Archive for the ‘Baking’ Category

This recipe comes from my Mom, Linda. She’s been baking for decades, so she’s tried hundreds and hundreds of desserts in her lifetime. She says these cookies are one of her all-time favorites, so I had to share.

We made these the last time I was home in Pennsylvania for her church bake sale. I tasted one fresh out of the oven before she had a chance to wrap them in cellophane and tie a bow around them, and they are definitely as good as promised!

If you’re a white chocolate fan, as my mom is, you’ll go, well, nuts. Even if white chocolate isn’t your favorite chocolate, you’ll still love these. They’re buttery, crispy, with hunks of dense macadamia nuts and creamy white chocolate. Make them for your next bake sale, or just for yourself. Thanks for the recipe, Mom!

Cookies almost ready for the oven. Flattened versions on the far left, pre-flattened on the right.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

½ c. unsalted butter, softened

¾ c. packed light brown sugar

½ c. granulated sugar

½ c. shortening

1 egg

1 ½ tsp vanilla

2 c. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ c. white chocolate chips

7 oz macadamia nuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toast nuts on a cookie sheet while oven preheats. Note from Mom: Keep an eye on them—you’ll be able to smell them when they’re done, and let them cool a little before adding them to the cookie dough.

Beat butter and shortening with a stand or hand-held mixer until soft and creamy.  Gradually add the sugars and beat well.

Add egg and vanilla and beat well.

Sift together flour, soda, and salt; gradually add to butter mix beating well after each addition. Stir in chips and nuts. My Mom is a big fan of chilling cookie dough for about 20-30 minutes before scooping. I highly recommend this—it keeps the butter cold.

Once chilled, drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet. (Note: my Mom used a cookie scoop, which worked wonders!) Flatten each ball of dough slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake for 15 minutes. Let rest about 2 minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to a wire rack.

Cookies ready for the church bake sale!

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A fresh slice of blueberry buckle, one of my favorite family recipes.

This is the recipe that earned me the nickname “g-ma.” The recipe came from my own g-ma, who made dessert every night when my mom and her sisters were growing up. According to my grandfather, a meal was not a meal without dessert, and blueberry buckle was one of those desserts.

After feeding my mom’s family for years, blueberry buckle finally made its first appearance in Los Angeles at my last job, where I made it for my co-workers. Apparently it was very grandmotherly of me to bake for work, so the nickname stuck.

A buckle is just a basic coffee cake, but with a cuter name. There’s the cake base, cinnamon sugar topping, and the fruit. You can use any kind of fruit (well, almost kind—watermelon would be a bit weird), but blueberries are the standard in my family. The blueberry version is also what I made for the last Eat My Blog bake sale, where I’m happy to report it sold out within the hour. In fact, the buckle was gone before my chocolate whoopie pies, which surprised the heck out of me. Who knew Angelinos would be so mad about coffee cake?

The below recipe, made in a 13-by-9 pan with 3 cups of blueberries, will result in about a 2-inch thick, blueberry-heavy slice, almost like a cake bar. My grandmother’s original recipe called for 2 cups of blueberries and a 9-inch square pan, which made a more traditional, cake-y hunk of coffee cake. When blueberries are cheap and in season, I prefer the thinner blueberry-y version, but if a pint of blueberries cost as much as a nice steak at the grocery store, my grandmother’s version is just as tasty.

Blueberry Buckle


2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoons salt
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup shortening
1 egg
½ cup milk
3 cups blueberries


½ cup sugar
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup butter, softened

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 13-by-9 baking dish.

Combine all topping ingredients in a small bowl, pressing with fork or pastry blender to combine.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large mixing bowl, cream sugar and shortening with electric mixer—the result will be a bit clumpy. Add egg, mix to combine. Alternately mix in flour mixture and milk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth.

With a spoon, gently fold in blueberries. The batter will be very dense, so go easy on the berries!

Spread into greased dish. Crumble topping over surface of cake and bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Once cool, cut into squares and serve! I usually get 10 big slices for dessert, or you could cut it into 12 or 15 for smaller, afternoon coffee size snacks.

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