Thursday, November 29, 2012


Scandinavian cookies (5)

You may know these as “thumbprint cookies,” but I’ve known them as “Scandinavian cookies” for over 50 years.  My high-school BFF’s mother made them, and that’s what she called them.  My hubby and boys called them delicious, and I could never keep enough of them.  We always made them with seedless black raspberry jam, but you may use any tart jam that suits your fancy.  I find that adding lemon zest and juice to the jam really brightens it up, so that’s just a tiny tweak I’ve made to this great recipe.

This is an old family favorite that absolutely must appear on our Christmas cookie tray.  Velvety smooth shortbread cookies with caramel undertones are encased in toasted walnuts and filled with a bright, tart jam.  I’ve already tripled the recipe for you because they’re that good.

Scandinavian Cookies
Slightly adapted from Edith Hutchins
Rating:  10 out of 10


1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft*
1/4 tsp. Diamond kosher salt*
3/4 cup light brown sugar 
3 large eggs, room temperature, separated 
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
about 3 cups finely ground walnuts
About 1/2 cup tart  jam (seedless boysenberry, or seedless black raspberry)
1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp. lemon juice 
     *If you use salted butter, then omit the 1/4 tsp. salt.

In work bowl of food processor, pulse butter, salt and sugar till smooth and well combined.  Add egg yolks and pulse till yellow disappears.  Add flour in 3 batches, pulsing till mixture comes together in a soft dough.  Chill dough about 1 hour, or up to overnight, for easier handling.  

When ready to bake, set egg whites out for about one hour to bring them to room temperature.  (It’s near impossible to whisk a cold egg white.)  Heat oven to 350F.  Line cookie sheets with parchment.  Place nuts in small bowl.  Stir jam, lemon zest and juice together; spoon into resealable sandwich bag; snip a tiny piece off the corner.   Whisk egg whites with  1/4 cup warm water in small bowl. 

Using about 1 Tbsp. dough each, roll into walnut-sized balls.   
Scandinavian cookies (4)  
Dip balls of dough into egg whites, then roll in nuts.  (Two forks work well instead of fingers.
Scandinavian cookies (2) 
Place balls on cookie sheets.  Depress each ball in center (I use the back of a citrus peeler). 
Scandinavian cookies 
Fill cavities with some jam, but don’t overfill or the jam will bubble over the tops of the cookie –that looks unappetizing. 
Scandinavian cookies (6)
Bake 12-15 minutes or till cookies are set.  Transfer to wire racks to cool.  While cookies are cooling, refill each cavity with jam.  (Cookies will be larger now, and you can put more jam in.) Scandinavian cookies (7)
You’ll get about 4 dozen cookies from this recipe, and, trust me, it won’t be enough! 

Today’s post is for week 10 of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, hosted by Brenda Thompson.  Her blog is Meal Planning Magic

Be sure and check out all of the fabulous treats the other participants came up with this week.  And, if you would like to join the hop and add your own Christmas treat recipes, just contact Brenda for details. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


choc dipped ginger cookies

Chocolate and ginger are so synergistic.  Taken separately, they’re great.  But taken together, they’re over-the-top great.   I like to add some whole wheat flour to ginger cookies, giving them a bit of a nutrition boost and a little more depth of flavor, but you can use all refined white flour if you prefer. 

This cookie is one of my all-time favorites, and it may become one of yours.  The spices seem just about perfectly balanced to me, and the soft, slightly chewy texture is everything you want in a ginger cookie.  Give them a try and see if you don’t agree that chocolate and ginger were made for each other.
choc dipped ginger cookies (6)

Chocolate-Dipped Ginger Cookies
Adapted from McCall’s Cookie Collection
Rating:  10 out of 10


1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. powdered cloves
1-1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. Diamond kosher salt
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla powder or vanilla extract
1/4 cup Crisco vegetable shortening, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar (I used 3/4 cup sugar + 3 Tbsp. NuNaturals stevia)
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, preferably 60% cacao or higher

In medium bowl, sift together flours, baking soda, spices, pepper, salt and vanilla powder (if using.  If using extract, add with liquids).  In bowl of heavy-duty stand mixer, using paddle attachment, cream shortening and butter on medium speed till well combined and smooth, about 2 minutes.  Gradually add sugar, creaming till light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Blend in fresh ginger, molasses and egg on medium speed.  On low speed, mix in flour mixture just till combined.  Refrigerate overnight to develop flavors and firm dough.

Heat oven to 375F.  Line baking sheets with greased parchment paper.  Shape dough in 1-1/4” balls and place 2-1/2” apart on prepared pan.  Bake 7-8 minutes, or till golden brown but still soft in centers.  Cool in pan 4-5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling. 

Melt 10 oz. good-quality chocolate (bittersweet with a high cacao count is best, but you could also do white chocolate or a half batch of dark and white).  You can melt chocolate in a microwave by zapping on high and stirring at 30-second intervals, but I like to put the chocolate in a bowl that sits over hot, not boiling, water, stirring till it’s melted.  Dip end of cookies in melted chocolate.
choc dipped ginger cookies (5) 
Place cookies on waxed paper till chocolate hardens.  This may take several hours.  You can speed up the process by initially setting the waxed paper on a baking sheet.  After you’ve dipped the cookies and filled the waxed paper up, just transfer it to the freezer for about 30 minutes.
choc dipped ginger cookies (7)

Try not to eat too many right away.  You’re saving these for Christmas, right?  When the chocolate is hardened, place the cookies in a plastic container, separating each row with waxed paper.  Freeze till needed and try to forget they’re in there.  (I’ve been known to take them out of the freezer and eat them without thawing.  They don’t freeze rock hard and they’re quite good like this.) Yield:  46-50 cookies
Today’s post is for week 9 of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, hosted by Brenda Thompson.  Her blog is Meal Planning Magic

Be sure and check out all of the fabulous treats the other participants came up with this week.  And, if you would like to join the hop and add your own Christmas treat recipes, just contact Brenda for details. 


coastal living's coconut cupcakes (4)  I thought Cook’s Illustrated (CI) velvety, melt-in-your-mouth coconut cupcakes were the best, but Coastal Living Magazine is right up there with this recipe.  CI’s cupcake is denser and silkier, and their coconut Swiss buttercream frosting is to die for.  But I fell in love with Coastal Living’s light, moist and tender cupcake.
coastal living's coconut cupcakes
I tweaked the frosting to make it not so sweet.  One thing I definitely like about this recipe is that the cupcake is a decent size.  CI’s cupcake is very small, though it is rich.  Bottom line:  these two are tied for top honors.  If you want a deeper coconut flavor, consider using extra-virgin unrefined coconut oil for some of the butter in the batter and frosting. 
coastal living's coconut cupcakes (5)
Instead of using store-bought coconut extract, I took the recommendation by Cook’s Illustrated and purchased the very expensive Spices, etc. coconut flavoring online. 
coastal living's coconut cupcakes (3)
While I admit the flavoring is wonderfully natural in taste, I’m disappointed in the high price and short shelf life.  Because it has a milder taste, you have to use more of it.  Another downside:  it’s only good for one year from date of purchase.   I won’t be ordering it again.  Instead, I’ll be ordering soon from LorAnn Oils in Michigan.  Their coconut flavoring is stronger, so you use less, and the shelf life is indefinite.  Online reviews are very good.

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted  from Coastal Living Magazine Rating:  10 out of 10


3/4 cup unsalted butter
6 large egg whites
3 cups low-protein flour, such as White Lily all purpose flour**, or cake flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 + 1/8 tsp. Diamond kosher salt (or 1/4 tsp. table salt) 
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (I used my homemade vanilla extract)
1/2 tsp. coconut extract*** (1-1/4 tsp. if using Spices, etc. brand
1 cup + 3 Tbsp. lite coconut milk*, divided
1 Tbsp. coconut-flavored rum, plain rum, or amaretto

1 (8-oz.) package Philadelphia cream cheese****, softened
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/8 tsp. Diamond kosher salt, or pinch of table salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla powder, or pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. coconut extract*** (3/4-1 tsp. if using Spices, etc. brand
up to 3 cups powdered sugar 
1 Tbsp. coconut milk, coconut cream or heavy cream, if needed 

GARNISH:  1 to 1-1/2 cups large-flake unsweetened coconut, toasted

*Regular coconut milk will make a denser cupcake.
**Do not use White Lily self-rising flour.  Read package carefully.
***Amount of coconut extract will depend on brand.  Taste batter/frosting to determine if more should be added.
****Regular cream cheese works better for this frosting.

MAKE CUPCAKES:  Set out butter and egg whites and 30-45 minutes before baking to bring to room temperature.  Whisk flour, then lightly spoon and level 3 cups onto wax paper.  Add baking powder and salt; sift together into medium bowl.   Set out muffin tins for 18 cupcakes; line with paper baking cups, then spray insides with nonstick cooking spray.  Heat oven to 350F.

In large bowl, beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy and creamy.  Gradually add sugar, vanilla and coconut extracts, beating until well blended.  Add egg whites, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition.  Add flour mixture to butter/sugar mixture alternately with 1 cup coconut milk, beginning and ending with flour.  Beat at low speed until just blended after each addition.  By hand, stir batter with spatula to be sure mixture is smooth.  Divide batter evenly among paper cups, using about 1/4 cup for each.  Bake 18-22 minutes, or till batter is set but centers of cupcakes still look slightly wet.  Do not overbake.  Cool in pan 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.  In the meantime, combine rum with remaining 3 Tbsp. coconut milk, stirring well.  Spoon or brush mixture evenly over tops of warm cupcakes.  Cool completely before frosting.

MAKE FROSTING:  Beat cream cheese, butter, salt and flavorings at medium speed with electric mixer until smooth and well combined.  Gradually add up to 3 cups powdered sugar while continuing to beat on medium.  (If you like a sweeter frosting, add the entire package of powdered sugar, adding about 1 Tbsp. coconut milk or cream to make frosting spreadable.)  When all ingredients have been added and mixture is smooth, turn mixer on high and beat till fluffy.  If desired, garnish cupcakes with toasted coconut.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Pecan cinnamon crescents
McCormick calls these “cinnamon sandies,” but the cinnamon flavor is very mild, more in the background than the forefront.  These cookies are very delicate and tender, light and luscious and will be very popular on your holiday cookie tray.  I took the easy way out and made them in my food processor.  So easy and so good.

Pecan Cinnamon Crescents
Adapted from McCormick and Co.
Rating:  10 out of 10


1 cup confectioner’s sugar, divided
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup (8 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla (I used my homemade vanilla extract.)
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. coffee liqueur (such as Kahlua), rum or coffee
1 cup toasted pecans
2-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

In work bowl of food processor, combine 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar and 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon.  Pulse to combine.  Transfer mixture to small bowl, or to a plastic resealable sandwich bag.  Without cleaning work bowl, combine butter and remaining 1/2 cup sugar and pulse several times till light and fluffy.  Add vanilla, salt, liqueur and pecans and pulse till nuts are finely ground.  Scrape bottom and sides of bowl.  Add flour and pulse just till combined.  (Dough will not form a ball.)  Scrape dough onto plastic wrap and refrigerate 1/2 hour or up to overnight. 

When ready to bake, heat oven to 300F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  With floured hands, shape teaspoonfuls of dough into crescents and place one inch apart on prepared pans.  Bake 20 minutes, or till very lightly browned.  Carefully roll or gently shake these fragile, hot cookies in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and place on wire racks to cool.  When cool, roll again in cinnamon-sugar mixture.  (Alternately, you can just lay the cookies on a tray and sift the cinnamon-sugar mixture over them, turning once to coat both sides.  Do this once when cookies are hot, once when cool.)  Yield:  about 40 cookies

Today’s post is for week 8 of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, hosted by Brenda Thompson.  Her blog is Meal Planning Magic

Be sure and check out all of the fabulous treats the other participants came up with this week.  And, if you would like to join the hop and add your own Christmas treat recipes, just contact Brenda for details. 

Monday, November 12, 2012


My favorite turkey recipes:
#1 favorite --  Soy-Apple Brined Grilled Turkey with Apple Jack Cream Gravy
#2 favorite -- Emeril's Big Bird with Giblet Gravy

My favorite stuffing recipes:
German Potato Stuffing (easy and so delicious, a real crowd pleaser!)
Daddy's German Filling (a lot of work, but everyone will go nuts over this!)

My favorite sides dishes:
  Glazed Sweet Potatoes (super, super easy and delicious)

Brussels Sprouts Hash with Caramelized Onions (tastes better than you think!)
Simple Green Bean Salad with Lemon Dressing -- It may be simple, but it's not boring.  

My favorite Thanksgiving soup recipes:
James Beard's Pumpkin Soup (super easy, restaurant quality, delicious)
The Best Pumpkin Soup Ever (a little more work, but oh, so worth it!)

My favorite dinner rolls:
Potato Refrigerator Rolls (light as a feather and the dough can be made a day ahead)

My favorite apple pie recipes:
#1 -- Perfect Apple Pie
#2 -- Caramel Apple Crumb Pie

My favorite pumpkin pie recipes:
#1 -- Traditional Pumpkin Pie
#2 -- Cook's Illustrated 2008 Pumpkin Pie with vodka pie crust

Happy, happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


blueberry linzer bars (2)

Looking for a Christmas cookie that’s a little bit different?  Try these delicious linzer bars that I adapted from Good Housekeeping’s Susan Westmoreland.  The dough is tender and soft,  reminiscent of Archway cookies but with a lemonny hazelnut-cinnamon flavor.  You’ll have a hard time staying away from these babies.  And, though I’ve used – and highly recommend -- blueberry preserves, you can use whatever preserves you choose.  The original recipe from Susan calls for sour cherry preserves.

The dough is very soft and challenging to work with.  (I whisked my flour, then lightly spooned it into the measuring cup, leveling it off with a spatula.  I suspect that GH scooped their dough.  This  could account for their dough being firm, and mine being soft.) Make your ropes very thin, because I found that they spread.  I’ll make them thinner next time – but a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar covers up imperfections and, once you taste these, I promise you won’t care.  Next time, though, I’ll refrigerate the dough overnight for better flavor development and firming up.

Blueberry Linzer Bars
Adapted from Susan Westmoreland, Good Housekeeping
Rating: 9 out of 10

1-3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. Diamond kosher salt
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and cooled*
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest + 1/2 tsp. to add to preserves
1 large egg
1 jar (12 oz.) blueberry preserves, or other tart preserves of choice **
1 tsp. lemon juice

Line 13" by 9" metal baking pan with foil, letting foil extend at short ends. On waxed paper, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.

In food processor with metal blade attached, pulse hazelnuts and sugars until nuts are finely ground.  Add butter and 1/2 tsp. lemon zest  and pulse till well combined, about 30 seconds.  Add egg and pulse just till incorporated.  Add  flour mixture and pulse just until blended.
Reserve 1 1/2 cups dough for top layer. With floured fingers, press remaining dough firmly into bottom of prepared pan.  In small bowl, combine preserves, remaining 1/2 tsp. lemon zest and lemon juice.  Spread evenly over crust, up to 1/4 inch from edges.


Place reserved dough in a sturdy decorating bag fitted with 1/4 inch round tip. (Dough is very stiff. Do not use plastic bag for piping; it may burst). Pipe dough in diagonal lines, 3/4 inch apart, over preserves.  Pipe remaining dough around inside of pan to create a finished edge. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until dough is lightly browned. Cool in pan on wire rack.

When cool, transfer with foil to cutting board. Cut lengthwise into 4 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 8 bars. Store in tightly covered container, with waxed paper between layers, at room temperature up to 3 days, or in freezer up to 1 month. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar to serve if you like.  Yield:  32 bars
blueberry linzer bars

*To toast hazelnuts:  Spread hazelnuts on a 9” pie plate and bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes, or till beginning to brown.  Cool  (You can roll hot nuts in a clean dish towel to remove skins, if desired, but I didn’t bother.)   Cool nuts completely.

** Use preserves instead of jam or jelly for best results.

Today’s post is part of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, hosted by Brenda Thompson.  Her blog is Meal Planning Magic

Be sure and check out all of the fabulous treats the other 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats bakers came up with this week.  And, if you would like to join the hop and add your own Christmas treat recipes, just contact Brenda for details. 

Monday, November 5, 2012


Saveur's carrot cake

Saveur magazine is the source of this great carrot cake recipe.  Everyone, including me, loved the flavors produced by extra cinnamon, salt and vanilla.  There was only one problem – I was out of oil, so I used a combination of unsalted butter and organic unrefined coconut oil instead.  I’m sure they both contributed to the outstanding flavor of this cake, but I thought the texture was a bit coarse.

Two other changes:-- I don't like raisins in carrot cake, so I left them out.  We don't like gobs of frosting, so I slightly reduced the ingredients and added lemon juice for some tang.  We all thought there was plenty of frosting to cover the cake.

My taste testers raved over this cake and said it was the best carrot cake they’d ever tasted.  That leaves me in a bit of a dilemma.  How do I rate a cake that everyone else thought was tops, and I didn’t.  Flavor-wise, it has my top rating.  Texture-wise, not so much, since I’m just not a fan of coarse-textured cakes.  So I decided to bring my rating up a notch and bring theirs down a notch, leaving me at 9.5 out of 10, same as my two favorites, Cook’s Illustrated’s Simple Carrot Cake and Pillsbury’s Carrot Cake with Creamy Supreme Frosting.  My two favorites both have moistness, balanced flavors and light textures, while Saveur’s cake has superior flavor and moistness with coarse texture.  (One of these days I’m going to have a bake-off to re-rate the top three.)

Classic Carrot Cake
Adapted from Saveur Magazine Rating:  9.5 out of 10


2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-1/2 cups sugar
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup organic unrefined coconut oil
1 tsp. Diamond kosher salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1-1/2 tsp. vinegar + enough milk to make 1/2 cup)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (I used my homemade vanilla extract.) 4 large eggs
2 cups finely grated carrots*
1 cup canned crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

*Grate carrots on the large holes of a box grater, then pulse in workbowl of a food processor till finely grated.

Heat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour a 9” x 13” baking pan; line pan with parchment or two sheets of wax paper; set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon; set aside. 

In a medium microwaveable bowl, melt butter on high.  Whisk in coconut oil and salt and wait for coconut oil to melt if it is hardened (this will depend on time of year and temperature in room).  Whisk in buttermilk, vanilla and eggs till mixture is smooth and well mixed.  With spatula or spoon, lightly stir liquids into flour mixture, just till barely combined.  Fold in carrots, pineapple, walnuts and coconut.  Spoon batter into prepared baking pan, then level batter with spatula.  Bake 40-45 minutes or till toothpick inserted in center returns with just a few crumbs.  Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack lined with clean towel.  Remove paper liner from bottom of cake.  When cool, frost with cream cheese frosting.  Cover and refrigerate any leftover cake.  Yield:  12-14 servings

6 oz. Neufchatel or regular cream cheese, softened (Philadelphia brand preferred)
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla powder or vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
2 cups confectioner’s (icing) sugar, sifted

In medium bowl, beat cheese and butter on medium speed of electric mixer until smooth.  Add vanilla, lemon juice and sugar; beat till fluffy.  Refrigerate.
Saveur's carrot cake (4)

Saturday, November 3, 2012



With only two people (hubby and me) to cook for, long-term storage of celery is a challenge, and buying pre-cut celery sticks was not an option I wanted.  Since celery is on the “dirty dozen” list of produce to buy organic, I was motivated to find a way to use this pricey vegetable before it rotted in my fridge.  But the truth is, we just don’t eat enough celery, raw or cooked,  fast enough.  After trying green bags, perforated produce bags and plain old storage bags, I finally found the answer:  tinfoil.  Really.  It keeps the celery fresh and crisp for a month or more, perfect for a small family.

It’s easy, too.  Just lay the celery on a strip of tinfoil.
storing celery (2)
Wrap it up like a package, pressing the foil tightly against the celery.
storing celery
Place in vegetable bin of fridge.   Remember when you unwrap and rewrap to always press the foil tightly against the celery, pressing air out. 

Now I don’t mind paying almost $4 for organic celery, knowing I’ll use it all even if it takes me 6 weeks.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


I’m reposting this recipe so I can include it in the 12 Weeks of Christmas blog hop that I ‘ve just joined.  This muffin is a perfect adult treat for the holidays, and something a little different.   Sweetened dried cranberries are boiled in apple brandy before being added to muffin batter.  Everyone will love these, but please don’t give them to kiddies because, contrary to popular belief, all the alcohol does not burn off.

The muffins are standard size, but small, giving everyone just a few bites of a spiked, mildly spiced fruity treat.  Eat them for breakfast and start partying early!

Brandied Craisin-Applesauce Muffins
Adapted from Pillsbury
Rating:  9 out of 10

1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/4 cup apple brandy
1 Tbsp. water
1 cup + 1 Tbsp. bread flour (or 1 cup + 2 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour) 
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. each:  Diamond kosher salt, freshly grated nutmeg, powdered cloves
1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans (or other nut of choice)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup sugar + 1 Tbsp.  NuNaturals Stevia)
1 large egg
3/4 cup thick applesauce
6 Tbsp. milk

In small saucepan, combine cranberries, brandy and water.  Bring to a full boil over high heat; boil 2 minutes; cover pot.  Steep 1/2 hour, till liquids are absorbed and mixture cools to warm.  In the meantime, set out a 12-cup muffin tin.  Spray with nonstick cooking spray, or line with paper baking cups.  (Spray paper cups with nonstick cooking spray for easier release.)  Set out remaining muffin ingredients to bring to room temperature.  Heat oven to 350F.

In small bowl, whisk together flour, soda, spices, salt and nuts.  In medium bowl, whisk together butter and sugar till combined and almost smooth.  Whisk in egg, applesauce and milk and beat till well combined.  Pour liquids and cranberries over dry ingredients and mix with spoon or spatula lightly and briefly just till barely combined.  Do not overmix or muffins will be tough.

Fill muffin cups with scant 1/4 cup batter.  Bake 15-18 minutes, or till toothpick inserted near center returns with just a few crumbs.  Cool on wire racks.  Garnish tops with powdered sugar.  Yield:  12 muffins  (Note:  These will freeze well, but the powdered sugar will melt as the muffins defrost.  You can re-sugar the tops before serving, if desired.)
Today’s post is part of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, hosted by Brenda Thompson.  Her blog is Meal Planning Magic.

Be sure and check out all of the fabulous treats the other 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats bakers came up with this week.  And, if you would like to join the hop and add your own Christmas treat recipes, just contact Brenda for details.