saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer. Bring to a boil and boil to “soft-ball” stage, or about 235 degrees F.

Meanwhile, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Sprinkle the gelatin over the 2 tablespoons cold water and let dissolve. When the syrup reaches 235 degrees F, remove it from the heat, add the gelatin, and mix. Pour the syrup into the whipped egg whites. Add the vanilla and continue whipping until stiff and mostly cooled. Transfer to a pastry bag with a large plain tip.

If you’re not making the s’mores right away, just pipe the marshmallow directly onto powdered sugar covered cookie sheets and let set until ready to use, at least 1 hour or overnight. If you’re serving them right away, lay half of the graham crackers on a cookie sheet. Top with chocolate pieces to cover, then pipe “kisses” of marshmallow to cover the chocolate. (If using store-bought marshmallows, place 3 marshmallows on top of the chocolate layer. Leftover homemade marshmallows should be stored in airtight containers.) Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake until the marshmallow is puffed and golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the remaining graham crackers, pressing down slightly to make a sandwich. Serve immediately, while still warm.

Homemade Graham Crackers:
Graham Crackers: In a food processor or the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the cold butter and mix or process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the honey, molasses, water, and vanilla. Mix until the dough comes together in a ball.

Between 2 sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap, roll the dough 1/2-inch thick. Chill for 1 hour, until firm. Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Lightly flour the dough and roll 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife or cookie cutter, cut into 2-inch squares. Arrange the crackers on nonstick or parchment lined cookie sheets. With a fork, prick several holes in each cracker. Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned at the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan.

Yield: 48 crackers

Recipe courtesy Gale Gand’s Just A Bite by Gale Gand and Julia Moskin: Clarkson N. Potter Publishers, 2001.
Sweet Dreams
Retro Roundup
Read more at: Food Network