Chocolate Espresso Fudge


2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup Kahlua coffee liqueur (or an additional 1/4 cup whipping cream)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-3 tsp instant espresso powder
1 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme


Line a 9x9 inch pan with foil and coat with a little nonstick spray.

Combine sugar, butter, Kahlua (if using) and cream into a heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Once boiling, attach a candy thermometer and reduce the heat to a hair above medium low and continue to stir for 7-10 minutes until your thermometer reads 234°F.

Once your mixture hits the appropriate temperature, remove from heat and grab a wooden spoon. Add the chocolate chips stirring vigorously until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Sprinkle in the espresso powder while stirring, add more or less depending on how strong you like your coffee, or in this case, coffee fudge. Add the marshmallow creme and mix until well blended.

Pour the mixture into your pan and allow to cool for several hours, until firm.

Eggnog Fudge


1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup eggnog
2 cups sugar
1 (12 oz) white chocolate chips
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 7-ounce jar marshmallow crème
1 tsp rum or rum extract


In a heavy saucepan, combine butter, eggnog, and sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium, and continue to boil, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture reaches 234°F (use candy thermometer).

Remove from heat; add chocolate and nutmeg; stir until smooth. Add marshmallow creme and rum; mix well. Pour mixture into a 8-inch square pan lined with buttered foiland sprinkle with more fresh ground nutmeg. Cool completely; cut into 1-inch squares.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Sea Salted Caramels


1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp sea salt


Butter the sides and bottom of a heavy 3-quart saucepan. Add butter and melt over low heat. Add sugars, corn syrups and cream; mix well.

Raise heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil until mixture reaches 248°F (use candy thermometer).

Remove saucepan from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour caramel immediately into a 9-inch square pan lined with buttered foil. Cool at room temperature until caramel begins to set, sprinkle with sea salt; cool completely.

Use foil to lift caramel out of pan. Butter a large chef’s knife and cut caramel into 1-inch squares. Wrap caramels individually in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Almond Chocolate Shortbread



1/2 cup roasted almonds
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
10 Tbsp butter, softened (plus additional for pan)
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp almond extract

Chocolate Caramel:

11 ounces (about 2 cups) milk chocolate, chopped or chips
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
6 Tbsp butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sea salt or smoked salt (optional)


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9x9-inch pan with parchment paper or foil; butter the interior of the paper or foil.

Grind roasted almonds in food processor until the consistency of coarse corn meal. In medium bowl, whisk together ground almonds, flour, salt and cinnamon; set aside.

In large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar and almond extract with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture in two batches mixing until crumbly, but sticky dough forms.

Press dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely on wire rack.

Chocolate Caramel:

Place chocolate in medium glass or stainless steel bowl; set aside. In medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook mixture over medium heat 10 to 12 minutes, until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat.

Add butter, cream and salt. Return to heat and simmer over medium heat, stirring until smooth. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Pour mixture over chocolate; let stand 2 minutes. Stir until smooth; let stand to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Pour mixture over shortbread. Allow to cool about 30 minutes and then refrigerate overnight or at least 5 hours.

Sprinkle with sea salt or smoked salt, if desired. To cut, run a knife around edges of pan to loosen the parchment or foil; carefully lift the paper out of pan. Cut bars with knife dipped in hot water and remove paper or foil. Store bars in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

This recipe is also linked to...

Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Nuts

Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints


1 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups finely chopped pecans

Caramel sauce:
30 caramels, unwrapped
1/3 cup heavy cream

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs corn syrup


Combine butter, sugar, egg yolks, milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Beat until light and fluffy. Add flour, cocoa powder and salt. Beat until well combined. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place egg whites in a small bowl. Place finely chopped pecans in a bowl. Set aside. Roll dough into balls. Dip balls into egg white and then into pecans. (I find this easier if I make a whole baking sheet worth of dough balls, then dip them in egg/pecans). Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Make a small indentation with your thumb in the center of each cookie.

Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes, or until cookies are set. While cookies are still hot, press center again (the back of a measuring teaspoon or small melon-baller work well for this-no burned thumbs!)

To prepare Caramel Sauce: Combine caramels and cream in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until caramels are melted. Spoon small amount of caramel into centers of baked cookies. Carefully remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.

For Chocolate Glaze: Combine bittersweet chips, butter and corn syrup in a small bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave for another 20-30 seconds if not melted. Let cool slightly. Pour chocolate into a small Ziploc freezer bag (don’t use a regular bag-it WILL burst). Poke a hole in the corner of the bag (a bamboo skewer makes a perfect sized hole). Drizzle chocolate over the cooled cookies. Cool until set.

To store: refrigerate or freeze cookies in individual layers; then store between layers of waxed paper in the refrigerator or freezer. They can also be stored at room temperature, but if you stack them, they will stick together.

Chocolate Rolo Cookies


3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp milk
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
Mini Rolos


Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a saucepan over low heat, combine butter, sugar and milk. Heat until melted and add chocolate chips until mostly melted. Remove from heat and stir until completely melted. Pour mixture into large mixing bowl. Let stand 10 minutes to cool slightly.

Beat in eggs one at a time on high speed. Add flour, salt and baking soda; mix on low speed until well blended. Dough will be very soft, almost liquid. If desired, chill for 1 hour for easier handling (you can usually use the dough in less than an hour).

Take about 1 tsp dough and wrap it around a Rolo (use just enough dough to completely cover Rolo). Place on baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes (Do not overcook; cookies will still look a little underdone). Cool on baking sheet 1-2 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Variation: You could use caramels, Jr Mints, or Andes mints (cut into squares) on the inside of this cookie.

Secret Kiss Cookies


1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup ground pecans
1 3/4 cup flour
36 Hershey's kisses, unwrapped - you'll need more for the quality taste testing that is crucial while unwrapping ;)
Powdered sugar for dusting/rolling


Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix well. Gradually add the flour and nuts and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Refrigerate the dough for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Pull the dough out of the fridge and roll a small amount of dough (about a tablespoon) around each kiss. I like to smoosh the dough just a bit in my palm, stick the kiss in point first, then wrap it around. You have to smoosh it a little to hide the kiss completely.

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for about 11 minutes, just until set and the bottoms are a golden brown.

Let cool for about five minutes. While still warm, roll in powdered sugar.

Allow to cool completely before putting into boxes. These freeze well, so feel free to make them now then save them until the big day.

Coffee Crisps


1/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp cold coffee (strong)
1 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp instant coffee granules
1 tsp cinnamon
coffee beans (for garnish)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, cream together shortening and sugar.

Add the egg and cold coffee; beat well.

In another bowl, combine flour, instant coffee and cinnamon.

Gradually stir dry ingredients into the wet mix; work the last bit in by hand until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

Roll out as thin as possible onto a floured surface and cut with cookie cutters.

Place cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet and put a coffee bean in the centre of each cookie.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until slightly browned.

Chocolate Puddle Cookies


3 cups pecan halves, toasted and cooled
4 cups confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 Tbsp real, good-quality vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 320 degrees F and position racks in the top and bottom third. Line three (preferably rimmed) baking sheets with parchment paper. Or you can bake in batches with fewer pans.

Make sure your pecans have cooled a bit, then chop coarsely and set aside. Sift together the confectioner's sugar, cocoa powder, and sea salt. Stir in the pecans, then add the egg whites and vanilla. Stir until well combined.

Spoon the batter onto the prepared sheets in mounds of about 2 tablespoons each, allowing for PLENTY of room between cookies. These cookies really expand. Don't try to get more than 6 cookies on each sheet, and try to avoid placing the batter too close to the edge of the pan.

Bake until they puff up. The tops should get glossy, and then crack a bit - about 8 to 12 minutes. Have faith, they look sad at first, then really blossom. You may want to rotate the pans top/bottom/back/front.

Slide the cookies still on parchment onto a cooling rack, and let them cool completely. They will keep in an airtight for a couple days.

This recipe is also linked on...

Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Nuts
This Week's Cravings: Special Diets (GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, NUT FREE and MORE)
Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Minty Chocolate Sandwich Cookies


1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup non-alkalized cocoa powder
1 egg white
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

Peppermint cream filling:

2+ cups powdered sugar, sifted
10 - 15 drops peppermint extract (to taste)
1/4 cup half and half (or water if you are going to keep the cookies around unrefrigerated for a while)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, position the racks in the middle of the oven, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and cream some more, scraping the sides of the bowl a time or two. Stir in the vanilla extract, cocoa powder, egg white, and salt and mix until the cocoa powder is integrated and the batter is smooth and creamy and the consistency of a thick frosting. Add the flour and mix just until the batter is no longer dusty looking. It might still be a bit crumbly, and that's okay.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, gather it into a ball, and knead it just once or twice to bring it together into a smooth mass. Divide into two pieces place each into a plastic bag and flatten into disks roughly 1 inch thick. Put the dough in the freezer for 20 minutes to chill.

One bag at a time remove the dough from the freezer. On a well floured surface roll it out very thin (remember these are going to be sandwich cookies) - roughly 1/8 inch thick. Or you might find it easiest to roll it out between to Silpats or pieces of plastic.

Use cookie cutters to cut cookies in whatever shape you like - I used tiny scalloped circles here. Place on the prepared baking sheets, and bake for 7-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack (if you have one).

While the cookies are baking, go ahead and make the filling. Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, whisk together the sugar and cream (or water) until nice and fluffy. You want the filling to be thick enough that it doesn't ooze out the sides of the cookies after they are filled, so if you need to add more powdered sugar, do so in small increments. If you need to thin out your filling, add more half and half a few drops at a time. Whisk in the peppermint extract a bit at a time, and taste as you go, the peppermint flavor shouldn't be overwhelming.

When the cookies have completely cooled slather a bit of filling on half of the cookies. Top each slather with another cookie and enjoy!


Instead of minty cream filling, you can substitute strawberry, raspberry, orange, coffee or any other flavouring that you like with chocolate.

Honigkuchen (a.k.a. Honey Cookies)


1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
3/8 cup unsalted butter
3/8 cup sour cream
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking ammonia* dissolved in 2 1/4 tsp boiling water
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground star anise
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 to 1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups flour

1 egg white
3/4 cup icing sugar


Beat together, butter, honey, brown sugar, eggs and sour cream in a large mixing bowl. Add soda, dissolved ammonia and spices.

Add flour and mix thoroughly. Dough will be fairly soft and will start to pull away from the spoon.

Refrigerate overnight. (It will keep in the fridge for several days.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll into 1-inch balls and place on parchment-lined cookie sheets. (I use a small spring-style ice cream scoop to make them an even size and then roll each ball smooth between my hands.) Should make about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Bake for about 10 minutes.

Cool completely.

Beat egg whites until foamy and add icing sugar in 3 parts beating very well after each addition. Continue to beat until icing holds a soft peak.

Place the cookies in a very large bowl.

Pour icing over and, using your hands, gently fold icing over cookies until cookies are almost completely covered.

Take cookies out of the bowl one at a time, making sure each cookie is covered completely in icing and lay out on waxed paper.

When cookies have completely dried on one side, turn them upside down and let the bottoms dry completely.

These cookies are best baked a month or so before Christmas so that the flavours have time to "ripen". Do not store them in the freezer. I line ice cream buckets with waxed paper and layer the cookies with squares of waxed paper in between each layer. Cover tightly and store in a cool place.

*NOTE: Many of our our grandmothers' recipes call for baking ammonia as it was the precursor to baking powder and baking soda. It is actually "Ammonium bicarbonate". This is a leavening agent and can be purchased in European food stores (may be labeled as "Hirschhornsalz"), health food stores or some pharmacies. Please do not confuse it with ammonia - that is poisonous.

This recipe is also linked to...

This Week's Cravings: Honey

Gingerbread Cookies


3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp finely ground pepper
3/4 tsp coarse salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses


Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.

Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Divide dough into thirds; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 1/4-inch thick. Cut into snowflakes with a 7- inch snowflake-shape cookie cutter. Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

Cherry Snowballs


1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 tsp salt
36 maraschino cherries, well drained

2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 to 1/3 cup milk
2 cups flaked coconut, finely chopped


In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in water and vanilla. Combine flour, oats and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well.

Shape a tablespoonful of dough around each cherry, forming a ball. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until bottoms are browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

In a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar and enough milk to achieve smooth dipping consistency. Dip cookies, then roll in coconut. Place on waxed paper; let stand until set.

Chocolate Chip Tea Cookies


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups miniature chocolate chips, divided


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add vanilla and mix well. Gradually add flour. Stir in 1 cup miniature chocolate chips.

Shape into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Remove to wire rack to cool.

Place 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips in a sealed plastic bag and microwave until melted; about 30 seconds. Snip off a small corner of the bag and drizzle chocolate on top of cold cookies. Chill for 5 minutes or until chocolate is set. Store at room temperature.

Gewuerzplaetzchen (a.k.a. Spice Krinkles)


1 1/3 cups oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups flour
Sparkly sugar or Turbinado sugar for rolling


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, stir together oil, sugar, eggs, honey, baking soda, salt, spices and vanilla. Mix well, then stir in the flour, stirring just until it is mixed in.

Shape the cookies into balls about 1 inch in diameter and roll them in sparkly sugar (or Turbinado). Place 2 1/2 inches apart on ungreased or parchment lined cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. They should be nicely browned around the edges, crackly and golden.

This recipe is also linked to...

This Week's Cravings: Honey

Italian Lemon Twists

These cookies have so many different names and many different shapes, but I only know them as "Lemon Twists". They are also known as Italian Lemon Knots, Italian Lemon Cookies, Italian Bow Knots, Anginetti, and Tarallucci.


1 cup softened unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp lemon rind
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups flour


1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets.

In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, lemon rind and salt till light and fluffy. Add eggs, yolks and vanilla. Mix well.

Add flour 1 cup at a time blending well until dough forms.

Form dough into ball and let rest 5 minutes.

Take a portion of dough at a time and roll into a 4-inch log. Fold rope in half and twist into a rope by twisting.

Repeat until all dough is used.

Bake 12 minutes or till golden brown.

Mix together topping ingredients for frosting cookies.

Remove cookies from oven and brush while still hot and remove to cool on wire racks.

This recipe is also linked to...

Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Yellow

Biscochitos (a.k.a. Mexican Anise Cookies)


2 Tbsp anise seed
3 Tbsp rum
1 1/4 cups butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Cinnamon Topping: 4 parts sugar to 1 part cinnamon


Place the anise seeds in a small bowl with the rum. Set aside to marinate overnight.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the anise seed and rum. Mix in the egg. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon; stir into the butter mixture until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). On a lightly floured surface, roll into balls (a little less than 1 inch in size). Toss balls in cinnamon and sugar topping. Place on greased baking sheets and press them down slightly with a fork.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until bottoms of the cookies are slightly browned. Cool for a few minutes on baking sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.