Easter festivities

Easter, Passover, Springtime. Whatever you are doing or celebrating this weekend, you can still make these fun treats! Get the kids involved in this project or make these just because you want an excuse to have fun in the kitchen.

cookie nest close-up

I baked these precious sugar cookie nests for our new neighbors. Ok, actually they have been our neighbors for 3 months now and my lazy butt has not met everyone yet….slacker.

I learned a few lessons in the kitchen making these. Read:I failed miserably on the first go-around.

Lesson #1:You cannot miniaturize the nests by using a mini muffin tin. It. won’t. work. The mini nests will turn into muffins, not  nest- shapes. Oops. Use a full-sized muffin tin or  you can just make simple round cookies like the ones below. If you are short on time, these cookies are the way to go. You could use a store-bought sugar cookie dough to save time, but you know I would never advocate such a thing. psshhh.

cookie nests

Lesson #2: Lock up your dogs so they don’t swipe the sticks of butter off of  the counter.

Ok, now that I just saved you from trying those bright ideas, let me give you another idea to celebrate the season!

Natural egg dyes.

Why not use what you have in the fridge and avoid those unnatural dyes?

Onion peels from both red and white onions, beets, greens, carrots,  and turmeric can create such rustic and gorgeous dyed eggs.

Have you ever seen an herb-stenciled egg?  I was planning to make mine herb-stenciled  and then realized it requires pantyhose. Who the heck wears those anyway in this day and age?

Happy Easter and Happy Springtime, Friends,

Lydia

Sugar Cookie Bird Nests

Ingredients

  • 2 batches of your favorite sugar cookie dough(or make your own with this recipe)
  • 1 bag dark chocolate chips (12 oz)
  • 1 bag sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 10 drops green food coloring
  • 1 bag M&M eggs or other small candy egg

Sugar cookie dough

  • 1.5 cups butter, room temperature
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 4.5 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt

Directions

Step 1
Make your homemade sugar cookies -see steps 6-10! If you are using a pre-made dough, follow step 10 and bake your cookies. Meanwhile, melt the bag of chocolates in the microwave slowly, stirring every 30 seconds, or in a double boiler over the stove.
Step 2
Let the chocolate cool . Place bag of coconut in a bowl, and dye the shredded coconut with the food coloring. Stir until coconut is green.
Step 3
Let the sugar cookies cool and then spread the surface(or base of nest) with a neat, circle of melted chocolate. Drop one spoonful of coconut "grass" onto the chocolate and cover the chocolate patches with coconut. Repeat for all the cookies.
Step 4
Dip the very tip of the bottom of a candy egg in the chocolate. Place the chocolate end of the egg onto the coconut nest on the cookie. Place 1 more egg onto the nest after dipping it in chocolate. Repeat with all the cookies.
Step 5
Let the cookies sit at room temperature for a few hours to let the chocolate dry and the eggs set on the "grass".
Sugar cookie dough
Step 6
Beat together the softened butter and sugar with a mixer until fluffy.
Step 7
Beat in eggs 1 at a time.
Step 8
In another bowl combine dry ingredients(flour, salt, baking powder).
Step 9
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Add vanilla.
Step 10
Drop balls of 2T of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Or alternatively(if you want cookie nests) roll out the cookie dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut out circles of dough with a biscuit cutter ( 4-5 inch diameter circles of dough) and press these into greased muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes or until they are slightly browned.

 

Fudge Spice Cabin Cookies

I call these cabin cookies because they are rather rustic and remind me of cabins and drinking Gluwein, mulled wine,  around a  big warm fire.  If you have never tried Gluwein, you are seriously missing out.I had my first sip 7 years ago when my German mother-in-law served it to me with a plate of Lebkuchen and gingerbread. It’s a Holiday ritual around here now, and on cold nights we warm it up with some sticks of cinnamon and enjoy it with cookies.

This year, I made some delicious cookies to eat for the Holidays, but spruced them up to include more wholesome ingredients.

Buckwheat flour , which I do use often ,  is the ugly duckling of the flour family, yet it is one of the nuttiest and heathiest whole grains. Let me reveal a  secret: it actually has a hint of spice to it. When you try it, you will say to yourself ” Whatever is that hint of spice?”. It tastes Christmas-y.

Buckwheat is not a grain or type of wheat, but is actually classified as fruit. Confused yet?It  contains all eight essential amino acids, so it’s nearly a complete protein. Buckwheat is also high in fiber , B vitamins and, according to a USDA study, keeps glucose levels in check better than other carbohydrates.

Because I was feeling particularly daring and  ill after having too much dairy and wine over the weekend, I used buckwheat, as well as some other healthier ingredients for these cookies: dark chocolate, walnuts and coconut oil. This ganache  is the kind of  thing a girl could pull out of the fridge and eat by the spoonful if she was having a particularly bad day..

not that I ever do that...

I urge you to try these, and you will see what I mean about the Holiday-feel of these cookies.

Oh, did I mention they are vegan? That was purely by accident, but a happy accident nonetheless.

Here are some more ideas for you to incorporate buckwheat flour  into your diet:

pizza dough

quick breads

pancakes

waffles

protein bars

crepes

nutty cookies

You can find buckwheat  at your local health food store.

 

Happy Holidays,

Lydia

Fudge Spice Cabin Cookies

Serves 12
Prep time 1 hour
Cook time 15 hours
Total time 16 hours
Allergy Tree Nuts
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable
Occasion Christmas
A rustic and wholesome vegan fudge cookie with the essence of the Holidays in every bite.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 3/4 cups walnut meal (walnuts ground up in food processor)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 heaped teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk or soymilk
  • 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil (melted)

Filling

  • 3/4 cups dark choc chips(vegan if preferred)
  • 2 tablespoons almond or coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
  • pinch of salt

Note

Freeze these individually for a snack that can be eaten right out of the freezer.

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Step 2
Combine all wet cookie ingredients in to a mixing bowl. Fold in the dry ingredients.
Step 3
Once all ingredients are combined by stirring, chill the dough 20 minutes in the fridge. Once you remove your dough that has been chilled, it should be firm enough to roll out.
Step 4
Roll out the dough, and cut into small 2 inch circles with a cookie cutter OR just hand drop into teaspoon -sized balls. The roll-out method produces prettier cookies, but the ball drop method is faster and easier, which is what I did.
Step 5
If you used the ball method, flatten the cookies a bit, and bake them on a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet for about 15 minutes.
Filling
Step 6
Combine filling ingredients in a double boiler, so the chocolate doesn't scorch, and stir over heat until all ingredients are combined and chocolate has melted.
Step 7
Chill the chocolate mixture 20 minutes, until it has the consistency of peanut butter and is thick enough to spread.
Step 8
Slather fudge filling on a cookie and top with another cookie.