Christmas Cookies: Mom’s Best

To say that I overindulged over the holidays might be an understatement.  Just a few chocolates, cake, and cookies.  The other week I attempted Nutmeg Logs.  My mom does a better job with them, I’ll admit.  I  just got back from Ellington and had to share a few from the recipe box of Judy.

The Judy version of the Nutmeg Logs, with the right amount of extract and the right kind of sprinkles:

My favorite, the Brownie Mound:

My sister came through with the Peanut Butter Blossoms:

My mom’s favorite, the Crackled Sugar Cookie:

And the crowd pleaser, the Oatmeal Chocolate:


Christmas Cookies: Nutmeg Logs

Back in October, the cookie swap sounded like a good idea!  I love to bake, why not?  It seems so much different 2 days before when I have a full day of activities Sunday and the cookies need baked an frosted.  I gave up on the chocolate dipped shortbread after I couldn’t find peppermint extract or rice flour.  So pulled out the recipe book and went to the Nutmeg Logs from mom.

My first issue was when I was about 2 steps into the recipe and decided I didn’t just double, but tripled (and maybe more) the rum extract.  Doubling the recipe and picking up the tablespoon instead of the teaspoon might have been the cause.  But I went with it.  There was just no going back, I wasn’t about to start over.

After rolling and cutting for 3 hours.  And then some cooling, they got frosted and dusted with nutmeg.  Which is not the real recipe.  But my little grocery around the corner didn’t have sprinkles.  No red and green, no rainbow.  Not even any of that red colored sugar.  And I couldn’t go down the chocolate sprinkle route.  So I gave up and got creative.  Oh, I forgot to mention I think I doubled the extract in the frosting, too!  This actually caused me to wake up at 4 am wondering if they would be ok, or too rum tasting.  But it was too late, and they were going to the swap no matter what.

So, after a few modifications we had nutmeg logs.  Which I bagged and tied before the 6 am train out to Princeton.  I was told that the cookie vessel was also important.  Don’t forget the vessel (and I didn’t, care of the Container Store).  I actually sampled them and they reminded me of eggnog.

And I realize now what a saint my mom is.  She’s made us a bunch of cookies every year, never fail.  Brownie mounds, the almond ones, the anise ones, molasses, spice, sugar, peanut butter kisses, peanut butter oatmeal, new ones over the years.  Thank you mom!

Blueberry Blueberry Muffins!

Ahhh, a lovely three day weekend and it’s finally cool enough to fire up the oven!  My parents go to Maine every June and always bring me back something.  As my mom knows I love to bake, she delivered a Jordan’s blueberry muffin mix.  And since I am home tomorrow morning and can enjoy a more leisurely breakfast….


I’ve been fortunate enough to have quite a few $1/pint blueberries so threw a few extra in for good measure.  And breakfast is ready!

Million Dollar Cookies

A few weeks ago, my friend Emmie was here for the NY Food and Wine festival. She was so sweet to bring a gift with her! Granted, I’m not sure my couch for the evening warranted a gift.

I have to admit, I love seeing these and think they are perfect for gifting. So cute, perfect for the home, and extra perfect for a baker.

The jar didn’t last long, as last Saturday seemed like a perfect baking day. Rainy and cool outside. How can you say no to cookies on a day like this? You would think this is virtually fool proof but realized after combining the butter and the egg to cream, that I was supposed to cream the butter then add the egg. I thought it would good enough and would still work, despite being a little runny.

And they did. Slightly crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. Someone already sampled!

And then ready to eat:
I have not mastered the art of food pictures. Either there is too much flash or not enough (like here), so thoughts are appreciated!

Just a short post after a busy week. I’m still settling in at my new job and trying to manage the commuting logistics (or at least stay sane during Lincoln Tunnel traffic). I see some baking in my future, but not sure what yet. M’s mom sent us her pumpkin chocolate chip loaf, so that is a perfect weekend treat. I was able to get the recipe, but haven’t made it yet myself. Somehow I don’t think it’s going to be the same.

Zucchini Bread

I wish I had a picture. I see so many great blogs with recipes and food pictures that are to die for. I do what I can with my iphone and 5 year old point and shoot, and I know it’s time for an upgrade.

So I desperately wanted to take a picture of this oh so yummy zucchini bread. The cake part was crumbly and moist with chunks of raisins and walnuts. Oh, so yummy! I actually let it rest for a day before cutting in, and I find it’s even better the second day.

Instead, I’m going to just provide the recipe and hope you’ll enjoy. I called my mom for this one since it’s the one I love most and think she’s been making it for 20+ years. I think it’s the crushed pineapple that adds some sweetness and makes the texture just right.

I love the way my mom gives me instructions for actually combining ingredients. They are simple (as you’ll see). My mom doesn’t typically “alternate” ingredients and everything she makes is wonderful. Granted, she was also reading it to me over the phone and I was writing down on the other end.

This is also my chance to mention my new Vanilla from Penzy’s spices. Since I anticipate doing more baking this fall (if I bake in the summer, my 500 sq foot apartment becomes a large oven), I am upgrading my spices and flavorings. Penzy’s is great, though there are only a few stores that I’ve seen. I’m addicted to the cinnamon there, the telecherry for our pepper, and the crushed red pepper.

Zucchini Bread
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups grated zucchini (use the juice that comes from grating) = 1 very large zucchini
1 cup crushed pineapple (well drained) = 2 of those smaller cans
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 cup chopped nuts
  1. Beat eggs. Add sugar. Add vanilla and oil.
  2. Add dry ingredients, alternating with zucchini.
  3. Stir in pineapple, raisins and nuts.
Bake in two 9×5 loaf pans at 350 for 1 hour.

Side note: I actually did 1 loaf pan that I filled with about 2/3 of the batter and baked 45 minutes. I hate my oven but tested the temp with a thermometer. I would recommend testing it with a cake tester to check doneness. I still don’t believe my oven.

I used the rest of the batter to make muffins which I baked separately.

M loved the muffins. I think he thought it might be very zucchini tasting. Of course, he also asked for chocolate in them. I do love to put chocolate chips in anything, but for this recipe, I had to stick with the nuts/raisins/no chocolate chips combo.