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Portzelky ~ New Years Cookies

This is a recipe repost from several years ago but I think it is worth a reminder today that tomorrow is the day to heat up a pot of oil, make a batch of raisin fritter batter and call your friends and family over to celebrate a new beginning to the new year.
Every year we open up our shop to our extended family.  I use a camp stove to heat the oil and ask everyone else to bring something savory to share for a late afternoon meal after the little ones have napped.

Here is Anneliese's recipe.  Pick one and begin a wonderful tradition in your home.

  •  2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 beaten eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted cooled butter
  • 2 1/2 cups warm milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4-6 cups raisins  (or you can eliminate the raisins all together as some prefer them plain)
  • 7 cups flour
  • additional sugar for dipping or rolling while still warm
  1. Sprinkle the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar over the warm water in a large bowl.
  2. Let the yeast mixture sit until it becomes foamy.
  3. Add the sugar, beaten eggs, melted cooled butter, warm milk and salt and stir together really well.
  4. Add the raisins and 4 cups of flour and beat hard with a wooden spoon.
  5. Stir in the remainder of the flour and cover with a lid or plastic wrap and allow to double for about an hour.
  6. Heat the oil to 375 and using two tablespoons drop spoons of batter into the oil.  When cooked on one side, they will naturally turn over.  Test the first few with a toothpick to be sure they are cooked in the center.  If they are not quite cooked in the middle, try making them slightly smaller. Do not overcrowd your pot.  (see photo)
  7. Once evenly browned, remove them using a slotted spoon to paper towel.
  8. You can roll them immediately in sugar or allow everyone to have their own technique for dipping into sugar while eating them.  If you want to freeze the leftovers, roll them in sugar first.
This has been a wonderful year for the Mennonite Girls Can Cook.  We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity this blog has allowed us.  Without all of you who support us, we wouldn't have a reason to post our recipes here or have a book that we can use to fundraise for feeding hungry children.  We are so blessed by your friendship and we pray that we will continue to be a blessing to you through sharing what God has given us in our faith and heritage.

From all of us at MGCC . ..may you have blessed new year!

Portzelky (New Year Fritters)

By the sound of the name, I imagine that these New Years fritters were adopted from our Ukrainian roots. My own mother was not in the habit of making these, but the family I married into was, so I chose this recipe many years ago, submitted by a Mrs. J. H. Peters to the Mennonite Treasury of Recipes. The trick is to make sure that the oil is the right temperature, so it is good if you can use an electric pan or fryer where you can set it. This recipe makes 3 dozen.

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
  • 1/2 cup prunes cut into small pieces
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites, beaten stiff
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
1 litre Canola oil (approx) for frying

  1. Rinse raisins with boiling water to plump
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine milk, water, salt, sugar, soda, raisins and prunes.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder and yeast, adding some to the liquids.
  4. Stir egg yolks into batter and then add the rest of the dry ingredients to make a heavy batter which will be rather stiff.
  5. Fold in beaten egg whites with spatula
  6. Cover and let rise until double in size. (half to one hour)
  7. Using two regular tablespoons (one for scooping and one for scraping) drop into hot oil (about 375° F or 190° C), turning over once and frying until brown. I also like to use a cast iron for deep frying. Pop in a few kernels of popcorn, once they pop, you know the oil is hot enough. 
  8. Scoop into a paper towel lined pan and roll in sugar while still warm.
Happy New Year!

Apple New Years Cookies (Portzelky)

My neighbor Deb sent over some of her New Years Cookies with her son who gathers eggs for us.  What a treat!    They were light and delicious and filled with apples with a hint of cinnamon.   This year I made her recipe for the non-raisin lovers in our family.   If this recipe is too large for your family, it can easily be halved.

  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 10 cups flour
  • enough apples to make 4 cups peeled, cored and diced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  •  vegetable oil for frying 
  1. Sprinkle yeast and sugar over warm water in a large bowl.
  2. Warm together milk, butter and water until it is lukewarm and then add it to the yeast mixture.
  3. Beat the eggs and stir into the liquids with sugar. 
  4. Stir in the flour, one cup at a time to make a stiff dough.
  5. Divide into several containers if necessary and let rise until doubled.   
  6. Combine apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
  7. When the dough has risen, heat oil to 375 F or 190 C.
  8. Add apples over the top of the risen batter. 
  9. Take a scoop of dough, add about a teaspoon of apple mixture,  and then use another tablespoon to scrape the dough into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, turning over once.
  10. Toss with regular white sugar or powdered sugar.  

New Years Eve Punch

We have all just finished Christmas and I hope you have all had a few down days before the New Year celebrations begin.  We all have our favorite go-to recipes for almost anything. Today I'm sharing with you my favorite punch recipe that I've used for years and years and I'm always asked to share this recipe over and over again.  New Year's Eve is just around the corner and here's a special drink.  Today, I've shown you how to make a simple ice ring using some of your favorite ingredients. A perfect touch for ringing in the New Year.  Thanks to Pinterest!

Punch Recipe
  • 1 can frozen orange juice (12 oz.)
  • 1 can frozen pink lemonade (12 oz.)
  • 9 cups water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup grenadine
  • 2 liters ginger ale 
  • limes, lemons, mint leaves, pomegranates, cranberries, and fruits ( to make the ice ring)

Ice Ring Instructions
  1. First make your ice ring, preferably the night before.
  2. Fill your bundt pan or any round tube pan with 1/3 water and freeze.
  3. When frozen lay your fruits on top. Use fruits and herbs that compliment your flavors.
  4. Pour enough water over the ingredients to cover by 1-2 inches (to keep them from floating to the top).
  5. When ready to use, turn the tube upside down and let warm water help release it from the pan.
  6. Place it into your ready-made punch bowl.
Punch Recipe
  1. Combine thawed juices and water in a large punch bowl.
  2. Add lemon juice and grenadine.
  3. Add your ginger ale just prior to serving.
  4. Place your ice ring on top. 
  5. This recipe doubled, yields enough for 30-35 people.

Portzelky (New Years Cookies)

I've posted this recipe before on my blog .. .but since this is a Mennonite Recipe blog, it must be transferred over here. I trust that a few more Portzelky recipes that are a yearly favorite in some of the other Mennonite homes from the women on this blog will follow.
I decided to post it before New Years Day so that you could see what you needed and avoid a last minute rush to the market.

Portzelky (Terry's Grandma's Recipe) pronounced . . .
par cel tche

In a large bowl put
  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water 
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
Stir the yeast, warm water, and sugar together slightly and let rest 10 minutes.

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  •  5 beaten eggs
  • 1/4 cup very soft butter or (melted is fine)
  • 2 1/2 cups of warm milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Stir this together very well.
  • 4 cups of raisins (these must be fresh . .not something you dig out of the bottom of the drawer)
Start to stir in the flour. You'll need 7 cups. This will make a fairly stiff batter.
  1. Cover this up with plastic wrap or a lid and let rise until it's doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  2. Drop by tablespoons into hot, deep fat ( I Use Canola oil) and fry until golden brown. Now this can be a bit tricky. If the fat is not hot enough they will soak up too much fat and that is not good. If the fat is too hot they will brown too quickly and still be doughy in the middle. It's a good idea to throw some bread cubes in first to see how they fry. After all these years I still usually have to throw out the first one or two.
  3. It's a good idea to stick in a toothpick to the middle of the Portzelky every once in a while to make sure it comes out clean.
  4. When you take them out of the oil, put them on some paper towel to sop up the oil.
It has become tradition in my family to call together all my Geschwister (siblings) and their families to have a bowl of soup, and some Portzelky on New Years Day. This has become our Christmas gathering.

Oreo Frozen Dessert

In Canada today, Boxing Day is a statutory holiday - a loved part of the Christmas holiday.
The name comes from the British practice of
"boxing up" Christmas gifts and food on the day after Christmas to give to the poor.
Growing up, we celebrated Christmas on Christmas Day with one side of the family and with the other side of the family on Boxing Day.
It meant 2 big meals back to back and lots of fun with cousins on both sides.
If that's the case in your family, you may need a quick dessert today.
This dessert is a breeze to make and tastes like Oreo ice cream.
If you make it in the morning you'll have a yummy dessert ready
for who ever comes to call on Boxing Day.

  • 1 package cream filled Chocolate cookies cookies (I use Oreos)
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 2 tablespoons Kahlua or other coffee flavoured liqueur
  1. Break cookies into small pieces (kids love to help with this!)
  2. Place 1 cup cookie pieces in bottom of glass 9x13 inch pan.
  3. Whip cream, adding your choice of flavouring.
  4. Whip till stiff peaks form. (you do not want to sweeten the cream as the cookies will provide enough sweetness.)
  5. Fold remaining cookie pieces into cream.
  6. Pile into prepared pan and smooth top.
  7. Cover with foil and freeze for several hours or until firm.
  8. Remove from freezer about 1/2 hour before serving (or you can serve it frozen) and cut into serving pieces.
  9. Garnish with your choice of shaved chocolate, mini cookies, cherry pie filling or berries.

Merry Christmas

Caramel Pecan Shortbread Bars

'Tis the season to indulge in holiday sweets.  Today I pulled out a recipe which was sent to me by my sister-in-law during the Christmas season many years ago, and has always been a hit!  How can you go wrong?  They are rather like having homemade turtles on a shortbread base.

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon whipping cream
  • 1 cup flour
  • 30 vanilla caramels, wrappers removed  (1 small package Kraft caramels 269 gr) 
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 2 cups pecan halves

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (either milk chocolate or semi-sweet)
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • sea salt (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 325 F.
  2. Prepare 9-inch square pan by lining with parchment paper. (Form a sling with the parchment to allow for easy removal of the bars later, by having paper overhang the pan on two sides.)
  3. For shortbread base, combine sugar, butter and cream.  Beat until well blended. Gradually add flour until incorporated. Press evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15-20 minutes or until firm to touch.
  4. In a glass bowl, add caramels and whipping cream and heat for 1 minute in the microwave oven. Remove and stir. Return to microwave oven for 30 seconds at 50% power. Repeat process until caramel and cream mixture is completely smooth. Pour in pecans and stir to coat. Spoon on top of shortbread and spread evenly.
  5. Combine chocolate chips, butter and cream in small bowl and heat in microwave on medium-high for 1 minute. Repeat heating at 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Drizzle over bars.
  6. While cooling, sprinkle with coarse sea salt (optional). 
  7. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  8. Remove from pan to cutting board and slice into bars.
  Yield: 24 bars

Is it not special to have handwritten recipes on the original cards from decades ago? Wishing you all wonderful memories and moments as you prepare for Christmas this year.

Mushroom Turnovers

Anytime you are willing to do this much work, it has to be something very tasty . . . and these will not disappoint. This cream cheese pastry rolls out easily. I like that you can make the pockets ahead, freeze them unbaked and pop them in the oven when needed. These have been a family favorite on Christmas Eve for many years.


  • 250 g / 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup flour


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • ½ pound fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • pinch thyme
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  1. Cream together cream cheese and butter.
  2. Add flour, mixing until smooth. Cover and chill.
  3. Sauté onion and mushrooms. Cook until tender.
  4. Stir in salt, thyme, flour and sour cream. Cook until thickened. Cool.
  5. Divide dough in half. Roll out each half very thin (1/8 ") and cut rounds with 2 1/2 - 3 inch cookie cutter.
  6. Drop 1 teaspoon filling on each circle. Brush edges with egg.
  7. Fold dough over filling. Press edges together with a fork and brush tops with egg.
  8. Prick with fork.
  9. Freeze unbaked. Bake on parchment paper lined baking sheet at 425° F for 12 - 15 min. or until golden. Makes 3 - 3 1/2 dozen.

Chocolate Mousse

I think Chocolate mousse is my favourite dessert hands down!  
And when it is made with dark chocolate, it's even better. 
 I've made a number of versions of it over the years but this is the one I like the best.
It's an elegant and light finish to a special dinner or holiday meal.

Two things to note before you make it.
1. The eggs are not cooked in this recipe.  This has never been a problem for me but I realize  that it does matter to some people. Young children and people with compromised immune systems should be made aware that you are serving a dessert that contains raw eggs.
2. Make this recipe the day before your party.
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 8 ounces good quality dark chocolate (65-70% cocoa) finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 eggs, separated 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup coffee flavoured liqueur such as Baileys or Kaluha OR 1/4 cup brewed Espresso coffee
  • 1 envelope (.25 ounce) unflavoured gelatin
  • 4  tablespoons cold water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
For the garnish:
  • 2 ounces good quality dark chocolate 
  • 2 teaspoons shaved paraffin, if desired. (It is found in the canning section of the grocery store and I use it to firm up the chocolate shapes.)
  • Whipped cream
  1. In a heavy pot, over medium low heat, heat whipping cream.  Do not let it come to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat and add chocolate, stirring well to melt.  Place over low heat for a moment or two if needed to completely melt the chocolate.
  3. Add the butter a spoonful at a time and stir until it is incorporated into the chocolate/cream mixture.  It should be just lukewarm at this point.
  4. Beat yolks until frothy.
  5. Add  beaten egg yolks a little at a time to the chocolate mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk.
  6. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a small saucepan.
  7. When it has softened, heat gently until it is dissolved.  Remove from heat.
  8. Stir dissolved gelatin into chocolate mixture.
  9. Add vanilla and liqueur or Espresso and stir until blended.
  10. Pour chocolate mixture into a large bowl and set aside.
  11. In another bowl, beat reserved egg whites until frothy.
  12. Add sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, beating well between additions until stiff peaks form.
  13. Gently fold beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture, folding up and over until there are no longer any white streaks.
  14. Using small dessert dishes or teacups, measure 1/2 cup mousse into each dish.
  15. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  16. For Garnish, melt chocolate  and paraffin (if desired) in a small dish over hot (not boiling) water.  Stir until smooth.
  17. Place melted chocolate in piping bag or squeeze bottle with narrow tip.
  18. Place waxed paper on a baking sheet and "draw" filagree patterns or desired shapes (Christmas trees, stars, leaves) with the chocolate (Alternately, you could trace simple shapes on to paper and place it under the waxed paper as a guide.) Refrigerate shapes until solid. 
  19. Garnish mousse just before serving with a dollop of whipped  cream and a chocolate shape. 
Makes 10  1/2 cup servings

Orange Coconut Christmas Wreath

Last week we were invited to a Christmas brunch and I offered to bring the sweet rolls. 
I've made yeast Christmas wreaths for years with different fillings but this idea for dough came to me as I thought about combining the flavours of  Paska dough and my refrigerator dough.

  • 1 large orange
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup liquid honey
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
  • 5 cups flour
  1. Peel orange with a vegetable peeler, and place peel in blender jar.  Remove the white part of the orange rind from orange and discard.  Slice orange and discard seeds. Place orange in blender with the water and eggs.
  2. Place butter in microwave safe measuring cup and melt in microwave.  Add honey to the cup to make one cup and pour butter and honey into blender jar.  Add salt.  
  3. Blend on high for 2 minutes.  
  4. Place in mixer bowl along with the yeast.  Add 2 cups of flour and then one cup at a time and then knead with the dough hook (or by hand) according to your dough mixer instructions until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  5. Place in a greased large mixing bowl.  Turn once to coat all the sides of the dough.  Place a large plastic bag over the bowl.  Refrigerate overnight.
  6. In the morning, divide dough into two pieces and roll each piece into approximately 20 X 6 inches.
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • finely grated orange rind of one large orange
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  1. Divide butter and spread on each rolled out piece of dough.
  2. Combine grated orange rind, sugar and coconut in a small bowl with your fingertips.  Sprinkle over both pieces of dough.  
  3. Roll up each piece of dough long side first as you would a cinnamon roll.
  4. Place each roll on a greased round baking pizza shaped pan, leaving an inch around the edges of the pan for rising. 
  5. Pinch together ends of dough and slice through the front and top, leaving the back of the roll uncut. 
  6. Lay each slice down, first towards the front and the next slice towards the back, forming a wreath.
  7. Cover lightly and allow to rise in a warm place about an hour and a half.
  8. Preheat oven to 325 F convection or 350 without convection.
  9. Bake about 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
Orange Sour Cream Topping
  • 1 cup full fat sour cream
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • juice of half a large orange
  1. While the wreath is baking, prepare the topping by mixing together.  Pour over hot wreaths as soon as they comes out of the oven.
To estimate time in having this ready for a morning brunch.  Remove cold dough at 7 AM to have wreath coming out of the oven for 9:30.  

Christmas Morning Life Saver

This breakfast casserole has been on our Christmas brunch table every year for decades.  It is tradition; a good one!  I clipped the recipe from a 'holiday recipe insert' in a local paper originally, and have tweaked it a little over the years...adding red and green peppers for a festive look. It is made the previous day and then popped in the oven in the morning. 

  • 16 slices white bread, crusts removed
  • ham, thinly sliced (about 1/2 lb./250 gr or 16 slices)
  • grated cheddar cheese (about 1/2 lb/250 gr)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2-1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • dash of hot sauce, optional
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup red and/or green pepper, chopped 
  • 1/3 cup butter 
  • 1 cup crushed Corn Flakes (or Special K)

  1. Lay 8 slices of bread into a 9″ x 13″ (23 x 33 cm) buttered, glass baking dish. 
  2. Cover bread with sliced ham. 
  3. Spread with grated cheddar cheese and then cover with remaining slices of bread.
  4. In a bowl, beat eggs, salt, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, optional hot sauce and milk. Pour over the casserole. 
  5. Sprinkle black pepper, onions and peppers evenly over surface. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 
  6. In the morning, melt the butter and drizzle over top. 
  7. Sprinkle with crushed cornflakes. 
  8. Bake uncovered for 1 hour at 350 deg.F (180 deg.C). 
  9. Let stand for10 minutes before serving. 
Serves 8.


Christmas Cranberry Coconut Loaf

This loaf keeps really well for several day and is perfect loaf to serve with a cup of tea...
or to serve along side Mandarin oranges on Christmas morning gift opening.
Bake it ahead, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap  and refrigerate for several days.
The fresh cranberries add a touch of tart to this moist loaf.

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice ( about 1 large naval orange)
  • 1 teaspoon orange rind
  • 2/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup  fresh or frozen cranberries (cut in half)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 8 X 4 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center.
  3. Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl.
  4. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients and add cranberries. Stir until combined.
  5. Scrape into loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool on wire rack.

White Chocolate Apricot Biscotti

Biscotti became rather popular in the local coffee shops a number of years ago and I still love this "Italian dunking cookie" with a good cup of coffee. If you prefer plain biscotti ( the way I got the recipe years ago) omit the orange juice and the last four ingredients, adding 1 cup ground almonds.
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped, toasted almonds
  • 1 cup finely chopped dried apricots
  • 3 squares Baker's white chocolate, chopped
  • 3 squares Baker's white chocolate melted for drizzle (optional)
  1. Mix first three ingredients with mixer, adding in the orange and almond extract.
  2. Add combined flour, baking powder and salt, then the chocolate, nuts and apricots.
  3. Stir until well mixed. Mixture will be sticky.
  4. Spoon in two rows, side by side, on greased and floured cookie sheet.
  5. With floured hands, shape into logs.
  6. Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes.
  7. Cool 5 - 10 minutes, then cut into diagonal slices.
  8. Separate the slices and spread them out, cut side down, on cookie sheet/sheets.
  9. Bake at 275° F for another 30 minutes, or until just slightly toasted underneath. Flip sides, in between, if desired.
  10. Drizzle (or dip one end) with melted chocolate and allow to harden before storing.
  11. Store in cookie jar or plastic bag in a dry, cool place. These keep a long time.
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Raisin Puffs

I got this recipe from my friend, Kathi. Every time I bite into one of these little nuggets, I'm surprised how delicious they are and . .. well, you can't stop at one, believe me! These are great for party trays with other little bites. Since this is not a sweet pastry, you can omit the raisins and fill them with a savory filling (once cooled) as well. This recipe yields about 3 dozen.

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup raisins, plumped
  1. Plump raisins by soaking them in boiling water for a few minutes, then strain.
  2. Combine first 4 ingredients in small saucepan and bring to boil. Add flour all at once, stirring over low heat beat with wooden spoon 1 min or till mixture leaves sides of pan and forms a smooth, thick dough.
  3. Remove from heat. Continue to beat 2 minutes to cool slightly. Add eggs, one at a time, beating each in well. The eggs will be slipping and sliding at first, but keep stirring, until they are mixed in well.
  4. Stir in raisins.
  5. Drop by teaspoon on greased and floured cookie sheet and bake at 375° F about 25 min - till golden.
  6. Spread with lemon frosting while warm.
Lemon Frosting:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cream
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.
Melt butter and stir in cream. Remove from heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients.

German Hazelnut Cookies

These are one of my favorite Christmas cookies. Hazelnut and Chocolate are the perfect pair. The picture is of the cookie filled with chocolate that has not set yet.
  • 1 cup hazelnuts finely chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  1. Beat butter and sugar together until light.
  2. Add egg yolk and vanilla.
  3. blend in flour and hazelnut.
  4. Form into 1" balls and make an indent on the center with a wooden spoon.
  5. Bake on a greased baking sheet @ 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cookies should look light in color.
  6. Fill the center with melted semi sweet chocolate.

Sugar Cookies

These cookies are soft and chewy with a hint of lemon and a bit of crunch from the coarse sugar which they are rolled in. I also like the 'crackly effect' on top. They are a nice addition on a cookie plate at Christmas or you can bag them up for gift giving.
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Coarse sugar for rolling cookies
  1.  Beat butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy.
  2.  Add egg, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix well.
  3. Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
  4. Add gradually to the creamed mixture until well blended.
  5. Form rounded teaspoons of dough into balls and roll in coarse or regular sugar.
  6. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets.
  7. Bake in a 350º oven for 8 to 10 minutes, just until lightly browned on the bottom, that is if you want them soft and chewy. I baked some a bit longer until they were lightly browned on top but then it resulted in a crispy cookie, still good but I wanted chewy.
  8. Once out of the oven allow to cool slightly on the pan before removing them to a cooling rack.
  9. Yield: 3 to 4 doz depending on size.

Stuffed Pork Loin

I found this recipe in a magazine a number of years ago. It was pictured with cooked red cabbage, which is how I like to serve it as well.

  • 3 lb pork loin or rib roast
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 apples, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup prunes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. In a small pot, melt butter, add apples and cook about 5 min., stirring until lightly browned.
  2. Add apricots, prunes and juice, and continue cooking until fruit is tender and liquid has evaporated.
  3. Season with half the thyme, salt and pepper. Cool.
  4. Cut a pocket into side of roast. (see photo below)
  5. Fill pocket and tie up with kitchen twine.
  6. Season roast with salt pepper, thyme and cinnamon.
  7. Spray roasting pot with oil and bake roast at 350° F (uncovered) for 30 min. Cover and bake another 60 – 75 minutes, until meat thermometer inserted in center reads 160 F (71 C) remove from oven onto plate, cover and let sit for 20 min. before serving.
I like to add cut up potatoes, yams, carrots and left over fruit filling for the last hour of roasting. Once I've removed the vegetables onto a serving platter I shake up a tablespoon of flour with about 1 cup of water and add it to the drippings to make a bit of gravy to drizzle over the roast. Season to taste.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts in Puff Pastry

Our daughter made this wonderful meal for us and I had to have the recipe. The original recipe is from one of Jamie Oliver's cookbooks. He calls the recipe "My old man's superb chicken." I chuckled at the name, but thought I'd give it a new name for here at MGCC....although I do think that any man would really think this was superb!
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 397 gram box puff pastry (I used tender flake brand)
2 cups mushrooms finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
3 grind of fresh pepper
To begin, if your puff pastry is frozen, thaw according to directions on the box.
In a non stick pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute chopped mushrooms and garlic for 5 minutes. Add the freshly chopped parsley, salt and pepper and continue to saute for about 8-10 minutes. Cool completely.
Score Chicken breasts with a sharp knife making a pocket. Once the mushroom mixture has cooled, fill all 4 chicken breast pockets.
Using a little dusting of flour and a rolling pin, roll each puff pastry 'block' 18"x8" and 1/4" thick. Cut down the middle of each sheet, making a total of 4, 4"x18" strips.
Place one stuffed breast at the bottom of one of the stripes of pastry. Starting at one corner roll so that the pastry overlaps, encasing the whole breast. Roll all breasts and place on a parchment lines baking sheet.
Beat one egg and brush the outsides of each roll. Bake in 400 oven for 35-40 minutes. Pastry should be golden brown and flaky.
While chicken is baking begin the mustard and wine sauce. You may want to double this it is so delicious.
Mustard & Wine Sauce
2 heaping tbsp whole grain mustard
1 1/2 cups white wine (you can use cooking wine)
Combine both ingredients in a non stick sauce pan. Over medium heat allow the wine to reduce by about 1/4. Turn to simmer and add 1/2 cup cream. Allow to simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and fresh pepper to taste.

Vanilla Bean Butter Cookie Cutouts

This dough is a little tricky to work with.  The cookie has no egg so it is more like a shortbread than a sugar cookie.  The taste of the cookie is light, crisp and delicious.  If you want to give it a try, just be patient when rolling the dough out and you will be rewarded with a delicious cookie.  

I'm included the technique for decorating these little trees.  

It's easier than it looks and the I think quicker than piping around the edges and filling with a glaze.

Butter Vanilla Bean  Cutouts
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese (room temperature)
  • vanilla bean paste from two vanilla beans
  1. Place sugar in a blender and pulse until it is a fine consistency but not yet powdered sugar.
  2. Stir together flour and salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla bean paste into the flour mixture until combined.
  4. Turn onto the counter and knead until it forms into ball.
  5. Divide into two parts, flatten into discs and wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest for an hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 F and adjust oven rack to the middle of the oven.
  7. Prepare cookie sheets by greasing or lining bottom with parchment paper.
  8. Cut out cookies with cookie cutters.  You can use various sizes but do not place different sized cookies on one tray.  Larger cookies take slightly longer to bake than smaller cookies.
  9. Once all the dough has been rolled out and cookies cut out, combine the bits of dough and reroll until all the dough has been used up.  
  10. Bake for about 10 minutes or until edges of cookies begin to brown. Don't underbake these cookies.  Allow to cool on cookie sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack.  Do not place the next batch of cut outs on a warm cookie sheet.
  • 3/4 cup butter (softened)
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar / icing sugar
  • about 1/3 - 1/2 cup milk (enough to make a frosting that can be piped but holds its shape)  
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • food coloring
  1. In a mixer, beat together butter and powdered sugar until well combined.  Add milk a little bit at a time until you have the right consistency.  Add vanilla and food coloring and beat well for about 5 minutes.

Place frosting into a piping bag.  Cut a 1/8 inch small hole at the tip.

With the tree upside down, start at the middle of the base of the tree and pipe out a bit of frosting and then pull towards you to the next bough shape.

Continue to the right, always pulling the frosting towards you and towards the center.
Move to the left of the center and work your way to the left edge of the bough. 

Continue with the next bough in the same way. 

Continue in this way until you have filled the tree.

Allow cookies to dry well before freezing on a cookie tray.
After cookies are frozen you can transfer them to containers or freezer bags.

If you don't let the frosting dry before freezing, be careful when serving to keep the cookies from being plated one on top of the other.  

You can also continue to decorate with sprinkles or other colored frostings as you would decorate your own tree!  

Tee Gebaeck

Some of you may recognize this German Recipe. This recipe could also be referred to as Linzer Cookies. These cookies were part of a Christmas exchange, years ago from my Tanta Gertraut.
My husband dived in for this gift and he finally won the gift exchange with a happy smile on his face. My aunt passed this recipe down to one of my sister in law's and she has taken the time to walk me through the steps.
He has begged me for years to get this recipe...
I now have the recipe, the utensils, and actually made them last night.
Guess who had to come and help put the jam between the layers?

  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cold butter, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • jam for filling
  • icing sugar for dusting

  1. Sift these three ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Make a hole in the middle of the flour mixture and slowly add grated butter, and mix well.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla. 
  4. Knead the flour mixture and ingredients till you have a smooth dough.
  5. Divide into two portions.  Refrigerate for several hours.  It's important to have the dough chilled, as it is much easier to work with.  
  6. On a floured surface roll out the first batch of dough until is is very thin, less than 1/4-inch.  Use the round base cutter for the first batch.  These will be the cookie bottoms.  Keep the other batch in the fridge while cutting. 
  7. Remove the second batch of dough from fridge.  Roll out and use your favorite cutter to make the designs for the cookie tops.
  8. Bake at 375° for 4-5 minutes.
  9. When cookies are baked and cooled, assemble them, using your favorite jam. Spread about 1 teaspoon of jam on the base.  Cover with a top cookie to create a sandwich effect.  Freeze.
  10. Just before serving, give the cookies a light dusting of icing sugar.  
Tip:  Raspberry jam is our favorite filling.
Linzer cookie cutters are available at a delicatessen and come with a base and several interchangeable cutout designs.  

When they are completed, freeze them and just before serving, dust them with a bit of powdered sugar. They taste the best straight out of the freezer.

Yes, they take time but they are worth it.

Nuts and Bolts with Bugles - Flashback Friday

It's that time of year again when many of us are making all kinds of treats and sweets. A few years ago I posted this recipe, and I think it's worth sharing again. 

  • 6 cups Shreddies
  • 6 cups Cheerios
  • 10 cups Rice or Corn Chex
  • 6 cups pretzels
  • 6 cups Bugles
  • 6 cups peanuts, optional
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 2 teaspoons Seasoning salt
  1. Measure all cereal, pretzels, bugles and peanuts into a large bow. Stir to combine.
  2. Melt butter and stir in remaining ingredients.
  3. Drizzle melted butter/seasoning mix over cereal mixture a little at a time stirring between to make sure the butter mixture is well distributed.
  4. Place mixture on large baking sheets or in large roaster and bake at 250º F for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes. 
  5. Allow to cool completely. Store in airtight container or in zip lock bags. 
** these keep well in the freezer if tightly sealed***

Hazelnut Roll

Here is just a tiny glimpse of what you will see in our home on Christmas Eve. The Hazelnut Roll has been a favorite in our home for many years. It came from a long time acquaintance who could not eat flour. So she shared this dessert with us and it was voted a keeper in our home. It does take some time and patience, therefore when I set out do this task, I make sure I have a morning free and I always make two rolls. Do not try to babysit in between. Do not double the recipe. Make them individually. Take it straight out of the freezer and serve it.

Hazel Nut Roll
  • 6 eggs separated
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/4 cup ground hazelnuts
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped
  • Purchased chocolate hazelnut spread
  1. Grease 15x10 cookie sheet.  Line with parchment paper and grease again.
  2. Heat oven to 350'
  3. Using a mixer, beat sugar and egg yolks on high speed for 5 minutes.
  4. Beat in extracts. Beat one more minute.
  5. In a separate bowl add ground hazelnuts, baking powder, and salt. Mix well with fork.
  6. Combine hazelnut mixture with sugar mixture.  Beat for 2 more minutes.
  7. Beat egg whites till stiff, but not dry. Fold egg whites into the cake batter by hand. 
  8. Spread batter in prepared pan.  Bake for 20 -25 minutes.
  9. Flip cake onto a damp cold tea towel, sprinkled with icing sugar, to prevent the cake from sticking.
  10. Remove the parchment paper.
  11. Roll up the cake and let cool for 15-30 minutes.
  12. Unroll and trim off crusty edges if necessary.
  13. Spread with a layer of chocolate hazelnut spread. I use Nutella. 
  14. Then add a layer of whipped cream. I add a stabilizer to the whipped cream. It should be stiffly whipped, otherwise, it is too difficult to roll up.
  15. Roll up the cake once more and garnish with additional cream and hazelnuts.
  16. Freeze the hazelnut roll on a cookie sheet for several hours until hard; then wrap with plastic wrap and seal it in a plastic bag.
Have fun and enjoy the treat!
If you can't figure it out, stop by and I will serve you a piece with freshly roasted coffee.
If you are looking for fresh hazelnuts from our area please contact Peter Andres at or phone at 604.796.2550