Holiday Cooking & Baking

These recipes were featured in our December 2008 newsletter and our December 2009 newsletter:

Pumpkin Whip Parfait
Easy Holiday Bean Smash
No Bake Cookie Balls
Orange Currant Tea Cookies
Honey Almond Cookies
Winter Squash Cookies
Julia’s Cashew Sprinkle Cookies
Sesame Cookies
Almond Cookies
Julia’s Banana Rocks
Spicy Chocolate Chip Cakes
Julia’s Almond Butter Cranberry Cookies

Pumpkin Whip Parfait


-1 can pumpkin or 2 cups fresh pumpkin
-2 cups whipped heavy cream
-1 cup prepared vanilla pudding dash of cinnamon (optional)
-1 1⁄2 cups chopped pears (canned or fresh)
-2 cups crushed graham crackers or ginger snaps
-6 clear plastic cups (medium sized)

In a medium sized bowl combine pumpkin, whipped cream, vanilla pudding, and cinnamon together to make pumpkin whip. Create a buffet line with the bowl of pumpkin whip, bowl of fruit, and crushed graham crackers. Include measuring spoons in the buffet! Allow your kids to go through the buffet line: layer 1⁄4 cup pumpkin whip, 2 TBS chopped pears, and 2 TBS crushed graham crackers. Start at the beginning of the buffet line and repeat one more layer.

Kid friendly tasks:
-Mixing pumpkin whip together
-Crushing graham crackers
-Measuring and layering ingredients into cup

Recipe from Jodi Balis, Red Lentil Consulting:

Easy Holiday Bean Smash


-2 14 oz cans pinto beans drained and rinsed (or 3 cups cooked beans)
-1 cup corn
-1 14 oz can peaches, drained and chopped
-1 medium jar salsa
-1 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
-Pita chips, whole grain crackers, or tortilla chips
-1 TBS chopped cilantro (optional)

Place beans in a Ziplock bag and smash with your hands. It is fun to toss the beans back and forth like a “bean bag toss!” Careful not to break the bag! In a large bowl combine smashed beans with remaining ingredients. Enjoy!

Kid Friendly Tasks:
-Smashing beans
-Mixing it all together

Recipe from Jodi Balis, Red Lentil Consulting:

No Bake Cookie Balls


-2 cups graham crackers (no trans fats), processed in Cuisinart to flour consistency
-1/2 cup peanut butter (100% real)
-4 T honey
-Mix ins of your choice (raisins, dried fruit, nuts, unsweetened coconut, dark chocolate chips, cereal, etc.)

Mix together ingredients and roll into balls.  Enjoy!

In this recipe, watch the type of graham crackers that you put in it (I use Back to Nature Grahams Honey Sticks), the type of peanut butter (100% real is best) and any of your add-ins.  The kids can mix this one up by themselves, shape the balls, and have a great time doing it.  My sister and I grew up making peanut butter balls, so this is a family tradition made healthier.  My kids loved making these and are asking to make them again (our mix-ins were raisins, mini dark chocolate chips, and Nature’s Path EnviroKidz Cereal Koala Cocoa Crisp Organic Cereal).

Orange Currant Tea Cookies


Makes about 16 cookies

These are tender, lightly spiced cookies that would be great with a cup of tea or a glass of milk.

½ cup butter at room temperature
½ cup oat flour
½ cup barley flour
¼ teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
¼ cup currants
¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
¼ teaspoon orange zest
1 cup powdered sugar for coating cookies

Preheat oven to 350. In a mixer, stir together flours, salt, powdered sugar and cinnamon. Add butter and mix well. Add currents, walnuts and orange zest and mix until combined. Chill for 5 to 10 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll dough into 1–inch balls and roll in powdered sugar to coat. Bake 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly, then dip into powdered sugar for a second coat.

Honey Almond Cookies


-2 cups almonds, processed in a Cuisinart until coarsely chopped but not to -flour-like consistency
-¼ to ½ cup butter
-1/3 to ¾ cups honey
-2 tsp vanilla.

Mix all together (I think it is easiest in the Cuisinart).  Spread with a spatula into a glass pyrex and bake at 350 until golden brown.  Cut into squares while still warm.

You can make these in no time at all, and depending on how you change the ratio of butter to nuts to honey, they come out different every time.  More butter and honey means it tastes more and more like toffee!  More nuts and it becomes more firm, and you can sprinkle it over fruit and bake it like a crumble.

Winter Squash Cookies


-3 cups almond flour
-2 cups mashed winter squash (butter nut or acorn) or pumpkin
-½ cup butter
-1 egg
-¾ cup honey
-1 t baking soda
-¼ t salt
-½ cinnamon
-1 tsp vanilla

Add dry ingredients and then wet.  Beat with a beater.  Drop on sheets and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Don’t tell your kids what is in them until they try them.  Both my kids liked these, especially Alexander.  They are very moist, so moist that if you freeze them, they become soggy.

Julia’s Cashew Sprinkle Cookies


-1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-4 large eggs
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1/3 cup all purpose flour
-1/3 cup rice flour
-2 cups cashews, finely ground
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-Naturally colored sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl beat the butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla.  In another bowl, mix the flours, cashews, salt and baking soda.  Gradually beat in the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  Bake for about 3 minutes, then remove to add sprinkles.  Return to oven for another 3 minutes or until lightly golden.

Sesame Cookies


-1 ½  cups flour (experiment with various types of flour:  whole wheat, oat, brown rice, almond, millet)
-1 t aluminum free baking powder
-1/8 t salt
-1/2 cup sesame seeds, lightly toasted
-4 ounces silken tofu, drained
-½ cup olive oil (substitute half with applesauce if desired)
-¾ cup brown sugar
-1 t almond extract

Mix dry ingredients and then wet;  combine.   Roll into balls and press flat with hands or bottom of glass cup.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until edges begin to brown.

These cookies contain tofu (which has protein, calcium and isoflavones), but don’t tell anyone!  I think the tofu makes them moist and hold together well.  The sesame seeds are high in calcium and fiber.  They are delicious warm from the oven.

Almond Cookies


Original version Gluten and sugar free version
1 1/2 cups flour (divide between whole wheat, white, oat, or any type desired) 1 cup almond flour 

½ cup brown rice flour

1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder 1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1/8 tsp salt 1/8 tsp salt
4 ounces silken tofu, drained 4 ounces silken tofu, drained
¼ cup plus almond butter ¼ cup plus almond butter
½ cup plus olive oil (substitute half with applesauce, if desired) ½ cup plus olive oil
½ cup brown sugar 1/16  t stevia (or equivalent to 1 cup)
¼ cup maple syrup Omit
1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate covered almonds Omit

Mix dry ingredients and then wet; combine. Roll into balls and press flat with a fork or bottom of glass cup. Place dark chocolate covered almond in the center if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

These cookies also contain tofu (which has protein, calcium and isoflavones), but, again, don’t tell anyone! I think the tofu makes them moist and hold together well. My kids liked the gluten and sugar free version of these cookies, especially when I put a dark chocolate covered almond right in the middle for decoration.

Julia’s Banana Rocks


-1 cup raisins
-4 Tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice or sherry (don’t worry about the alcohol, it burns off during simmering)
-1/3 cup canola oil
-2 large or 3 small very ripe bananas, mashed
-2 cups rolled oats (not instant) or 1 3/4 cups rolled oats and 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
-1 cup pecans or walnuts, finely chopped honey

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a small saucepan, combine the raisins and orange juice or sherry and add cold water enough to cover the raisins.  Bring to a simmer and cook until all but about 1 Tablespoon of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/3 cup of canola oil. Mix in the bananas.  Mix in the oats and the nuts.  Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes, until the edges and tops are just golden.  Drizzle honey over the tops of the warms cookies.  Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

This is an easy drop cookie with no flour or eggs or sugar. The only sweetener in it is mashed bananas, but a drizzle of honey over the top of the cookies once they’re out of the oven really makes them delicious.  Seve (Julia’s son) liked these and declared them “good” with his mouth full.  (He’s a man of few words when he’s eating).

Spicy Chocolate Chip Cakes


-2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon cloves
-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
-1 stick butter (1/2 cup), at room temperature
-4 large eggs
-3/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
-1 1/4 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix in the butter with a fork until mixture is crumbly.  In a small bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk or fork for a minute or two.  Stir in the apple juice concentrate.  Add the liquid mixture to the flour/butter mixture and blend until the dough is smooth.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Bake until the tops are firm  (like a cake) about 8 minutes.  Makes 27 cookies.

These drop cookies come out like little shiny cakes. They are tender and lightly spiced. Seve (Julia’s son) declared them “excellent” with a thumbs up when he tasted one. There are two sweeteners in the recipe: concentrated apple juice and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Julia’s Almond Butter Cranberry Cookies


-1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
-3/4 cup creamy almond butter
-2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
-1 egg
-3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/2 teaspoon almond extract
-1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 cup dried cranberries
-1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Cream butter, almond butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and both extracts.  In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt together, then add to butter mixture.  Mix just until flour is blended in.  Add cranberries and almonds.  Drop by teaspoon onto parchment paper. Bake for about 15 minutes, just until golden and tops are set.

When Julia first invented this recipe, she included 1 cup of sugar.  When experimenting with cutting the sugar down to 2/3 cups, she hardly missed it.

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