Chocolate Cocoa Nib Cherry Biscotti and Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Nut Biscotti

Here I am speeding up the baking process. These two different in taste biscotti are made from one chocolate dough.

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Mexican Wedding Cookies

This is one of my staple cookie recipes for holiday baking. I’m sure I’m not the only one who bakes similar cookies around Christmas. Nevertheless, I thought I’d share the foolproof recipe that’s been tweaked and perfected over the years.

I love using a combination of toasted (always toasted) walnuts and pecans, but either one will work well. When I grind the nuts in a food processor, I pause to take some coarsely ground nuts out to add them later, and then grind the rest finely; it makes quite a difference in taste. I don’t cover the cookies with icing sugar until they are completely cool since I find a melted grease-like thick layer of icing sugar unattractive. I bathe them in icing sugar once they are cool.

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Pear Honey and Walnut Upside-Down Cake

This perfect autumn cake is a result of my makeover of an old family recipe, the one from a huge collection of Russian recipes I’m planning to publish someday one way or another.

Feather-soft cardamom-spiced honey cake, sweet caramelized succulent pears, and crunchy walnuts sure make a memorable treat. The cake becomes out-of-this-world fantastic when served slightly warm with vanilla bean and honey ice cream.

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Pumpkin Ginger Cake with Pumpkin Cheesecake Topping

Here’s a cross between a cake and cheesecake. The base is a moist soft pumpkin cake with added candied ginger for a little heat. The topping is a thin layer of creamy pumpkin cheesecake. The cake is baked just until a cake tester comes out clean, but not until the cake picks up color. Then it’s cooled briefly while the cheesecake batter is mixed. The latter is baked at reduced oven temperature just until softly set. The result is a perfect cheesecake texture and moist and tender cake interior.

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Pumpkin Molasses Muffins

I especially recommend these to anemic individuals like me. Blackstrap molasses add not just great flavor, but also iron to the muffins. From the other hand, if you are not a big fan of blackstrap molasses, or if you find its flavor somewhat overwhelming, you can use regular unsulphured molasses instead. Either way, the muffins are nice and quite wholesome.

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Nut-Free Energy Bars

I love to pack things like these to my kid’s lunch box. They are full of healthy ingredients and right calories. It is a bit of pain to find something similar in stores. There are plenty of energy bars, but nut-free ones are rare. So, I make them myself. It almost doesn’t take any time at all. Fruits, seeds, and cereal can be varied to suit any personal taste or budget. If the nut allergy is luckily not your problem, the bars can be made with any nut butter you prefer.

There’s one thing I want to point out. If you are making the bars for a nut allergy sufferer, make sure to read the ingredient list on a sunflower butter jar carefully. There are a few manufacturers who make this particular kind of butter in nut-free facilities. The most common brand, as I notice, makes all kinds of nut/seed butter together at one place, and probably uses the same mill for grinding.

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