Molasses Cookies from the Cookie Bake-Off

In the spirit of holiday generosity, Jacqui brought three different offerings to the cookie party. Here is her molasses cookie recipe. I baked up a batch today. They are simple to make and taste delicious.

Molasses Cookies
makes two dozen

¾ c. shortening, melted
¼ c. molasses
1 c. sugar
1 egg
2 c. flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp salt

Melt shortening in a saucepan over low heat. Let cool. Add sugar, molasses and egg. Mix well. Sift together flour, soda, cloves, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Add this to first mixture. Mix well. Chill. Form into 1 inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar and place on un-greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Thanks Jacqui! This recipe will definitely be added to my holiday baking list.

"Best Classic with a Twist" winner: Meringues

These won the "Best Classic with a Twist" category.
Do you like meringues? These are delicious. They are crisp and chewy at the same time. The chocolate chips add the perfect touch. And how about that secret ingredient!


2 egg whites
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
2/3 c. sugar
3 T. crushed salted soda crackers (about 4 crackers)
2/3 c. semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300F. Beat egg whites til frothy. Add vanilla and cream of tartar. Continue beating while gradually adding sugar. When quite stiff, gently fold in cracker crumbs and chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls on greased cookie sheets. Bake 20 min. Remove immediately from pan. Cool. Store in dry place. Keep batter in fridge while waiting for next batch. Makes 2 1/2 dozen.

Meringue will not stiffen if grease is present. Use glass or metal bowls, do not use plastic.

Anna Marie said: This recipe was from a friend who said it came from "The Children's Friend" a long time ago.

Cranberry Cheese Puffs

I found this recipe in my sister-in-law's neighborhood cookbook. They were a perfect little appetizer for Thanksgiving. Delicious anytime during the holidays.

1 package Pepperidge Farms puff pastry sheets, thawed
16 oz cream cheese, softened and whipped
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce

Roll out puff pastry. Cut into 3" x 3" squares. Press squares into well greased muffin tins. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and fill each pastry cup with a spoonful of cream cheese and top with a dollop of cranberry sauce. Place the pan back in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Heather's Chocolate Mint Cookies, or People's Choice Winner at the First Annual Cookie Party

When I want to get the cyclist home from work early, all I have to do is email him a picture. No, not of me in something risque...but a picture of homemade cookies. You think I am kidding?

This year, we decided to throw a cookie exchange party/contest. We had a great time with family and friends, celebrating the season. We all gathered with delicious cookies. Ballots were cast in the following categories: Prettiest, Tastiest, Best classic, Best classic with a twist, Most unique, and Best bar or brownie (which consequently was won by a Clif Bar).

People really stepped up to the plate. There were some beautiful and mouth watering cookies! The stakes were high and the competition intense. I think I even saw some campaigning.

In all, there were around 25 different homemade treats to try, and every one of them was a culinary delight.

This cookie was made by my sister-in-law. She won for "Tastiest Cookie", and also took the overall grand prize by earning the most votes.

They are really good. Chewy, chocolaty, minty good.


Chocolate Mint Cookies
by Heather

3/4 C. Butter
1 1/2 C. Brown sugar
2 T. Water
12 oz. Bag chocolate chips
2 Eggs
2 3/4 c. Flour
1/2 t. Salt
1 1/4 t. Soda
1 lb. Andes Mints

Melt together butter, brown sugar and water. Add chocolate chips and stir until melted. Let stand 10 minutes to cool. Add remaining ingredients (except mints).
Chill dough at least 1 hour. It gets very sticky, so I put it back in the fridge after I roll each batch.
Roll into balls and place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 9 minutes. Remove from oven and place 1 Andes mint on top of each cookie. Let sit for a couple of minutes. Swirl melted mint on top of cookie with a spoon or knife. (I used a knife)

This recipe makes a lot, about 5 dozen

Stay tuned for more recipes from the party.

Orange Peanut Stir-Fry

My family loves this dish. My first born is anti-vegetable (and quite vocal about the issue), but she gobbles this right down...even the mushrooms. My second LOVES veggies and usually sneaks bites of this off her sister's plates.
The flavor combination in the sauce is fabulous, and it's quite healthy.
I don't know that it is technically a stir-fry, but that's what we've always called it.
You can add any protein you'd like. We usually add Yoshida's Salmon.

Peanut Sauce:
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter* (can use low fat)
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce (can substitute regular)
1/4 cup honey
2 t bottled minced garlic
2 t bottled fresh ginger
1-2 t crushed red pepper flakes (Dustin, remember t=TEAspoon)
zest of one orange (if you don't have a zester or microplane, use the smallest grater you have)
chopped peanuts

about 2 lbs of your favorite vegetables, chopped, sliced, or julienned (think matchsticks)
red onion
red, yellow, orange, or green peppers
snow peas

Cooked noodles (I usually use spaghetti)

Combine sauce ingredients in large saute pan. Cook over low heat until peanut butter melts. Dump veggies in sauce. Stir and cover. Cook until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in cooked noodles. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

*Speaking of peanut butter, I'd like to thank Lindsey for the "spoonful of pb dipped in plain m&m's" tip. My hips, however, don't thank you.