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Category Archives: cookies

Molasses Sugar Cookies

Molasses Sugar Cookies

This 1950s recipe is one my mom made and has become my favorite cookie. It took me awhile to get the technique down and the recipe correct.

The thing to remember is that it’s a crisp cookie. If you make the cookie too large they will not be crisp. Use a ruler and roll the cookies into balls no bigger than 1 inch diameter. This will make a 2 inch cookie which is perfect for 2 or 3 bites of crisp gingery spicy cookie.

The spices you use makes a difference too. Use fresh spices for the best flavor! Have fun with this ginger snap like flavorful and aromatic cookie!

A couple things you need to know ahead of time. You’ll need 1/4 cup molasses. This is NOT dark corn syrup. Molasses is very flavorful and the brand I use is Grandma’s Molasses. Mostly because I can usually find it at most grocery stores

Also I like a lot of spice. If you don’t then add less spice. The original recipe is 1/2 teaspoon cloves, 1/2 teaspoon ginger and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

Dry Ingredients Waiting to be Whisked Together
Roll 1 inch balls of chilled dough between your hands and then roll in a small bowl of sugar
Space the balls on parchment about 2 inches apart
Bake them for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees. They will puff up and then flatten while in the oven
Cool the cookies on the baking sheets 10 minutes. Then place them on cooling racks


3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup molasses

1 egg

2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 heaping teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 heaping teaspoon ground ginger

1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

Extra sugar for rolling cookies


  1. Place melted butter in a stand mixer bowl
  2. Add sugar, molasses and egg
  3. Beat well until light and fluffy
  4. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cloves, ginger, cinnamon and salt
  5. Add dry ingredients to molasses mixture and mix until just combined. Don’t over beat
  6. Chill dough several hours or overnight
  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  8. Place some sugar in a small bowl
  9. Take a small teaspoon of dough and roll into a ball between your hands. Balls should measure just under 1 inch
  10. Roll the balls into the sugar. I do about 6 at a time in about 1/2 cup or so of sugar
  11. Place balls on baking sheets covered with parchment. Bake about 7-12 minutes, depending if they are less than 1 inch across or more than 1 inch. You will see the cookies puff up and rise. Wait till they collapse flat before you take them out of the oven!!!
  12. Cool on the baking sheet 10 minutes. Then transfer cookies to cooling racks till completely cold
  13. This recipe makes about 90 cookies
  14. Voila!
Also called Ginger Snaps!

Strawberry Jam

Traditional thick style strawberry jam

I’ve made many different recipes of strawberry jam over the years. This classic recipe fits the bill for thick and spreadable and not runny or sour.

Jam flavor is always dependent on the flavor and quality of your strawberries. Also if it’s rained a lot the berries will be more watery. Choose small berries that are perfectly ripe. Taste them before you buy them too!

This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen. No powdered pectin is added to thicken the jam. Since apples contain lots of natural pectin, grated Granny Smitb apple is the thickener.

Bottled lemon juice is added because it has a more consistent acidity than fresh lemons. I have used fresh lemon which adds a real sour flavor.

To also insure the jam is the right thickness, the jam simmers until it reaches 217 degrees F. I love my Thermapen MK4 to get quick accurate reads!

All these techniques work to make a sweet flavorful thick jam

Preserving the jam is worthwhile. I boil my jars in a huge pot of water. After the jam is added I cover the jars with boiled lids. Then I place the covered jars of jam in the same large pot of boiling water for 5 minutes. It’s not hard. But it takes planning and helps preserve your jam so you can give it as gifts for Christmas!

Over the 4th I topped Crust brand Oatmeal Blueberry Walnut Bread with Strawberry Jam
Mash strawberries with a potato masher
Mashed strawberries, sugar, grated apple and lemon juice


  • 3 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in 1/2 inch pieces (10 cups)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled and grated Granny Smith apple (about 1 large apple) Use the large holes of a box grater to grate
  • 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice


  1. Fill an 8 quart or larger pot 3/4 full with water. Bring to a boil. Place six 8 ounce jars in the water and let simmer until ready to fill with jam.
  2. In a medium saucepan place 6 rings and lids. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer
  3. In a 5-6 quart pot add strawberries. Mash them with a potato masher
  4. Add apple, sugar, lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a low simmer
  5. After about 20 minutes of low simmering and stirring, check the jam temperature. Cook until it reaches 217 degrees F
  6. Remove jam from heat. Remove jars from water and place on a towel Fill jars using a soup ladle and a wide funnel
  7. Wipe off the jar rims. Place a jam jar flat top and ring that has been simmering in water on each jar
  8. To process the jam jars place a kitchen towel in the bottom of the large pot of water.
  9. Add the 6 jars. Make sure water covers jars by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Then simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool on a towel or a rack.
  10. Voila! You’re done!
I don’t double the recipe. But I do make 2 batches of jam. First I make one batch and then I make another
Fresh strawberries and jam over heavy cream!

Chocolate Salami

Sliced Chocolate Salami ready to eat!

My new favorite cookie! No baking needed and it’s full of antioxidants! It looks like an Italian salami but it’s made with chocolate, chewy dried cherries, crunchy pistachios and plain cookies.

My Italian friend Giovanna Nebuloni from Milan Italy first introduced Chocolate Salami to me. She called it Salame di Cioccolato. Her recipe was much different than this, but the concept is the same. Pieces of cookie chunks resembling salami fat in a dark chocolate cookie, rolled in a light colored ingredient resembling the white powdery dusting of benign mold.

This recipe is adapted from America’s Test Kitchen cookbook The Perfect Cookie. I soaked the chopped dried cherries in whiskey instead of Grand Mariner. Also I think more lady fingers are needed. It’s a forgiving recipe, so you can easily add more cookie crumbs. I kept it at 3/4 cup cookie crumbs, but 1 cup would work too. I used Stella D’oro Margherite cookies because they are dried ladyfingers and taste yummy, but vanilla wafers or savoiardi would work too, or any biscuit like cookie.

Here’s all your ingredients plus a little powdered sugar
Melt chocolate and heavy cream in microwave
Slice ladyfingers into 1/4 inch chunks
Process some of the cookie pieces into crumbs
Mix crumbs into melted chocolate
Sir in the pistachios, cherries and cookie pieces
Divide cookie dough in half
Place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Roll into 6-7 inch logs. Twist ends
After chilling, roll in powdered sugar and slice.


1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped coarse

2 tablespoons whiskey, bourbon or Grand Marnier

6-8 ounces dried lady fingers (Stella D’oro Margherite cookies)

1 cup/6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup heavy cream

Pinch or more salt

2/3 cup pistachios, toasted

1/2 cup confectioners sugar


1. In a small bowl combine cherries and whiskey. Microwave 30 seconds. Cool

2. Slice lady fingers into 1/4 inch pieces with a bread knife. Reserve 1 cup of the biggest chunks. Process the remaining lady fingers so you have 3/4 cup crumbs or a bit more

3. In a medium bowl microwave chocolate and heavy cream just until melted and smooth, about 30 seconds or so.

4. Add salt and ladyfinger crumbs to chocolate and mix well.

5. Add cherry mixture, pistachios and ladyfinger chunks. Stir until a thick dough forms.

6. Divide dough in half and place each piece on a sheet of plastic wrap.

7. Use the plastic to roll each piece into a 6-7 inch log. Twist the ends tight. Refrigerate about 3 hours until firm, but check them to re-roll and insure their shape during that time.

8. When ready to serve, place confectioners sugar in a shallow dish. Unwrap the logs and roll until well coated. Cut into 1/2 inch slices. Serve chilled.


Mrs. Field’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are said to be the secret recipe of the Mrs. Field’s Cookie Company. My friend Lisa Williams gave the recipe to me in 1988. It’s been our favorite chocolate chip cookie ever since! I’ve added a bit more salt and I usually omit the walnuts. My cookies are also smaller than Mrs. Field’s huge 4 inch cookies. I make 7 dozen cookies from this recipe.

All my ingredients, ready to go!

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • In a mixer cream together:

1/2 pound softened butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed 

  • Add:

2 large eggs

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

  • In a medium size bowl whisk together:

3 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt

  • Add flour mix to the butter mixture.
  • Mix only just until barely combined. Don’t beat the dough or the cookies won’t be tender.
  • Add and mix only a few seconds:

12 oz chocolate chips or chocolate chunks (I prefer Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate)

1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

  • Drop by a teaspoon on a baking sheet with at least 2 inches apart.

  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-9 minutes. Don’t over bake! They will crisp up when cooling.
  • Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
  • Remove from baking sheet when slightly cooled, after about 4 minutes, and place on cooling racks until crisp and firm.


Rhubarb Jam with Cayenne & Strawberry Jam

I have two recipes on this post. Rhubarb Jam and Strawberry Jam. You can find the Strawberry Jam recipe after the Rhubarb Jam.  The key to both recipes is to use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the Jam. Once it reaches 210 -218 degrees F the sugar will break down and cause the Jam to set and become thickened enough to be considered Jam. 

It’s a soft set Jam. Not a Jello like thick Jam you purchase at the grocery store. This soft set works as a topping over ice cream and cakes too!

Rhubarb comes in many varieties. My neighbor Ruth Clark has “strawberry rhubarb” plants which have more red color towards the interior of the stalks of rhubarb. Plus the strawberry variety retains its red color. Isn’t it pretty?

Here I spread my rhubarb jam on buttered toast and sprinkled it with flaked sea salt. I served it with a fried egg. The egg yolk was broken and melted with cheddar cheese. Then I sprinkled it with smoked paprika and flaked sea salt.

I’ve made many different jam recipes. Now I always use a candy thermometer! I cooked the jam to 210 degrees F. It turns out perfect every time! It took about 30 minutes of cooking.

4 pounds trimmed rhubarb, cut in small pieces

4 cups sugar

1 lemon, cut in half, and juiced and include the seeds which have lots of pectin to thicken the jam!

1 and 1/2 cups water

1/8 teaspoon or so cayenne pepper is optional. Combine it with the water for easy mixing if you want.

  • In a large bowl combine the rhubarb, sugar, lemon halves, juice and seeds, and water. Let sit 1 hour at room temperature 

  • Pour this colorful mix into a large cooking pot and bring it to a boil over medium high heat. Stir almost constantly to prevent sticking. Add the cayenne if you like a little kick!
  • After 15 minutes lower to a slower boil at medium heat. Boil another 15 minutes and use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature. Stir frequently! When it reaches 210 F, remove from the heat. Check my video to see what a slower boil looks like.

Here is the rhubarb jam simmering:

Here is the strawberry jam simmering:

My method of canning is to use boiling hot jars, boiling hot utensils and then process the filled jars for 5 minutes. Here’s how I do it.

  • In a large pot of boiling water place your 8 – 8 ounce canning jars for at least 5 minutes. Keep them in the hot water until you are ready to fill them.
  • In a small pan of hot, but not boiling water place your 8 canning lids.
  • Use utensils that have been boiled at least 5 minutes
  •  Use a funnel to fill the jars
  • Wipe off any spilled jam from jars with a clean paper towel
  • Cover with hot lids
  • In a large pot of boiling water place a kitchen towel to cover the bottom and help keep jars stable
  • Place 6-8 jars in the pot, making sure water covers lids by 2 inches
  • Boil 5-10 minutes
  • Remove from boiling water and cool on your counters.

  • Voila! This takes a day to set and it won’t be as thick as your store bought jam. 😉
  • I adapted this recipe from
  • I follow this same procedure for strawberry jam. Except I don’t add water or let the mix sit at room temp an hour before cooking. The quantities needed are:  

8-10 cups or 4 quarts strawberries, washed, dried, stemmed and crushed to measure 6 cups

6 cups sugar

1 lemon, halved, juiced, seeded with seeds included

Optional is to add about 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper for a kick!

Cantuccini, the Classic Almond Biscotti


“All Italian cookies are called biscotti, but these are what we think of as classic biscotti. Twice baked cookies, these are first baked in a log shape, then sliced and baked again until they are dry and very crunchy. They are meant to be dunked in coffee, tea, wine, Vin Santo (an Italian dessert wine) or what ever you like.” Nick Malgieri from Baking With Julia.

Biscotti refers to twice baked biscuits. “Bi” means two. Cantuccini are the classic almond biscuits that are baked twice.

2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups unbleached almonds

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

    In a large bowl whisk together dry ingredients
    Stir in almonds 
    In a small bowl whisk together eggs and vanilla
    4. Add the eggs to the flour mixture and combine thoroughly  with a spatula or large spoon.
    5. The dough will seem dry, but it will come together as it is kneaded. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead 1-2 minutes. Fold it over and turn it a quarter turn, then fold it again. Keep enough flour on your surface to prevent the dough from sticking to it. But don’t add too much flour which will make the dough too crumbly. Repeat for 1-2 minutes only.


    6. Use a bread knife to cut the dough in 2  

    7. Roll and shape into 2 logs about 12 inches long, 2 inches wide and 1 inch high.

    8.Flatten them and place on baking pans covered in parchment 

    9. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool on racks until cool, about an hour. Don’t let sit much more than this or they become too hard to slice evenly.

    10. Slice with a serrated knife on an angle about 1/4 inch wide.

    11. Place cookies cut side down on parchment covered baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool on the pans.

    12. These are done, but you can take it a step further. Brush one end with dark melted chocolate and then sprinkle with gold dust or black pepper or cayenne pepper or coarse salt! 

    Date Nut Balls

    This is a mid century cookie my Aunt Olga made for us. It’s one of my favs and requires no baking! Only a little stove top simmering! I usually double this recipe

    I bought the “holiday” Rice Krispies this time! My preference is plain Rice Krispies


    1 egg

    1 stick butter

    1 cup brown sugar

    8 oz dates, pitted and chopped

    2 cups Rice Krispies

    1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

    1 cup granulated sugar for rolling


    1. In a small bowl beat 1 egg till thick and lemony

    2. In a medium saucepan melt butter
    3. Whisk in dark brown sugar 

    4. Add beaten egg and beat again with an electric hand beater until thick and combined

    5. Stir in 8 ounces chopped dates. Bring to a boil. Then simmer 4-8 minutes or until thick, whisking or stirring often.

    6. Cool 5-10 minutes

    7. In a large bowl combine:
    2 cups Rice Krispies
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts

    8. Add date mixture to Rice Krispie mix and stir with a large spoon

    9. Form into small balls and roll in granulated sugar. I like one or two bite size cookies. Place balls on a wax paper covered tray to completely cool and harden




    Rugelach/Aunt Marie’s Cheese Horns


    Rugelach / Cheese Horns Rugelach / Cheese Horns

    Aunt Marie (Korzin Winiarski) was my mom’s older sister. Mom had 5 brothers and 5 sisters. She was also the middle child. I won’t analyze that. My grandmother did not make many desserts, but her daughters learned to.

    Aunt Marie was a wonderful baker. At our large family gatherings she was known for these cookies we called Cheese Horns. The dough is not sweet and is made with cottage cheese. It wasn’t till recent years that I learned these were a form of Rugelach, a rolled cookie made with cream cheese or cottage cheese and filled with a variety of sugar, nuts and dried fruits or poppy seed paste, jam or chocolate. It is a Jewish Eastern European cookie which means little twist or little corners. I’ve seen much more complex recipes than this one. Mine is easy and pretty and not exceptionally sweet.

    Rugelach, ready to go! Rugelach, ready to go!


    1 cup butter, softened

    8 ounces cottage cheese

    2 cups flour

    1/4-1/2 cup melted butter

    1/2-1 cup brown sugar

    1/2-1 cup chopped pecans

    1/2-1 cup chopped dried cherries, optional

    Cinnamon, optional

    1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water


    Rugelach Dough Rugelach Dough


    1. Preheat oven to 400 F

    2. In a mixer beat butter till fluffy. Add cottage cheese and mix till combined

    3. Mix in flour. Chill until ready to use

    4. Prepare work space with flour or a floured pastry cloth

    5. Divide pastry into 3-4 rounds, depending on how small you want to make the cookies. More rounds for smaller cookies.

    Rugelach Dough Round Rugelach Dough Round
    6. Place a round of dough on a floured surface. I use a Foley brand pastry cloth and frame and a rolling pin covered with a knit cover and flour.
    Foley pastry cloth, covered rolling pin, covered with sifted flour Foley pastry cloth, covered rolling pin, covered with sifted flour
    7. Roll into a thin round about 10 inches across.

    rugelach28. Brush entire surface with melted butter

    • Sprinkle with dark brown sugar
    • Sprinkle with chopped pecans and cherries
    • Sprinkle with cinnamon
    Melted butter, brown sugar & chopped pecans Melted butter, brown sugar & chopped pecans
    Cut into pie shaped segments Cut into pie shaped segments
    9. Using a small knife, cut across the dough in half. Cut into 12-16 segments.
    Roll Rugelach into horn shapes Roll Rugelach into horn shapes
    10. Roll up each cookie, starting at the wider end.
    • Place small end down on a parchment covered baking sheet.
    • Brush entire surface with a mixture of 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water.
    Brush Rugelach with egg yolk wash Brush Rugelach with egg yolk wash

    11. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until just turning lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.

    12. I often double this recipe. When brushing on the egg wash make sure you start with a fresh egg and water half way through brushing the 2 batches of cookies


    Carrie Quirconi Teglia’s Almond Biscotti

    Almond biscotti brushed with dark chocolate and dusted with gold

    Almond biscotti brushed with dark chocolate and dusted with gold




    Almond Bisocotti

    Carrie Teglia was a friend to my mom. They worked together as fur finishers in downtown Chicago at all the upscale fur salons.  Bermans, Evans, Bonwit Teller, I. Magnin’s. They shared much, including recipes. Carrie was from Florence, Italy. I imagine this is an authentic recipe from that region. I have adapted it by brushing one end of the baked cookie with dark chocolate and then dusting with gold.

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • In a large mixer, whisk together until lemony color:

    7 large eggs

    Lemony Eggs

    Lemony Eggs

    • Whisk in

    1 and 1/2 cups vegetable oil

    Pinch of salt

    • In a medium bowl combine with a clean hand whisk:

    5 cups flour

    1 1/2 cups sugar

    2 teaspoons baking powder

    Dry ingredients whisked together

    Dry ingredients whisked together

    • Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture with the mixer whisk
    • Add the following to the batter until combined:

    3 tablespoons anisette or other licorice liquor

    3 tablespoons whiskey or bourbon

    1/2 cup or more finely chopped blanched almonds

    Finely chopped almonds

    Finely chopped almonds

    Almond biscotti batter

    Almond biscotti batter

    • Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
    • Pour the batter into 4 long logs onto the parchment.

    Poured batter with uneven edges

    Poured batter with uneven edges

    • Use a bread knife to form even edges to the logs. This is a very wet batter.

    Even edges with bread knife

    Even edges with bread knife

    • Brush entire area of logs with a slightly beaten egg white.

    Brush with lightly beaten egg white

    Brush with lightly beaten egg white

    • Bake 20 minutes or until light brown.

    Baked loaves of biscotti

    Baked loaves of biscotti


    • Slice in 1/2 inch sections while warm. For larger cookies cut on an angle.

    Straight slices cut with a serrated knife

    Straight slices cut with a serrated knife

    Angled cuts for longer cookies

    Angled cuts for longer cookies

    • Place cookies on their sides. Bake each side 10 minutes or until lightly browned or as desired.

    Toasted Biscotti

    Toasting the Biscotti

    • When cool, melt dark chocolate. Use a brush to paint one end. Place on clean parchment.
    • Using a toothpick and gold dust, tap the side of the toothpick to dust the chocolate as soon as it is brushed with chocolate.

    Brush with melted chocolate and dust with gold

    Brush with melted chocolate and dust with gold

    Cool and dry thoroughly on parchment. Store in air tight containers.

    Makes about 5 dozen.


    Lisa Singer Williams’ Bourbon Balls

    Lisa Singer Williams’ Bourbon Balls

    Bourbon Balls are a No Bake Cookie!

    Bourbon Balls are a No Bake Cookie!

    Thank you Lisa!

    Thank you Lisa!

    A Mid-Century Recipe using Karo syrup

    A Mid-Century Recipe using Karo syrup

    These are a true bourbon cookie my friend Lisa Williams shared with me. My first taste of a bourbon cookie was in college at a Christmas party my choir director hosted. Shocking! Bourbon served at a Lutheran college professor’s home! They are so easy and my favorite Christmas cookie of 2014. Combine dry ingredients. Combine liquid ingredients. Mix together. Shape into balls. Roll in confectioners powdered sugar. Voila!

    In a large bowl combine:

    1- 12 oz. box vanilla wafers, crushed (about 3 cups)

    2 cups finely chopped pecans

    1 cup confections powdered sugar

    1/4 cup cocoa powder

    vanilla wafer crumbs, chopped pecans, cocoa, confectioners sugar, cocoa

    vanilla wafer crumbs, chopped pecans, cocoa, confectioners sugar, cocoa

    In a small bowl combine:

    3 tablespoons dark or light Karo corn syrup

    1/2 cup bourbon

    bourbon and Karo syrup

    bourbon and Karo syrup

    • Add bourbon mix to the vanilla wafer mix and stir well. This should be moist. If not, add more bourbon.

    Moist mixture

    Moist mixture

    • Form into bite size balls and toss in a small bowl of confectioners powdered sugar. Roll to cover thoroughly.

    Roll bourbon balls in plenty of confectioners sugar

    Roll bourbon balls in plenty of confectioners sugar

    • Place on a flat cookie sheet to meld flavors and dry out a bit.
    • Makes about 4 dozen