Category Archives: Recipes

Spicy Cocoa Cookies

I love the combination of chocolate, heat and crisp and these spicy cocoa cookies are the perfect encounter of all three. They are vegan so feel free to test the spice content as you go. Go easy if you can’t take the heat! This is my go to party cookie recipe and it never fails that at least one person asks for the recipe. They keep well, if they last in your house that long, and travel well. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!


Spicy Cocoa Cookies
(recipe adapted from Honest Fare)

These cookies are much easier to make in the dead of winter in a cold kitchen, but the refrigerator makes baking them in the summer possible.

Ingredients for cookies:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup maple syrup (I use pure, cinnamon infused maple syrup with great results)
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp vanilla soy or almond milk
1 2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Ingredients for sugar topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the sugar topping ingredients together on a small plate and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, syrup, extract and milk until all is incorporated.

Sift in remaining ingredients into the wet mixture (I don’t actually own a sifter, I use a large mesh strainer that works perfectly) and stir together carefully until you have a workable dough.

Remove any rings that might get dirty and roll about a tablespoon of dough into a round ball. Drop ball onto sugar topping and gently pat down until you have a 2 inch disc. (If you are working in a warm kitchen, place the dough into the fridge for 10-15 minutes to give it a bit of stability before rolling.)

Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet, sugar side up, two inches apart and bake for 9-11 minutes. The tops should have a cracked surface. Remove from oven and let sit on hot baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 30 delicious cookies. Enjoy!


Pear & Nutella Tart

I have a super quick dessert idea for you, a Pear & Nutella Tart. You need only four ingredients: a pear, Nutella, a pie crust and one egg! (It is not beautiful, but it is tasty!)

iPhone | Instagram

iPhone | Instagram

Roll out the pie crust, top with about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of Nutella (be sure to leave a crust edge of about 3/4 – 1 inch) and top with a thinly sliced pear. Fold the edges of the crust up over the pears and Nutella. Make an egg wash by beating one egg with one Tbs of water and brush on the crust edges.  Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.  Enjoy!

If you would like you can sprinkle the pears with a bit of sugar before baking.

Almond Macarons with Strawberry-Blueberry Jam

The title of this post should be Macarons: the fussy cookie because they are the most difficult thing I have ever baked! Macarons have a simple ingredient list: almond flour, egg whites, powered sugar, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. The execution of the making and baking of the macarons is the tricky part, not the ingredients. I think that I have gotten the read on macarons but I still have plenty of room for improvement. The strawberry-blueberry jam recipe is at the end of the post. Even if you have no interest in macarons, I encourage you to make the jam.  It is excellent on toast, pb&j, over ice cream, etc!

This was my second attempt at macarons. The first attempt failed when I let the meringue go about 45 seconds to long and it failed…miserably.

iPhone | Instagram

iPhone | Instagram

I read every post that BraveTart wrote on the subject and followed her recipe to the T. While I still have some learning to do, the second batch of macarons had some success stories while others were flat, cracked, hollow or just did not look right. I had about two dozen macaron shells that looked like macarons so I filled them with strawberry-blueberry jam.

The strawberry-blueberry jam is a freezer jam recipe from my mother and it is by far my favorite jam. I keep my freezer stocked with it at all times. The base jam recipe is below. For the cookies, I thawed the jam and mixed one tsp cornstarch with one tsp water and added it to the jam in a small pot. I heated the jam, stirring constantly, until the jam was very thick. This allowed the jam to “set” in between the cookies. After the jam cooled completely, I spooned it onto a macaron shell and added a second shell on top.

A tip: Store the macarons in an airtight container in the fridge. While you can eat them right away, they have the best texture after 24 hours.

Strawberry-Blueberry Freezer Jam
Recipe from my Mom

Makes 6 cups of jam

1 1/2 cups crushed fresh strawberries
1 cup crushed fresh blueberries
4 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1 package Sure-Jell Fruit Pectin
6 one cup freezer safe jelly jars or containers, rinsed in boiling water & dried completely (I use the Ball Plastic Freezer Containers.)

Mix fruit together in a large bowl and stir in all of the sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix water and pectin together in a small saucepan. On high heat, stir constantly while bringing the mixture to a boil. Cook for one minute, still stirring.  Add the pectin and water to the fruit mixture and stir for three minutes. (A few sugar crystals may still be present.) Immediately, fill all containers leaving 1/2 inch of head space (leave 1/2 inch of room at the top of the jar). Wipe off the top and edges of the containers and cover with lids. Leave the containers to stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Transfer to freezer or refrigerate for three months. If frozen, allow to thaw in the fridge before using.


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