Category Archives: Cookies/Muffins/Cupcakes

Spinach and Beet Cornbread Muffins

I love cornbread, there is no question about it.
Using the little time off from our No.2, who is finally sleeping on her own, IN her own bed, I want to share one of my favorite cornbread recipes EVER.
This can be baked in 9 inch pan

or in muffin forms

For some reason I prefer muffins. I think, it’s because with those muffins I can limit myself more and control myself in eating them all in one sitting. No matter what shape this cornbread has it is still delicious.
The spinach kind has no spinach flavor whatsoever, I would say it’s even sweeter than the one without it, while you can surely taste the beets; not a lot, though.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
3 heaping tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup baby spinach, rinsed*
1 very small beet, steamed
If you want to make JUST spinach or JUST beet cornbread then double the amount of the veggies (1 cup of spinach, and 2 small beets or 1 medium).
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. In a blender, puree the butter, sugar, eggs and evaporated milk for about 30 seconds.
2. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder.
3. Add the dry mixed ingredients to the blender and blend until just combined.
4. Pour half of the batter out leaving another half in a blender.
5. Add the spinach to the batter left in a blender and blend until the mixture is evenly green and there is no big pieces of spinach left.
6. Pour the batter into muffin forms to about 3/4 full.
7. transfer the remaining batter into the cleaned blender and add cut into small cubes steamed beet. Blend until well incorporated.
8. Transfer the batter to muffin forms.
9. Bake for 25 minutes.
Print the recipe:
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Tortilla bowls

Tortillas are the “must have” in our house lately.

My husband likes quesadillas.

Our daughter can eat them just with peanut butter. She likes them a lot!

I like to use them in all kinds of wraps. So far, my favorite are spinach-strawberry wraps on homemade whole wheat tortillas.

My husband is not a big fan of the homemade ones so we still buy them for him.

Anyway, homemade or not we eat a lot of them.

Lately I’ve discovered tortilla bowls and the are a big hit in our home.

Whenever I make them our daughter tends to eat more of what’s inside, what I use to sneak more veggies in her.

They are super easy to make.

I use big muffin baking forms:

Not to torn the bottoms of the tortillas, very delicate I fold the tortillas inside the muffin form. 

Bake in 350 F for 10 minutes.

Fill with whatever you want.

Sometimes I make it just for my daughter so she has a funny bowl for her nuts to snack on. She loves it! And I have less dishes to wash 😉

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Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

I found this recipe on the package of Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips. I didn’t buy those chips for the recipe. It just happened that trying to come up with some ideas how to use the chips I looked at the package and read the recipe. I normally would use them for “Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from Smitten Kitchen – our family’s all time favorite. Sometimes I like to add an extra sweetness to this original recipe using different kinds of chocolate chips. This time I thought about peanut butter and that’s why I bought them but when I read the recipe on the box I’ve decided to make them.

And by an accident I’ve discovered the new family favorite cookies!!! 


2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cocoa

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup white sugar (original recipe calls for 2 cups of white sugar)

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup peanut butter chips (or more)


1. Heat oven to 350 F.

2. stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Beat buttter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in peanut butter chips.

3. Using a rounded teaspoon drop the dough onto ungreased cookie sheet (I used aluminum foil). Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not overbake; cookies will be very soft. They will puff while baking and flatten while cooling. (the original recipe says to bake them 8 to 9 minutes but in my case 8 minutes was too short and the cookies weren’t baked inside)

4. Cool slightly leaving on the baking sheet; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

those cookies are almost like a tiny, thin brownies; crunchy on the outside and so moist and chewy inside. they are delicate to handle because they are really thin. I tried to make an ice cream cookie sandwiches but those cookies seemed to be too thin and delicate. They were falling apart too easily but I really, really enjoyed the flavor:

From this recipe I got about 45 cookies!!! And today, two days after I made them, they are all gone already… .

btw, Happy Birthday America!

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Homemade Marzipan (Marcepan domowe roboty)

First of all today is my turn for a post to World Moms Blog. Please stop by the blog and join the discussion about breast-feeding in public.

As for my blog I’m talking about MARZIPAN!!!!!!!!

Who doesn’t know what marzipan is or who has never tired it… gosh… you don’t know what you’re missing, people 😉

If you like almonds and sugar you will love marzipan because basically it’s an almond paste with some sugar and extra almond flavor from  almond extract (some people don’t add it, though).

I grew up eating Ritter Sport Dark Chocolate Covered Marzipan and to these days, when I see this chocolate in a grocery store, I can’t stop drooling. It’s really expensive, though, and only the price keeps me from buying it each time I see it. Finally about a month ago I decided to try to make it at home. Yeah… you see how long it takes for me to finally make something.

It took me 5 months to make a cheesecake from the day I had decided to make it. I have an excuse, though. I was researching for the best recipe and this kind of research takes time 😉 

The same was with the marzipan. This time, though, I haven’t found any recipe that would suit me, I just got the idea of how to make it. If you google for “marzipan recipe” you will find many of them starting from very simple ones with only two ingredients to very fancy ones. Some call for rose-water, corn syrup or egg whites. Mine recipe doesn’t have any of those, although it has sugar syrup which I made myself.

It takes quite a bit effort to make it at home but IT’S SO REWARDING when you eat it homemade and it tastes just like the store-bought or even better.

From what I read the quantity of used almonds and sugar should be 2:1 (2 cups almonds, 1 cup sugar), and a few extra ingredients like egg whites or corn syrup to help the paste to stick together.

The thing is that after the paste is made you can actually adjust the amount of sugar to your personal likes. Just like I did.


2 1/2 cup blanched almonds, whole

1 cup powdered sugar, plus more for shaping the paste (I made my own by blending regular white sugar until the sugar turned to powder)

2 Tbsp sugar syrup, (I made my own sugar syrup as a substitute for corn syrup), honey can be used instead 

1 Tbsp almond extract


In a high-speed blender or food processor grind the almonds until they turn into almond meal. In my case I used high-speed blender and those almonds didn’t turn powdery/floury. They created a sticky paste that my blender couldn’t work with anymore or I would’ve burned its engine if I continued to work with it. That’s why you can see small pieces of almonds on the picture above. That doesn’t bother me at all. It gives an extra texture and doesn’t change the flavor at all.

After the almonds are all blended move the paste/almond meal into a sauce pan and add powdered sugar. Turn the heat to medium, and stirring constantly with wooden spoon, cook the paste until all the sugar melts. Mix in sugar/corn syrup and stirring constantly cook it over medium high until the mixture starts sticking together into a ball around your spoon. It might take 15 to 20 minutes. Close to the end add almond extract.

You can always taste it and adjust the amount of sugar and almond extract to your likes.

Here I will quote one comment I have found under a marzipan recipe at Smitten Kitchen:

I mix everything first in the sauce pan, then apply moderate heat while continuing to stir until the mass sticks in one ball. The trick is to heat the mixture enough to draw the oil out of the almonds while stirring. Too much heat will evaporate too much moisture causing the paste to get crumbly. Try to rescue by adding more water again after turning off the heat and then let it sit in a cool place (‘fridge) for a day or two.

I did not wait a day or two. I waited until the mixture turned cool and then I portioned into 5 parts. Using an aluminum foil sprinkled with a small amount of powdered sugar I rolled each part into a long log, one inch wide.

Shaping is your personal preference as well. The paste could be shaped into small balls, rectangles, squares, what ever you like. I roll it into a log as it was easy to store.

My recipe doesn’t have eggs in it so the marzipan could be stored in a room temperature. I keep mine in a fridge so it doesn’t get too soft. Whenever I want to eat it I just cut a small piece off of the log and put it back to the fridge.

For the purpose of this post I cut one log into a small pieces

and ate them one by one while taking pictures

the remaining two logs I cut into pieces and covered into dark chocolate

and they tasted like heaven! just like the Ritter Sport brand that I used to eat in Poland.

It wasn’t any fancy special chocolate. I simply melted over water bath 3 oz of regular dark chocolate and pour the it over the cut pieces of marzipan. I didn’t care much about the look. It was all about the flavor and it was PERFECT.

Btw, the recipe is at some point approved by husband… and that is AMAZING 🙂 he ate half of the chocolate covered piece and the next day he gobbled up 5 whole wheat pancakes with marzipan pieces in them.

Have a great evening, my friends.

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Whole wheat blueberry marzipan pancakes

365 Self-Portrait Project (week 16)

Last week was pretty stressful for me.


Last Friday I had my stitches removed and the same day we were told our Little Sleeping Beauty is loosing too much weight. It made the post-pregnant and still very emotional myself very upset. Today everything is back to normal and we are all happy again 🙂


On Saturday while trying to take some shots I had to deal with my daughter running back and forth in front of the camera. This is the best shot I ended up with. Pretty much the perfect shot for Urban Muser’s theme for this month: “shake it out” 😉

Photo Art Friday365/108

I love my camera. Can you tell.

I have more shots from this “session” that I plan to put together as one separate post. I probably will write it sometime this week.

Most of my self-portraits are very spontaneous. I do not think about them. I just go with my day as it comes and in a particular moment when I remember about this project or when I think I’m doing something that’s worth to be captured I just take my camera and shoot.

Sometimes when I’m totally out of ideas I take the camera, point it at myself and start shooting until I get something that’s interesting or until I get tired 🙂


Enjoying our quiet time.

It’s crazy how our Little Not Eating Enough Girl in one week has turned into Not Wanting to Sleep and Eating Every 10 minutes. Today I can’t have anything done without me holding her while: 

making breakfast,



doing laundry,

or simply hearing her screaming for some attention or my boob 😉

Better this than me trying to wake her up for every feeding with no success and her loosing weight because of that.


We’re having pretty nice weather lately and I try to sit on the sun from time to time to give some vitamin D to our newborn who still has some jaundice.


Watching cartoons, “Cat in the Hat”, and eating breakfast: avocado-dates-peanut butter pudding.


For quite sometime I had planned to avoid shots where my stomach is shown.

Then I thought: That’s ridiculous! I just had a baby so why should I be ashamed of my body. There is nothing wrong with it.

btw, I was making delicious apple cupcakes 

Not the best but pretty good 🙂


This should be called “The things I never wear”.

It’s been SOOOOOOOOOOOOO long I had some nice necklace or a nice high heel shoes on me.

I actually do not wear hight heels but I have a few pairs, just in case.

In The Picture

Banana Crumbs Muffins with Chia seeds

When it comes to food I haven’t done much lately. At least nothing worth sharing. Most of the time it’s a very quick and easy dinner. For lunch my husband has all kinds of “goodies” from the pre-made frozen food section. Our Little One is happy with smoothies, cheese cream-jam sandwiches, eggs, cheese or some pretzels. SHE LOVES PRETZELS!!!

I know, I know, those are not the best choices but I am not able to make anything more these days. I wish I had more energy and I was in less pain, but I am not, and it is what it is. A few more weeks and all will get better. I’ll be back to my old self. 

This morning I took an advantage of feeling pretty energetic and in a good mood. I made banana crumbs muffins with some extra healthy kick: chia seeds. I made them before and my husband LOVED it. They are really easy and fast to make and taste delicious. Fluffy, soft and moist inside and very crunchy on the outside. I changed a few things in the old version and I think this one is much better.


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds


Feel free to double the crumbs recipe as they are really delicious and the more of it on top of the muffin the better it tastes.

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon almonds (or any kinds of nuts), finely chopped  (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 or 11 ( I made 11 from this recipe) muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and chia seeds. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Fill prepared muffin cups to about 3/4 with batter.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter. Mix with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Mixed in chopped nuts. Sprinkle topping over muffins. I mean, cover completely the top of the muffin with the crumbs (if you made double batch).
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Knowing for sure that my husband is going to enjoy them I had to check if those will be toddler approved, as well. And here are the results:

You think she liked it ?! 🙂

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Cheesecake cookies and New Year’s Resolution

You might wonder what cheesecake cookies have in common with New Year’s Resolution. Well, at the end of the last year I promised myself that I will not have any resolutions for this new year. I actually don’t need them to feel better about myself, I decided. When the New Year came I actually changed my mind.

My first resolution was to start 366 Self-Portrait Project.

The second one was to cook and to bake more NEW things. Things I have never made before. I remember, our first year of marriage was pretty boring if we talk about food. I was terrified by the scale of my husband’s pickiness. When I found something he would like and enjoy to eat I cooked it for weeks, with pasta now and then. It’s much better now. He is more open to new things and even if he doesn’t like them he always tastes it and gives me an honest opinion.

This year I’ve decided to be more open to new things myself. It’s not about my husband. It’s about me pushing the envelope in trying to cook and bake things I’ve been scared or intimidated by. One of those things was sloppy joe, for example. I made it a few weeks ago and I don’t know what I was so scared about in this dish.

Being honest with you this year is all about cheesecake. I am going to try to make more new things, that’s for sure, but what I really want is to make a cheesecake. An edible one. I have in mind something like White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake. Just thinking about it give me goosebumps (and a heartburn!!!).

So here we go.

With baby steps I started from cheesecake cookies. I couldn’t believe how easy and fast they are to make.


5 Tbsp. butter, softened

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 egg

2 Tbsp. milk

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


In a medium bowl blend butter, brown sugar and flour with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Put 3/4 cup of the mixture aside for topping.

Press remaining mixture into an 8×8 baking dish sprayed lightly with cooking spray, bake for 15 minutes in 350 F.

In meantime, combine sugar and cream cheese. Mix until smooth. Beat in egg, milk, lemon juice and vanilla.

Spread over the baked crust and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar (crumbs) mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes in 350 F.

Before cutting chill it for about 1 hour.

Cut into 2×2 inch squares.

Fat Thursday and Faworki always go together …

… at least in my home.

Fat Thursday –  is traditional Polish and German feast marking the last Thursday before Lent and is associated with the celebration of Carnival. Because Lent is a time of fasting, the next opportunity to feast would not be until Easter. (Wikipedia).

All Catholics know that – not that I am one, but I grew up in a very religious Catholic family with plenty of doughnuts and faworki every single year on Fat Thursday. More often we had homemade faworki than pączki (doughnuts). It was much easier to make for the family of 5 plus grandparents and, I think, we all liked them better than pączki.

These days, for me Fat Thursday is more like a cultural tradition not very much connected to religion. Being far away from my home country I take a thing or two from the religion I grew up with and make it a cultural thing. It kind of make sense even for Polish people living in Poland because Catholicism is connected very closely to the culture of our country, so even people that are not very religious still celebrate Fat Thursday by indulging themselves eating unlimited amount of doughnuts on that day.

In Warsaw, people waiting in line for doughnuts on Fat Thursday (source

I should’ve done this post yesterday but to the last minute I was convinced that I am not going to make anything for Fat Thursday this year. I went to bed last night thinking: I’m too tired to make something that it’s actually going to be just for me. My husband is not a big fan of deep fried foods. Of course he’ll eat french fries, fried onion rings, fried chicken and many different deep fried foods (all in the restaurant) but if I make something at home that is deep fried he does not want to eat it. Oh, and he has nothing against store-bought doughnuts – SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL HIM THEY ARE ALL DEEP FRIED!!!

Anyway, I got up this morning and couldn’t stop thinking about making faworki (chrusty, angel wings).

After making breakfast for everybody I put myself to work (I mean, my stand mixer). 

Those delicious little things are very easy to make and with all the ingredients that most of us have already in the kitchen.


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp white sugar

4 egg yolks

5 tsp plain yoghurt (original recipe calls for sour cream) plus more if necessary

1 tsp vinegar

2 Tbsp. butter, softened

pinch of salt

orange zest (optional) – this is my twist to this recipe so actually it’s not necessary 

oil for frying

Put all the ingredients together in a big bowl and mix it in your Kitchen Aid or knead by hand until the dough is smooth and looks like that:

our little one burned her hand days ago and these days her favorite word is “hot”. She touches everything saying “hot, hot, hot” looking at me for the nod if she got that right. This time she didn’t 😉

If the dough is too dry and doesn’t want to hold together just add a teaspoon of plain yoghurt. If it’s still too dry add one more until the dough holds together, is nice and smooth and easy to shape into a ball.

Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap, aluminum foil or parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. After that time take it out cut into four pieces, leave one piece out and put the 3 left back to the fridge. When you’re done with cutting, folding and frying that first part, repeat everything with the remaining 3.

On lightly floured surface roll the dough very thinly. The more thin the dough the more crispy the pastry will get after frying.

When done rolling with a sharp knife cut the dough into 1 1/2 inch wide and 4 inches long stripes. Make 1 inch or 1 1/2 inch long slit in the middle of each strip.

Working with your both hands open the slit in the middle. Take the top and fold it towards the slit. Pull the end through the slit.

Gently pull both ends and you made yourself a perfect angel wing 🙂

Repeat with the remaining strips.

Fry in hot oil. You can check the oil if it’s ready by putting one corner of the raw angel wing in the oil. If it starts to sizzle and bubbles appear it means that the oil is ready.

Fry on both sides until golden brown. The heat should be on medium high for the best results. Keep an eye on them as they tend to burn really fast.

You might want to put them on paper towel to soak the extra oil out. While still warm heavily sprinkle with powdered sugar. I mean, REALLY heavily 🙂

Keep it high enough so your Little Ones can’t get into it while you’re not watching.

Homemade granola bars

My husband loves to snack on granola bars.

He likes to snack in general. Watching movie – snacking. Bored – snacking. Working in front of the computer – snacking. So he always likes to have things to snack on. Chips, granola bars, pop-tarts, chocolate chips cookies, trail-mix. If for some reason we do not have any of those things he will go through our kitchen cabins every 10 minutes trying to find something. It looks like he has an amnesia and he doesn’t remember that 10 minutes ago he did the same and in those 10 minutes nothing has changed in our kitchen. No snack magically appeared.

One day we decided to try to make granola bars. It’s cheaper and much healthier. Granola bars I made are packed with calories but, at least, I know and can pronounce every single ingredient.

chilling in the fridge before cutting into bars

cut and ready to eat

Ingredients for the granola bars:

  • 1 cup oat flour (or 1 cup oats finely ground in blender or food processor)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce (I used homemade)*
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 chopped mixed nuts (of your choice)

for the glaze

4 oz milk chocolate bar


6 oz semisweet (or milk chocolate) chocolate chips

1 Tbsp milk


1. Preheat oven to 350°; line a 9 x 9 baking pan with a parchment paper, long enough to go up over the sides. Lightly spray with oil.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

3. In a large bowl, with a mixer cream together the butter and the sugar on medium speed.  

4. Add the egg followed by the honey, applesauce* and vanilla extract.

5. Working by hand, stir in the flour mixture and the oats until just combined and no streaks of flour remain; stir in raisins and nuts.

6. Spoon oats onto prepared baking dish, flattening to make even. Bake for about 23-25 minutes, or until light brown at the edges. They will seem soft and undercooked, but once they cool they will set completely.

7. While the granola cake is cooling melt over double bath and constantly stirring the chocolate bar or chocolate chips with 1 Tbsp milk.

8. When everything is evenly melted and there is no remaining pieces of chocolate pour the mixture over the top of the granola cake and spread it around with a knife.

9. Let it cool overnight or in the fridge for a few hours.

10. Cut into desire pieces.

The first time I made it I forgot to add the oats at the end and we ended up with mushy mixture with granola like taste that we had to eat with a spoon.

The second time I used regular oats instead of quick and for my taste it came out too dry.

Next time I’m going to try out this recipe: no-baked chewy granola bars. Will see which one are better 🙂

* to make an applesauce just enough for this recipe

In a saucepan, combine peeled, cored and cut into small cubes 1 apple, 3 Tbsp water (I always use orange juice), 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Cover, and cook over medium low heat for 15 minutes, or until the apple is soft. While cooking check if more water (juice) is needed. If yes, add 1 Tbsp. Allow to cool, then mash with a fork or potato masher.

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Recipe adapted from Skinny taste.

Gingerbread cookies change everything

So, I complained today: for the holiday there is no snow, no rain, no tree, no moczka, no poppy seeds roll nor bigos. I didn’t have that last year neither or two years ago… . Since I came to U.S Christmas time always reminds me of Polish food more than on any other time year round.

Back in Poland my mom would always cook moczka and layer gingerbread cake. The entire house was filled with the aroma of gingerbread spices, chocolate and cooked moczka. I know, I’m talking about moczka like it’s something that everybody knows about. In MY Christmas this is the main dish. I don’t have to have anything else to feel like Christmas is here. Just give me a cup of this chocolaty-fruity-nuty-gingerbready pudding like something and I am the happiest person on the entire world. Every single household who makes it has it’s own recipe. This dish is magic and I can not make it… . I’ve tried once and it didn’t turn out tasty. Only my mom knows how to make the best moczka. So it seems that I will have to wait for Christmas in Poland to finally taste my favorite Christmas dish. How many years will that be?! I think it would be much faster if I learned how to make it – lazy me.

Anyway this post it’s not about moczka. It’s about gingerbread cookies I finally made today. They were inspired by Polish Mama on the Prairie after I read one of her post in which she was sharing her gingerbread cookies recipe. Before that I wasn’t planning to bake anything Polish.

I’ve decided that if I want to make gingerbread cookies they need to be fluffy and thick and reminds me, at least, a little of pierniczki toruńskie. While looking for a good recipe I found out that a good gingerbread cake or cookies should be made at least two weeks before the day you’re planning to eat them, sometimes months before. It’s because they get very hard after they are baked and they soften after resting for long period of time. So as you probably figure it out, there is not time this year to experiment with those kind of recipes.

Finally I found something that I thought will work this year (go here for original recipe in Polish). Funny enough this is not recipe for Polish gingerbread cookies but for German called Lebkuchen.

It took me two days to make them. On the first day I made candied orange and lemon zest and gingerbread spice mix.

Ingredients for the gingerbread spice mix:

2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

3/4 tsp cloves

3/4 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 allspice

10 seeds of star anise

To make candied orange and lemon zest took me a little bit longer.

Zest from 2 peeled oranges and 1 lemon. Cut into strips, boiled for about 10 minutes. Drained and dried. When they were dry I cooked them in a mixture of:

1 cup of water

1 cup of sugar

until the liquid was almost gone.

Stirring occasionally.

Left on cooling racks overnight.

Ingredients for gingerbread cookies:

1 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour

15 Tbsp blended almonds (make almond flour)

3 tsp gingerbread spice mix

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup honey

3/4 stick of butter (6 Tbsp)

1/2 cup candied zest*


In a medium bowl mix the dry ingredients: flour, almonds, gingerbread spices, baking soda and powder, cinnamon.

Heat the honey and butter in a sauce pan over a low heat until the butter is melted. Let it cool down until lukewarm and pour over mixed dry ingredients. Add candied zest. You can use spoon or mixer at this point and mix it well. Cover and leave to in a cool place.

The dough may look very sticky and hard to shape any cookies from it. Don’t worry after it cools down it gets harder and easy to work with.

When the dough is ready preheat oven to 355 F. Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll the dough into a small balls not bigger than a medium size walnut. Place them on baking sheet about 1 inch apart. They will rise and spread.

Bake for about 15 minutes.

Transfer to a cooling rack and let it cool completely.

Decorate the next day.

I have never had them before but as I can assume they are going to be better and better the longer you keep them. Tomorrow I’m planning to cover them with powder sugar icing or melted chocolate. Can’t decide, yet.

Anyway, I am happy that something feels like Christmas, finally. It more smells like feels but it doesn’t matter. I’ve been so focused on baking and preparing sweets that I actually forgot that christmas dinner is something more that fudge, pies and cookies only. I need to change it tomorrow or we will end up eating pasta on Saturday… .

* In my opinion (and my husband’s) those cookies have too much candied zest. They taste really zesty. I am not sure but I might boiled the candied zest for too long and that’s why they came out too hard as for my taste. They might be ok if you want to eat them just like that, but if you want to use them in those cookies (or any other cookies) they seem to be to hard and stick to teeth (a lot). Next time I will use zest made the way I always make it.

Happy Holidays, my friends!!!