Archive for the ‘Christmas!’ Category

Raisin Filled Cookies


You didn’t think I’d leave you hanging without at least one new cookie recipe did you? Good.


Well here it is. My dad’s favorite. A soft, cake-y sort of cookie with a nutty raisin filling. Nobody in my little family eats these except me so I have to give most of them to my dad!


Raisin Filled Cookies

Adapted from The Mennonite Community Cookbook

1/2 cup softened butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 t vanilla

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1/2 cup milk

Whole raisins

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well. Mix flour with baking powder, soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, starting and ending with flour. Divide into two discs and wrap in plastic. Chill at least 3 hours.

While it’s chilling, make the raisin filling (below) as it needs to be cooled before assembling the cookies.

When the dough is chilled, roll out one disc to just about 1/8 inch thick (a tad more). Cut out with a circle cutter (I use a 2 1/2 inch) and place 12 on a parchment lined sheet. Continue cutting until you use all of that dough. Wrap scraps back up and chill again. Dollop a teaspoon of raisin filling on top of each circle. Roll out other disc of dough to just under 1/8 inch thick. Cut out circles and lay them on top of the filling. Gently press down the sides. Gently press a raisin into the center of each cookie. Chill scraps again and then roll those out and repeat the process.

Bake at 400F for 9-10 minutes or just til golden on bottom. Browning on the tops means they are overbaked. Cool on wire rack before storing in airtight container. These freeze just fine.

Yield: about 30 3 1/2-inch cookies

Raisin Filling

1 cup ground raisins

1/2 cup water

1 T flour

1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Cook everything together until thick, stirring constantly. Cool.


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These cookies pack quite a bit of citrus punch in each bite. They look like they would be extremely delicate but they had this sort of caramel-y chewiness to them. Not that they tasted like caramel, they just felt a bit like it.

So citrus-y. The bit of orange peel on the tops was perfect. Me thinks, I do, that if you like orange and lemon flavors, you will love these cookies.


A note: I realized upon typing out the recipe that I used baking powder instead of soda. That could be why mine don’t look quite like the picture in the magazine. Or perhaps it’s because I used cane sugar, which has a bit of color to it. It’s not snowy white like regular sugar. At any rate, I’ll still make these cookies again, hence the posting of this recipe.


Citrus Wafer Cookies

Adapted from a Taste of Home recipe

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup cane sugar

1 egg

1 t orange extract

1 t vanilla extract

1 t orange zest

1 t lemon zest

1 cup unbleached flour

5 t cornstarch

1/4 t  baking soda

pinch salt

very thin strips of orange zest

Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg, extracts, and zests and beat well. Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Mix into creamed mixture. Drop by teaspoons onto parchment lined baking sheets. Top with a strip or two of orange zest. Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes or until barely golden.

Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container between sheets of wax paper.

Yield: about 4 or 5 dozen

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Maybe you still have a family gathering to go to? Is there another party on your calendar? These are tasty little balls of wholesome goodness you could take to serve. I pop one in my mouth every time I walk through the kitchen. Brad, on the other hand, wrinkles up his nose at the thought of them. And the kids? They spit them out with great vim and vigor. I have no idea what ails all of them. These things are delicious!

Fruit and Almond Balls

Recipe from my Grandma Miller

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup craisins

1/2 cup pitted dates

1/2 cup pitted prunes

1/2 cup dried apricots

1/2 cup orange juice

1 8-oz jar almond butter

about 3/4 cup almond meal (ground up almonds…you can make your own in a food processor)

Toast the almond meal in a skillet. Stir it frequently until just beginning to brown and smell really delicious. Cool on a plate.

Grind up the dried fruit with a food grinder or food processor. Mix the mush with the orange juice and almond butter. Take a 3/4 to 1 inch ball and roll it in the toasted almond meal. Repeat with remaining fruit mixture. Store in a container between layers of wax paper. I don’t know how long they keep but I’d imagine at least a week.

Yield: I forgot to count…maybe 75 balls?

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Merry Christmas!

May all you lovely people have a wonderful Christmas spent relaxing with your loved ones, eating lots of treats, and remembering why we are celebrating! Enjoy the day!

~Zoe Dawn

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My head has not been in the game this week.

The other evening I decided I wanted to make these peppermint pinwheels. I set some butter near the wood stove to soften. Forgot about it. An hour later, it was completely melted. Oops. I got out more butter. This time I softened it in the microwave. Worked like a charm. Mixed up the dough, rolled out the layers, and rolled them up together. Forgot to read the directions and I rolled them up starting with a short side instead of a long one. Not a big deal, just a bid maddening. Stuck the stick of dough in the fridge. Pulled out my gingerbread house dough and began rolling it out. I started cutting out pieces, baking them, and soon realized I was cutting doors in the roof and I must not have been rolling the dough thin enough because I quickly saw I wasn’t going to have enough dough. The end of one of the houses had to be paper thin. Oops again. I also tried a different method of making trees…baked a slab of dough and then cut out the shapes with the cookie cutter. Big mistake. I got one tree to work successfully. Argh.

The next morning I began to peel the aluminum foil from the backs of the house pieces. Two of  the main pieces broke. WHY?!? Oh my goodness. And then I got my stick of peppermint pinwheel dough out of the fridge to bake them up. I cut into them and saw a large hole down the center of the log. I didn’t roll it tight enough. So now 3/4 of my pinwheels have holes in the middle of them. Then I baked them. Then I bit into one. Then I decided broken gingerbread houses and hole-y pinwheels were okay. And I did a little jig. Tage thought I was funny.

I saved the good ones for you guys

Peppermint Pinwheels

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sprouted whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 drops peppermint oil (1/4 t maybe?)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red liquid food coloring
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla. Combine the flours, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Divide dough in half; add extract and red food coloring to one portion.
  • Roll out each portion of dough between waxed paper into a 16-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Remove waxed paper. Place red rectangle over plain rectangle; roll up tightly jelly-roll style, starting with a long side. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight or until firm.
  • Unwrap the dough and cut into 1/4-in. slices. Place 2 in. apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until set. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Yield: about 4 dozen (if you remember to roll it up on a LONG side)

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Chocolate Drops

I’ll end cookie week with a photo of me and some of my pals at our annual cookie exchange and a recipe for a chock full o’ chocolate cookie.

These cuties are little chocolate bombs. They are dense and chewy, but not in the typical chocolate-chip-cookie-chewy sort of way. I love that they are butter- and flour-free. I made these once when I was young and wrote the recipe down on a card but failed to document where I found the original one. So, I can’t give proper credit where it is due.

Chocolate Drops

2 large egg whites

1 cup sugar

6 T Garnet Dutch cocoa

1 1/2 cups medium-fine ground almonds (6 1/4 ounces)

1/2 t shortening

4 oz chocolate (your choice of sweetness)

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Beat egg whites in a clean bowl with an electric mixer until stiff. Continue beating while slowly pouring in the sugar. Beat until good and thick, a few minutes. Beat in cocoa and then stir in the almonds and mix until well blended. The batter will be very sticky.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon small mounds of the batter (3/4 inch) onto the parchment. Bake them for about 14 minutes. Let cool on sheet for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely.

Combine shortening and chocolate in a double boiler or microwavable bowl. Melt together. Spoon a bit of chocolate on the flat side of a cookie. Top with another cookie. Press together gently and return to the cooling rack to harden. Store in an airtight container. I have not tried freezing these but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

Yield: about 30 tiny sandwich cookies

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The perfect union between crunchy, chewy, and peanut butter. And I used whole wheat flour again because guess what: you can’t tell the difference in these cookies! Try it for yourself to see.

Peanut Blossoms

Adapted from the Pillsbury Best Cookies Cookbook

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup natural peanut butter

2 t vanilla

2 eggs, room temp

1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar, for rolling

80 chocolate kisses (about 13 ounces)

Cream together the butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter. Beat in vanilla and eggs. Stir together the flours, baking soda, and salt. Mix these into the creamed mixture. Roll into 1 1/4 inch balls and roll in the 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for about 9 minutes. While still hot, press a chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheets and cool completely on a wire rack. After chocolate is set, transfer to an airtight container for storage. These freeze well.

Yield: about 6 1/2 dozen 2 1/2 inch cookies

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