Category Archives: Holiday Recipes

Easter Jelly Bean Cookies

 
I wanted to make Jelly Bean Cookies for Easter and dug in my old standard recipes, trying to decide what to make the base cookie out of. I found this really good basic sugar cookie (not a cut-out cookie) and remembered a wonderful butter cream frosting that would go great on them. I did some jelly bean tasting (now I’m a jelly bean expert) and found Starburst jelly beans had the best flavor – sweet and just barely tart.

You probably noticed the cute green grass the jelly beans are sitting on. I found that in the middle of the Easter stuff at Target and thought it was so cute! It’s edible, but not really that tasty. If you’re wanting cute cookies, go for it! If you want awesome cookies, make the sugar cookie, frost it generously with the butter cream and put the little jelly beans on top, leaving the grass off. You could also dye some shredded coconut green and use that for grass.

Here’s a photo of the different ways I decorated the cookies – sugar cookies with frosting, sugar cookies with jelly beans and no frosting (those were cute, too), and cookies with the frosting, grass and jelly beans. Oh, and some have frosting with just jelly beans on top. I tried to make the ones with just jelly beans look like bunny feet. Awwwww.

I think my favorite are the cookies with the purple jelly beans. The flavor combinations are just perfect. Bret doesn’t like jelly beans (what?), so I made some plain and some with just frosting. These cookies are so cute and perfect to make with the kiddos for Easter, or really any time!

5 from 1 vote
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Easter Jelly Bean Cookies

****Terrific sugar cookie with a dreamy butter cream frosting and sweet dots of jelly beans.  Perfectly Easter!

Servings: 30 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 C (2 sticks) butter softened
  • 1 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Frosting
  • 1 1/2 C powdered sugar sifted
  • 2 1/2 tbsp butter softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 to 2 tbsp milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat.  Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg and mix until well combined.

  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.  Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, into the butter mixture, then add the vanilla.  Mix until combined.

  3. Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a ball and place on the cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Slightly flatten the cookie.  Repeat with the rest of the dough.  Bake for 9-12 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom.  The top will not brown.  Cool cookies on rack completely before frosting

  4. For the frosting, sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl,  Add the softened butter and mix until combined and smooth.  Add the vanilla and stir.  Add the milk, 1 tbsp at a time until the consistency you want (kind of thick).  Frost the cookies generously, then sprinkle with grass (if using) and gently press jelly beans on top into the frosting.

Recipe Notes
Tips and Stuff: Be sure and use a heaping tablespoon of dough - you want these to be larger than usual so you can decorate them. I always put cookie dough in the refrigerator between batches. If you're not going to use the frosting and want to make bunny feet, press the jelly beans gently onto the cookies before baking (4 across the top and 1 sideways on the bottom). If you'd rather use dyed coconut for the grass, it would work, too.

Hot Cross Buns

 
Where did Hot Cross Buns come from anyway? Apparently a 12th century monk got creative one Good Friday and added a cross to the buns he was baking. It kind of caught on and Hot Cross Buns became a tradition all over the world. I hope the monk got a promotion, although I’m guessing that by now he’s in Heaven and that’s quite a bit better than a promotion. Anyway, kudos to the monk and I’m glad he created these delicious Hot Cross Buns.

You can use currants, raisins or even dried cranberries for the added fruit, although the currants are superior because they’re small and are just tangy enough for the barely sweet buns. These little yeast buns came out so soft and fluffy and delicious. I had the piping for the crosses a little too thin and ended up glazing the entire tops of the rolls, but I think that may have made them even better!

This was the very first time I’d ever eaten Hot Cross Buns and I really enjoyed them. I warmed one up with a little pat of butter and it was just wonderful. I can’t wait till breakfast to have another one with morning coffee! Since this recipe makes 12 buns, I’ll freeze some of them. I think they’ll be just as good thawed and warmed up. I highly recommend making these for your Easter morning breakfast or brunch.

5 from 1 vote
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Hot Cross Buns

****Original Recipe from NatashasKitchen.com.  Soft and fluffy buns - great for breakfast.

Servings: 12
Ingredients
  • 1/2 C currants
  • 1 C boiling water
  • 3/4 C warm milk (about 110°) divided
  • 1/2 C plus 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter melted and cooled
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 envelope Active or Rapid Rise Yeast
  • 2 large eggs well beaten
  • 3 1/2 to 4 C unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg well beaten with 1 tsp water
  • 1/2 C powdered sugar mixed with 2 1/2 tsp milk or cream
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine currants with 1 cup of hot water.  Let sit 10 minutes, then drain well, pat dry, and set aside.

  2. In a large measuring cup, combine 1/4 cup warm milk with 1/2 tsp sugar and gently stir in the packet of yeast.  Let sit at room temperature until bubbly and almost doubled in volume (10-15 minutes).

  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup warm milk with 1/2 cup of sugar, the cooled, melted butter and 1/2 tsp salt.  Add the 2 beaten eggs and proofed yeast mixture and mix.  Stir in the ground cinnamon and nutmeg.

  4. Attach the dough hook to the mixer and add flour, 1/2 cup at a time until a soft dough forms (after 3 1/2 cups, start adding 1/4 cup more at a time until the dough is a soft ball).  Knead 8-12 minutes with the mixer until smooth and elastic.  Dough will stick a little to the bowl, but not to your hands.

  5. Add the drained and patted-dry currants and transfer dough to a large buttered bowl, turning it to bring the buttered side up.  Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free room 1 1/2 hours until doubled in volume.

  6. Turned out dough onto a lightly floured counter and cut in half.  Continue cutting dough until you have 12 equally-sized pieces.  Roll the pieces into smooth balls and put into a very buttered 9x13" baking pan or dish.  Cover and let sit in a warm area for 30-45 minutes, until slightly puffed up.

  7. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°.  Generously brush the tops of the risen buns with egg wash and bake for 15-17 minutes until tops are golden brown (or 190° when tested).  Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a rack.

  8. After buns are completely cooled, stir together the powdered sugar and 2 1/2 tsp. milk until thick enough to pipe (not too thin).  Put into a ziplock bag and cut a tip off one of the corners.  Pipe a cross shape over each of the buns (or make more glaze and cover the entire tops of the buns).  Good served warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes
Tips and Stuff: I ended up using about 3 3/4 cups of flour to get the ball to form in the mixer. If kneading by hand, knead for 8-12 minutes until you get a translucent window pane when stretching a small piece. When adding the currants, make sure they're patted dry so it won't make the dough sticky. To add the currants, add a couple of tablespoons at a time and fold in so that they're dispersed evenly through the dough. Make sure the 9x13" pan is buttered very generously so the buns won't stick. If they do stick a little, just gently ply them up with a flexible spatula.

Potato Candy

 
Remember this one?  My mother used to make Potato Candy every year and put it on her three-tier glass stand along with date balls, fudge, molasses cookies and fruitcake.  She probably had fun chasing us three girls around the house after all that sugar, but we sure enjoyed those Christmas sweets!

potato-candy

My Mom’s recipe was “boil Irish potatoes with jackets on, mix with powdered sugar, add a pinch of salt and some vanilla.  Roll out very thin, add a layer of peanut butter and roll up.  Refrigerate till firm, then slice into 1/4″ slices.”  O.K.  On the first try, I nuked two potatoes and started adding powdered sugar…and kept adding and adding and adding.  It never got to doughy consistency, even after over a box of powdered sugar.  Into the garbage it went.

I decided to try again this year and used one-half of one potato.  I started adding powdered sugar by the cup and finally at about 3 1/2 cups, the the dough was formed and I could roll it out and finish the recipe.  I was amazed at how much liquid the potato added to the batter!

potato-candy-many
Making this candy really brought back memories of sneaking into the refrigerator and grabbing a few of these sweet, peanut-buttery candies every time I went by!


Potato Candy
*** Very sweet candy with a peanut butter finish.  Makes 20-25 slices.

1/2 medium baking potato
3 1/2 C. powdered sugar (may need more)
1 C. peanut butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt

Microwave the potato until soft.  Mix the potato and one cup of the powdered sugar in a medium bowl till smooth.  Add vanilla and salt. Continue adding powdered sugar until it forms a dough consistency that you can pick up (leave it slightly sticky).  Put a little powdered sugar on your counter and knead the dough until proper consistency for rolling.  Add powdered sugar as needed.  Roll out the dough into a 1/4″ thick square and spread the peanut butter evenly.  Roll the dough into a log and cover with saran wrap.  Put in the refrigerator for at least one hour, then cut into 1/4″ slices.  Keep refrigerated when not serving.

Tips and Stuff
You can always use more potato, but remember it takes a ton of powdered sugar per potato!
You can use smooth or crunchy peanut butter. I like to use smooth as it rolls up more easily.
The slices are thin, but the candy is very sweet and doesn’t need to be sliced any thicker.

Caramel and Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows

 
These Caramel and Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows are so clever.  I love all of the components – caramel, chocolate, marshmallows, and you eat them with a stick like a decadent marshmallow pop!  What could better?
caramel-and-chocolate-dipped-marshmallows-3-many
They’re easy to make, but take a little patience dipping the caramel, letting it set, then dipping into the melted chocolate and rolling in whatever floats your boat (my boat was floated by red, white and green nonpareils).  They would be good rolled in chopped pecans, almonds, or even crushed peppermint.  It’s a wonderful two-bite dessert that you’ll love.
caramel-and-chocolate-dipped-marshmallows2
I wished I’d known about this little recipe years ago.  I definitely would have been making them for all kinds of occasions.  They’re easy to grab and go, so are perfect for parties.  I loved the crisp chocolate, gooey caramel and soft marshmallow combination, and the nonpareils gave it a little crunch.  Oh, so good and a little bit addictive.
caramel-and-chocolate-dipped-marshmallows


Caramel and Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows
****Outstanding little two-bite sized dessert. Will make again and again.

1 bag large marshmallows
1 large bag (16 oz.) caramels
2 tbsp. evaporated milk or half-and-half
1 bag chocolate coating disks (or package of dipping chocolate of your choice)
6″ pop sticks

Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper and lightly spray with Pam or a light layer of room temperature butter. Wipe off excess.

Put a pop stick straight down into each marshmallow.  Melt caramel with milk over a double boiler and roll each marshmallow in it.  Place each caramel covered marshmallow on the waxed paper.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes (or in the freezer for about 15 minutes).

Melt the dipping chocolate either in a large bowl in the microwave or over the double boiler.  Dip and roll each marshmallow completely in the chocolate.  Before the chocolate on the marshmallows sets, roll in your choice of coating and place on the waxed paper to set.  Let harden at room temperature.  May be stored at room temperature.

Tips and Stuff
I tipped the caramel pan to the side while I was rolling the marshmallows in the caramel.  It was easier than dipping straight down into the pan. I did the same with the chocolate.
Don’t forget to grease the waxed paper or the caramel will stick badly to it.  Next time I might try it directly on a greased cookie sheet and skip the waxed paper.
Enjoy – these are wonderful!

Oatmeal Lace Cookies

 
Years ago, my sister gave me a gift of lace cookies from Holland.  I’ve never forgotten how good they were and finally found a recipe that tastes just like those I had so long ago.  These Oatmeal Lace Cookies are incredible!  A little crispy, a little chewy, and a layer of chocolate in the middle of it all.  They’re buttery and irresistible.
oatmeal-lace-cookies1
Even though the ingredients are simple and it only takes a few minutes to put together, it makes so many cookies that there’s a time investment putting them on the cookie sheets, peeling them off after cooled and then slathering that good chocolate between them. But oh, the return! They’re delicate in a way, but are also rich and substantial. If you can’t tell, I really love these cookies.
oatmeal-lace-cookies2


Oatmeal Lace Cookies
**** Outstanding cookies. Makes 70 to 80 2 1/2″ rounds (about 40 when sandwiched with chocolate – highly recommended!)

1 C. butter
2 1/4 C.light brown sugar, packed
2 1/4 C. oatmeal
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Heat butter and brown sugar together in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until smooth (until you don’t have the sugary feel under the spoon; 3-5 minutes). Stir in the oats, flour, salt, egg*, and vanilla.

Drop cookie batter onto the baking sheets by scant teaspoons about 2 1/2″ apart (cookies will spread a lot). Bake for 5-6 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Cool them on the baking sheets while you’re baking the next batch, then remove to cooling rack.

After completely cooled, match up like-sized cookies. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds, stir, then continue at 10 second increments, stirring each time until melted and smooth. Spoon about 1 tsp. of the melted chocolate on one side of the matched cookies and lightly press together with the other one. Let cool on racks until set. Store in a pan with waxed paper between layers so the cookies don’t stick together. (update: do not freeze well. When thawed they got soggy, so eat when fresh)

Tips and Stuff
Don’t over bake these – if they’re dark brown, they’re burnt and not so tasty.
They look incredibly thin after baked, but they’ll come up fine off of the parchment paper if you give them enough time to cool.
*When adding the egg to the hot mixture, stir in quickly and thoroughly so it doesn’t scramble.
Experiment with the first pan – these really do spread a lot and will mush if set too close together.