Apricot and Mulberry Jam Thumbprint Cookies

These gem-like jam thumbprint cookies are fun to make and so tender and beautiful. Use a combination of preserves like apricot and mulberry for color and flavor interest. This one will brighten up the cookie plates. It’s a beauty. That’s what mom said when she tasted the thumbprint cookies I’ve been making with our gorgeous…

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Lebanese Almond Baklawa Fingers Recipe

Almond baklawa fingers in a pan, Maureen Abood

These Lebanese almond baklawa fingers are delicate, crisp, and fun to make. They’re flavored with aromatic orange blossom syrup. One of the great things about all of the baking and exchanging of cookies this time of year is finding out about what is treasured enough to get baked up in other people’s kitchens every Christmas.…

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Nougat with Pistachios and Dried Cherries (low-fat, chewy goodness)

Perhaps it was growing up in Michigan, where billowy, tall drifts of snow surrounded us for several months of the year, that began my intense quest for white, glossy, marshmallow-esque sweets. Perhaps it was the cookbook that shaped so much of my childhood kitchen adventures—the Betty Crocker book, candy and cakes chapters in particular—that at…

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Lebanese Walnut Ma’moul Cookies

Ma'moul molded cookies with powdered sugar

Ma’moul cookies are a beloved Lebanese tradition: fragrant butter cookies filled with walnuts, formed in a special mold. Ma’moul cookies are made in three classic shapes; the dome here is typically filled with a walnut-orange blossom mixture. Purchase flower waters here and exceptional ma’moul molds here. I used to kick-box. A lot. And I loved…

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Recipes for your (full) holiday cookie plate

  Here’s what goes on in our house right about this time every year: the holiday china and its accessory pieces appear, as do the pretty paper plates for giving some of the bounty away. A plate or two are filled with cookies and candies, and refilled so that the plates are full at all times.…

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Favorite Gifts Ideas from Up North, for you

  Main Street in Harbor Springs is an amazing place all year round, but during the holidays, our town will send you over the moon. There are big, fluffy snowflakes coming down pretty much from here on out, and there is nothing like strolling up one side of the street and down the other, sipping…

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A Christmas Eve Menu, with ideas and tips

Somewhere along the line, our Christmas feast shifted from Christmas day to Christmas Eve. Our Eve used to be the seven of us, along with Sitto, Aunt Hilda and everyone’s favorite cousin, Alberta. Hilda liked a screwdriver to kick off the evening, something to soften the edges after all of the output from her kitchen—the…

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Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies with Royal Icing

Chocolate cut out cookies on a plate

I had never really imagined a Christmas cut-out cookie in chocolate until last year at this time, when Cindy gave me a little bag of them. Instead of saving the cookies and taking them home to share, I ate every last deep-dark one while we chatted over a cup of tea. They were almost as…

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Date-Crisp Balls

Date-Crisp Balls, Maureen Abood

Date-Crisp Balls are simple to make, on the stove top with no baking, and the dates impart a luscious caramel flavor. And a bonus: they’re gluten-free! Is this a cookie? Or a candy? How about simply: a treat. An incredibly good treat that comes down to us from my grandmother, Alice Abowd (wife of Richard,…

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