Tag Archives: cookies

San Valentino

12 Feb

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and the internets are abuzz with everything from heart shaped foods, to quirky Valentine’s cards to the ULTIMATE gifts to make your loved ones swoon.  Personally I like to keep the whole holiday pretty low-key and relaxed (easy here in Italy where it’s not so celebrated).  I usually bake something sweet (and yes, heart shaped) and maybe make a little card or handmade gift to leave on the breakfast table for when the family wakes up.  Here are a few of my favourite V-day recipes, diy projects, Valentine’s inspiration and cards that will make you giggle.

For over a month my lovely friend Giova has been posting a handmade heart a day on her blog One Bunting Away.  She is a talented embroiderer and paper artist and I’ve really loved reading each and every heart post.  Read her passionate Valentine’s Day manifesto here.

These seemingly rude Valentine’s cards from Etsy Shop Sunny and Susan really make me laugh. 


I’m going to try and make these Red Velvet Cupcakes in a Jar (because we all know that desserts in jars taste so much better!).  And as I do every year I’ll also whip up a batch of my grandmother’s rich and buttery Brown Sugar Shortbreads.  And I’m thinking this heart shaped bacon and heart shaped egg in the hole would be perfect for a Valentine’s breakfast or brunch (although I think I’ll pass on these Weiner and Cheese hearts).

This round-up of Nerds in Love Valentine’s cards by Mighty Girl had me in stitches.


Last year my daughters and I sewed up some of these little puffy heart necklaces for their friends.  Easy to make and really cute to see a little gaggle of girls wearing them.  These necklaces were featured on some really great Valentine’s round-ups herehere and here.



17 May


Today I have a great recipe for Belgian Waffle Cookies.  These miniature wafeltjes are baked in a waffle iron and are so rich and buttery (the recipe calls for 400g butter!).  My husband grew up eating these cookies (made by his grandparents) and is capable of eating them by the dozen.  And now my kids as well.  While making these our neighbours were calling over the fence to know what the amazing smell was that was coming from our kitchen.  There is nothing quite like the smell of baking waffles (there must be a waffle inspired perfume out there somewhere).    These keep for at least 3-4 days in a closed tin and are great to package up as a gift for someone special.


We found the recipe for these waffles on the site of Jeroen Meus who is pretty much the Jamie Oliver of Belgium.  Jeroen has his own cooking show, tons of cookbooks and a really great website full of recipes.  Everything I’ve tried of his has turned out to be delicious and simple to make (favorites are Baked Cauliflower with Ground Meat and Bruschetta with Guacamole, Smoked Sprot and Tomato Salsa).

Continue for wafeltjes recipe…

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Speculaas (Biscoff) Cookies

23 Apr

I love chocolate chip cookies.  I love oatmeal cookies.  And I love speculaas cookies.  So last week-end when I was looking for something to bake I thought making a mix of these three together would probably be the world’s greatest invention ever.


Last month when my in-laws visited from Belgium they brought me a huge jar of speculaaspasta (or speculoospasta to some) which is pretty much Belgian spice cookies ground into a creamy spread for bread.  It’s a relatively new invention and it has become a staple breakfast item in a lot of Belgian households.  Before the spread was available my husband’s family would eat a piece of bread with butter and the cookies laid on top.  Strange but true.  Belgians have very peculiar breakfast habits that I’ve happily adopted.  Chocolate for breakfast?  I’m not going to reject such a thing.

1-IMG_7706I know this spread’s popularity has reached all corners of the world in the past few years.  In North America it’s usually sold as Biscoff Spread if I’m not mistaken.  In any case, if you ever come across it, grab a few jars.  It’s great for eating on bread, spread on top of cake or simply eaten by the spoonful.  And of course for baking.  Go here to find so many delicious looking recipes using this spread.

Read on for the recipe for these delicious Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Speculaas Cookies. Continue reading

Peanut Butter Cookies

5 Apr

Oh wow.  This has been a week full of white chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate with hazelnuts and even 99% cocoa chocolate.  My kids have been eating it on their bread for breakfast (they’re half Belgian), straight up for snacks and even popping a few Easter eggs for bedtime snack.  I’ve declared it “chocolate week” and I want them to enjoy it to its fullest.  Plus, I want it all out of my house by next week when they return to school and I return to my no-sugar lifestyle.

But it’s not all bad.  From what I’ve been reading dark chocolate  is the new super food that can help with everything from depression to anemia (my pharmacist told me that the other day).  And I recently found out dark chocolate can actually prevent tooth decay.

To put a little protein into their chocolate diet I decided to make them some Peanut Butter Cookies with, you guessed it, chocolate.  Usually I don’t make peanut butter cookies due to the extortionate price of peanut butter over here (I pay 6 euro for a tiny jar) but since I was brought a huge jug from America I thought I would use some of it to make these delicious cookies.


All of my Italian and European friends aren’t familiar with Peanut Butter cookies and even look slightly disturbed by the thought of them.  But once they try them they usually can’t get enough.  These cookies are rich, buttery and have a slight saltiness to them.  I love them to no end.  And you will to.

Read on for recipe… Continue reading

Valentine’s Round Up

13 Feb

Here I am writing from a little riad in Marrakech, Morocco.  We arrived here today after spending the last few days in a tiny village in the Atlas mountains.  It was an amazing time which included lots of walks in the mountains, a camel trek and some of the best food we’ve ever eaten.  And to top it all off we’ve had amazing weather since we arrived.  Yes, we are all ecstatically happy at the moment.

Even if the Moroccans don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day it’s been on my mind the last few days.  I have secretly stashed some home-baked heart-shaped chocolate-dipped cookies in our suitcase so that I’ll have something special for the family on the 14th.  I’m pretty sure Valentine’s Day this year will be one we’ll remember forever.

Here’s a little round-up of some of my favourite Valentine’s Day treats and surprises that you can make your loved ones.


These little puffy sewn heart necklaces are the sweetest way to show your favourite little girl that she’s loved.  It’s an easy project that your kids can help you with.  Check out post and tutorial here.


I love these Valentine’s Day cards over on Classic Play.  And you can download them for free!  Check out post here.

1-IMG_5438These Brown Sugar Shortbreads are the most delicious rich cookies and are perfect for Valentine’s Day due to the little jam heart centres.  Your house will smell divine while these are baking!  Get recipe here.

DIY Edible Confetti by The Proper Pinwheel

Edible confetti!  This is one of my favorite Valentine’s Day finds this year.  Easy to make and such a fun idea for a gift for classmates (or co-workers!).  Get full details and how-to on The Proper Pinwheel.

We made these little candy bags for the twin’s classmates last year and they were a hit.  All you need are some clear plastic bags, pink and red construction paper, some colourful candy and a stapler.  Check out what we made my son’s class and the teachers here.


I absolutely adore this cupid’s arrow diy that is over on La Tete Dans Les Idees.

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day and make sure to tell the ones you love how much they mean to you!

Bobo Balls

9 Jan


I’m feeling super proud of myself at the moment.  For the second time this week I got myself out of the house by 7:45am in the dark and freezing cold to my pilates class.  From when I got up at 6:45am until I left it was an on-going mental battle for me.  One little voice was telling me to just stay home in my warm house and the other little voice was trying to motivate me out of the house.  Luckily the latter won.

Today I have a secret family recipe to share with you.  I had wanted to post it before the holidays but didn’t manage.  So I’ll sell them as the perfect Valentine’s Day cookie instead of Christmas cookie.

These little balls made with only 4 ingredients are one of my favourite treats from childhood.  My grandmother used to make these for my brother and I and we would be able to scoff down more than a few.   I was 23 when my grandmother actually told me the ingredient list because she knows that I would’ve been horrified if I knew there were dates in them.  I was tricked for 23 years of my life.


Usually I’m not a huge fan of cookies that involve breakfast cereal but in this case the rice crispies add crunch that compliments the chewy dates.   I know they sound weird and slightly kitschy but trust me on this one…they’re incredibly tasty.  And as a bonus they are no-bake which means it takes minutes to whip up a batch of these.

Gramma’s BoBo Balls

1/2 cup  butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups pitted and chopped dates
3 1/2 cups Rice Crispies cereal

1. Melt butter in pot, add brown sugar and dates.

2. Bring to a boil, lower heat, stir and cook until smooth (8-10 min).

3. Add rice crispies.

4. With buttered hands form into uniform sized balls (approx. 2-bite sized).  Roll in white sugar.

5. Store in air-tight container to keep crispy. Enjoy!

1-IMG_4933-001I hope someone out there gives these cookies a chance and tries them out.  And if you do, please let me know what you think.  I have three kids who all love them (one being Miss Fussy) and I have followed my grandmother’s tradition of not letting them in on the secret of the dates in them.

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies

21 Nov

Hello all.  I’m back after taking a much needed break.  We had a really tough week last week and we’re just surfacing from some serious grieving over the loss of someone very special.  Dealing with your own grief while dealing with the grief of your children can be quite overwhelming.

But we’re getting our life back together and starting our daily grind again.  And we’re all happy about it.

Today is a beautiful day here in Northern Italy.  The sun is shining and the mountains are in clear view.  Absolutely stunning scenery all around me.

View from my sewing room this morning

Since I started my sugar hiatus five weeks ago I haven’t done much baking.  I had to steer clear of all sweets those first weeks because the temptation was overwhelming.  But the cravings have subsided and I can actually bake without wanting to stick my head in the mixing bowl to devour whatever dough I’m preparing (okay it did cross my mind with these cookies but the urge passed very quickly).

These Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cranberries and White Chocolate are probably one of my favourite cookies (and similar to these that I made a few months ago).  They are sweet with a touch of tart and very hearty.  I could imagine these would be the perfect apres-ski snack with a mug of hot chocolate.

I made up a batch of these and baked half the dough and froze the other half .  As I’ve said in the past, having cookie dough ready in your freezer is great for last minute guests, hungry school kids or late-night cravings.  And people, Christmas is coming up really soon!  We’ve got to get on the holiday baking now!

Continue reading for the recipe!

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Oatmeal Cookies with Marzipan, Coconut and Dried Figs

4 Jul

After a week-end of broiling hot weather we finally have a day of rest from the heat.  The sky is full of glorious grey clouds and the streets are glistening from the recent splattering of light rain.  The windows are all open and a cool breeze is dancing through the house and chasing out that heavy humidity that has been lurking in here for the last few weeks.  We can all breathe again.  Thank you.

So now that the house is full of renewed and re-cooled energy I can actually turn my oven on to do a bit of baking (oh how I’ve missed it!).

I opened my baking drawer and grabbed the first things that I saw: oatmeal, coconut, marzipan and dried figs.  I was in the mood for a heavy duty cookie (that didn’t involve chocolate – unbelievable but true).  In my younger days cookies involving these ingredients would have been considered a waste of calories.  Dried fruit in a cookie was for people who substituted carob for chocolate.  But I’ve grown up and matured and I’m ready to accept the fact that these ingredients actually enrichen a cookie (in moderation of course).

I also made these today as a special treat for my daughters who just got braces and have sensitive painful mouths at the moment.  I thought a good batch of cookies might lift their spirits a little.

As usual I made a double batch and froze half for another time.  Making a double batch isn’t any more work and it’s handy having ready-to-use cookie dough on hand for last minute guests, parties or late-night cravings.

Here’s the recipe:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup (230g) butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup cubed marzipan
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped dried figs (or apricots etc)

1.  Combine flour, oatmeal and baking soda.  Set aside.

2.  In mixer cream butter with sugars.  Turn speed down and add vanilla, eggs and salt.  Mix until combined.

3.  Slowly add flour mixture and mix until combined.

4.  Stir in marzipan, coconut and dried figs.

5.  Spoon onto sheet lined with baking paper.  Bake for about 14-16 minutes (the cookies should become golden brown).

6.  Let cool on wire rack.  Enjoy!

My kids love these cookies.  They also have no idea what is in them.  I might have accidently told them there was white chocolate in them.  And I might of left out the fact that there are dried figs.  But all this is not important.  What’s important is that they are happily sitting in the garden munching away and happy as clams.

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

17 Apr

After two weeks of various Japanese desserts which included lots of white and red bean paste, flavoured fruit jellies and matcha tea cookies and ice cream the kids were craving some home baked cookies from La Mama.

So in between all the unpacking and cleaning I managed to whip up some chewy oatmeal cookies.  The perfect afternoon snack for a cold and  rainy spring day.I always slightly underbake oatmeal cookies to give them that soft and chewy texture.  These are great just out of the oven or several days later.  Not that they’ll last that long…

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs (preferably organic)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (good quality makes a huge difference).
1 1/2 cup flour
Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt (essential for that sweet/salty taste we all love)
3 cups quick cooking oats

1.  Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

2.  Add in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla.

3.  Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon (if using) together.  Slowly add to butter mixture.

4.  Mix in the oats (and any nuts or chocolate chips if desired).

5.   Drop onto baking sheet (do not flatten).  Bake for 12 minutes at 350 C (180F).

6.  Let cookies cool for a few minutes before transferring to cooling rack.


Cookies from Cannes

29 Feb

I have a good friend who goes to France on a regular basis and she often brings back delicious little French food items.  She’s brought us wines, cheeses, oils, patés, duck gizzards (for the husband) and once even a paper bag full of purple potatoes to plant in my garden.  Last week she knew my mom was in town so she brought her a box of macarons from a special shop in Cannes.  And they were what you’d expect them to be.  Absolutely delicious.  Some of the flavours were pistachio, apricot, blueberry, lavender and mocha.  Such delicate hints of flavours in some (lavender) and bursting flavours in others (apricot). 

I took a macaron making course once and came to the conclusion that I’m happy to enjoy them when they’re made by someone else or bought.  A little too fussy and labour intensive for my liking (a bit like the petit fours I attempted not long ago).

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