Friday, December 15, 2017

Memories From The Oven

Mom made almond paste cookies for our Christmas gathering ever since I can remember. This recipe is over 40 years old, and we look forward to these cookies appearing on the Christmas tray each year. This is my most requested cookie amongst family, friends and neighbors. I buy the 2.5 pound container from our local Italian market. Pine nuts are pricey, so I either splurge or mix them with walnuts.

Almond Paste Cookies - Joyce Robinson (mom)

1/2 lb. almond paste (1 cup)
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. flour
3 egg whites
1/3 cup powdered sugar
l lb. pine nuts (you can also use walnuts)

Mix almond paste, adding sugar slowly. Use fork or finger tips. Add egg whites, when well blended, add flour and powdered sugar which has been sifted. Roll a teaspoon of dough into a dish of nuts. Place on well-greased cookie sheet. I used parchment paper and then sprayed it with Pam. Remove while still warm with a spatula. If the batter is allowed to chill, it will be easier to handle. 

Bake 300 degrees for about 30 min. I take mine out when the edges start showing a golden brown. Don't overbake.
Just in the nick of time for my office Christmas party two years ago, I found this idea for Santa hats on a blog. We enjoyed these tasty treats so much that I'm going to make more for another holiday party. 

Check out this "sweet" blog here. Santa Hats

Here is the list of supplies you will need:
1 box brownie mix (I made mine from scratch)
24 small strawberries (hulled and cleaned)
2 cups white chocolate chips 
Mini muffin pan
Piping bag and tip 

 Preheat oven to 350 and grease your mini muffin pan.

Prepare brownie mix according to instructions on box, and fill your muffin tins 3/4 of the way. (You will have extra batter)

Bake for 20 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Once brownies are cool, place strawberries upside down onto brownie bites. Melt white chocolate chips in a double boiler and transfer into a piping bag. Pipe a ring around the base and a small dot on top. Work quickly since the white chocolate tends to dry fast and may clog the tip.  

Powdered Sugar Cookies (Polvorones Sevillanos) are my son's favorite Christmas cookies. When he was taking Spanish in high school, he volunteered me to make cookies and still remembers that. Although he can't remember the teacher's The cookies are typical Spanish cookies and are of Arab origin. The recipe also stated that just about every country in the Western world has some version of a sugar cookie. Sevilla is famous for its cookies, but they are also found throughout Spain. The Spanish sometimes serve these cookies in the afternoon to guests accompanied by a glass of anisette liqueur. 

1/2 pound sweet butter at room temperature
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 tablespoon brandy or cognac
2 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups powdered sugar sifted for dusting.

Cream the butter with electric beater until light colored and fluffy. In a small cup, mix together the egg yolk and the tablespoon of powdered sugar. Stir in the brandy. Beat this mixture into the butter.

Sift the flour with the cinnamon. Gradually incorporate the flour with a spatula or a wooden spoon into the butter mixture. The dough should be slightly sticky. With flowered hands shape the dough into ovals, about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch high.

Place on and ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 300°F for about 30 minutes. The cookies should not brown. Cool slightly 2 to 3 minutes.

Sift the powdered sugar onto a sheet of waxed paper. Roll the warm cookies carefully in the sugar, coating them lightly on all sides. Cool the cookies completely, then dust with more powdered sugar. To serve, you may place the cookies in miniature paper cupcake liners.

I am also sharing my very favorite granola from the Mirror Lake Inn. I was thrilled that the inn would give me the recipe. We just booked our February vacation there!

Mirror Lake Inn, Lake Placid - Granola

Mix in large bowl:

2 c. Oats
1 c. Whole Wheat Flour
1 c. Whole Bran Cereal (Special K or Bran Flakes)
1 c. Coconut
1/2 c. Nuts (any kind)

Melt until hot and bubbly:

8 oz. Butter
1 c. Honey

Add to Butter-Honey Mixture:
1/2 tsp. Vanilla

Combine all ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees on a 12" x 9" cookie sheet for 20 - 30 minutes.

For Fine Granola - break apart while still warm.

For Larger Granola - break apart when cool.(This is my favorite way to eat it...I look for the big clumps with lots of nuts)

I'm trying to do one more post before Christmas. Thank you for your sweet comments and friendship over the year. Wishing you much love and laughter as you prepare for your holiday celebration. 

I hope your holiday is fabulous in every way! May all the magic and beauty of the season fill your home and heart with much happiness.

Debbie@Mountain Breaths
Debbie@Mountain Breaths

Hello, I'm Debbie.I enjoy hiking, kayaking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the Adirondack Mountains (thus Mountain Breaths). I live in Upstate NY with my supportive husband and have three precious sons..


  1. We love pine nuts, and you are so correct...they are pricey! (but so worth it) The Santa hats are too too cute! I want to make them this weekend. LOVELY post, My Dear!


    1. I agree that the pine nuts are worth the price! No nut even comes close on the almond paste cookies!

  2. Sams actually had them on sale last week so I picked up four bags for the freezer!
    Oh, you ladies never cease to amaze me with your collection of and use of your MC! I have wanted that table for years and years - drool, drool!
    I just love the emotions evoked by the cookies and treats we have had for years. It is one of the best traditions! Have a lovely Christmas!

    1. Jacqueline, if I find pine nuts on sale, you will hear me squealing from New York to Utah! Thank you, and Merry Christmas!

  3. A lovely array of Christmas cookies..favorite things and warm memories:) Happy holidays to you and yours:)

    1. Monique, I have enjoyed seeing your beautiful holiday desserts throughout the years. This is the only month I actually bake :-)

  4. Debbie.. your gorgeous photos are making me drool!! Hope that you have a wonderful weekend.

    1. Thank you, and you know I would share if I lived a little closer!

  5. I remember them all :) I have only made gingerbread cookies so far and need to get baking! Merry Christmas, Debbie!

    1. I remember all of your cookies Susan :-) Merry Christmas Susan!

  6. The almond paste cookies were delish!! And I love your white candlesticks in the last photo! Merry, merry!!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the cookies! I figured they would be perfect for you and John on a snowy day.

  7. Debbie, all of these recipes sound delish and look so festive, especially how you've styled them! Those almond paste cookies are calling me. I make a variation of the Santa hats every year, called Tuxedo Brownie Bites. Using chocolate brownie mix, a cream cheese/white choc frost topping and a quarter slice of a strawberry on top, they're always a hit.
    In case I get as busy as I anticipate this week, I wish you, Joe and your entire family a wonderful Christmas celebration. Merry Christmas!

  8. Sweet sweet memories served up on beautiful MKC! I LOVE almond paste and pine nuts and must try these cookies! Costco and Trader Joe's have good prices on pine nuts and they freeze beautifully. The Santa hat brownies are so cute!

  9. Well, anything "almondy" gets my vote for sure!!! And, the granola too. You have such a beautiful blog and it's so nice to meet you and share our blogs and of course, our TT. Merriest of Christmases!

  10. I wish I could taste each special memory from the oven, Debbie. I have made your granola, and would love to make all the rest of those confections! Merry Christmas to you and Joe! It was so fun talking to you!! xx

  11. Debbie, you have been busy. Very cute cookies. Pine nuts are great ti have in hand, You have been very busy. so happy to have met you and Joe in NYC. Merry Christmas. xo


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