Almond Spice Cookies with Anise Frosting

These cookies are the answer to my love of Jingles cookies, but my dislike of crunchy cookies. I made an almond-gingerbread hybrid dough. The almond paste gives the cookie a nice chew and the ginger/molasses gives the cookie a hint of spice. A light anise buttercream frosting finishes these off with my favorite taste of the holidays.

Almond Spice Cookies with Anise Frosting

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Rosemary Sea Salt Blondies

I have a special place in my heart for all of my baked-good creations, but this one has an extra large piece of it. Blondies are my kind of dessert. I like brownies, but I really have to be in the mood for that much chocolate. Blondies are always delicious. They are like a thick, chewy cookie in bar form. Add a little savory rosemary and sea salt and you have a more sophisticated version, one that belongs in your holiday cookie tins.

Rosemary Sea Salt Blondies

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Baking for Friends: Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

It was difficult for me to pick a recipe to share with you from Kathleen King’s Baking for Friends. This book is chock-full of baking recipes. from cookies to scones to cakes, made by King, the owner of Tate’s Bake Shop in the Hamptons.

I decided on these muffins because I adore lemon-poppy seed muffins, but have never made them myself, and have not eaten one in years. They were every bit as tasty as I remembered. Moist, tart, sweet and awesome. Here they are for you to try as well.

PS – Tate’s is offering our readers $5 off an autographed copy of Baking for Friends. Just enter the code BAKEOFF at checkout.

Tate’s Bake Shop Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

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My One-Item Christmas Gift Guide

Christmas is coming, which means that it’s time for many of my favorite blogs, especially the food ones, to give me their annual list of suggestions for the foodies in my life (see here and here, for example).  Now, I enjoy reading what other people like as much as the next guy, but the problem with lists like these, for me,  is twofold.  Uno, the things are often super-specific. I can already tell you that my mom will not like tea that tastes like pine trees, or even sounds like it might taste like pine trees.  Two, the gifts on these lists tend to offend my delicately frugal sensibilities ($24 for 12 oz. of olive oil?  Seriously? In my dreams.)

And so, ESers, I bring you the only food gift you need this holiday season: the classic cast iron skillet.  Here are five reasons why it makes the perfect gift:

1. Everyone needs one, whether they know it or not, and if they already have one, they probably need it in another size.  (Come on, so cute!)

2. It’s perfect for a tight budget.  They are a good value to begin with, and I find them often at thrift stores where, after simple re-seasoning, they are at least as good as new.

3. Not only functional, if you hang it on the wall, it makes you look like you know what you are doing in the kitchen.  Just be sure to use wall anchors.

4. It offers endless cooking adventures.  My new fav: cake baking (see photo above and recipe below).

5.  Even for the non-cook,  cast iron skillets always come in handy:

Skillet Apple Cake

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Honeyed Almond Blackberry Pinenut Tart

You know, I consider myself to be a pretty lucky lady. Not win-the-lottery lucky, but my life is pretty good. Maybe it’s the holidays making me soft, but I’m really feeling my luck lately. I’m lucky in love. I’m lucky to have a job that I enjoy, I’m lucky that my children are healthy (even if they are terribly mischievous), and I’m lucky that I get to share my recipes with all of you. One of the perks of the latter is getting to try new and different products in my recipes. I received a sample set of honey from bee raw honey, and I couldn’t wait to try it out. The first thing I made was one of these tarts. I made one again the next day, and one the day after that. It has been thoroughly tested, and deliciousness is guaranteed. You’ll feel pretty lucky too, after you eat one.

Honeyed Almond Blackberry Pinenut Tart

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Shortcut Gingerbread Beignets

Howdy!  So, how’s everyone coming with those holiday gifts and such? I am being a big giant procrastinator this year, for sure!  I usually make gifts for peeps because 1) I like to get my craft on and 2) I’m super cheap.  That didn’t sound right.  I’m frugal.  Better word choice.. Anyways, I’ve only bought about 25% of my list (eek!) and haven’t made a darn thing yet.  Not panicking, not panicking…breathe.

OK, so seeing as how I have a lot on my proverbial plate, I don’t have a lot of time to make a yeast dough with rise time and blah blah blah. Clearly,  I don’t even have time to construct proper sentences.

So here’s a quickie recipe to brighten your holidays!

Shortcut Gingerbread Beignets

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EPIC Thanksgiving Dessert: Pecan Pie Brownies with Sweet Potato Casserole Topping

I’m sure you all saw the EPIC Thanksgiving meat monstrosity from last week.  Well to top that off, I made this dessert.  I wanted to share it with you guys just in time for Thanksgiving.

I’m just going to warn you.  It is super easy to make and waaaay too delicious.  So, if you are not into those things, you might want to skip this recipe.

Oh, yeah.  There’s also some candied bacon on it, too.

Pecan Pie Brownies with Sweet Potato Casserole Topping

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