December 2nd, 2012

bunny kisses

It wouldn't be Christmas without these

Russian Tea Cakes

1 cup butter
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 t. vanilla
¼ t. salt
2 cups flour
1 cup finely chopped nuts
Confectionary’s sugar/cocoa powder – optional

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.  Blend in vanilla and salt.   With a wooden spoon, carefully stir in flour and nuts.  Divide dough into five portions, shape into a 12” x 1” roll, wrap in plastic wrap and chill thoroughly.  When ready to bake, slice in 3” lengths and then in half, roll each into a ball and place on a ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in a 375 oven 12-14 minutes or until light brown in color.  Cool on racks – just before they are completely cool, roll in sugar or cocoa powder.

Makes about 40


RECIPE: Italian Knot Cookies

I grew up in a predominately Italian neighborhood, surrounded by immigrants & first-generation Italian-Americans.  Annie Gismondi Burrie was our right-hand neighbor.  She would makes these by the BASKETFULS.  Both Sam & I remember wooden laundry baskets at her house, filled with layer upon layer of tea of these  separated by & protected by tea towels.  Before my parents divorced, my mom & her best friend were Christmas cookie-making fanatics...and theirs were good...but, Annie's were the best.  I found this recipe after Sam died this year.

Italian Knot Cookies


  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tsp baking powder
  • 6 tsp vanilla or lemon extract
  • 4-5 cups flour
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 stick butter melted in 5 tbsp milk
  • 5 tbsp vanilla



  • Preheat oven to 350°

  • In a large bowl, beat eggs until pale yellow

  • Add the vanilla, sugar & melted butter - beat until well blended

  • Mix 4 cups of the flour with the baking powder and add to egg mixture

  • If the dough is sticky, add remaining flour as necessary until soft dough forms

  • Measure dough by the teaspoon, roll dough in your hands to form a rope and wrap around your fingers to form a knot

  • Place on lightly-greased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown

  • Let cookies cool completely before icing


  • With electric mixer, gradually beat melted butter, milk & vanilla into the powdered sugar (until shiny)

  • Ice cookies and sprinkle with colored sprinkles

  • If icing is thin enough (more milk) cookies can be dipped instead of iced

  • Let icing dry completely before storing

    NOTES:  in the cookie dough, anise or lemon or almond extract may be substituted for the vanilla...
                  traditionally, the icing is tinted pastel with food coloring

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Triple Ginger Cookies

A combination of ground, crystallized, and fresh ginger gives these soft, chewy cookies their intense flavor.
Yield: Makes about 40

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup light (mild-flavored) molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh peeled ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup (about) sugar

Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk flour, crystallized ginger, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until creamy and light, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in both brown sugars. Beat on medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg, molasses, fresh ginger, ground ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Beat to blend. Add flour mixture in 2 additions, beating on low speed just to blend between additions.
Place 1/3 cup sugar in small bowl. Measure 1 tablespoon dough. Roll into ball between palms of hands, then roll in sugar in bowl to coat; place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cookie dough, spacing cookies 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.
Bake cookies until surfaces crack and cookies are firm around edges but still slightly soft in center, about 15 minutes. Cool completely on sheets on rack. DO AHEAD: Cookies can be made up to 4 days ahead. Store in airtight containers at room temperature.

I have put as much as a half cup of crystallized ginger in this recipe. It's intense but yummy. I use coarse sugar to roll them in.

(no subject)


1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
       * * * *
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 6 oz package (1cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped California or English walnuts

Preheat oven to 350'

Throughly cream together butter, sugar and vanilla.  Add flour.  Mix well.  Stir in chocolate and walnuts.  Press mixture into ungreased 15x10x1 inch jelly roll pan. 

Bake in moderate oven 350' for 25 minutes or until browned.  While still warm, cut into bars or squares.  Cool completely before removing from pan.  Makes approx 4-5 dozen.
Plot Bunny

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. (But even if it doesn't - you can still make snowballs)


200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) chopped into small pieces
200ml cream
200g desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the cream with the vanilla extract and sugar until just below boiling. Take off the heat. Add the chocolate to the cream mixture. Stir until melted and smooth. Allow to cool and then refrigerate for several hours until firm. Form scoops of the truffle mix into small balls and roll in the desiccated coconut to coat evenly. (Try to keep your hands cool when handling the truffle mix and if it gets too soft, just pop it back in the fridge to firm up again.)  

Makes about 30 snowballs which will keep in a cool place for up to 3 days. If you're not keen on coconut, omit it and add the finely-chopped zest of two oranges to make chocolate orange truffles instead.


Not only did I find The Christmas Spirit...

...but it was on sale, with a rebate !!!!!

Mirassou Winery's 2011 Moscato.    $8.99 a bottle on sale, with a $2.00 mail in rebate.  For each bottle.  All 6 of them. 

ashley_pitt, this is better than The Blue Wine, swear to God.

"offering refreshing notes of peach, tangerine, melon and honeysuckle..."  clean aftertaste, not kool-aid sweet.
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Down the Chimney - Beta Call

I just posted the call for beta reader volunteers to muncle, but thought I would also put the word out here.

Several DtCA authors have indicated that their stories are complete and undoubtedly others are nearing completion. If you would be willing to serve as a beta-reader for one of our authors, please feel free to visit this public post on muncle and submit a comment.

Remember you can specify any particular expertise as a beta-reader and also can express a preference as to story type.

Stories are due two weeks from today!

Thanks so much to everyone willing to volunteer.

Let Me Guess, Pumpkin? Cookies

It's a modified version of my great- grandmother's oatmeal cookies that nobody seems to think are oatmeal cookies. They sure don't have any pumpkin.

1 c brown sugar (dark)
1 c white sugar
1/2 c butter
1/3 c canola oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 c quick oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

While it doesn't hurt to mix dry ingredients separately, you can just add items to the mix in order and make sure everything is well mixed before adding the next ingredient. I personally recommend doing final mix by hand, if only for the excuse of eating dough off your fingers before you wash them.

Drop by teaspoon onto greased cookie sheets. (Parchment paper is also a good idea.) Bake 8-12 min, or until they begin to darken. Should be about as dark as standard ginger cookies.

Makes a lot of cookies. (I'm never sure how many due to eating a lot of the dough. Possibly 60 of them.) If any break, you are encouraged to eat them, as it does not do to present an imperfect cookie to company. Don't worry, the calories fall out. :)