December 30, 2014

A look back at 2014

It's hard to believe another year is just about over. On a personal level, 2014 was a difficult one. As will be apparent from the lack of posts to choose from this past summer, there were a few months where this blog took a back seat to some difficulties we had to endure. However, when I look back though all these posts, I'm happy to say it was still another great year of recipes! I'm always amazed when I think that I'm able to create all these wonderful dishes right in my kitchen. As always, I'm thankful to all my readers who make blogging worth while - I love all of your comments, kind words, and support. I'm looking forward to another great food year in 2015 (and hopefully a wonderful year all-around). I've been thinking about something that I want to get better at making and that answer is PIE. So, I've decided that I'll be making and posting 25 Pies in 2015! Look for the first one to come in January. 

Now here are my favorite recipes from each month of 2014, followed by my husband's (aka the official taste-testers) favorites. Some month's are so difficult to pick just one, but I've done my best. 

Happy New Year!  

Saag Paneer (with Homemade Paneer): This recipe was such a fulfilling one all around - plus it's really two recipes in one! First you have a recipe for the whole dish, but there's also a step-by-step recipe for making your own Paneer. If you haven't tried this yet, please do. Not only is is so delicious and flavorful, but it's really rewarding (and easy) to make the homemade cheese!

December 24, 2014

Chocolate chip snowball cookies

One last December cookie recipe and then it's time to make other things in my kitchen again... Just kidding, I'm still making a lot of other stuff, it's just that at this time of the year, there are so many cookies, sweets, and other goodies to make, enjoy, and share! These delicate and delicious snowball cookies are my slight adaptation of my Great-grandmother's Mexican Wedding Cakes. The only thing I really changed here was swapping mini-chocolate chips in for the walnuts. This is mainly because I already made her thumbprints (walnuts) and brown butter pecan cookies, so I felt that we didn't really need another nut-based cookie. But another cookie with chocolate is always welcome! I must say that I think they turned out great and I may be making this version for years to come. 

This recipe will make about 2-1/2 dozen cookies. I'm guessing that most people are cookied-out at this point, but pin these for next year or maybe make them for a New Year's treat.  

I wish all of you very Happy Holidays! 

December 22, 2014

Roasted heirloom sweet meat squash and chestnut soup

It's Christmas week and Week 8 of 12 Weeks of Winter Squash! This week I'm sharing a recipe that is lovely for a holiday dinner starter. It's made with a beautiful blue heirloom squash called "sweet meat" and it lives up to its name. This squash is sweet, dense, and meaty and the flesh is a beautiful bright orange - you just know this sucker is going to fill you up with vitamins. My father-in-law grew it in his huge garden this year, so we received a few of them. I had never seen these squash before so as a HUGE winter squash lover, I was very excited to try a new kind! Look at how pretty it is!

Of course, if you can't find your very own sweet meat squash, you can substitute a blue hubbard, kabocha, or red kuri squash as they are somewhat similar in texture and sweetness. You can also grow you own sweet meats next year! They make beautiful decorations, too! 

This soup will serve four as a side or starter. It's filled with other holiday flavors like chestnuts, apple, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.

December 19, 2014

Orange-scented cranberry cake with sugared cranberries

Sugared cranberries are something I've been wanting to make for a while now because they just look so pretty and festive. Recently, we had a birthday dinner for my mom and I was in charge of the dessert. She requested a cranberry cake and this gave me the opportunity to make sugared cranberries to decorate this cake studded with fresh cranberries and orange zest. My mom doesn't like frosting, so I went with a very light glaze made with fresh orange juice - or you could top each slice with some freshly whipped cream and the sugared cranberries. Everyone enjoyed the cake and my husband really enjoyed the sugared cranberries and was eating them like candy!

This cake was adapted from this recipe that I've had marked for a while now. I'm really glad I gave this cake a try. It was only lightly sweet, but sweet enough, with punches of tartness from the fresh cranberries. I really do love fresh cranberries and do not use them nearly enough in my cooking. I'm changing that for sure. If you are looking for an elegant holiday dessert, look no further! It's a bit of a process, but the results are worth it. I'll definitely be making sugared cranberries more often now!

December 17, 2014

Brown butter pecan cookies

Butter pecan is taken to the next level in these cookies by taking the regular ol' butter and making it nutty and golden brown butter! Yes, that's right - these cookies are full of rich nuttiness and are a perfect cookie for the holidays or anytime of the year. These cookies were adapted from a chocolate chip cookie recipe that uses melted butter - I just swapped the chocolate for pecans and cooked the butter longer. The result were perfect - chewy, nutty, rich, and delicious. Plus the smell was amazing. I'm really glad I decided to give this idea a try! I always try to make at least one or two new cookies each Christmas, along with the standbys that we have pretty much every year like my Great-grandmother's thumbprint cookies and these rosemary shortbread Christmas trees. What are your favorite cookies you make each year?

This recipe will make about 3 dozen cookies. I have a feeling that I may need to make another batch of these before Christmas so we have more to share - they are going fast!

December 15, 2014

Smoky garlic, delicata squash, and bacon pizza

It's Week 7 of 12 Weeks of Winter Squash and I can't believe it's taken me this long to feature one of my most favorite winter squash - delicata! I love delicata squash because not only are they delicious, but they are so pretty and very quick cooking. I've been thinking about putting winter squash on a pizza for a while now and finally decided that delicata would be the winner. The sweet, creamy squash pairs so nicely with the salty, smoky, and crispy bacon. To up the smoky deliciousness of the pizza, I used smoked mozzarella.

For my pizza crust, I almost always use this recipe (or this one if I'm in a pinch for time). For this pizza I used the first crust which I find usually makes two pizzas that are about 10-11 inches in diameter (this depends on how much flour your dough takes that day given the humidity, etc.) This recipe is for two pizzas about that size. We make pizzas probably about once a week or every two weeks. We love pizza and now that I've discovered these simple dough recipes, it's so simple to make at home. Plus, you can try out all sorts of toppings and combinations!

December 10, 2014

Hot buttered spiced apple cider with rum

How can it be that this is only the second drink containing alcohol that I've shared on this blog?!? I mean, really? I guess it's mainly because my husband and I are generally boring drinkers - beer, whiskey on the rocks, or the occasional glass of wine. We don't really make a lot of mixed drinks except when he whips up a martini every now and again... However, I think it's time to change that. 

I've been wanting to try a buttered rum or hot toddy or some other warm and festive drink for a while now. This drink is a combination of hot buttered rum and hot spiced apple cider and it's delicious - so perfect for the holidays or any cold evening. A lot of the recipes I read for buttered rum were loaded with butter and brown sugar! My version is lighter on both of those and will make two drinks. The addition of butter is just enough to add a touch of creaminess and froth to the drink. 

I'm sharing this cocktail recipe today in celebration of 5 years of this blog! I never imagined I'd still be blogging about recipes and, even crazier, that I don't see an end in sight - I still have so many recipes I want to make and share! I'm thrilled to have "met" so many fantastic, creative, and inspiring people through this medium. I truly thank all of you who stop by and read, leave comments, share and talk on social media, etc. So this drink is a toast to all of you! Cheers!

December 8, 2014

Chocolate chip butternut squash oatmeal cookies

These are not very Christmasy cookies, but they are an appropriate cookie for Week 6 of 12 Weeks of Winter Squash! I had a small butternut squash that needed to be used up pretty quickly. I had previously seen this recipe which I had bookmarked as an idea (with thousands of others, of course - food blogger problems), so I figured it it would be a good time to make some squash-infused oatmeal cookies. There's something about butternut squash that makes baked goods taste and smell really squashy/pumpkin flavored - more so than pumpkin puree, I find. I may start using butternut squash in all my pumpkin recipes! 

To make butternut squash puree, I simply baked a halved and seeded quash in a 375 degree oven until I can pierce it with a fork (time will depend on the size of your squash). Then I let it cool slightly and scrape the flesh into a food processor and puree. You can often find butternut squash puree canned in the grocery store as well.

So while these cookies don't scream Christmas, they are a nice cookie for all winter long, especially if you find yourself with some extra butternut squash. Save these cookies for a cold January or February weekend when you want to snuggle up under a blanket with a plate of cookies and a hot cup of tea. You will be glad you did! This recipe will make about 2-1/2 dozen cookies.

December 3, 2014

Whole wheat acorn squash waffles with walnut and cinnamon syrup

I've been on a bit of a breakfast recipe kick lately when it comes to winter squash. This time, it's waffles - waffles infused with a mashed acorn squash, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and topped with more cinnamon, sticky toasted walnuts, and warm maple syrup. Yes, this is my kind of weekend breakfast. I wanted to use acorn squash for a couple of reasons. The first is that we had some really small ones, so I was hoping that i would be able to use it all in the recipe and not have any leftover squash remains. The second is that acorn squash is not very sweet when compared to many winter squashes and I like this in a breakfast that I'm going to douse in maple syrup. I'm not a fan of sweet overload, especially in the morning.

This recipe is my contribution to Week 5 of 12 Weeks of Winter Squash. You can see other recipes at the bottom of the post and there's still lots of time to join in. I've still got a lot of winter squash in my basement to get me through the winter and the next 7 weeks of recipes. These waffles were adapted from this recipe. It made 9 waffles for me, though this will depend on the size and shape of your waffle iron.

December 1, 2014

OSOhome personalized wood cutting board review {and special offer!}

Disclosure: OSOhome provided me with the cutting board for my review. As always, all opinions are my own.

Photo courtesy of OSOhome - I love the apple!

 Today I'm doing a post that's a bit different (i.e., not a recipe), but I hope you will enjoy it! 

I was lucky enough to meet Monica of OSOhome at the World on Your Plate 11th Annual Conference on Food & Sustainable Living in October where I sat in on her Entrepreneurship workshop. I took this workshop on a hunch that I might pick up some good tips and ideas for growing and marketing my blog. Little did I know that I would also meet someone who owns a small business that creates beautiful and eco-friendly wood cutting boards and is also pretty local to me (just a short drive over the bridge)! As you all know, I'm very passionate about local foods, supporting local farmers and food artisans, and also the environment, so when they asked me to review their cutting boards - it was a no-brainer! I am picky about the companies I support and promote on my blog, but after meeting Monica, learning about their company, and receiving the product, I'm a full supporter of their work!

 My cutting board after I opened the box. The wrapping and presentation was very pretty.

November 28, 2014

Mexican hot chocolate cookies

I suppose my favorite time of the year is now over with the end of fall and the celebration of Thanksgiving yesterday. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving; ours was a small gathering this year, but it was full of love and good food! Now it's time to turn all my pumpkins into puree and bring out the Christmas tree. 

Christmas is my second favorite time of the year and it means that it is now the season of cookies! That's a season I can get behind. Actually, I love a lot of things about the Christmas season - snow, lighted homes, carols, eggnog, Christmas trees... I just don't love the creeping of Christmas earlier and earlier each year and the focus on gifts and spending tons of money. This year I was at a store in early October glancing through some Halloween goodies and they were already putting up Christmas decorations in the last aisle of seasonal items. You can't turn on the television without being bombarded with Christmas commercials for buying gifts - starting as earlier as the beginning of November now (we actually saw some the week of Halloween). I'm a big fan of seasons and enjoying each time of year for what it is - not rushing to the next one. So this year I'm going to try to have a simple holiday season. It will still contain a plethora of homemade holiday treats as I love to give them for gifts and have them for gatherings. 

These cookies aren't a traditional Christmas cookie and can be made anytime of the year, but I like their hint of spiciness in the cold weather. If you've ever had a cup of Mexican hot chocolate, you know what I'm talking about - chocolaty, slightly sweet, with a bit of cinnamon and a touch of cayenne pepper - not enough to make them hot, but just enough to give them a touch of warmth. They are similar to these Mexican brownies that we love. This recipe will make about 30 cookies.

November 24, 2014

Pumpkin spice granola

Granola is a staple in our household, though usually it's in bar form (I need to update that recipe as I've made many changes over the years, especially in reducing the sugar). We make granola bars almost every Sunday for our weekday breakfast. Every once in a while though, I crave granola cereal with cool creamy milk. It's usually happens around this time of year when there's pumpkin puree around because that's how I almost always make it. I love granola that is full of spices. It fills your home with wonderful aroma as it bakes. You can eat this granola just as is, but I like to eat it as cereal or with plain yogurt. I wanted to have it around for Thanksgiving week for quick, nutritious breakfasts that make me think fall! Plus, it's a perfect recipe for Week 4 of 12 Weeks of Winter Squash!

On a side note, it seems that the manual focus is working better on my camera, so I'm getting decent photos again now (autofocus is still toast). I love the little pitcher in this photo. My Grandmother made it and the matching plates in her ceramics class!

November 20, 2014

Apple-cheddar-thyme quick bread

I'll be starting all my posts off now with the bad photo apology as I'm still dealing with camera issues.... But, I couldn't let the opportunity to post this bread recipe during apple season slip by - this quick bread is too delicious to not share. It's like a slice of autumn. I've been making it to serve along side of soups like cream of cauliflower and split pea now that it is getting cold here. This bread has a lovely sweet and savory flavor combination with pretty flecks of apple and thyme throughout the loaf and in each slice. It creates a wonderful fall aroma in your home while it bakes. My ten-year old cousin and my mom loved it when we had them over for dinner recently. I think it would be a great Thanksgiving dinner bread as the flavors compliment turkey and fall vegetables very nicely. 

I adapted this recipe from this one over at Gimme Some Oven. This recipe will make one 9" loaf of quick bread. 

November 17, 2014

Butternut squash and cranberry pancakes

Well... I'm having a camera dilemma, folks. I've just started taking a photography class and, of course, my autofocus decided to stop working after the first week of class. Not only that, but my manual focus isn't working so well either. It really stinks because I'm not going to be able to finish the class unless I go buy a new camera right away. Also, I'm not going to be able to take photos for the blog unless I buy a new camera or continue to spend tons of time to get an OK shot like the one above. I took it to a camera place and had my photography teacher look at it and was told that I would need to send it in to get fixed and it would take 4-6 weeks... boo... I had it cleaned and it didn't help. So, I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. Any suggestions? The camera (Cannon T3i Rebel) is not quite 3 years old. But, anyways, I'm trying my best to take advantage of the class and get as decent of photos as I can for now. I'm looking forward to being able to do more with my camera once it's fixed or I have a new one. 

On a happier note, I made some very delicious seasonal butternut squash and cranberry pancakes for Week 3 of 12 Weeks of Winter Squash. These pancakes are a modification of my pumpkin pancake recipe (ugh - talk about bad photos). I think these would be a great Thanksgiving morning or day after Thanksgiving breakfast - they are lightly spiced, a little sweet from the butternut squash (but no added sugar), and little bursts of tart/sour from the cranberries which all pairs nicely with a sweet maple syrup drizzle.

November 13, 2014

Turmeric and honey roasted chickpeas

Disclosure: Flavor of the Earth provided me with the turmeric; however, all opinions are my own.

I love turmeric, so I was very excited to see that Flavor of the Earth (who I partnered with before when trying out their real Ceylon cinnamon - this is now the only ground cinnamon I use) now sells organic turmeric. I love their cinnamon, so I was super excited to try the turmeric. I use this spice a lot in Indian dishes like Saag Paneer and Chana masala, and one of our favorite cold-weather drinks, spiced turmeric milk. We also use it to make these colorful and delicious turnip pickles. As I've mentioned before, we have tried to incorporate more turmeric into our diet for its health benefits. This turmeric is so fragrant, colorful, and flavorful. You can really smell and taste the freshness of the turmeric.

Roasted chickpeas have been on my to-make list for quite sometime now. I thought the turmeric would go perfectly with them and I was correct. These little chickpeas are nutty, sweet, salty, and have a bit of spice - not to mention the lovely color they pick up from the turmeric (as always, be careful when using turmeric as it will stain). They make a great snack or appetizer before an Indian meal. We ate them with this Chicken & Apple Indian curry.

November 10, 2014

Pepperoni pizza-stuffed spaghetti squash

I've recounted my former distaste of spaghetti squash before and how all that changed once I started eating it like this and this. Well, this pepperoni pizza-stuffed version is another recipe that makes me love spaghetti squash and even look forward to when it is in season. I guess the secret of my love of this squash has been cheese, but hey, that's alright I suppose. This recipe takes all the flavors of a pepperoni pizza and mixes them into a spaghetti squash that is baked again with mozzarella cheese on top. A low-carb pizza casserole if you will. We both enjoyed this dish a lot. It was hot, bubbly, cheesy, comforting, and just really good.

This recipe will serve two people. You'll want a half of a spaghetti squash per person. I served these with a salad for a complete meal. This recipe is being submitted to the 12 Weeks of Winter Squash event. Check out all the other winter squash recipes at bottom of this post and feel free to link up yours!

November 6, 2014

Salted caramel popcorn with peanuts

Caramel corn with peanuts (think like Cracker Jacks or Crunch n' Munch) was a favorite of mine when I was a kid. But, I can't recall eating it in many years. So, for an adult Halloween treat, I made us a batch popcorn coated in a caramel made with sea salt and honey and peanuts. It was delicious and went very nicely with a bottle of pumpkin ale. My husband and I may be in our 30s, but we still watch holiday specials and cartoons like Charlie Brown and Garfield. 

This popcorn needs to cool before you eat it so you need to plan ahead a little bit. In fact, it's better the next day because the caramel coating is crunchier and you can better taste the salt. So try to wait after you make it or plan to make it the day before you want it if you can. I'll warn you that it is quite addictive. I'm also thinking it could make a nice homemade holiday gift. I adapted this recipe from one over at Pineapple and Coconut. This recipe will make enough for about four people. 

November 4, 2014

Chipotle chicken, hubbard squash, and pinto bean soup

Back in late September we bought a rather large blue hubbard squash at the farmers' market for only $2.00. This thing was pretty huge and, no lie, we've eaten it in about 10 meals already and it's not gone yet. This squash was definitely a great deal! If you haven't eaten blue hubbard squash before, please give it a try. It's very dense and very sweet - it's one of my favorites - it's even better than butternut, I swear (though butternut is also wonderful). I'm a huge fan of winter squashes and aside from that blue hubbard, we have a stash of all kinds in the basement. So, I'm excited to be participating in the 12 Weeks of Winter Squash blogger event again for the third year! Thanks to Heather from girlichef and Joanne from Eats Well With Others for hosting this fun event again. This event is open to any food bloggers who want to participate!

My first contribution this year is this soup that combines the sweet hubbard squash with chicken, pinto beans, and potato in a spicy and creamy broth (that also happens to contain some cheese). It's comfort food and perfect for a cold autumn evening.

October 30, 2014

Spooky chocolate chip spider cookies

Alright, folks! It's almost Halloween and you still have time to make a creepy and fun treat like these chocolate chip cookies infested with chocolate spiders inspired by the idea at Real Simple magazine. My husband and I both worked on painting the chocolate legs on these spiders. Granted, some look more like brown suns, but, hey - they are still cute! As you can see, we got a little carried away and started painting legs on chocolate chips to make it look like the spiders were also emerging from the cookies, not only crawling on top! It was getting late, and we were having fun. 

This idea can be used with any chocolate chip cookie recipe. The below recipe will make about 30 cookies. I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips because they are darker, large, and I like the bittersweet contrast in a sweet cookie. However, you can use a sweeter and/or smaller chocolate ship if you prefer.

 Happy Halloween! 

October 27, 2014

Applesauce oatmeal bread

Apples, apples, apples This time of year I'm always looking for new apple recipes. I recently made and canned some applesauce from the apples we picked and I had some leftover applesauce that didn't fit in a jar. Since we've been eating so many apples, I knew we probably wouldn't want to eat the applesauce right away, so I decided to use it in a quick bread before it went to waste. I loosely based it from a recipe at King Arthur Flour though I modified it quite a bit. 

The applesauce I made this year is so good - no need to add any sugar or other sweeteners. We picked all sorts of heritage apples this year like golden russets, pound sweet, Tollman sweet, snow (sign below), wolf river, and more. The flavors and textures of these heritage apples are so complex and they smell so good. I've been reading a lot about apples including the history and uses of different varieties in this great book lately - Apples of Uncommon Character: 123 Heirlooms, Modern Classics, & Little-known Varieties. I had no idea that there are so many varieties of apple and so many flavors! 

But back to the bread - this bread is very moist and fluffy and full of autumn spices. The touch of oatmeal gives it some extra texture and fiber. This recipe will make one 9-inch loaf of quick bread.

October 22, 2014

Green tea jelly

Disclosure: Teavivre provided me with the tea; however, all opinions expressed are my own.

This was my first time canning jelly! I know that seems weird since I can a lot of food each year, but it's true. I was a little nervous about making this jelly because not only did I decide to try making jelly for the first time, but I also wanted to use the homemade green apple pectin recipe from Liana Krissoff's wonderful book Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry. I'm loving this book and one of the recipes I wanted to try right away was the tea jelly. Lucky for me, I was recently provided with a sampler of different types of loose leaf green teas from Teavivre, a Chinese tea company. You can see two of the teas in the photo above/below and these are the two that I used to make the jelly. We have also used them to make tea for drinking and have enjoyed all the flavors. I especially love the whole leaf tea because it is so pretty and green. As you all know, I love tea so I was super excited to be able to try these teas and also use them in a fun recipe!

The tea jelly recipe is also from Krissoff's book (slightly modified). The recipe says you can use any tea you like, so I used two different loose leaf green teas. The aroma of the jelly is quite wonderful and the taste is very unique. It would be perfect for a tea party! While it is of course terrific on biscuits, scones, and toast, you can also use this jelly as a glaze for salmon or chicken - mix in some ginger, garlic, and chiles when you spread it on and it would be perfect for a savory dish! 

My batch made eight 4-oz jelly jars. I'll be giving these little jars out for holiday gifts this year.

October 16, 2014

Honey-sesame cashews

I've been wanting to try to re-create the honey-sesame cashews from Trader Joe's for a while now. Have you ever had these? They are roasted nuts covered in a sweet honey glaze with sesame seeds. We just got a Trader Joe's here about a year or so ago. I've only been to it twice, but what I end up buying there is nuts. They are delicious and I always want to go back and get more. I wanted to make the cashews at home for less money and with better ingredients. Mission accomplished! Mine are a little less sweet as I didn't use extra sugar. You could add a bit of granulated white or brown sugar to increase the sweetness if you want. These cashews make a great snack or even an appetizer to an Asian meal. We ate them while playing some card games and enjoyed them a lot. They are addictive though - as I find all glazed nuts to be!

October 13, 2014

Apple ring pancakes

I warned you that apple recipes would be coming since we recently picked a bushel. I canned a few batches of applesauce and we've been eating them with our lunch every day, but it still leaves plenty for cooking with as well. One thing I've been waiting for apple season to make is these apple ring pancakes. I got the idea from my Pennsylvania Dutch cookbook (which I love - there's been a free e-cookbook on Amazon for a while now. I have two different print versions and this one may be different as well). However, this recipe was for deep-fried apple fritter rings and while that sounds delicious, it wasn't quite what I wanted for breakfast. So, I decided to dip them in a spiced pancake batter instead. Served with an extra sprinkle of cinnamon, some real maple syrup, and a couple breakfast sausages made these a perfect weekend breakfast. I must say that these three turned out the nicest, that's why they are in the photo. Most of them were a little messier, but they were still delicious! 

October 9, 2014

Sweet potato and chocolate swirl bread

When the colder weather arrives, I tend to bake a lot more frequently. I found a can of sweet potato puree from last year lingering in the back of the cupboard recently and decided that I needed to use it immediately in some baked treat. Does this ever happen to you? You just all of the sudden get an uncontrollable urge to bake something? Maybe it's a food nerd thing... I was also in the mood for something chocolaty, which is how this sweet potato and chocolate swirl bread came to be. I used my chocolate chip pumpkin bread recipe as a starting point for this bread and was not disappointed in the results.

So if you are looking for a fall treat that's a change up from pumpkin and apple, give this sweet potato bread a try (and then go back to making pumpkin and apple things, because they are awesome). This recipe will make one 9-inch loaf of quick bread. 

October 6, 2014

Pumpkin spice snickerdoodles

These cookies were made as a snack for our annual family apple picking outing this past weekend. Every October for a few years now we go apple picking with a bunch of our family members, and I always bring some sort of autumn-themed baked treat. I have been seeing a lot of pumpkin snickerdoodle recipes popping up lately and I knew I wanted to try them out, but I also wanted to incorporate pumpkin pie spices in them instead of mainly cinnamon. Perhaps this makes them not quite a snickerdoodle anymore, but that's okay... I used a couple different recipes as a guide, but mainly this one from Sally's Baking Addiction. I changed up a few things, including the spices for the below recipe which made about 3-1/2 dozen cookies. 

 Golden russet apples - our favorite eating apple since discovering them last autumn at LynOaken Farms.

The cookies ended up being very well-received. My ten year old cousin pocketed a few before our tractor/wagon ride around the orchard. I'm glad that I made them the day before because the flavors were more prominent the next day.