No Bake Oatmeal Cookies

December 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Desserts


These cookies are also called Top of the Stove Cookies. They can be a little tricky to make, but they are excellent when done correctly.
These cookies make a great Christmas Cookie. If you like making cookie baskets for presents,
I highly recommend that you add this cookie to your bundle.


2 quart Saucepan
Mixing bowl
wooden spoon
1 Cup Measure
1/2 Cup Measure
Tablespoon Measure
Teaspoon Measure
Wax Paper
2 regular silverware spoons
a timer. (Digital is preferred)

Oatmeal cookies with a touch of unsweetened co...

No bake oatmeal cookie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4 Tablespoons Bakers Cocoa
2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup Butter or Margarine
3 cups Oatmeal (1 Minute Oatmeal is fine, Quaker Rolled Oats is Preferred)
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Flavoring

***Before you do anything. Place 2 sheets of wax paper down on a table.***

1. Take the mixing bowl and combine Oatmeal, Peanut Butter, and Vanilla Flavoring. Set Aside.

2. Take the Large Saucepan and mix the sugar, Cocoa, Butter, Milk, and a dash of salt into it.

3. Place the saucepan with the ingredients on the stove and heat the mixture on high heat. Stir until the butter has completely melted.

4. Allow mixture to come to a boil that cannot be stirred down. (This Is Important!).  Time the mixture at a rolling boil for 1 minute! No Longer!

5. Remove from heat and stir in the oatmeal, peanut butter and vanilla from the bowl.

6. Once mixed in, the mixture will feel a bit stiff. QUICKLY spoon out into 1 teaspoon size dollops onto the wax paper.

7. Let cool until firm

This recipe takes precise timing and speed. If it comes out gooey, you started timing the 1 minute too soon. If it comes out really crumbly, you started the 1 minute too late, or you weren’t quick enough on spooning it out onto the wax paper. When done properly, the cookies will be firm and chocolaty.

Add 1 cap full of almond flavoring for an Almond Joy experience.
Replace Regular cocoa for Dark Chocolate Cocoa for deeper dark chocolate flavor.
Use crunchy peanut butter in place of creamy for different texture
For a more gooey cookie, reduce boiling time by 10 seconds.

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Candied Orange Peel Recipe, A Traditional Southern Favorite

December 3, 2013 by  
Filed under Desserts

By Diane Watkins

Candied Orange Peel is a traditional Southern favorite.  Generations of cooks have created many recipes to use all of the available food- including the peelings.  Luckily for us, as the peel is one of the most flavorful parts of the orange.

Boiling the peel three times removes the bitter flavor from the peel.  If you have scraped ALL of the white away in step 1, you can skip the repeated boilings, as the bitterness comes from the white pith.  I choose to boil the peels once, then scrape the pith away with a spoon and boil again.  The boiling softens the pith and makes it easy to remove, but the peel is more fragile at this stage, so be careful not to tear it.

Candied orange peel, shot in Syracuse, Sicily....

Candied orange peel, shot in Syracuse, Sicily. Picture by Giovanni Dall’Orto, October 17, 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This candy is delicious served alone.  But try it used as a garnish on chocolate puddings or mousse, or chopped fine and used as a flavoring accent.  I like to add a little chopped orange peel to my tea ball before brewing for a nice orange flavored tea.

This recipe can be used with other citrus peel as well.  Consider using grapefruit, tangerine, lemon, lime, tangelos, or any mixture of these.


Candied Orange Peel

Peel of 5 oranges
3 Tablespoons light corn syrup
3 cusp sugar
1  cup water

  1. Quarter and peel the oranges.  Scrape all of the white pith from the peel and discard.  Cut the remaining peel into thin strips.
  2. Place the orange peel into a saucepan and cover well with water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  Drain and repeat two more times.
  3. In a heavy saucepan, bring 2 ½ cups sugar, corn syrup and 1 cup water to a boil over low heat.  Stir until sugar is dissolved, then cook for 20 minutes.  Periodically wash down any sugar crystals that may form on the side of the saucepan with a wet brush or a fork covered with a wet towel.
  4. Add peel to syrup and simmer for 15 minutes more.  Stir to prevent sticking.  Syrup should be mostly absorbed by the peel.  Be careful to avoid burning.
  5. Line a large tray or cookie sheet with wax paper or parchment paper.
  6. Remove peel from syrup and drain, roll in remaining sugar and place onto lined cookie sheet.  Leave peel to dry overnight, then store in an airtight container.
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Gingerbread Houses – Step-by-Step

December 1, 2013 by  
Filed under Desserts, Holidays, How To

by Alison Anton

There’s no better way to spark up the holiday cheer than to create a gingerbread house with the whole family. My mom, brother and I made these every year that I can remember as a child. My mom would make the dough from her old authentic German recipe handed down from her mom’s mom, and we’d cut out the patterns, assemble the house, frost it and adorn it from top to bottom.

Things have changed a little bit since then… I adapted the dough so that it is easier to work with, and I always make sure to use all-natural ingredients and candies that have no high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils or food colorings. I also incorporate dried fruits, nuts and seeds (a phenomenon that would not have occurred in the home-designs of the 70’s). Goji berries and banana chips were definitely the favorites this year!

Since the icing has to hold all the candies in place throughout the weeks before Christmas, it uses about one ton of powdered sugar that allows the icing to get rock-hard within about 30-45 minutes of being exposed to the air. I generally do not recommend powdered sugar since it is goes through such a vigorous refinement process, but for such a specific purpose, I just don’t see any way around it.

Plan to set aside at least 3 hours for making your gingerbread houses, from start to finish. The dough and frosting can be made several days in advance (see storage techniques below). The dough or baked cookies can be frozen for several months until ready to use.


Enjoy and have a very merry Christmas!

RECIPE: Gingerbread Houses – Baking, Assembling and Decorating
Yield: 1 large house (House A) OR 2 medium houses (House B) and 1 small house (House C)

This recipe makes a crisp cookie that can withstand the test of being frosted, adorned with candies and oogled over for weeks during the holiday season. The extra dough can be rolled and cut out into ginger people, but know that the cookies will be a touch harder than a typical gingerbread cookie.
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups organic soft brown sugar
1 cup light organic sugar
1/4 cup molasses or sorghum syrup
4 eggs
4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon allspice
1/2 cup light organic sugar

Gingerbread house ready to be assembled. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MAKING THE DOUGH: Blend the butter with the sugars and molasses in an electric mixer on medium speed until light and creamy (put the molasses into the mixer before turning it on or you will have molasses everywhere but in the dough). Add in the eggs and blend another 1-2 minutes.
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and gradually add them into the mixer, scraping down the sides until incorporated. The dough will be slightly crumbly.

Remove the dough to a large bowl or a flat work surface. Bring the dough together with your hands, working it until the dough forms a smooth mass that holds together easily. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate at least 30-60 minutes before rolling.

ROLLING: Divide the dough into five pieces. Roll each piece out on a flat, floured work surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out the patterns for the house using the templates. Work quickly, as the dough is easier to cut and shape while it is still cool. Using a pastry or pizza spatula, carefully lift the pieces onto sheet pans lined with a baking liner or parchment paper (or double up two sheet pans) to keep the cookies from burning.

BAKING: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake 10 minutes, until golden, rotating the cookies halfway through baking. Cool on the pan for 1-2 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack to cool completely before assembling.

SUGAR GLUE: Heat the 1/2 cup sugar in a medium sauté pan over medium heat until it bubbles and turns a very dark brown, 8-12 minutes.

ASSEMBLING: Have ready a sturdy surface on which to place your house (inverted sheet pan, wooden or plastic cutting board, sturdy cake board, etc.)

Prepare the sugar glue, keeping it on low heat while working so that it doesn’t harden up.

Have ready a house side panel and a front or back panel. Place them together to get an idea of how they will fit. Dip the edges that will come together into the sugar glue and very quickly hold them together, assembling them at the proper angle. It should hold within 10-20 seconds. Adhere the back panel and the other side panel in the same fashion.

To assemble the roof, very quickly drizzle the sugar glue onto the top edges of one side of the house. Place one of the roof cutouts on top of the house, letting it adhere to the glue. Repeat for the other roof cutout. Drizzle glue along the top of the roof where the two panels come together.

Assemble the chimney by dipping the edges of the pieces into the glue and holding them to the roof. Assemble the door, leaving it slightly ajar. You can do the same for window panels, if desired.

Royal Icing
Yield: for 1 large house (House A) OR 2 medium houses (House B) and 1 small house (House C)
This icing gets rock-hard in order to keep the candies on top of the house and to hold throughout the weeks before Christmas. If you plan to decorate a snow-drifted yard with your house, make a double batch of the icing. This recipe uses raw egg whites, but if you are hesitant, they can be substituted with meringue powder for the same affect (use recipe from any packaged meringue powder).
3 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 pound organic powdered sugar, sifted or whirled in a food processor

Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar until the frosting stands in firm peaks and is stiff enough to hold a sharp line when cut through with a knife.

STORAGE: Place a piece of plastic wrap over the frosting so that the plastic is in direct contact with the frosting. Wrap the bowl in plastic and store refrigerated for up to 2 days.
While working, keep the bowl of frosting covered with a damp towel to keep it from drying out. Once spread onto the house and exposed to the air, it will harden up within 15-25 minutes. Decorate one panel at a time and work quickly!

Decorating Ideas:
Nuts and seeds
Dried fruits
Chocolate dipped dried fruits
Candied ginger slices
Banana chips
Pretzel fences
Panda brand red licorice
Shredded coconut for icicles and frosty trees
Ice cream cone trees

About the Author:

I am a Certified Nutritional Chef, food writer and culinary instructor through Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in Northern California. I teach cooking and nutrition classes through the Whole Foods Market Salud Cooking School and write a monthly eLetter, also entitled Whole Gourmet Natural Cooking, to a wide audience.

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Freezing Cookies and Cookie Dough

November 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Desserts, How To

By Rachel Paxton

If you’re looking ahead to the holiday season and wondering how you’re going to get all your baking done, consider freezing your cookie dough or fresh baked cookies ahead of time. When the holidays get closer you can get that last bit of shopping done or last present made instead of spending all your time in the kitchen.


A ball of chocolate chip cookie dough ready fo...

A ball of chocolate chip cookie dough ready for baking. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cookie dough will freeze well for 4 to 6 weeks. Rolls of dough should be sealed tightly in plastic wrap (chill in refrigerator first before freezing). Other kinds of dough should be stored in airtight containers. Drop cookies (unbaked) may be frozen on cookie sheets and transferred to freezer bags. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking.

Don’t try to freeze soft meringue-type cookie dough. Chocolate chip, brownies, peanut butter, and sugar cookie dough (or anything similar) freezes well. Let the dough defrost in the refrigerator (about 2-3 hours). Make sure to label the container with the date and type of cookie dough.


Almost any baked cookie freezes well. Let cookies completely cool before freezing. Wrap cookies individually in plastic wrap then store them in a ziploc freezer bag or storage tin (coffee cans or holiday tins work great). You can also just layer the cookies between layers of waxed paper in the container, but the individually wrapped ones will store longer.

Freeze frosted cookies uncovered first until they are firm. Then pack them in airtight container lined with plastic wrap or foil. Make sure to label the container with the date and type of cookies. Unfrosted cookies can be frozen up to 6-12 months (frosted, about 3 months). Frozen cookies thaw in about 10 minutes at room temperature (if you can wait that long). If cookies should be crisp when thawed, remove them from the container before thawing.


1 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter
2 eggs
3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 c. molasses

In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter. Add eggs. Stir in flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Add molasses, stirring well. Refrigerate dough for an hour or two to chill. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in a little sugar and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.


1 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 c. flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and eggs. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Refrigerate dough for an hour or two to chill. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Peanut Butter Crackles

1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. peanut butter
Chocolate kisses or stars

Mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix together butter, peanut butter, and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and press chocolate kisses firmly into cookie.

About the Author: Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom. For more recipes, organizing tips, home decorating, crafts, holiday hints, and more, visit Creative Homemaking at


Related Posts:

Preventing Burned Cookies: Never Burn the Bottoms of Your Cookies Again

Easy Cookie Recipes: One Recipe with Many Variations

Christmas Cookie Decorating 101

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Hummingbird Cake

November 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Desserts

A Victorian cake recipe that is truly exceptional. The perfect cake to take to gatherings…it’s easy, freezes well, serves many, and it doesn’t actually contain any hummingbirds!

Hummingbird Cake Recipe

Hummingbird Cake baked in tube pan. Photo

Hummingbird Cake baked in tube pan. Photo


3 cups All-purpose flour
2 cups Sugar
1 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 8oz Can crushed pinapple with juice
1 cup Cooking oil
3 large Eggs well beaten
2 cups Bananas (3 bananas) chopped
1 cup Walnuts or pecans finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1 tblspoon Butter or margarine melted
1 cup Sifted powdered sugar
Reserved pineapple juice


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease a 10″ tube or a fluted tube pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Remove 2 Tablespoons of juice from the can of pinapple. Set this juice aside for the glaze.
  4. To the flour mixture, add the can of pinapple, the oil, eggs, banana, nuts, and vanilla. Stir until just blended. Do not beat.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the 325 degree oven for about 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack and remove the pan from the cake. Cool completely.

To make the glaze:

In a small bowl combine the melted butter or margarine with the powdered sugar. Add enough of the reserved pineapple juice to make a glaze thin enough to drizzle over cake. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake. For a glaze with a whole new dimension, try substituting rum for the pineapple juice.

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My Best Sweet Potato Pie Recipes

November 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Desserts

Sweet Potatoes are a staple in the south. We use them as a vegetable, as a starch, or as a dessert. Any way you cook them, they are GOOD! Here are three mouthwatering recipes for southern style sweet potato pies: traditional southern sweet potato pie, bourbon sweet potato pie and coconut sweet potato pie. If you are looking for puddings, souffles,..etc. check under side dishes or vegetables.

Sweet potato pie is similar to pumpkin, only better!

a slice of sweet potato pie

a slice of sweet potato pie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Southern Sweet Potato Pie With a Kick

1 cup mashed cooked sweet potatoes
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 teaspoons bourbon or whiskey
sprinkle of nutmeg
1 unbaked pie shell
2 egg whites
4 Tablespoons superfine sugar


  1. Peel and mash potatoes, add butter while still hot.
  2. Beat eggs and sugar until light. Mix into sweet potatoes.
  3. Add milk, lemon extract, and bourbon.
  4. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
  5. Cover with meringue (see below) and put back into oven just until peaks are brown.

Meringue: Beat 2 egg whites until soft peaks form, SLOWLY add 4 Tablespoons of superfine sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Pile onto pie and seal to pie shell by bringing the meringue up to and touching the shell.

Coconut Sweet Potato Pie

5 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups milk
1 medium sweet potato, cooked
1/4 cup butter
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
dash salt
1/4 cup of coconut


  1. Mash sweet potato while hot and add butter and salt.
  2. Beat eggs. Add sugar and beat again.Add milk.
  3. Blend eggs and sweet potato, add vanilla and lemon extracts. Add coconut and pour into pie shells.
  4. Bake at 375 -400 until center is set and pie is lightly browned.

Down South Sweet Potato Pie

2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cup half and half
3 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1-10 inch or 2-8 inch deep dish pie shells, unbaked

2 cups sour cream
¼ cup confectioners sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla

  1. Combine pie ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.
  2. Pour into pastry shell.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour for 10 inch or 50 minutes for 8 inch pies or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool
  5. Mix Topping ingredients and serve with pie.
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Apple Fritters Recipe

May 31, 2013 by  
Filed under Desserts

This is a quick and easy apple fritter recipe. You need to get those apples cut into thin slices so that they cook quickly. Yes, I know it is fried, but they don’t soak up much oil and you don’t serve these everyday anyway. [Read the rest of this entry…]

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Baked Apple Slices

May 31, 2013 by  
Filed under Desserts, Vegetables

Baked Apple Slices

These are so simple for weeknight meals. Start them first and throw into the oven while everything else cooks. No fuss. [Read the rest of this entry…]

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Easy Peach Cobbler

May 24, 2013 by  
Filed under Desserts

This is my favorite Peach Cobbler because it is so simple to make. You could use any fruit- cherries, blackberries, canned fruit cocktail is good. The finished cobbler is very moist.peachcobbler

1 large can of peaches or any fruit or sugar sweetened fresh fruit
1 cup self rising flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
½ stick butter or margarine

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put the ½ stick of butter into a shallow baking dish. Place into oven for butter to melt. When butter has melted remove from oven and swirl pan so that all of the pan bottom and sides are covered.
  3. Mix the flour, sugar, and milk together in a large bowl until mostly smooth, there will be a few lumps, that is ok.
  4. Pour the batter into the butter in the baking dish. Do not stir. The butter will pool a little in the corners.
  5. Spoon the fruit and its juice into the batter. Try to spread the peaches evenly over the batter, but do not stir.
  6. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes until lightly browned. The batter will rise and cover the fruit.
  7. Serve hot or cooled.
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Easy Elegant Baked Bananas

May 23, 2013 by  
Filed under Desserts

English: Baked Bananas.

Baked Bananas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5 to 6 ripe large bananas
1/2 stick butter or margarine
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup blackberry brandy (or other liquor)
1 tsp cinnamon
grated fresh nutmeg
whipped cream or ice cream (optional)

1. In a 9 inch square pan placed peeled whole bananas side by side.
2. Melt butter or margarine and pour over bananas.
3. Sprinkle with the sugars and cinnamon. Pour on the brandy.
4. Bake in a 350F oven until tender about 20 to 30 minutes.
5. Place bananas in individual dishes, grate fresh nutmeg over and pour over some of the sauce from the pan.
6. Serve with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

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