Category: Recipes

Grandma’s Pumpkin Pie Recipe

This pumpkin pie recipe is one of my very favorite recipes. Not only does it make an outstanding homemade pumpkin pie (frequently described as the “best pumpkin pie ever” by my family), but it’s just so much fun to make.

For me, this recipe has wonderful associations. First of all, to me, this recipe means that it’s fall. And I love fall. I love the colors, I love the cool weather, and it just gives me this great feeling of new possibilities.

Another great thing is that I almost always make this traditional pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkins. And really, it just makes me happy to work with fresh ingredients. The only thing better would be to grow the pumpkins myself!

And last but not least, I love this pumpkin pie recipe because it was given to me by my husband’s grandmother. The very first time I met her, she welcomed me into her home, and let me go through all her recipes and copy whichever ones I wanted to keep. It was a great gift — it means a lot to me to have some of my husband’s favorite recipes. And there’s nothing better than a family recipe!

So here is Grandma’s pumpkin pie recipe! I hope you like it as much as we do.


  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
    • If using frozen pie shells, preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Combine all the ingredients other than the pie shell, in the order given. Mix well and pour into the pie shell.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  4. Reduce the temperature to 350F and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center of the pie comes out clean.
    • If you’re using frozen pie shells, there’s no need for the initial 15 minutes baking at high heat. The instructions below are the total cooking time.
    • If you’re using a frozen deep-dish pie shell, bake on a cookie sheet at 375F for 70 minutes, or until the pie tests are done.
    • If you’re using regular frozen pie shells, you should be able to fill two. Bake on a cookie sheet at 375F for 45 minutes, or until the pies test done.
  5. Cool before serving. If you like, you can garnish your traditional pumpkin pie with a bit of whipped cream.


  • You can definitely use a can of pumpkin puree for this homemade pumpkin pie recipe, but I find it turns out better with homemade pureed pumpkin. Just be sure to plan ahead — once you puree a pumpkin, you need to let it stand for a while to let the moisture drain out. It’s not hard, but it’s not a last minute job.
  • If you’re using an aluminum pie plate, like the frozen pie crusts usually have, the heavy filling can cause it to bend. To avoid accidents, I like to place the pie plate on a baking sheet. It ensures the bottom stays flat, and help prevent messy spills.
  • Unlike some baked goods, pumpkin pie filling doesn’t rise very much at all. So it’s okay if your pie is filled almost to the brim. It’ll rise a teensy bit, but not usually enough to leak. The real danger is when you’re moving the pie to the oven!
  • If you like, you can use a teaspoon or two of pumpkin pie spice instead of the cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground cloves. Or you can substitute them for your favorite spices. But this spice combination is really, really good, so I’d recommend giving this pumpkin pie recipe a try as is!

Making Chocolate Strawberries

Chocolate covered Strawberries

Chocolate strawberries aren’t just delicious. They also make a beautiful and elegant dessert. Whether you’re preparing a romantic treat for Valentine’s Day or making a classy, easy-to-eat dessert for a bridal shower, chocolate strawberries are awesome.

But gourmet chocolate-covered strawberries can be pretty expensive. And that makes them seem like they must be really hard to make, but in fact, it’s one of the easiest desserts you could possibly make.

Chocolate covered Strawberries
image by Garry Knight

Chocolate-covered strawberries are just that – strawberries covered in chocolate. If you have chocolate and strawberries, you have just about everything you need. Still, there are a few tricks to making them. Nothing complicated or hard to do, but if you don’t know them, it can make things a bit more difficult.

In this article, I’ll go over everything you need to know to make perfect and delicious chocolate-covered strawberries. First, I’ll talk about picking and preparing the strawberries. Then, I’ll go over how to prepare the chocolate. Finally, I’ll talk about dipping the strawberries in chocolate and storing them.

Step 1: The Strawberries

Delicious chocolate strawberries start with delicious strawberries. Chocolate is really forgiving. Even if you don’t have the best strawberries in the world, dipping them in chocolate makes up for a lot. But still, the better your strawberries, the better they’ll be as chocolate-covered strawberries. Here are some tips for picking and preparing your strawberries.

Picking The Strawberries

The very first step when you make chocolate-covered strawberries is to pick out your strawberries. Here’s what you should consider when selecting the berries.

  • Good, ripe berries have a pretty, bright red color.
    • If they’re a dark red, they’re overripe. Sometimes they’ll even have mushy spots that you’d have to trim off, ruining the look of the strawberries.
    • If they have white or green spots, they’re under-ripe and won’t be nearly as sweet or flavorful.
  • Big strawberries are a bit easier to work with when you make chocolate-covered strawberries. But remember that bigger isn’t always better. Smaller ripe berries are always better than bigger, unripe ones.
  • A perfectly ripe strawberry shouldn’t be either mushy or too hard. When you press on it, it should give just a little.
  • Ripe strawberries smell awesome. If you’re in the grocery store and you smell strawberries, only to realize they’re at the other end of the fruit section, odds are you’ll get good berries. But if you hold them up to your nose and don’t smell a thing, they’re probably not very ripe.

Strawberries are best when they’re in season. They don’t have a very long shelf-life, so if they have to be shipped, they’re usually picked under-ripe to make sure they still look good when they get to your store.

Preparing The Strawberries

Once you’ve picked out delicious, ripe strawberries, you need to get them ready for dipping. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • You should always wash strawberries before using them, but you want to be sure to treat them gently. Place them in a colander or just hold them gently, and run water over them.
  • There’s no need to remove the stem or leaves. Chocolate strawberries actually look better with a bit of green! And the stem makes a nice little handle for dipping the berries.
  • Any bit of water can completely ruin your dipping chocolate, making it seize up and go all hard and lumpy. And chocolate won’t stick to a wet berry. So you need to make sure your strawberries are completely dry.
    • Let the strawberries reach room temperature. If they’re too cold, they might form little beads of condensation.
    • Dry the strawberries. Gently pat them dry with a paper towel or a dry kitchen towel.
    • Don’t soak the strawberries in ice water to keep them fresh. They’ll absorb too much water, and you won’t be able to get them dry enough to coat.

Once your strawberries are picked out and prepared, you can start thinking about the chocolate!

Step 2: The Chocolate

Getting the chocolate right is the most important part of making chocolate strawberries. Depending on how you do it, though, there are a few factors that’ll affect how your chocolate turns out, like how cold your house is.

In this section, I’ll go over what kind of chocolate to pick, and two different ways of melting the chocolate for coating: tempering, and simple melting.

Which Chocolate To Choose

The nice thing about making your own chocolate strawberries is that you get to choose just how to make them. You can pick the nicest strawberries, and you can also pick your very favorite kind of chocolate! Here’s what you should consider when picking your chocolate.

  • You can use white, milk, semi-sweet, bitter-sweet or even dark chocolate. Just pick whatever you like best, and you’re sure to end up with great strawberries. My favorite is semi-sweet, but try out different kinds and see what works for you.
    • Keep in mind that white and milk chocolate are a little bit more temperamental than the darker chocolates. They scorch more easily, so you have to be extra careful when melting the chocolate.
  • It’s easier to melt little bits of chocolate than a big block. Chocolate chips are perfect because they’re all the same size so they melt evenly. But if you can’t find the kind of chocolate you want in chip form, you can always chop up a big piece.
  • If you start with higher quality chocolate, you’ll end up with a higher quality chocolate strawberry. You don’t have to spend lots of money on the chocolate though – just be sure to pick a brand that you love.
    • I’m a big fan of Ghirardelli chocolate, but Dove and lots of other brands are great, too.
  • The amount of chocolate you need depends on the number of strawberries you have.
    • Depending on how big the strawberries are, you’ll need between one to two cups of chopped chocolate or chocolate chips per pound of strawberries. And remember, any leftover chocolate can turn into a delicious chocolate fondue!

Once you’ve picked out chocolate, it’s time to figure out how to melt it.

Tempered Chocolate

Tempering chocolate is a special and very cool cooking technique for melting chocolate. Tempered chocolate hardens to a firm, shiny finish that doesn’t melt at room temperature, or get sticky in your hands. If you want to make chocolate strawberries that look professional, tempered chocolate is the key.

It’s not hard to do, but it does take some explaining. If you decide to go for tempered chocolate, you can read this article on tempering chocolate for all the details.

Melted Chocolate

Tempering chocolate is the key to getting really professional-looking chocolate strawberries that don’t melt at room temperature. But if you’re kind of in a rush and have never tempered chocolate before, you might be thinking you want to skip the whole tempering thing.

And that’s totally fine! You can get really good results without tempering. The difference is that your chocolate strawberries might not be as stable. You might have to keep them in the refrigerator, or the chocolate might get a little bit soft after being out for a while – but they’ll still taste great.

If you decide you just want to melt the chocolate, plain and simple, here are a few guidelines to follow:

  • Chocolate needs to be melted very gently. If the chocolate gets too hot, it’ll scorch, and then it’ll get thick and lumpy and you won’t be able to coat your strawberries with it. That means:
    • The best way to melt chocolate is over a double-boiler. Bring a pot of water to a simmer, take it off the heat. Then place the top pot, or a glass or stainless steel bowl over the water. The bowl shouldn’t touch the water, or the chocolate won’t melt evenly. Place the chocolate in the bowl and stir it till it’s just melted.
    • You can also melt chocolate in the microwave. You have to be extra careful not to scorch it though. Heat it 30 seconds at a time on high heat, or 90 seconds at low, until the chips start to melt when you stir them. Add another 10 seconds or so at a time until the chocolate is smooth.
  • If you decide not to temper chocolate, then the best way to make sure it hardens properly is to not overheat the chocolate. Heat it until it’s just barely melted, but still smooth. That way you don’t destroy the tiny crystal structure that lets chocolate dry hard and shiny.
  • If the chocolate is too thick when it’s just barely melted and smooth, you can add a little butter or shortening to thin it out. It changes the flavor a bit, but the chocolate will be much easier to work with and the strawberries will look smoother and prettier.
    • Add a teaspoon or two at a time until it’s the right consistency to coat the strawberries evenly and smoothly.
  • Remember, when you’re melting chocolate, it’s really important not to let any water or moisture in the chocolate, or it’ll seize up and get too hard and lumpy to use as coating.
  • A rubber spatula is the best choice for stirring chocolate. You can make sure it’s completely dry, so that no moisture gets into the chocolate, and it’s perfect for scraping the bowl so that the chocolate melts evenly.

Just melting the chocolate is a little bit easier than tempering. You might not get the perfect shiny finish that tempering gives, but depending on the heat and humidity of your kitchen you can still get beautiful results. And more importantly, delicious results!


  • If you want something a little different, whisk a bit of flavoring in the chocolate before you dip the strawberries. Not too much, so you don’t alter the texture, but a bit of orange or lemon extract can put a whole new spin on chocolate strawberries.

Step 3: Dipping

Once you have your strawberries picked out, washed and dried, and your chocolate is melted, it’s time to dip the berries! And nothing could be easier.

Here’s what you do.

  1. Cover a cookie sheet with a sheet of wax paper. You need a nice flat surface for your strawberries to dry on, and using a cookie sheet means you can move it out of the way if you need to.
  2. Dip the strawberries in the chocolate. It’s easiest if you hold them by the stem. Or, if they don’t have a stem, you can stick a toothpick in the stem end and hold on to that.
    • If the chocolate is deep enough, you can just dip the strawberries in tip first, up to just below the leaves. This will give you a nice, straight, clean line where the chocolate ends.
    • If the chocolate is too shallow to fit a berry, dip the strawberry on its side, and turn it around until it’s coated all around.
    • Chocolate-covered strawberries look best if you leave a hint of red at the top.
  3. Take the strawberry out of the chocolate and rotate it a bit to shake off the excess chocolate. You can also tap it very lightly against the side of your bowl. Just be sure not to damage the berry!
  4. Lay the chocolate-covered strawberry on the wax paper.
    • Start by placing the strawberries as far away from the chocolate as possible, then working your way closer. That way, if any chocolate drips while you’re moving the strawberry, it won’t get all over your other chocolate strawberries.
  5. Repeat for all the strawberries.
  6. Once you’re done, give the chocolate time to set.
    • If you tempered the chocolate, it’ll start to harden within a few minutes, and should be pretty much set within 30 minutes. You can leave them at room temperature.
    • If you didn’t temper the chocolate, you can refrigerate the chocolate strawberries for 30 minutes to an hour, or until the chocolate sets.


  • Before the chocolate dries, you can dress up the chocolate strawberries a little bit by rolling them in finely chopped nuts, or shaved coconut.
  • Once the chocolate dries, you can make the chocolate covered strawberries a little fancier by drizzling them with a bit of a contrasting color chocolate. A white chocolate drizzle looks awesome over dark chocolate strawberries!

Step 4: Storage

Chocolate strawberries definitely do not have a long shelf life. Ideally, you should eat them the same day you make them, although you can store them for about a day if you really, really have to. How you store them depends on a few things.

  • Once the chocolate is set, you should be able to take the strawberries out of the refrigerator. Storing them at room temperature is the ideal situation, because chocolate absorbs smells really easily and refrigeration can affect its taste.
  • If it’s really hot out, and your chocolate isn’t tempered, you might need to keep storing them in the fridge, or the coating will melt. Or you can find a cooler part of the house.
  • If your fridge is too cold, the chocolate might start to sweat or crack, and it could get mushy and much less pretty. Keep an eye on the strawberries. If it looks like the chocolate is starting to look funny, take them out right away.
  • If you’re storing the chocolate strawberries in the fridge, be sure to take them out about an hour before serving, so that they have time to warm up. They’re generally a lot more flavorful at room temperature.


  • If you want to give chocolate-covered strawberries as a gift, try placing them in a paper muffin or mini-muffin cups, in a nice little gift box. It’ll be a very elegant-looking gift!

And that’s how to make chocolate-covered strawberries. It’s much easier to do than to explain, and so much more delicious!


Easy Apple Crisp Recipe

When fall rolls around, there’s nothing better than an easy apple crisp for dessert. Apples are in season, and the weather’s getting cool, so what could be more perfect than a warm, delicious apple crisp?

Apple crisp is one of my favorite desserts. I love the apple filling, but the part I really love is the topping. Crispy and golden, it’s just so delicious. But the great part about apple crisp is that no matter what part you prefer, you can make an easy apple crisp that suits you.

If you like the crust, you can make it with a thicker topping. But if you like lots of filling, you can just pile a few more layers of apples in there to get it just the way you like it.

And the best part is, apple crisp is a really easy dessert to make. The longest part is slicing the apples! In this article, we’ll talk about how to make an easy apple crisp just the way you like it. We’ll start with what goes into the filling. Then, we’ll talk about making the topping. And finally, we’ll put it all together and talk about how to make apple crisp.

The Filling

The first part of easy apple crisp is the filling. I’m calling it a filling because it’s a lot like a pie filling — but really in an apple crisp, it’s more of a bottom layer than a filling.

The filling is the apple part of the apple crisp. But to get the best possible apple crisp, you need more than just apples.

In this section, we’ll go over the different ingredients you want to include in your apple crisp filling:

  • Apples
  • Other fruit
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Lemon juice
  • Spices
  • Other seasonings


No surprises here: apples are the main ingredient in an easy apple crisp! But there are a few extra things to know.

First of all, there are lots of different types of apples. And each type has its own particular characteristics:

  • Sweetness vs. tartness. Some apples are sweet, and others are tart. A mix of sweet and tart apples gives a flavor balance, but you can try out different combinations to see what you like best.
    • Keep in mind, though, that baking makes the apples sweeter. A tart apple will bake up sweet, but it’ll have a wider range of flavors. A sweet apple will become even sweeter.
  • Apple Crisp - Red ApplesFirmess vs. mushiness. Some apples stay pretty firm and keep their shape when they bake, and others can get really mushy. You can use a mix of both if you want both textures, or you can just stick to one type. Just think about what you like best, and pick an apple that suits your tastes.

Once you’ve picked which types of apples you want to use, you need to cut them up. There are a few different ways to do it. Just pick whichever method you like best!

  • If you like, you can peel the apple. I always prefer a peeled apple for an apple crisp, but you can also try it with the peel on for little textured bits.
  • You should always core the apple. At the very least you’ll want to remove the seeds, which are very mildly poisonous. But the seed casings and other parts of the core can have an odd taste and texture, too, so you’ll probably want to remove those as well.
  • Once your apple is peeled (if at all) and cored, you’ll want to slice it up into small parts that’ll cook up more easily.
    • You can cut the apple in quarters and then cut each quarter into 1/8 or 1/4 inch slices. The thicker the slice, the firmer it’ll stay.
    • You can also cut the apple into little half-inch or so chunks. It’ll give a slightly different texture — you’ll be able to really bite into each apple piece when you eat your apple crisp.

I prefer peeled apple slices myself, but the only way to know what you’ll like best is to experiment and see what works best for you.

Other Fruit

Even though it’s a nice, easy apple crisp, that doesn’t mean that it has to only have apples in it. Adding some other fruit to the filling can make a nice change of pace, and give your apple crisp a distinctive flavor.

Here are a few fruits that go really well in an apple crisp.

  • Cranberries. Cranberries add a nice tartness to the sweet apples. You can add a little extra sugar to the filling if you’re afraid of it being too tart.
  • Peaches or pears. Just slice them the same way you do your apples. It’ll add some sweetness and some different flavors. Yum!
  • Dried fruit. You can also add different dried fruit to the filling, for some extra flavor and texture.
  • Berries. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or other berries are great in an apple crisp.
  • You can add any fruit you like! Just be sure to cut it into pieces that’ll cook at about the same speed as your apples.

How much other fruit should you add if you use any? That’s entirely up to you. You might want to have mostly apples, with just a hint of other flavors, or you can have an even blend. Just try out different combinations and see what works for you.


Apples are naturally sweet. Even the tart apples will get nice and sweet as they bake. So there’s no need to add a whole ton of sugar to the filling. Still, a little sugar has other advantages than just sweetness.

  • Sugar helps draw out the juices from the apples. That’ll help the apple pieces keep their shape better as they cook up. It also adds some moisture to the filling.
  • The water, juices and sugar in the filling will boil as the easy apple crisp cooks. And thanks to the sugar, it’ll get thick and syrupy, which will give your filling a wonderful texture.

Since apples are nice and sweet already, there’s no need to add a ton of sugar. A teaspoon or so per cup of chopped apple is usually enough, although you can definitely adjust that higher or lower depending on how sweet the apples you’re using are, and how sweet you like your apple crisp!


little bit of water added to the filling, along with a bit of sugar, helps create a syrupy sauce for the apples as they cook, almost like a light caramel. You don’t need much — a teaspoon or two per cup of chopped apple.

How much you need depends on two things.

  • Some apples are juicier than others. If your apple has high water content, it’ll release more juices, so you don’t need as much water.
  • How syrupy you want your filling. More water will give you more syrup, but it’ll be a bit lighter. Less will give you a drier filling, although what syrup there is might be a bit thicker.

I usually add just enough water to moisten the apples, but not enough for it to start pooling in the bottom of the dish. It gives me an apple crisp that has a thick syrup, but not too much of it — the filling is still made up mostly of apple slices that keep their shape.

Lemon Juice

Adding a bit of lemon juice to your easy apple crisp filling adds a tiny bit of flavor, but mostly it’s there to keep the apples from oxidizing and turning brown while you prepare your other ingredients, or while you let the sugar draw out the juices.

You don’t need much — just enough to coat the apples. A teaspoon or two per cup of apple slices should be plenty. Just be sure to toss the apples in the lemon juice so they’re all coated.


With just some apples, water, sugar and lemon juice, you can make an amazing and easy apple crisp. But sometimes it’s nice to change things up a little bit and add some extra flavors.

Adding some spices like cinnamonnutmegclovescardamomallspice, or ginger can add a nice touch to the apple crisp. And like the rest of the apple crisp, there’s no need for exact measurements. Just sprinkle a bit of spices until it feels right. You can toss the apples in the spice mixture and taste one before cooking it — the flavors will intensify as they cook, so don’t overdo it!

Other Seasonings

One of the best things about apple crisp is that you can make your own easy apple crisp recipes so easily, with just a little bit of creativity. You can add almost any seasoning you like that you think would go well with apples. And if it doesn’t turn out delicious, then just remember it for next time, and keep experimenting.

Some other seasonings you can add to your apple filling are citrus zest, a bit of vanilla, or whatever you like. You can even soak your apples in a bit of red wine before baking them. Just try out different things, and you’ll discover some wonderful apple crisp recipes of your own.

And now that you know all the ingredients you need for the filling, we can move on to the next layer — the topping.

The Topping

The topping is my favorite part of apple crisp. It’s crispy, it’s crumbly, it’s buttery and delicious, and adds just the right amount of crunch to the soft, warm apple filling.

So what goes into an easy apple crisp topping?


A little bit of flour in the topping helps the topping get nice and crisp, if you mix it in with a little butter. Some apple crisp recipes don’t call for flour at all — instead, you just use oatmeal. But a little bit of flour gives nice, flaky, crispy clusters that you won’t really get with just oatmeal.


You could make an apple crisp with just flour and no oatmeal. But I find an oatmeal topping much more appealing. The oats cook up nicely, and have a wondeful flavor.

You can use quick-cooking oats or old-fashioned oats — both will cook without a problem. The main different is that old-fashioned oats are slightly thicker, so it’ll give a different texture. Which texture you prefer is up to you!


Butter is an essential part of the apple crisp topping, although you could use a substitute if you wanted. The butter is what holds the topping together, and creates little crispy clusters.

The best way to use butter in an easy apple crisp topping is to cut the amount you need into little quarter of inch cubes. Use unsalted butter, and make sure it’s well chilled. Then, cut the butter into the rest of the topping ingredients, until the whole thing looks like coarse crumbs. The cold butter crumbs will expand in the oven, and make your topping beautifully crispy.


The topping needs a little bit of sweetness to really be delicious. I like to use brown sugar in the topping, but you could also use white sugar if you prefer, or another sweetener. The sugar will help the topping become a nice golden brown.


The last ingredient in an easy apple crisp topping is optional, but it’s what makes the difference between all the different apple crisp recipes: the seasonings. Here are a few seasonings you can add to the topping.

  • Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, or cardamom.
  • Chopped nuts, like pecans, almonds or hazelnuts.
  • A pinch of salt can enhance other flavors. But don’t use any more than a tiny pinch — the goal is to enhance flavors, but you don’t actually want to taste the saltiness!


So when you’re making your easy apple crisp topping, how much flour should you use? How much oatmeal? And how much sugar, butter, and spices? The truth is, it’s super versatile. You can really adjust the proportions to suit how you like your topping.

But here’s some starter amounts. For a 9″x9″ apple crisp, you can use:

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • a pinch of salt

You can easily adjust those measurements to suit your tastes. If you like a topping with more oatmeal, you can add more. If you prefer a slightly more doughy topping, there’s nothing wrong with a bit more flour. And if you like things sweeter, you can always add more sugar. But that’s a great topping to start with!

How To Make Easy Apple Crisp

Alright, now that we’ve gone over what goes into an easy apple crisp, let’s go over the steps to actually make it. It’s super easy!

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Mix all the ingredients for your filling in a large bowl, or right in the baking dish. I use about 4 apples for a 9”x9” apple crisp, but you can increase or decrease that amount based on how thick a filling you like.
    • Apple Crisp - Peeled AppleRemember, the filling consists of sliced or cubed apples, a bit of sugar and water, lemon juice to prevent oxidation, and whatever other fruit or seasonings you want.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the flour, oatmeal, sugar, spices, and nuts for your topping. Basically all the dry ingredients.
  4. Cut your chilled butter into little 1/4 of inch cubes, and mix into the dry topping ingredients until the mixture looks like a coarse meal.
  5. Spread the filling at the bottom of the baking dish.
  6. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling.
  7. Bake the easy apple crisp in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and crisp.
    • Unlike a lot of baked goods, the oven temperature isn’t too important. You can easily cook an apple crisp at 350F or 400F if you happen to need the oven at that temperature. You’ll just need to cook it for a bit more or less time until it’s golden brown.

And that’s all there is to it! You can be eating a wonderful and easy apple crisp in no time. The only part I find takes time is preparing the apples, so it can be nice to have a helper for that. Then it really takes no time at all, and it’s twice the fun!


East Christmas Sugar Cookies Recipe

These Christmas sugar cookies are a part of the holiday tradition in my family. I’ve made them a few different ways over the years — with colored sugar, topped with mini chocolate chips, or drizzled with chocolate — but they always come out delicious.

This sugar cookie recipe gives you beautiful, golden sugar cookies, that can be soft and chewy or crispy, depending on how long you cook them.

I particularly like this recipe for Christmas because they’re simple drop cookies. My other Christmas dessert recipes are a bit more time-consuming, so this one is a nice break. And since I already have rolled out and shaped gingerbread cookies, the round cookies actually add variety!

Simple, easy, delicious!

If you’re looking for cut-out cookies to cut into fun Christmas shapes, try this easy sugar cookie recipe.

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Preparation Time: 15m     Cooking Time: 10m     Total Time: 25m


Yields 30 cookies.


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and baking powder.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until it’s smooth and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix until it’s well blended.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, and mix until you have a smooth dough.
  5. Drop tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough onto an ungreased baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart (the cookies will spread a lot).
  6. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges turn a light golden brown.
  7. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.


  • Be sure that the butter is nice and soft. The softer it is, the easier the dough will be to work with.
  • When you add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, be sure to add them gradually: add a bit, mix until smooth, then add a bit more.
    • This makes it easier to blend in the dry ingredients, so that you don’t over-mix the flour — over-mixing the flour can make your cookie kind of tough and hard.
  • If you want soft cookies, they’ll have to be very soft when they come out of the oven — but don’t worry, they harden a bit as they cool.
  • Feel like decorating your Christmas sugar cookies? Here are a few ideas for the best sugar cookies:
    • I always drizzle mine with a bit of chocolate after they cool. I use the leftover chocolate from coating truffles, so it’s super convenient.
    • You can roll the cookies in a bit of colored sugar before baking them. Red and green sugar can make it extra festive. Or you can roll them in a sugar/cinnamon mixture for extra flavor.
    • If you flatten the cookies a bit before baking them, you can press little candies on the top, or miniature chocolate chips.
  • Want to make these easy sugar cookies ahead of time? Here are some tips.
    • The dough freezes nicely. You can shape the dough into little balls and freeze them. When you’re ready for the cookies, just thaw the dough a few hours and then bake as directed. Cookies in no time!
    • These Christmas sugar cookies stay good for a few days, but after a week or so they’ll start to harden, even if you keep them in an airtight container. That’s why I usually freeze or refrigerate the dough, or I just make them last of all my Christmas desserts. They’re so easy to make that it’s no trouble.

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

A good gingerbread cookie recipe is a must at Christmas. There are a lot of different Christmas desserts, but there aren’t a lot of them that say “Christmas” like delicious gingerbread people!

Sure, you can buy gingerbread cookies at the store, but trust me, nothing beats homemade. This gingerbread cookie recipe will give you yummier cookies than anything you could ever buy!

The dough itself is easy to make. The only part that takes a while is cutting out the gingerbread men, and then decorating them — but that’s all part of the fun.

These cookies are always a big hit with kids. They’re not too sweet, but a bit of royal icing adds just the right amount of sweetness. And they’re a bit lighter than some other Christmas desserts, so they’re great with a cup of tea if you’re feeling a bit too full for some of the richer stuff.

Here it is!

Gingerbread Cookies

Preparation Time: 40m     Cooking Time: 20m     Total Time: 3h00m


Yields 30 cookies.


1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 pinch ground cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
3 cups all-purpose flour


  1. In a double boiler over medium heat, mix the molasses, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Stir occasionally, and heat until the mixture is smooth and the sugars are all dissolved.
  2. Remove the molasses mixture from the heat, and stir in the baking soda. Let it cool.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter until it’s soft and creamy. Add the molasses mixture and stir until it’s well blended.
  4. Add the egg and stir until it’s well blended.
  5. Add the flour one cup at a time, stirring until the mixture is just smooth each time. Don’t over-mix!
  6. Shape the dough into a thick disk and wrap it in plastic wrap or wax paper. Refrigerate it for about 2 hours.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  8. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out the cookies using cookie cutters.
  9. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven on an ungreased baking sheet for 12 to 15 minutes.
  10. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack.
  11. Let the cookies cool completely, and then decorate them!


  • If you don’t have a double boiler, you can use an aluminum bowl over a pot of boiling water for this gingerbread cookie recipe. You can also just use a regular pot on a burner.
    • Sugar and molasses burn really easily, so set it on the lowest possible heat setting, stir it very frequently, and watch it like a hawk!
  • For this gingerbread man recipe, it’s important to add the flour just one cup at a time, because it’s easier to blend in that way. So you end up stirring the flourless, which gives you a more tender cookie.
  • The dough needs to refrigerate so that it’s easier to roll. It’ll get less soft as it cools down.
    • If you leave it in the fridge too long and it’s too hard to roll out, don’t worry. Just let it warm up for 10 or 15 minutes and you should be good to go.
  • The thicker you make the cookies, the longer they’ll have to bake, but it’ll also be easier to get a soft cookie. If you prefer crispy gingerbread cookies, just roll the dough flatter.
  • You can re-roll the scraps left over after cutting the cookies. But the more you re-roll the dough, the tougher the cookies get. So be sure to cut out all the cookies you can, then gather up all the scraps and re-roll them together.

Orange And Cranberry Bars

As far as Christmas dessert recipes go, these cranberry bars are actually fairly healthy, and they make a nice change of pace from rich, heavy — but delicious — desserts.

My mom has been making these for 16 years now. She got the recipe from a newspaper article… in fact, she still has it carefully stowed away and brings it out every year for Christmas.

These cranberry bars are my dad’s favorite Christmas dessert. They’re not too sweet, but the cranberry-orange filling is super delicious and festive — they taste like Christmas!

So if you want a healthier option among all the rich Christmas desserts, try out this recipe. Here it is!

Cranberry Bars

Preparation Time: 20m     Cooking Time: 50m     Total Time: 1h10m


Yields 24 bars.


12 oz fresh cranberries, rinsed
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 tbsp grated orange zest
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups rolled oats


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the cranberries, water, white sugar, grated ginger and orange zest until the mixture is boiling. Cook the mixture over medium heat until all the cranberries pop and the mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
  2. Pour the filling into a bowl. Place it into the refrigerator and let it cool and thicken.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the flour, ginger, baking powder and salt.
  5. In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each one.
  6. Add the flour mixture and the rolled oats to the butter-sugar mixture, and mix until the dough is well blended.
  7. Spread all but 1 1/2 cups of the dough into a greased 9″x13″ baking dish. Spoon the cranberry filling evenly on top of the dough. Spread the remaining dough over the filling.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the topping is a nice, golden brown.
  9. Let it cool completely before cutting into little bars.


  • When cooking the cranberries, you should be sure to use a saucepan made from a non-reactive material like stainless steel. Otherwise, the acid in the cranberries could cause your pot to discolor, or even change the taste of the filling. For example, you should never cook cranberries in an aluminum saucepan.
  • If you don’t have time to make the whole thing at once, don’t worry. The cranberry filling will keep in the fridge for a few days, and you can make the crust later.
  • Don’t worry about spreading the topping perfectly evenly oven the soft cranberry filling. You can just drop the dough in little clumps and try to cover as much of the surface as possible. Keeping your hands wet or floured will help you spread the dough.
  • These cranberry bars are perfect for freezing. After cutting them into bars, just place them in an airtight container. If you need to stack the bars, separate them with a layer of wax paper. When you’re ready for them, just take them out of the freezer and let them defrost at room temperature for about an hour.

Lemon Bar Recipe

Unlike most of the recipes I like to use, this lemon bar recipe isn’t completely homemade. It uses a packaged lemon pie filling mix, but it’s really yummy, and it makes super easy lemon bars.

I love this Christmas dessert recipe because it’s sweet but tangy, and it’s not really as rich as some of the other desserts. And the chopped pecans give it a really nice touch.

It’s really a very pretty dessert and looks great on a plate with a bunch of other bars, cookies, and candies.

Here it is!

Easy Lemon Bars


Preparation Time: 10m     Cooking Time: 25m     Total Time: 35m


Yields 1 9″x13″ dish of lemon bars.


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped
1 (7.5oz or 212g) package Shirriff lemon pie filling mix
2 eggs, lightly beaten


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy.
  3. Add the flour to the butter mixture and mix it until smooth. Incorporate 1/3 of a cup of the pecans.
  4. Press the dough into a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 minutes, or until it’s golden.
  6. Meanwhile, add the pie filling mix to the eggs and whisk until the pie filling is dissolved. Spread the lemon mixture evenly over the baked crust, and sprinkle with the rest of the pecans.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until the lemon filling sets.
  8. Let it cool, and then cut it into bars.



  • Toasting the pecans isn’t hard. Just chop them, spread them onto a baking sheet, and pop them in the oven at 350F until they start to smell, well, toasty.
    • It takes about 10 to 15 minutes, but you have to keep an eye on them because they can burn quickly once they’re done.
    • You can toss the pecans in some melted butter before toasting them. It’ll add a bit of flavor and help them toast more evenly.
  • We always used the Shirriff brand for this lemon bar recipe, but I’m sure another brand would work just fine. You’re basically making a lemon pie on a cookie crust, so just get a pie filling mix for one pie, and follow the instructions — for example, you may not need 2 eggs.
  • I’d recommend cutting the bars in smaller squares rather than bigger ones. If you have smaller bars, you can sample lots of desserts instead of filling up on just a few — and you can always eat more if that’s what you like!
  • These bars freeze really well. Once they’ve cooled down and they’re all cut up, you can place them in an airtight container in the freezer. If you need to layer the squares, separate each layer with wax paper.

Pecan Pie Bars – Recipe

Out of all my family’s Christmas dessert recipes, these pecan pie bars are probably the most popular. Whenever we bring a plate of desserts over to a friend’s place over the holidays, someone raves about them… and the people who’ve had them before always make sure to save a little room for some pecan bars.

This is a completely decadent dessert — a delicious cookie crust, topped with homemade caramel and crunchy pecans. Trust me, you’ll just have to try it out to see how good it is!

These pecan pie bars are especially good to make for Christmas because they freeze so well. You can make them weeks ahead of time, and then just take out what you need for each holiday meal. So not only are they outstanding, but they help relieve some of that holiday stress!

Here it is!

Pecan Bars

Preparation Time: 30m     Cooking Time: 30m     Total Time: 1h00m


Yields 50 bars.


1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 egg
3 cups all-purpose flour

3 cups pecan halves
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup liquid honey
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream 1 cup butter and 1/2 a cup brown sugar until light and fluffy. Incorporate the egg. Add the flour one cup at a time, stirring each time until it’s just blended. Be careful not to overmix.
  3. Press the crust mixture into a 15″x10″x3/4″ jelly roll pan. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven.
  4. Spread the pecans evenly over the crust. My mom likes to place the pecans right side up, evenly spaced — about half an inch to an inch apart.
  5. In a large heavy saucepan, melt the remaining butter and honey. Add the brown sugar, and boil for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly, until you get a rich caramel color. Remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the cream, mixing until it’s smooth and well-blended.
  6. Pour the caramel over the crust and pecans, and bake for 15 more minutes.
  7. Let cool, and cut into bars.


  • You can also make the cookie crust by combining all the ingredients in a food processor until they’re all blended. I prefer to mix by hand because I find the food processor makes too dense a crust, and it’s a bit messy to clean up… but the food processor is definitely easier and faster!
  • When you’re measuring out the flour, don’t dip your measuring cup into the bag of flour — that can make the flour become more compact, and you’ll end up adding way more than you need to. Instead, spoon the flour into your measuring cup, and level it off with a knife.
  • A pretty way to cut these pecan bars is to cut them so that each bar has one or two pecans on it. They don’t need to be much bigger, because this is a very rich dessert!
  • To store these pecan pie bars, cut them into squares, then place them in an airtight container in the freezer. If you need to stack the bars, separate each layer by a sheet of wax paper. When you want some bars, just take out what you need and let them defrost for about an hour.

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

Nothing really compares to homemade chocolate cake. And this is the best chocolate cake recipe out there. It’s moist, it’s chocolaty, it’s fluffy, it’s everything you want the chocolate cake to be!

I have a special place in my heart for chocolate cake. Every year, my mom makes me a homemade chocolate cake for my birthday, with homemade chocolate frosting. And it’s just not my birthday without it!

Over the years, we’ve used a bunch of different recipes, and some have been alright, some have been awesome, but this one really is the best chocolate cake recipe. I’m not joking! It’s the ultimate chocolate cake. Even the batter somehow manages to look better than any other cake batter.

So get your baking gear ready, and get started on the best moist chocolate cake recipe!

Ultimate Chocolate Cake

Preparation Time: 30m     Cooking Time: 30m     Total Time: 1h00m


Yields 1 2-layer 9″ round cake.


2 cups boiling water
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F, and grease and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, pour the boiling water over the cocoa powder. Mix it until it’s smooth. Set it aside and allow it to cool to room temperature.
    • You’ll have an easier time avoiding lumps if you start by pouring just a bit of water over the cocoa, and stirring that to a thick paste. Once it’s smooth, add the rest of the water and whisk.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter until it’s soft enough to beat easily. Gradually add the sugar, beating the mixture between each addition until it’s light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture thoroughly each time. Incorporate the vanilla.
  5. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  6. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three steps, alternating with the cocoa mixture. Mix until the batter is just smooth.
  7. Spread the batter evenly between the two greased pans.
  8. Bake the cakes in the preheated oven for 25-30 mins, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Let the cakes cool 5 minutes in their pans, then transfer them to a wire rack.



  • I prefer my homemade chocolate cake to not be too too sweet. If you like things a bit sweeter, you can add a bit of extra sugar to the butter. Extra sugar will help the cake be a bit fluffier, too!
  • To get a nice, fluffy ultimate chocolate cake, there are three super important steps:
    • Beat the butter and sugar really well. The sugar helps pull air bubbles into the batter, making a fluffier cake.
    • Beat the eggs in one at a time. You can even beat them before putting them into the batter. Beating eggs makes them absorb air molecules, just like sugar. Again, you get a fluffier cake.
    • Once the flour is in, don’t overmix the cake, or you’ll make your homemade chocolate cake tough. That’s why adding the flour in batches is so important — it’s much easier to incorporate flour that way, so you don’t have to mix as much.
  • If you start with all your ingredients at room temperature, you’ll get a fluffier cake – making this best chocolate cake recipe even better!
  • You shouldn’t fill a cake pan more than 2/3 full. The cake needs a bit of room to rise without spilling. If your cake pans are too shallow, you can always split your cake into three layers.
  • To get the ultimate chocolate cake out of the pans more easily, you can line the bottom of the pans with a circle of parchment paper. The cake’ll come right out of the pan, and the paper will peel right off.
    • You can use wax paper too, but if you do, it has to be completely covered by batter — you shouldn’t have any poking out the sides.

Easy Sugar Cookie Recipe

If you’re looking for easy sugar cookie recipes, you’re in the right place. This is one of the easiest and the best sugar cookie recipes I know. They’re buttery and sweet, and the dough is just so easy to work with. And the best part? They’re made to be rolled and cut out with cookie cutters!

What could be better than shaped sugar cookies?

Of all the easy sugar cookie recipes I know, this is the one I use the most often. It’s perfect for any occasion – you can make bunnies and chicks for Easter, ghosts, and witches for Halloween, anything for any special event!

And once the cookies are baked, you can decorate them with this sugar cookie icing. It dries hard and shiny, and your cookies will look really professional.

And now, here it is, my favorite of all easy sugar cookie recipes!

Easy Sugar Cookies

Preparation Time: 20m     Cooking Time: 20m     Total Time: 40m


Yields 24 cookies.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla


  1. In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until they’re smooth and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture, and mix until it’s smooth and well blended.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until it’s smooth.
  5. Shape the cookie dough into a thick disc, and refrigerate it until it’s firm but not hard, 30 minutes to an hour.
    • Be sure to cover the dough with wax paper or plastic wrap!
    • You want the dough to be firm enough to roll out without it being super sticky or too mushy, but you also don’t want it so hard that you can’t roll it out.
  6. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  7. Lightly coat the dough with flour, and roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it’s about 1/4 of an inch thick.
  8. Cut out the cookies with cookie cutters. Re-roll the scraps, using more flour if you need to keep it from sticking, and cut more cookies until you’re out of dough.
  9. Arrange the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 7-9 minutes, until the edges start to turn golden.
    • The cookies should be at least half an inch apart from each other. They’ll grow a bit, but not so much that they’ll lose their shape.



  • I tend to like cookies that aren’t too sweet, and a lot of times I use less than the usual amount of sugar. If you like things nice and sweet, you might want to add an extra 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup of sugar.
  • If you prefer a softer, chewier cookie, you can roll the cookies a bit thicker, up to half an inch thick. They’ll need to cook a bit longer, but once the bottom turns golden, the cookie itself will still be nice and soft.
    • Thicker cookies might lose their shape a bit more. There’s more dough to puff outwards.
  • If you like crisper cookies, you can increase the cooking time. Let the golden brown creep up the sides a bit, but don’t leave them too long, or the bottom might burn.
  • When you’re making cut-out sugar cookies, it’s best not to over-roll the dough. So cut out as many cookies as you can from the dough, and reroll it only when you can’t get another cookie out of it.
    • Over-rolling the dough makes it tougher, and you get a tougher cookie.