Cranberry Granola

Last month I spent a wonderful morning with a couple of dear friends making granola.  As the snow fell outside we chatted and learned a new recipe.  I liked it so much that I stopped at the store on my way home so I could make a couple more batches before my kids got home from school!  I’ve made it several times since then, and it’s become a new favorite.

Cranberry Granola 6 cups old fashioned oats 1 cup sliced almonds 1 cup pecan pieces 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut 1 cup frozen cranberry concentrate (check labels to get 100% juice and find the one that has the most cranberry juice in it. I could only find blends but they’ve worked fine) 1 cup brown sugar (packed) 1 Tablespoon cinnamon 1 cup dried cranberries In a large mixing bowl combine oats, almonds, pecans and coconut.  Set aside.  In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup cranberry concentrate, brown sugar and cinnamon.  *Don’t mix the concentrate with water – just scoop it straight from the container into your pan. Heat to a simmer to fully dissolve sugar.  Pour over oats mixture and stir until evenly coated with the juice mixture.

Cover 11×17 cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Spread granola evenly over pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir in cranberries.  Return to oven for 8-10 minutes or until granola begins to look golden brown.

{Your kitchen will smell heavenly while it bakes.}

Cool on cooling rack and transfer to airtight container.

My kids love to snack on it plain or eat it with milk.  My favorite way to eat it is with a scoop of plain greek yogurt and fresh berries.

Coffee Cake Cookies

I wish I’d kept count of how many years my friend Marilynn has been hosting her annual cookie exchange.  Over the years it’s become a holiday tradition for everyone who attends, and we all look forward to it.  After at least 8 years of exchanging cookies, lots of recipes have been used and this year I really wanted to find something new, something none of us has made before.

I found this recipe for Coffee Cake Cookies on Pinterest and decided to give it a try.  The idea of making a cookie that is like eating just the top layer of a coffee cake sounded delicious!  Because I don’t prefer store-bought cookie dough I decided to combine recipes and make my own version.  9 dozen cookies later, I can promise you’ll love them!


These cookies require three steps:  the cookie itself, the crumb topping, and the brown sugar glaze, so they take a bit of time to make, but are totally worth it.


Cookie dough:
1 cup softened butter 1 cup granulated sugar 1 tsp. vanilla 1 large egg 2 – 1/2 cups flour 1 Tb baking powder Crumb Topping:4 Tb. butter 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup flour Brown Sugar glaze:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1 tsp. vanilla 1 – 1/2 Tb. water To make the dough:In a mixer, beat butter with sugar.  Add vanilla and egg and mix well.  Add flour and baking powder and mix until combined.  Dough should be soft but shouldn’t stick to your fingers.
Roll cookie dough into 1-1/2 inch balls and place on cookie sheet 3 inches apart.  Flatten cookie dough with the heel of your hand.

To make crumb topping:
With a hand mixer, combine butter, brown sugar and flour until crumbly.

For glaze:
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, water and vanilla and stir until smooth.  Glaze should be easy to drizzle but not runny.  If it’s too thick, add a few drops of water until consistency is right.  If it’s too runny, add another spoonful of brown sugar.

To prepare cookies:
Bake at 375 for 5 minutes.  Remove cookies from oven and gently press the back of a spoon into the center of each cookie to make a subtle indentation.  Sprinkle approximately 1 Tb. crumb topping into indentation of cookie.  Return to oven for 5-7 minutes, or until edges of cookies are just beginning to turn golden brown.  Remove from oven.  Let cool on cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.  Drizzle with brown sugar glaze and allow to completely cool.  Enjoy!

Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Recipe adapted from Oh, Bite It.


Lavender & Lemon Madeleine Sandwiches


I have a weakness for all things lemon flavored.  When I was contacted several weeks ago by a representative of Donsuemor to see if I was interested in creating a holiday recipe from one of their products, their Lemon Zest Madeleines immediately caught my attention and I jumped at the opportunity.

A box of individually wrapped Madeleines arrived on my doorstep, and the first thing I did was sample one.  It was moist, lemony, buttery and delicious.  These beautiful little cakes would make a fantastic gift on their own.  I am impressed with their quality and flavor.


My favorite flavor to pair with lemon is fresh lavender.  I grow my own and use it often so incorporating it into this recipe felt natural.


I wanted to preserve the beauty and shape of the Madeleines, making them the main focus instead of being simply another ingredient, which led to the idea of sandwiches.


Begin by preparing a creamy lavender-lemon frosting to use as filling between the cakes (see recipe at end of post).  There’s a trick to fabulous lavender flavored frosting, and it’s making it a day early so the lavender flavor is fully absorbed and incorporated into the frosting.  It also begins to take on the slightest purple tinge if you do this.  So beautiful, and so delicous!


Next come the cakes.  Being careful to preserve the beautiful shell shape of the tops of the Madeleines, carefully hold them as you slice the rounded portion off the back of the cake, leaving the back or bottom of the cake flat, as you see below.


Gently spread the lavender frosting over the flat side of half of the Madeleines.


Place the remaining half of Madeleines  on top of the frosted cakes to make sandwiches.


Chill the sandwiches for 30 minutes.  When they are cold, melt 1 cup of lemon flavored wafers.


Holding the top of each sandwich, gently dip them in the melted lemon coating and place on parchment paper to harden.  I chose to dip the bottom, or hinge part of the cake and left the top half uncoated.


When the lemon coating has hardened, place sandwiches on a serving platter and enjoy!


Lavender & Lemon Madeleine Sandwiches
1 box Donsuemor Lemon Zest Madeleines 2 Tb. butter 1-1/2 tsp. culinary lavender buds, dried or fresh 1 Tb. heavy cream 1 Tb. fresh lemon juice 1 cup – 1 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar 1 pound Lemon A’peels (lemon flavored candy coating) To make the frosting:

Whip 2 Tb. butter with hand mixer.  Add 1 to 1-1/2 tsp. fresh or dried lavender buds.  Whip until butter is white in color.
Add 1 Tb. heavy whipping cream and 1 Tb. fresh lemon juice.  Mix until incorporated.
Add 1 cup plus 2 Tb. confectioner’s sugar and mix until frosting is firm but easily spreadable.  You may add sugar by the spoonful or lemon juice a few drops at a time to adjust the consistency of the frosting to your liking.

*Note:  For best flavor, prepare the frosting a day early!

To assemble sandwiches:

1.  Being careful to preserve the beautiful shell shape of the tops of the Madeleines, carefully hold them as you slice the rounded portion off the back of the cake, leaving the back or bottom of the cake flat.

2.  Gently spread the lavender frosting over the flat side of half of the Madeleines.  Place the remaining half of Madeleines  on top of the frosted cakes to make sandwiches.  Chill for 30 minutes.

3.  Melt 1 cup lemon wafers.  Carefully dip half of each Madeleine sandwich and place on parchment or waxed paper to cool and set.

4.  Serve and enjoy!  Makes 13 sandwiches.


Many thanks to Donsuemor for providing the Madeleines, and for the pleasure of creating this recipe.  Thank you for visiting, and Happy Holidays!


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