From My Kitchen: Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Cookies

I was so excited to receive this new cookie magazine from my sister recently. We, along with our mom, aunts, and female cousins, love to bake and we love cookies, which are great interests to share with the women in my family.

BHG Cookies Magazine

I adore gingerbread cookies, and these turned out quite good, so I’m happy to share the recipe with you today.

gingerbread cookies


1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground baking soda

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup molasses

1 egg

2 cups all-purpose flower

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips, or chopped pieces

The recipe also called for 1/2 cup dried tart red cherries, which I left out because I thought that might be too many flavors going on in one cookie.


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, baking soda, ginger, allspice, and salt; beat until combined.

3. Beat in molasses and egg until combined.

4. Beat in as much of the flower as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour and chocolate.

5. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake about 8-9 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Transfer to wire racks; cool.

Makes about 36 cookies. They are quite tasty on a bowl of vanilla bean ice cream. Enjoy!

From My Kitchen: Monster Cookies

I love having fresh-baked cookies in the house, more so than any other dessert. I don’t know where I got this recipe for Monster Cookies, but it makes what I think is the perfect cookie, soft and chewy.

Monster Cookies

1 package chocolate chip cookie mix

1 package peanut butter cookie mix

1-1/2 cups quick-cooking oats (I use Quaker oats)

1 cup butter, softened

3 eggs

2 cups MnMs

Stir all ingredients but the MnMs until a dough forms. Stir in the MnMs.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12-13 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Cool for two minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack.

This recipe makes so many cookies, it filled up three containers!

I know that sounds great, but for a household of two people, that is a boat-load of cookies to eat. I will probably have my husband take some to work to share with his coworkers. Er, maybe, I’ll just put some in the freezer for a later day.

Just Call Me Cookie Monster

We already ran out of cookies from our family Cookie Day, so I had to make more.

First, I made these chocolate crinkle cookies, which are mouth-watering. They are exactly the way Nichole described them, crunchy on the outside and like a brownie on the inside.

Next, I made sugar cookies because they are Dave’s favorite. They are my least favorite holiday cookie, so to be totally honest with you, I didn’t feel like doing cut-outs!

Finally, I made a batch of my favorite cookies – gingerbread people. Notice, I took the time to make these into cut-outs – LOL!

There were some characters in the pan, like the one on the left below, whose eye fell out, but luckily he caught it. Must have had too many cocktails at the holiday party. Or the one on the right below with the hairy chest, winking at you!

Then, our neighbors showed up with their annual Christmas box full of layers of the most adorable and beautifully decorated cut-out cookies!

As you can tell, we LOVE cookies in our house. I hope these last a little longer than the previous cookie stash!

Cookie Day

Every year since I can remember, my family has gotten together to celebrate Christmas with our annual Cookie Day. UPDATE: I added the recipes to my Favorite Recipes tab above.

(Chunky Triple Chocolate Cookies)

We pick a day around Thanksgiving when we all get together, cousins, aunts and uncles, for a marathon of cookie baking. Well, okay, the guys go out for lunch and watch a lot of football. But some of them help with the baking and decorating. It has been a great tradition for all these years.

(English Toffee)

One year we made over 20 different varieties! Our recipe book has grown into a 3-ring binder. This year, I think the family made 12 different varieties.

(Peanut Butter Blossoms)

When I was a kid, my mom used to keep the cookies in the freezer so we wouldn’t eat all of them before Christmas arrived. We snuck them out of the freezer anyway! Imagine her surprise when she wanted to set out a plate of cookies for a party. (seriously, I’m sure she knew about our shenanigans all along!)

(Chocolate Mint Sandwiches – recipe pending)

I think I might have a couple left, but they are definitely not going to last until Christmas!

A Productive Saturday

I love productive Saturdays. Of course, it helps me stay focused when it’s cloudy and rainy outside.

While Dave raked leaves, I painted a few extras sets of checkers for some new checkerboard sets in my shop. I sold a few sets last year during the holiday season, so I wanted to restock for my upcoming craft show and the gift-giving season.

I like to mix up the king side with crown stamps for some sets and leaf stamps for other sets, which go along with my Patchwork Trails brand.

Then I was feeling motivated to make a batch of pumpkin cookies, the melt-in-your-mouth kind!

EDIT: here is the recipe for the pumpkin cookies, if you’re interested:

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 can pumpkin

1 egg

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Vanilla baking chips (as many as you want)

Milk chocolate baking chips (I used minis)

1 container cream cheese frosting

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease baking sheets.

2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin and eggs; beat until smooth.

3. Add flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and baking soda. Beat until well blended.

4. Stir in baking chips.

5. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.

6. Bake for 12-16 minutes. Cool for one minute on cookie sheet, then remove to cooling racks.

7. Spread frosting on warm cookies.

– – – – –

To keep all that domestic momentum going, we enjoyed chicken pot pie for dinner.

We started with a recipe from the Midwest Living magazine, December issue, which called for puff pastry sheets on the top but we also added a layer of pie crust to the bottom. It was divine!

EDIT: here’s the Pot Pie recipe, if you’re interested:

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

3 cups cooked, diced chicken or turkey

3 cups frozen mixed vegetables

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup flour

2 cups chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons herbs (parsley, thyme and/or oregano)

1/2 package of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheet (1 sheet), thawed

1 pie crust

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Whisk egg and water in small bowl.

3. Heat butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and broth, stirring until mixture thickens. Add chicken and vegetables. Pour into pie crust.

4. Unfold pastry sheet and place over filling. Press pastry to rim to seal. Brush pastry with egg mixture and sprinkle with herbs.

5. Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

– – – – –

I’m off to my sewing room now to play. Hope you had a productive day too!

Friday Night Baking

What do you do for excitement on Friday night? I like to bake. Yes, baking on a Friday night.

My most favorite dessert of all time is cookies, especially chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. I know, I’m a simple gal.

I have tried a lot of cookie recipes, yet I still keep going back to the recipes on the back of the Toll House package or the Quaker Oats container.

Dave prefers milk chocolate chips, but I’m a semi-sweet chocolate chip lover. How about you?

They bake to perfection – chewy, just the way I like them. How about you?

They stay fresh (and chewy) in our cookie jar for as long as there are any left. Such a great feeling to have homebaked cookies in the house! Now I’m ready to start my weekend.

Good Recipes Make Me Happy Today

We had a couple family get-togethers over the weekend, so I didn’t have much time for sewing. Darn it! At least I was able to make time for baking and cooking. I found this recipe for monster cookies while perusing through the Better Crocker app on my iPhone.

They are super easy because of the ingredients. Check this out:

1 pouch chocolate chip cookie mix

1 pouch peanut butter cookie mix

1-1/2 cups quick-cooking oats

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

3 eggs

2 cups candy-coated milk chocolate candies (I used mini MnMs)

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In large bowl, stir all ingredients except candies until soft dough forms. Stir in candies.

2. On ungreased cookie sheets, place about 1/4 cupfuls dough about 3 inches apart. I used an ice cream scooper, so they are as big as the palm of my hand!

3. Bake 12-13 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet. Remove and cool completely on wire racks.

They turned out soft and chewy, which is just how I like my cookies. Plus the recipe is super duper easy!

* * * * * * * *

We tried this new recipe for Taco Bake, which I found in the Better Homes and Gardens magazine from 2008. We don’t eat casseroles too often in our house, but this one was so delicious (and easy) that I had to recommend it!

I changed the original recipe, which called for making a batter with yeast. I didn’t feel like dealing with that so I used the recipe on the back of the corn meal cannister.


1 pound ground chuck (leaner than ground beef)

1 package taco seasoning

1/3 cup water

Brown ground chuck. Add taco seasoning and water, and mix well.


1-1/4 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup Quaker Enriched corn meal

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1 cup skim milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 egg whites or 1 egg

Combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil and egg, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened.


1 cup chunky salsa

1 cup shredded cheese

1 cup corn chips, partially crushed

MIX batter ingredients together and pour into greased pie plate.

TOP batter with taco meat filling. Pour salsa evenly over meat; sprinkle with shredded cheese and corn chips.

BAKE at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

I was looking forward all day to having leftovers on this Monday night! Since both of these recipes turned out so good and did I mention easy, I suppose that makes up for my lack of time to work on sewing projects over the weekend. But I am already looking forward to next weekend when Dave has agreed to do some of the cooking so I can do some sewing!

Our First Annual Holiday Party

We hosted our first annual holiday party on Sunday to start off the week in style.  We had over TWENTY people in our house, which felt warm and festive.  Normally, it’s just the two of us hanging out in our sweatpants with our cats roaming around in peace.

cranberry decorations

We have lived in our house for 3-1/2 years now and don’t really know our neighbors very well, so that was the initial reason for hosting a party. Most of my family and some of Dave’s family and some mutual friends came too.  It was so fun having all these people in the kitchen and family room, talking, drinking beer or wine, snacking, and simply enjoying each other’s company.  I didn’t have time to take pictures of any people, just the decorations and food platters!

snack plate

I spent most of Friday night and Saturday cooking and baking, which was definitely worth it because there wasn’t much food left.  The meatballs were the biggest hit, then the deviled eggs, crab cakes, cheese and sausage, and cookies.  I made chocolate crinkles featured on I Have To Say, molasses cookies from BHG, and white-chocolate cherry shortbread from BHG.

cookie platter

There was a row of shoes by the front door, and our closet was bursting with coats.  It was amazing that so many people showed up because the wind chill was MINUS 25!  We felt very blessed to be able to open our house to family and neighbors… and even look forward to hosting another party again soon.

Yummy Pumpkin Drops

Sunday night turned out to be a baking night, after we returned from a weekend in Chicago at the Lights Festival. I needed birthday treats to bring to work and to a meeting later this week, but I just couldn’t bring myself to contribute store-bought cookies. I tried a new cookie recipe, these pumpkin drops, which turned out delicious!

Pumpkin Drop Cookies

Cookie Cookbook

Here is the recipe from this book. I changed a couple things in the recipe – I made half a batch because six dozen seemed too many, and I baked them for 13 minutes instead of 16 minutes, which turned out perfectly.

2 cups butter, softened

2 cups sugar

1 can pumpkin

2 eggs

4 cups flour

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 bag vanilla chips

1 container cream cheese frosting

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookie sheets.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin and eggs; beat till smooth. Add flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and soda; beat just until well blended. Stir in chips.

Drop by spoonfuls about 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake about 16 minutes or until bottoms are brown.

Combine frosting and brown sugar. Spread on warm cookies.