Oatmeal Dark Kisses Cookies

There they were, sitting in my Drafts Folder: some draft posts for cookies I bakes for the Christmas Platters I gave to friends, family and coworkers last year. These cookies were one of the twelve different cookies I had on my Christmas Platters, they sounded pretty healthy as they contained oatmeal and I ended up using Dark Hershey Kisses instead of Milk Chocolate.
Hershey Oatmeal Dark Kisses Cookies
recipe adapted from Hershey’s
makes about 6 dozen cookies

1 bag (13 oz.) Hershey’s Kisses Brand Dark Chocolates
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2-1/4 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup chopped nuts
Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove wrappers from chocolate pieces.
Beat butter, shortening, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Add eggs; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in rolled oats and nuts. Shape rounded teaspoons of dough into 1-inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown. Remove from oven; immediately place chocolate piece in center of each cookie, pressing down lightly. Carefully remove cookies from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Blondies

These blondies have been a household staple around here, I make them on a regular basis. I can’t believe I haven’t posted this recipe before! It’s easy to put together and the ingredients are easy to change around: don’t have white chocolate chips at hand? Use cinnamon chips, butterschotch chips or chop up any other kind of chocolate. No macadamia nuts? They also taste great with pecans, hazelnuts or walnuts. There are so many different possible variaties! However, my moms favorite version is the original one with White Chocolate Chips and Macadamia Nuts, so that’s what you see here!


White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Blondies
found at Erin’s Food Files
1/2 pound, plus 1 teaspoon butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoons vanilla extract
3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup macadamia nuts, toasted and rough chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place 1/2 pound of the butter and the brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until a smooth batter is formed. While the machine is running, add the eggs and vanilla extract, until incorporated into the batter.

Sift together 3 cups flour and baking powder. Slowly add the flour mixture to the batter and mix on low speed until a dough is formed. Very gently, by turning the mixer on and then off, fold the chips and nuts into the dough.

Once the dough is all blended, grease a 9 by 9-inch baking pan with the remaining butter and dust with the 1 tablespoon of flour***. Pour the batter into the pan and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until set yet still moist. Let cool completely before cutting.

***I line the pan with foilor parchment paper for easy lift out!

CEiMB – Rewind: Apple Pecan Muffins

This weeks recipe for Craving Ellie in My Belly picked by Liz of This Chihuahua wears Pearls: she chose Stir-Fried Chinese Cabbage with Tofu, a recipe featured in Ellie Krieger’s Book Small Changes, Big Results. Because this book is not owned by all CEiMB-members and the recipe is not available on the WorldWideWeb, we decided to put it online so that all the members would be able to cook along. I had to skip this recipe: I’m vacationing with E. and he doesn’t eat ‘strange’ foods such as Chinese Cabbage or Tofu, however the recipe can be found at Liz’s blog or here at CEiMB. Check out what my fellow Ellie-istas thought of this stir-fry here.

Lucky for me, we changed the rules over at CEiMB. As of July recipes will be picked biweekly and we’re allowed to sub recipes if we can’t get our hands on ingredients or need to use up other ingredients. I had one wrinkly apple and some pecans that were about to expire, so I decided to make the Apple Pecan Muffins that Joanne of Apple Crumbles had originally picked for June 22nd. These were easy to make, and tasty too! The recipe can be found here at Joanne’s blog, and the links to the posts written by other Ellie-istas on the subject of these muffins are here.

Virtual Cookie Exchange: White Chocolate & Macadamia Nut Cookies

A while ago Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook and I had a conversation on Twitter where she shared her idea of hosting a Virtual Cookie Exchange. Ofcourse I was immediately smitten with the idea: I love baking cookies and seeing all the other cookies would probably give me even more ideas and inspiration for my Christmas Cookie Goodie Bags that I’m giving out at work this year!

Within no time at all Di had a list of names of other Tweeps whom we thought would love to join and the Virtual Cookie Exchange was born! One of Nancy’s very talented daughters designed the wonderful badge pictured above for all of us to use in our posts. Di will post a roundup of all the cookies later this week, so be sure to keep an eye on her blog!!

I had a lot of trouble deciding the one cookie I wanted to share with you, there are so many good ones!!! Finally I chose this one because it was voted as the most popular cookie of last years 12 Days of Christmas Cookies, both by my family and coworkers. Since then I’ve made it several times: the White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Cookie!! These cookies are also a bit versatile: if you like a chewy cookie bake them for 12 minutes, but if you prefer a more crunchy cookie bake them for 15 minutes!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
(adapted from My Tasty Treasures)
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped macadamia nuts
2 cups white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
Beat together the melted butter, brown sugar, white sugar, egg, egg yolk and vanilla in a bowl with an electrical mixer until creamy.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture until just mixed.
Stir in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips by hand.
Drop by the spoonful onto a greased or lined baking sheet.
Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until edges look golden brown (I baked mine for 12 minutes).
Cool on the cookie sheet for at least 4-5 minutes so the cookies can set.
Remove to rack to cool completely.



>Svenska Tosca Kaka


While researching the background of this weeks Tuesdays with Dorie I came across this recipe for a Svenska Tosca Kaka that seemed very similar to the Swedish Visiting Cake: first eggs and sugar were mixed, next dry ingredients are folded in and then the melted and cooled butter is folded in. The cake gets topped with almonds before going into the oven.

But this cake looked so different that I was intrigued by it, so I decided to bake it today. Again: easy to make, but way more dishes are dirtied than with Dorie’s Swedish Visiting Cake. This cake has 1 1/5 teaspoons of baking powder in it, so it rises quite a bit.
Unlike the specimens I encountered during my Google-search my cake decided to dome quite a bit. Taste wise the cakes are completely different: the topping of the Svenska Tosca Kaka is both crunchy and chewy while the base is more like a spongecake, it was a tad dry to my taste so next time I would bake the cake 5 minutes less after topping it, so only 10 minutes instead of 15.
The Svenska Tosca Kaka reminded me of German Bienenstich sans filling.
Another note: make sure that the cake tin is high enough. When I topped my cake and popped it back into the oven, the top of the mixture was exactly level with the tin. The topping will bubble during the 10 minutes in the oven and thus overflow and dirty your oven by burning cause a disgusting burn smell that made me fear my cake was ruined when in fact it was perfectly safe!
P.S. Today I have reason to celebrate: finally one of my pictures got accepted by Tastespotting!!
See it here!! Yay! Btw: Happy Secretary Day!!
Svenska Tosca Kaka
adapted from nami-nami, serves 8 – 10

Sponge Cake
3 large eggs
200 gram sugar
400 gram all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
100 ml milk
125 gram butter, melted and cooled

Tosca Topping
75 gram butter
100 gram almond slices
150 gram sugar
4 tbsp whipping cream/double cream
1 tbsp all-purpose flour

Sponge Cake:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Butter and line a 25cm springform tin.
Whisk eggs and sugar together until thick, pale and creamy. Mix dry ingredients, then fold gently with milk and melted butter into the egg mixture.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Tosca Topping

Mix the butter, almond slices, sugar, cream and flour in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
When cake is half-baked after 20 minutes, remove it from the oven and set the oven to 225 degrees Celsius.
Spoon the tosca topping onto the half-baked cake and put back in the oven.
Bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the topping is cooked and has a lovely golden color.

Posted in Cake, Nuts. 5 Comments »

>TWD: Swedish Visiting Cake + Foodie Exchange


This week the lovely Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs got to pick the recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie and she did a good job! She decided on the Swedish Visiting Cake that can be found on page 197 of Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or here at Nancy’s blog.

A Google search for Swedish Cake soon came up with Toscakaka, also spelled as Tosca Kaka, which basically is a lemon sponge topped with crunchy almonds. Sound familiar? It looks familiar too, except that the layer of crunchy almonds is thicker than Dorie’s. Could this have been Dorie’s inspiration for the Swedish Visiting Cake? I might give this recipe or this one a try one of these days as it looks really tempting!
Anyways, I baked this on Easter Monday, which is national holiday here in The Netherlands, expecting no visitors and thought this would be another great cake to bring into work with me on Tuesday. It was very easy to put together, I was done in no time and I made it exactly as written: no changes this week! I was quite surprised when the doorbell rang shortly after I put the cake into the oven: it was my mom who had decided to take her dog out on a walk and visit me because the weather was so nice.

As soon as she walked into the door, she asked me what that lovely smell was. I told her to be patient as she could have a taste of the Swedish Visiting Cake when it was done. She loved it and took two pieces home with her (for my dad and herself of course!). So I only had 3/4 of a cake left for about 20 coworkers and not enough stock in my pantry to bake another one. My colleagues were a bit disappointed that they only got slivers of cake, because they loved it, as did I!! Thanks for a wonderful choice Nancy!
On another note, I have registered at Foodie Exchange for my 101 in 1001 challenge. So I’ve started my second goal on the list, #2: Take part in 5 Foodie Exchange. Basically what Foodie Exchange is is a group for foodies from around the planet who wish to exchange their local food specialties as a care package with other foodies. The items in the care package should be limited to about $10.00 in cost, shipping is extra. Each month you can sign up on the monthly exchange thread in the forum where members match themselves up with partners. When you received the package you can share the story by adding you blog post to the Blog Posts section.
I have started several goals, such as signing up for a two-day assertivity training (#90) that will take place in August and starting a new skin care routine (#18), which I will tell you about late this week. I already completed one goal: #80 Register as an organ donor

>Apple, Cinnamon and Pecan Crumble and a short Valentine’s Day review


Last Wednesday I went to Ladies Night at a cinema nearby with a couple of friends. Whenever we get together to go see a movie we always enjoy having diner together too, this gives us the time to catch up on everything. So this time we ate at my friend’s C.’s house and she asked me to bring dessert. Why my friends keep asking me to bring dessert over when we have a dinner party is a complete mystery to me 😉

Since it had started snowing again I was in the mood for something warming and wintery. I went to my bookmarks over at delicous.com and searched through them until I came across the perfect dish. I spotted these crumble bars over at Dessert First in September, they looked gorgeous so I simply decided to not make bars but serve this as a dessert. It was delicious!! When I plated the crumb it was actually still warm and gooey. It was a bit too sweet for my taste though… I never thought I would say this, but apparently my tastebuds and preferences have changed since I was sick in December 2009…. Next time I’ll add a little less sugar to the crumb. However my friends C., I. and the babysitter M. all loved it and didn’t think that the crumb was too sweet at all. Neither did my parents who got to enjoy the leftovers 🙂

The movie we saw at Ladies Night was ‘Valentine’s Day’. Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you what it’s about and spoil the whole move for all of you that still want to go and see it. The three of us really liked it. It reminded me of ‘Love Actually’ with all the different story-lines within the movie. This is a perfect movie for a girls-night-out: a real feel-good-movie, I personally wouldn’t go see it with a (potential) boyfriend…. Visit the official ‘Valentine’s Day’ website for the trailer. Let me know if you saw the movie and what you thought of it!!

Now on to the actual Valentine’s Day: I don’t really like this day…. First of all I think it’s such a commercial day, I prefer for my sweetheart to surprise me with something on any day: not just because it’s Valentine’s Day. And second of all somehow I’ve always been single around Valentine’s Day, which (like Chrismas and New Year’s Eve) is absolutely no fun!!!

Apple, Cinnamon and Pecan Crumble
(adapted from Dessert First)


3 large tart apples (about 1 3/4 lbs total)
3 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Make the filling:
  • Peel, core, and chop the apples in 1/2-inch cubes.
  • Set aside in a bowl.
  • Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat.
  • Add the apples and sauté for about 8 minutes until the apples are semi-soft.
  • Add sugar, lemon juice, flour, and cinnamon to the apples and stir to combine.
  • Cook until mixture begins to bubble, then turn heat to low and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Transfer filling to a bowl and let cool while you make the crust.

Make the crust:

  • Line a 9 by 13 inch pan with aluminum foil, leaving enough to hang over the edge and act as handles to remove bars after baking.
  • Grease foil.
  • Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
  • In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together on medium speed for several minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Add egg and mix to combine.
  • Add flour mixture and mix to combine.
  • Pour the dough into the prepared pan and gently press into the bottom of the pan and about 1/4” up the sides, making sure it is level.
  • Set pan aside while you make the streusel.

Make the streusel:

  • In a stand mixer, combine sugar, flour, and salt and mix to combine.
  • Add butter and mix until crumbly and the butter pieces are very small.
  • Add pecans and mix just to combine.

Assembling the crumble:
  • Spread cooled apple filling evenly over the crust, leaving about 3/4” between the pan sides and the filling.
  • Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the filling.
  • Bake for about 35 minutes until the top layer is golden.
  • Cool completely on wire rack before removing.