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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Prosciutto Parmesan Puff Pastry Straws

These are perfect for an easy entertaining menu. The recipe itself is super-easy. The straws can be made in advance and frozen unbaked for up to a week, or just put in the fridge overnight before baking. You can shove them in the oven when your guests are at the door and serve the straws freshly baked – warm, crisp, and wonderful.

The flavor combination is an old classic (doesn’t mean it’s out of fashion though). The way I like to make the straws is to put the filling (quite a lot) between two layers of puff pastry brushed with some egg wash, then roll the rolling pin over to adhere them well together and cut into thin strips. The filling stays inside and doesn’t try to escape, and every straw is packed with meat and cheese goodness.

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Santa and Chimney Tutorial

With the big holidays upon us, I decided to offer a seasonal tutorial. I tried my best to make it thorough and well-illustrated. There are numerous photos (over 60) of every step from the roof and chimney construction to the tiny details of Santa’s face.

This tutorial allows great flexibility. It can be turned into a smaller project of decorating a miniature fruitcake, for example. In this case the roof sculpting can be omitted altogether and you can only make the chimney with cheeky Santa inside. Or, if the needs are completely opposite and you need a cake to feed a crowd, then the roof can be made longer, or even steeper, the chimney can be done taller, yet Santa still will fit nicely. Demonstrated on styrofoam chimney and fondant blocks for the roof, the tutorial still covers in great detail how to sculpt the cake and adjust its size to your requirements.

I want to emphasize that if you have any questions or need an advice, I’m always here to help. These questions will be my first priority, I’ll make every effort to answer them in timely manner.

My promised earlier Thomas the Tank Engine tutorial will be available after Christmas, since I think it’s more relevant to share some new cookie recipes and sweet holiday treats with you now.


Click to see the purchasing details…

Pokemon Piplup Cake

It was a very short-notice order. A miniature 4-inch cake was intended exclusively for a birthday boy, and two dozen cupcakes decorated with easy Pokemon ball fondant cut-outs were baked for guests. I was lucky the boy’s favorite character was a tiny Piplup and not something like Reshiram, otherwise I wouldn’t have got any sleep at all.

I wish I had taken a shot of Piplup’s rear; it had a very cute behind.

Click to see Piplup’s closeup…

Pumpkin Maple Yeast Belgian Waffles

Remember that half-can of pumpkin puree left over after the dinner rolls were baked? Well, I turned it into the waffles, really nice ones – light and crispy, and delicate inside. Another great thing about them is that the waffle batter is mixed in advance, and there are only eggs added right before baking (while the waffle maker is preheating) – quite convenient. The waffles can be served with maple syrup and/or maple syrup-flavoured whipped cream and toasted walnuts, or with a store-bought all natural Breyers Maple Walnut ice cream – delicious!

This is a quick and the only shot I’d taken before they were all gobbled up. And the waffles definitely should be eaten as soon as they’ve been baked.

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Pumpkin and Cheese Yeast “Flowers”

These are very cheesy and pumpkiny yellow. The rolls are excellent slightly warm with soup, although I like them best split and turned into turkey sandwiches.

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