White Chocolate - Cherry Shortbread Cookies


1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
12 ounces white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter, finely chopped*
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 to 3 drops red food coloring (optional)
2 tsp shortening
nonpareils/edible glitter/sanding sugar (optional)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Spread cherries on paper towels to drain well. Chop finely; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in drained cherries and 4 ounces (2/3 cup) of the chopped chocolate. Stir in almond extract and, if desired, food coloring. Knead mixture with your hands until it forms a smooth ball.

Shape dough into 1/4-inch balls. Place balls 2-inches apart on lined cookie sheets. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in water and then sugar, flatten balls to 1-1/2-inch rounds.

Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until centers are set. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to wire rack and let cool.

Place remaining chocolate and shortening in a pyrex bowl or measuring cup. Heat and stir in 30 second intervals in the microwave until melted and smooth. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. If desired, roll dipped edge in nonpareils/edible glitter/sanding sugar. Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set.

* I use a 4 oz. Ghirardelli white chocolate bar within the cookie, and Wilton’s vanilla disks (available at Michaels) for the dipping.

To store: Layer cookies between waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

This recipe has also been linked to...

Sweet Indulgences Sundays
Crazy Sweet Tuesdays
Sweet Treats Thursdays
Sweets for a Saturday

Coconut Shrimp


2 lb. large, raw shrimp/prawns, de-veined*
1 cup cornstarch
3/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 tsp. ginger (optional)
3 egg whites
2 cups shredded coconut


Remove shells from prawns, leaving tail shells intact

Mix seasonings with cornstarch in shallow bowl

Beat egg whites just until they are foamy and soft peaks form. Do not overbeat as the egg white will not stick to the shrimp if they are too dry.

Place coconut in another shallow bowl.

Coat each shrimp with seasoned flour, then dip in egg white until well coated, then transfer to coconut and coat gently on all sides.

Place shrimp on the cookie sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes or until coconut is a golden brown. Make sure to turn it once halfway through (around 8 minutes into cooking time) to make sure both sides brown.

Serve warm with your choice of dipping sauce.

*NOTE: I use the largest prawns/shrimp I can find. Using the raw ones ensures that they are not overcooked and rubbery.

This recipe has also been linked to...

Gluten-Free Wednesdays
Savory Sundays

Bacon-Wrapped Figs


4 ounces chevre (fresh, soft goat cheese)
12 dried figs (fresh will work if that’s all you have)
12 strips bacon
4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
24 tooth picks


Combine balsamic vinegar and honey in a small sauce pan and heat while stirring on medium low to reduce mixture. When the syrup coats the back of a spoon so that it leaves a clean line when swiped with your finger, remove from heat.

Soak dried figs in the syrup until they are plump (omit this step if using fresh figs).

Slice or separate chevre into 24 portions.

Cut figs lengthwise into halves and press one portion of chevre into each.

Cut bacon strips in half to make two shorter pieces of each.

Wrap each piece of fig with one half-length strip of bacon and secure with a toothpick. (Toothpick is optional and depends on how well your bacon is cooperating.)

Place wrapped fig-halves in a baking pan and cook at 475 degrees F until bacon is cooked through (approx. 15 min).

Remove from oven and drizzle honey-balsamic mixture over the figs.

To get the most out of the slightly melted goat cheese, serve while still warm.

This recipe is also linked to...

Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles


1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp xantham gum
1 cup sweet sorghum flour
1 cup superfine white rice flour
1 cup millet flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour/starch


Take the butter out of the refrigerator and cut it into 1/2” chunks. Put the chunks into a mixing bowl of a standing mixer (outfitted with the paddle attachment).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet or cookie sheet with silpats or parchment paper

Combine the cinnamon and the 3 Tbsp of granulated white sugar together in a shallow bowl. Put aside.

Put the shortening in the bowl with the butter and turn on the mixer to medium, beating them together until they are well blended.

Add the 1 1/2 cups of sugar, and continue to beat until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time beating after each addition and scraping down the sides with a spatula. Add the egg yolk and beat again. Add the vanilla and beat again.

Add the cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and xantham gum into the butter mixture and beat well.

Add the flours and beat until smooth.

Roll 1 tablespoon amounts of dough into 1-inch balls into the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Place on the baking sheets about 2” apart.

Bake for 12 minutes of until the tops of the cookies start to crack a little. Try not to over bake them, but don’t underbake them either. You want them them to crack on top, but not to look to dark brown. Let them cool on the pan for 3 minutes and then move them to a rack to cool.

Chocolate Mint Sandwich Cookies


1 cup superfine brown rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 tsp gluten-free baking soda
pinch salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 egg
24 round York Peppermint Patties (unwrapped)
white sugar for rolling


Combine flour(s), cocoa, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, white sugar and corn syrup until creamy. Beat in egg.

Gradually mix in flour mixture. Refrigerate dough for 2 hours.

Roll dough into scant 1-inch balls and roll in white granulated sugar. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet in a preheated 350-degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

Immediately remove half of the baked cookies, placing them upside down on a wire rack. Working quickly, place a peppermint patty on each inverted cookie and top with a second cookie from the baking sheet.

Let stand for 3 minutes and then using a flat hand, gently flatten the sandwich (using a slight twisting motion helps) so the melted peppermint patty oozes to the cookie edge.

This recipe is also linked to...

Crazy Sweet Tuesdays
Gluten-Free Wednesdays
Allergy-Friendly Fridays
Sweet Indulgences Sundays

Gluten-Free Pfeffernuesse a.k.a. Pepper Nuts


1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup molasses
3 Tbsp softened butter
2 large, room temperature eggs
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp superfine brown rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup almond flour
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp guar gum OR xanthan gum
1 cup gluten-free powdered sugar to dust cookies after baking


Place honey, molasses and softened butter in a large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to cream on high for about 2 minutes. Add room temperature eggs and beat until combined.

Place all dry ingredients except powdered sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk to thoroughly combine.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir to thoroughly combine. Cover tightly and refrigerate cookie dough for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, silicone liners OR lightly grease with vegetable shortening.

Use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop or rounded tablespoon to form 1-inch balls of cookie dough. The dough will be sticky so occasionally dust your hands lightly with gf powdered sugar to prevent sticking. Make about 36 balls of dough and place 1 1/2-inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 13-15 minutes or until cookies are firm but not hard.

Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and cool about 10 minutes. Place powdered sugar in a medium bowl and dredge warm cookies in sugar. Store in an airtight container or eat immediately.

Spicy Shrimp Soup (a.k.a. Tom Yam Ghoong)


3 lbs large uncooked, unshelled, heads-on shrimp
1/3 cup sesame oil
4 quarts water
12 stalks lemon grass, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
3 large knobs fresh ginger or galangal, sliced 1/8-inch thick pieces
30 kaffir lime leaves, center stem/vein removed
12 Thai red chili peppers
6 Tbsp fish sauce (Nam Pia)
9 heaping Tbsp roasted chili paste (Nam Prik Pao)
3 15 oz cans straw mushrooms, drained and rinsed
5 limes, juiced
1 large bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, more for garnish.


Wash and drain the shrimp and then remove the head and shells and de-vein. Retain the heads and shells for the stock. Set the shrimp aside.

Heat up a large stock pot and when it’s hot add the sesame oil. Once the oil is hot add the shrimp heads and shells and stirring occasionally cook on high until all the shells turn pink and get a little charred and crispy sounding when you stir. Once the shells are all toasty add the water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Allow the stock to simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Pour the shrimp stock though a chinois or a colander lined with cheesecloth to remove all the bits and pieces from the stock. Quickly rinse the stock pot to remove any lingering bits and then pour the stock back into the pot and return the pot to the stove over medium heat. If you have a pasta insert for your pot, this is a great time to use it. Either into the pasta insert or directly into the pot, add the lemon grass, ginger/galangal, kaffir lime leaves, Thai red chilies, fish sauce and roasted chili paste. Mix well and bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the solids from the soup. Discard the solids and return the stock to the pot.

Add the straw mushrooms and return to a boil. Once at a boil add the shrimp, lime juice and chopped cilantro. Stir to mix and then remove from the heat, cover and allow the shrimp to cook for 5 minutes until they turn pink.

Check the balance of sweet, sour and spice and adjust as needed with more fish sauce, roasted chili paste or lime juice as needed.

To serve, pour into bowls and garnish with cilantro.

This recipe is also linked to...

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Creamy and Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Adapted from: Olive Juice's Twice Baked Taters


5-pound bag of red potatoes
1/2 lb. bacon (optional)
1 (8oz) package of cream cheese
Half cup heavy cream or buttermilk
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheese
1 tablespoon roasted garlic, mashed
4 tbsp butter, softened
Snipped fresh chives, parsley, scallions or cilantro (optional)
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper


Put potatoes in a pan with half tsp salt and just enough cold water to cover them.

Bring to a boil and cook at a moderate boil for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are easily pieced with a fork but not falling apart.

While the potatoes are cooking, slice the bacon into pieces and fry. Fry until crisp, drain on paper towels, and set aside.

Meanwhile, warm cream cheese and cream/milk together a saucepan until steaming hot (do not boil).

Drain potatoes and return to pan.

Turn heat to high, shake pan for about 30 seconds, until water evaporates. Remove the pan from the heat and then it's time to mash.

Beat or mash the sour cream and grated cheese into the potatoes.

Add the cheese mixture into the potatoes a half cup at a time and the butter a tablespoon at a time.

Check after adding approximately three quarters of the liquid to see if you have the consistency and richness you want.

Mash in the garlic and stir in the bacon.

Add more liquid, if desired and season to taste with salt & pepper.

Garnish with snipped herbs, if desired.

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Cabbage Roll Soup


8 oz (250 g) lean ground beef
8 oz (250 g) ground pork
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup (175 mL) uncooked rice
1 medium onion, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
8 cups (2 L) chicken broth
1 can (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes
4 cups (1 L) shredded cabbage
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped fresh parsley


In Dutch oven or soup pot, heat chicken broth, tomatoes (including juice) and cabbage. Bring to boil over high heat.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together beef, pork, egg, rice, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Form into 1-1/2 inch (4 cm) balls to make 25 to 30 meatballs.

Gently add meatballs into boiling soup and cook until meatballs are cooked through (at least 30 minutes). Stir in parsley and serve.

This recipe is also linked to...

Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Full Plate Thursdays
Allergy-Friendly Fridays
Savory Sundays
Sunday Night = Soup Night
Delicious Dishes