Chocolate Covered Digestive Biscuits

Digestive Biscuits

These cookies remind me of British biscuits called HobNobs by McVities.  They’re delicious, but not incredibly sweet.  When you eat one, you’ll crave a cup of tea.

These were easy to make. All you need is a food processor which processes the dough quickly. I found the dough to be a bit crumbly, but I was able to roll it out with no trouble. Once I rolled the dough and cut out the cookies, I took the remaining dough and rolled it again. I kept doing this until all of the dough was used.

You want to make sure that all of your dough is the same thickness, or the cookies won’t cook at the same rate. I had a couple of cookies that were thinner than the others and they browned much more quickly than the rest of the cookies.

You can dip these cookies in any type of melted chocolate, milk, dark or white. I chose dark or semi-sweet chocolate, which was delicious.


Chocolate Covered Digestive Biscuits
Recipe from Carrie Vasios at Serious Eats:Sweets

1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup milk
3 1/2 ounces dark or milk chocolate

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.

Put oats in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground, about 5 pulses. Add whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, salt, and baking powder and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until butter is size of small peas. Add sugar and and milk and pulse until the dough comes together in a ball.

Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll dough out to 1/8-inch thick. Prick dough all over with a fork. Cut out circles and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies until golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on sheets then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

When cookies are cool, melt chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water or in the microwave. Dip each cookie in the melted chocolate so that one side is completely covered, using a knife to help spread chocolate if needed. Put coated cookies back on wire rack and let chocolate harden completely before eating.

One year ago:
Candied Bacon
Two years ago: Barley and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pomegranate Seeds
Three years ago: Crab Meat Gratin
Four years ago: No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars
Five years ago: Spritz Cookies

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Sparkling Cranberries


sparkling cranberries

This is my favorite new holiday recipe! I think these cranberries are incredible. They’re both sweet and tart. They have a nice crunchy sugar coating and once you break through it you get surprised with a splash of very tart cranberry juice.  I served them on Christmas Eve.  I made them to sprinkle around my cheese platter, and I did that, but I had a bunch of them left in a bowl (see photo above), and they ended up on the table with the hors d’oeuvres.   I didn’t intend to serve them like that, but by the end of the evening, the bowl was empty.  I guess the guests liked them.

This recipe is ideally started the day before you plan to eat the cranberries.   The directions tell you to soak the cranberries in a sugar solution overnight.  The directions also specify that you dredge the soaked berries in sugar, then wait an hour and dredge them again.  Being the last-minute kind of person that I am, I started them the morning I needed them, Christmas Eve morning.  I let the berries soak for 6 hours or so – then I dredged them in the sugar.    I didn’t wait an hour between dredgings either.   I rolled the cranberries in some organic sugar, which had granules that were slightly larger than the regular white sugar I rolled them in next.    I then let them sit for an hour or so to dry while we went to church, and they were perfect!

Sparkling Cranberries
Recipe from 101 Cookbooks

2 cups cranberries, picked over
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
Sugar for coating – I used organic sugar for the first coat, then regular granulated sugar for the second coat

Place the cranberries in a medium glass bowl and set aside.

Make a simple syrup by bringing the water and sugar just to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Let the syrup cool for a couple minutes and then pour it over the cranberries. If the syrup is too hot the cranberries will burst, so be careful. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, drain the cranberries and toss them with larger grained sugar (I used organic sugar for this) until they are well coated. I only use a scoop of sugar at a time, and small batches of cranberries, so the sugar doesn’t get too damp. Place the coated cranberries on a baking sheet to dry for a few hours.

Do a second toss with the regular granulated sugar, this typically takes care of any sticky spots on the cranberries. Let dry another hour.

Yield: 2 cups of cranberries

One year ago:
Pressure Cooker Chicken Picatta
Two years ago: Pomegranate Berry Smoothie
Three years ago: Smoked Tuna Dip
Four years ago: Curried Rice and Quinoa Salad
Five years ago: Maple-Braised Pork Chops

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Lemon Scones


Lemon Scones

Made these for breakfast yesterday and three out of four boys loved them. One claims he doesn’t like lemon-flavored things. These scones were delicious. Very tender and soft, and full of lemon flavor. The boys didn’t eat them all yesterday – they wanted to, but I wouldn’t let them – so they each had a scone for breakfast this morning. I kept the scones covered overnight and they were still nice and moist this morning.

The original glaze recipe made way too much glaze for me, so I cut it in half in the recipe below. If you like LOTS of frosting, double the glaze ingredients below. The original recipe also called for 3 cups of all-purpose flour. I used half white flour and half white whole-wheat flour. The results were delicious.

These would be a perfect addition to a brunch spread.

Lemon Scones
Recipe from

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flower
1/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/3 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
9 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/6 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoons water, or as needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix flour, white sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Cut in cold butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Whisk milk, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, lemon zest, and vinegar in a small bowl and stir into flour mixture until moistened; turn out onto a lightly floured surface.

Knead dough briefly for 5 or 6 turns. Pat or roll dough out into a 1 inch-thick round. Cut into 10 wedges and arrange on a baking sheet leaving 1 inch between each wedge.

Bake in preheated oven until bottom edges are lightly tan, 11 to 14 minutes. Allow scones to cool for 15 minutes.

While scones are cooling, stir confectioners’ sugar, melted butter, 2 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, and vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth. Stir water into sugar mixture if needed, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, until mixture is easily drizzled.

Drizzle glaze over warm scones.

One year ago: Nutella Chocolate Cookies
Two years ago: Holiday Biscotti
Three years ago: Individual Beef Wellingtons with Mushroom, Spinach and Blue Cheese Filling
Four years ago: Quinoa Pilaf with Pine Nuts
Five years ago: The Ultimate Quiche

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Eggnog Doughnut Muffins



I made these muffins the week before Christmas when we had some eggnog in the house. They were delicious and the boys loved them. The things I like best about these muffins are their nutmeg flavor and the fact that they’re covered in powdered sugar just like a doughnut. These are perfect to serve on Christmas morning because you can make the batter the night before and throw them into the oven as soon as you get up in the morning. I do love recipes that you can make ahead of time.


Eggnog Doughnut Muffins
Recipe from The Kitchn

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup whole-fat eggnog

For the topping:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar

Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin liners.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the sugar and beat until light, fluffy, and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth.

Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer and use a stiff spatula for these next steps. Add a quarter of the flour mixture to the bowl and mix until just barely combined. Mix in 1/3 of the eggnog until the batter smooths out again. Continue adding the flour mixture and the eggnog alternately, ending with the last quarter of the flour mixture. At this point, the batter will be fairly thick. Try not to over-mix, but make sure all the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Divide the batter between the muffin tins, filling each one almost to the top. Bake until the muffins have puffed up, are starting to brown around the edges, and a cake tester comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a wire cooling rack.

When the muffins are cool enough to handle but still warm, melt the butter in a microwave-safe dish (or on the stovetop) and use a pastry brush to paint the tops of the muffins with butter (alternatively, you can dip the tops in the butter if you don’t have a brush; I find it less messy to use a brush). Place the powdered sugar in a bowl and dip the tops of each muffin in the sugar. When done, dip each muffin in the powdered sugar a second time.

Muffins are best when fresh from the oven, but are still good over the next day or two.

Yield: 12 muffins

One year ago:
Chocolate Chocolate-Chunk Muffins
Two years ago: Baked Ziti with Tomato, Mozzarella and Sausage
Three years ago: Rosemary Parmesan Coins
Four years ago: Mashed Yellow Turnips with Crispy Shallots
Five years ago: Big Dutch Baby

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Chocolate Mint Crackle Cookies



I’m a sucker for chocolate and mint, especially around the holidays. I can honestly say that I’ve never met a chocolate mint confection that I didn’t like. These cookies are easy to make and their taste reminds me of Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies which I absolutely love.

The trickiest part of making these cookies is finding a store that sells Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips. I found mine at Target; my local supermarket doesn’t carry them. The one thing that I found a little odd about these cookies is that on some of them you can see the baking chips sticking out of the cookies. The chips are pale green in color. Not the best color for chips. I don’t mind brightly colored things like M&Ms sticking out of my cookies, because it’s clear what they are. These chips aren’t colorful enough to define them. Not a huge deal though.

If you make these cookies, know that the dough needs to chill in the refrigerator for an hour before you can bake them. The dough is very soft when first made and needs to firm up before it gets rolled into balls and dredged in confectioner’s sugar for baking.

These are great to serve around the holidays.


Chocolate Mint Crackle Cookies
Recipe from The Devil’s Food Advocate who adapted it from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup Andes creme de menthe baking chips
About 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted onto a plate, for coating the cookies

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line your baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Add the egg, beating well to incorporate. Mix in the vanilla and peppermint extract. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat just to combine. Stir in the Andes chips. Chill the dough for an hour in the refrigerator. Scoop the dough by tablespoonfuls and roll quickly into balls. Roll in the confectioner’s sugar and place on the prepared sheets, leaving space between the cookies (they will spread and flatten as they bake). Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they’re slightly darkened around the edges. Cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Yield: ~30 cookies

One year ago: Peppermint Cream Squares
Two years ago: Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic-Cranberry Sauce
Three years ago: Clementine Vanilla-Bean Quick Bread
Four years ago: Peanut Butter and Jam Jewels
Five years ago: Lemon Bars

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Sweet Potato-Sausage Soup



This soup is delicious, incredibly satisfying and really quick to make. It’s definitely something that can be made on a weeknight and served with a nice loaf of rustic bread. Since the boys wouldn’t go near it (nothing new there), we had some soup left over and I actually thought it was better on the second day. The orzo absorbed more moisture overnight and it ended up like a thick stew, which is something I love on a cold night.

The original recipe called for sweet Italian sausage. I prefer chicken or turkey sausage to pork sausage, so I picked up a package of chicken-sundried tomato sausage from Trader Joe’s. It was perfect for this soup. Any kind of sausage will do though. While in Trader Joe’s, I picked up two packages of their Mighty Greens salad mix which is a combination of swiss chard, spinach and kale. It saved me some chopping. I was able to just dump the bags right into the pot of soup.

This recipe is definitely a keeper and is going into our regular meal rotation.


Sweet Potato-Sausage Soup
Recipe from Martha Stewart

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced large
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1 pound raw sausage, casings removed (I used chicken/sundried tomato sausage from Trader Joe’s. You can also use sweet Italian sausage)
2 sweet potatoes (~1 pound total), peeled and medium diced
4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup orzo
4 cups roughly chopped mixed greens, such as kale and Swiss chard
Grated Parmesan, for serving

In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add sausage and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes.

Add sweet potatoes, broth, and 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook 3 minutes less than package instructions. Reduce to a simmer, add greens, and cook until pasta is tender and greens are wilted, 4 minutes. Serve with Parmesan.

Yield: 6 servings

One year ago: Frosted Sugar Cookies
Two years ago: Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes
Three years ago: Honey Mustard Salad Dressing
Four years ago: Chocolate Dipped Meringue Cookies
Five years ago: Peppermint Brownies

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English Muffin Bread


English Muffin Bread

This is a loaf of bread that you can have on the table in about 2 hours. It’s a very easy bread dough to mix, it doesn’t have any fancy ingredients and it makes a nice loaf of bread that will remind you of English muffins. I made this bread one afternoon, and it didn’t make it to breakfast the next morning. The boys ate it with their dinner and they loved it. If any had been left, it would have been great as toast in the morning. I’m going to make another loaf because I have a feeling it’s going to make an excellent French toast.

If you have never made a bread with yeast before, this is a great recipe to try.  It’s easy and it’s not too finicky – a great beginner recipe.   For many years I was afraid of cooking with yeast, because I had tried it a couple of times and failed miserably.   With a little practice I got better and now I bake with yeast all the time.  Give this recipe a shot if you’re new to baking with yeast.


English Muffin Bread
Recipe from King Arthur Flour

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan

Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl.

Combine the milk, water, and oil in a separate, microwave-safe bowl, and heat to between 120°F and 130°F. Be sure to stir the liquid well before measuring its temperature; you want an accurate reading. If you don’t have a thermometer, the liquid should feel quite hot (hotter than lukewarm), but not so hot that it would be uncomfortable as bath water.

Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Beat at high speed for 1 minute. The dough will be very soft.

Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal.

Scoop the soft dough into the pan, leveling it in the pan as much as possible.

Cover the pan, and let the dough rise till it’s just barely crowned over the rim of the pan. When you look at the rim of the pan from eye level, you should see the dough, but it shouldn’t be more than, say, 1/4″ over the rim. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, if you heated the liquid to the correct temperature and your kitchen isn’t very cold. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.

Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 22 to 27 minutes, till it’s golden brown and its interior temperature is 190°F.

Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.

Yield: 1 loaf

One year ago: Rich Chocolate Brownies
Two years ago: Barefoot Carrot Salad
Three years ago: Cauliflower and Parmesan Cake
Four years ago: Krumkake
Five years ago: Snickerdoodles

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Quick Poached Salmon with Mustard Dill Sauce




This was last night’s dinner.  My husband loved it, and he’s not a huge salmon fan. The sauce did it for him. It’s a very tangy, mustardy sauce and it turned him into a salmon-fan last night. I found him putting the sauce on his broccoli too. I loved the poached salmon, but the sauce was a bit too mustardy for me. Don’t get me wrong – it was good.   I ate it all, and I even put a little of the sauce on my broccoli, but next time I make this, I’ll make the sauce using slightly less mustard.  I’ll pour a little into a bowl for myself, then I’ll add the rest of the mustard.  I have my eye on a Julia Child poached salmon recipe next.  Hers has a cucumber sauce.   I’ll let you know how it turns out.

I have never poached salmon before. It was delicious poached in white wine. In addition, it was flaky and moist when it was done. Our apartment didn’t smell like fish either, which was nice.

Not a single boy was interested in trying the salmon. Even without the sauce. Their loss – it was really good.

Quick Poached Salmon with Mustard Dill Sauce
Recipe adapted from

1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon honey
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 pound salmon
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup water

In a small bowl, blend the plain yogurt, Dijon mustard, honey, lemon juice, and dill. Cover, and refrigerate until serving.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, place the salmon in the white wine and water. Adjust the amount of water as necessary to just cover the fish.

Cover the saucepan, and cook 10 to 12 minutes, until salmon is easily flaked with a fork. Drain, and serve with the yogurt sauce.

Yield: 3 – 4 servings

One year ago: Apple Mosaic Tart with Salted Caramel
Two years ago: Chicken Pot Pie
Three years ago: Pumpkin Muffins
Four years ago: Go Green Giant Calzone

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies



If you’re a fan of chocolate and peanut butter cups, these cookies are for you! They’re very easy to make – as easy as making chocolate chip cookies. I bought a container of mini peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s and they were exactly the right size for this recipe. We all loved these cookies. They’re chocolatey and soft, almost like brownie cookies. I’m going to put some of them in the freezer because my husband suggested that they’ll be excellent frozen. We love to eat our chocolate chip cookies frozen; I know these will be great frozen too.

The cookie directions call for flattening the cookies prior to putting them in the oven. Wet your fingers before you do this. Moist hands will prevent the cookie dough from sticking to your hand too much.

Pour yourself an ice-cold glass of milk and enjoy.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Recipe from King Arthur Flour

1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups mini peanut butter cups

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and water, then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well. Gently stir in the mini peanut butter cups.

Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Flatten each cookie to about 1/2″ thick.

Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they’re set and you can smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Yield: ~ 36 cookies

One year ago: Salted Apple Cider Caramels
Two years ago: Cornmeal-Crusted Tofu
Three years ago: Cinnamon Sugar Biscotti
Four years ago: No Knead Bread
Five years ago: Broccoli Salad

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Ranch Oyster Crackers



Our boys LOVE oyster crackers. Not in soup. By themselves. They don’t have a lot of flavor, but that doesn’t seem to bother the boys. They could eat oyster crackers by the barrel.

This summer, I found a recipe for ranch flavored oyster crackers. The recipe called for a package of ranch salad dressing mix. I bought a packet at the grocery store and I tried the recipe. The crackers were delicious. The ranch dressing mix gave them a real punch of flavor. Then I realized the downside. Ranch dressing mix contains MSG, maltodextrin and artificial flavors (and you never quite know what that means.) :( I wrote about the oyster crackers this past summer, but didn’t post a recipe because I don’t want to promote consuming MSG. One of my readers pointed out that it was pretty easy to make homemade ranch salad dressing mix, so that’s what I did.

My kids gobbled these up. One son would have eaten a whole bowl for dinner if I had let him. These are a really tasty snack. Great to serve at a party.


Ranch Oyster Crackers
Recipe from

1 ounce Ranch dressing mix
1/4 cup vegetable oil
5 cups oyster crackers

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).

In a large bowl, combine the dressing mix, vegetable oil and oyster crackers. Toss to coat. Spread evenly on a baking sheet.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring gently after 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow to cool before serving.

Ranch Dressing Mix

Recipe from Snappy Gourmet

1/2 cup dried buttermilk powder
1 tablespoon dried parsley, crushed
2 teaspoons dried dill
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend for a few seconds.

Store the extra dressing mix in an airtight container.

Yield: 5 cups of crackers

One year ago:
Shrimp Stew with Coconut Milk, Tomatoes and Cilantro
Two years ago: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Three years ago: Five-Treasure Fried Rice
Four years ago: Cream Biscuits
Five years ago: Cinnamon Muffins

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