Here it is the middle of the month already. And Christmas month at that. This year has just flown by. Lots of baking done this year and lots more to do before the year is out. Holiday Baking!!

Like this cake for Bundt Bakers.


Peppermint is a major flavor this time of the year. Candy Canes are everywhere. On the tree. On the mantle. On the cake.

    3 c all-purpose flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 3/4 c granulated sugar
    1 c vegetable or canola oil
    1/2 cup applesauce
    3 large eggs, room temperature
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 tsp peppermint extract {I think it could have used more.}
    1 c buttermilk
    1/4 tsp red food coloring
    3/4 c white chocolate chips
    3 Tbsp cream or half and half
    3/4 c powdered sugar
    1/2 tsp peppermint extract
    3 Tbsp crushed candy canes or star mints or soft peppermints

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
Grease and sugar the bundt pan.
Using a stand mixer, beat together oil, applesauce, and sugar until well mixed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add both extracts and beat well.
With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternating with buttermilk. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Scoop 1 1/2 to 2 cups of the batter into another bowl and add 1/4 tsp {or so} of red food coloring.
Pour half of the white batter into the bottom of the pan. Top with half of the red batter. Top with white batter.
Finish with the remaining red batter. Gently swirl the batter with a knife.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool the cake for 2 minutes in the pan then carefully flip it upside down onto a cake plate. Cool cake completely before glazing.
Melt chocolate and cream in a double boiler. Let cool slightly. Whisk in powdered sugar.
Drizzle over the cake. Let set for 1 minute.
Sprinkle with crushed peppermint.


Original Recipe

I know you need more mint cakes for Christmas – wander thru’ these:

Our host this month was the lovely Laura Tabacca of The Spiced Life

Interested in learning more about us?? #BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the BundtBaker home page HERE.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to If you are just a lover of Bundt baking, you can find all of our recipe links by clicking our badge above or on our group Pinterest board.


It’s the beginning of the holiday season. And that means COOKIES!!! Lots and lots of cookies!!
Cookies made for Di’s…..

Took me ages to find just the right cookies. I looked at Books!! Magazines!! Websites!!

I rolled, dropped, spooned, shaped, baked, drizzled, and tasted. And there’s the problem.

If you are baking cookies…

    You. Have. To. Taste. Each. And. Every. One!!

      It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it!!



They are palmiers made with AP flour rather than Puff Pastry. Easy and tasty. And pretty.


    1 cup cold butter, cubed
    1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup sour cream
    10 tablespoons sugar, divided
    3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
    Colored sugar, optional

In a large bowl, cut butter into flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the sour cream. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead 6-8 times or until mixture holds together. Shape into four balls; flatten slightly. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Unwrap one ball. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar on waxed paper; coat all sides of ball with sugar. Roll into a 12-in. x 5-in. rectangle between two sheets of waxed paper. Remove top sheet of waxed paper. {I used multicolored sugar (red/green/white) under the rectangle as I rolled out the dough.}

Sprinkle dough with 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon. {I used cinnamon sugar.} Lightly mark a line down the center of the dough, making two 6-in. x 5-in. rectangles.

Starting with a short side, roll up jelly-roll style to the center mark; peel waxed paper away while rolling. Repeat with other short side. Wrap in plastic wrap; freeze for 30 minutes. Repeat three times.

Place remaining sugar or place colored sugar if desired on waxed paper. Unwrap one roll. Cut into 1/2-in. slices; dip each side into sugar. {Putting the multi-colored sugar under the rectangle saved this step.} Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake at 375° for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Turn cookie sheets; bake 5-8 minutes longer. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: about 3 dozen.



I discovered my drizzling skills need a little practice. But they were sure good.


    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
    1 egg
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1-1/4 cups chopped pecans, toasted


    1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
    1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar


    1 ounce semisweet chocolate
    1 tablespoon butter

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
Shape dough into 1-in. balls; roll in pecans. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets; flatten slightly. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
In a small saucepan, bring brown sugar and cream to a boil. Remove from the heat; whisk in confectioners’ sugar. Immediately drizzle over cookies.
In a microwave, melt chocolate and butter; stir until smooth. Drizzle over cookies. Let stand until set. Store in an airtight container. Yield: about 3-1/2 dozen.



Thumbprints are always fun. You can fill the little hollow with just about anything.

    2/3 cup butter, softened
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 eggs, separated
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1 cup finely chopped walnuts {I used pecans.}


    1/4 cup butter, softened
    1 cup confectioners’ sugar
    1/4 teaspoon rum extract {I used rum.}
    1 to 2 teaspoons 2% milk {I used Eggnog.}
    1 to 2 drops yellow food coloring, optional

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Gradually stir in the flour, salt and nutmeg and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

In a small bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. Shape dough into 1-in. balls; dip in egg whites, then roll in walnuts pecans. Place 2 in. apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray.

Using a wooden spoon handle, make a 1/2-in. indentation in the center of each ball. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until center is set. Carefully remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

For the filling, combine the butter, confectioners’ sugar, extract and enough milk eggnog to achieve a spreading consistency. Tint with food coloring if desired. Pipe about 1/2 teaspoon into each cookie. Yield: 4 dozen.

The only thing I had trouble with was keeping the indentations open. But that was a small thing considering how tasty these cookies were. It was fun filling in the little holes with this yummy eggnog filling.

I found all of these at the Taste of Home Website.

There are LOTS of us participating in the Cookie Exchange. I don’t make many cookies during the year, so I look forward to Di’s Round-up! Di will have the round up in a few days so check her blog for LOTS of great cookies!!!

So what do you do when you want to have a cookie exchange but don’t have enough people who bake to actually have one – you have a VIRTUAL COOKIE EXCHANGE!!

{Thanks to Nancy’s Daughter for this amazing badge!!}

This was Di’s idea. And it was a good one!! We all get ‘together’, bake cookies and exchange them on line. No postage, no hassle, no party prep, just cookies and recipes!! How easy is that??

So without further ado, please help yourself to what ever cookies you want!!

We only needed to make ONE cookie, but once I got started and since I was already in the kitchen covered in flour and sugar I decided to just do a couple. I can always give them away – if there are any left!!

First up – Nutmeg Meltaways.

They are from Taste of Home. These are made with ground roasted almonds, butter, sugar, and flour. After baking they are rolled in powdered sugar and nutmeg. I didn’t make any changes in the cookie, but I did add extra nutmeg to the sugar. The recipe called for 1 tbl for 1 cup of sugar. It just wasn’t enough, so I doubled the nutmeg. Much better!! Thanks to Judy Burdette for that submission to Taste of Home.

Usually for Christmas cookie baskets I make Cracker Candy. This year I found a variation of that using Graham Crackers.

Graham Cracker Pralines

    24 whole Graham Crackers
    1 cup (2 sticks) butter
    1 cup packed light-brown sugar
    1 cup finely chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350°.
Line jelly roll pan with crackers.
In saucepan bring butter and sugar to boiling, boil exactly 1 minute. Add nuts.
Pour evenly over crackers. Don’t spread; crackers will stick to spoon {Actually I didn’t have any trouble with this, but….}
Bake in 350° oven for 10 minutes. Remove to rack to cool. When cool, break apart into irregular pieces. (Recipe from Shirlee Bumpass’ Buffet on the Bayoufound in Holiday Cakes and Cookies 2000)

Of all the cookies I made for the ‘exchange’ these were my favorite. But then they are sweet, crunchy, nutty, and tasty!!

Well, two’s company, three’s a crowd so I decided to make a ‘crowd’ of cookies!!

“S”anta Cookies

These are cookie press cookies and quite simple. You can use any of your favorite press cookie recipes for these. Simply use your star plate and pipe large “S” shapes onto your cookie sheet. Drizzle with chocolate or a white icing and sprinkle with red and green sugar crystals. You can also drizzle with melted red and green discs. Easy Peasy!!

There are lots of us ‘exchanging’ cookies so check out Di’s Cookie Exchange Roundup later this week. Lots of good cookies from lots of great bakers with lots of delicious recipes.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, frohe Weinachten, Prettig Kerstfeest .

And have a cookie!!!

A lot of us don’t get a chance to actually bake for other people (except for the holidays). Sure, we give goodies to friends, family, but we don’t often set out to bake for specific others – especially people we don’t know, and other Bakers at that. And that’s what Secret Baker is all about. Baking for other Bakers.
Round II was all about Christmas Cookies. There were 20 of us participating this time. Fun!!


Here’s a picture of the Nut Balls that I (Di) received from Helga. They’re similar to Mexican Wedding Cookies, but with the addition of bourbon. Mmm. =)


Wendy was in Fiji enjoying the Beautiful Blue seas and did not get a chance to bake, but she sent Sarah a great box of goodies which she can use to make other goodies including Vanilla, Vanilla Paste, etc.


Kelly said, “My cookies were from Nina, over at Nina’s Cupcakes. She made Ginger Chocolate chip and Banana Chocolate Chip.


Susan – “My Secret Baker was Kayte of Grandma’s Kitchen table. She sent me one dozen Lemon Sables, one dozen Orange Sables and one dozen Peppermint/chocolate bon-bons. She also enclosed a lovely Christmas card. The goodies were delicious and greatly appreciated!


Lisa was excited – “She (Beth) sent Christmas invites, white chocolate bark from Trader’s, an ornament, biscotti.


Katie said, “I received Maple Doodles and Salted Caramel Shortbread from Kelly Johnson, of Ashville, N.C.”


JoVonn Givens sent Kara some delicious treats – chocolate chip pecan cookies, white chocolate craisin macadamia nut cookies, and sweet and spicy pecans. They were all delicious, especially the craisin cookies. 🙂


And in return Jovonn recieived these cute gingerbread men and pinwheels. Yum!!My Secret Baker was Kara of the Lucky Wife. Happy Holidays!


“Leslie from Lethally Delicious sent me {Wendy} 2 kinds of bar cookies: maple macadamia bars (love the tropical) & brown sugar shortbread ( love the flavor).”


“I got these Cinnamon Bun Cookies from Whitney who blogs at Nosh and Tell” – Mary Ann.


Says Kayte -“the goodies I received from Margot of Effort to Deliciousness. They are shortbread, toffee, and ginger cookies, all really really excellent! Margot is quite the baker! And extremely generous!”


Here is the great package I received from Susan…Not only did she send me these yummies (biscotti! buckeyes!) but she also sent a photo DVD of Virginia. Gorgeous photos. So I’m thrilled if she’s my permanent Secret Baker. 🙂 Sorry, Leslie. We rotate EVERY month!!


Oh, I hope Sarah took pics(they are on her blog) because over half her cookies have been devoured!! Spice Sables, Expresso Crinkles and Coconut Chocolate pinwheels. All fantastic!! I hope so too, Beth, because they sound delicious.


Di sent Julie Caramel Snack Mix (the recipe is here) and Chocolate Chip Cookies. Julie says they ate everything before they had a chance to take pictures


My Secret Baker recipient was Tracey. “Thanks so much – it all looks really fabulous, delicious and so festive!! Can you share what was in the box? I am sure I’ll be sampling several things tonight :)” Yes, I can – shortbread buttons, Southern Pralines, Choco/Mint Christmas Trees, and Eggnog Logs.


Katie Patch sent me some great cookies. Shortbread, poppy seed tea cookies and Almond flavored tea cookies. All of it was delicious. I would have to say that shortbread is one of my favorite cookies and this one certainly filled the bill. Thanks, Katie.

There are two more bakers who got some great cookies, but I haven’t heard from. When I do , I will add them.

If you are looking forward to Round III, you can Sign up with Tracey for January.


Margot’s baker was Mary Ann of Meet Me in the Kitchen Instead of redoing her conversation I am just going to link to her post about her goodies from Mare.


Helga said, “Tracey sent me soft and chewy gingerbread, candy cane sugar cookies, and double chocolate coconut cookies.” And the pic is on the way.

I am a big fan of Cup Cakes. Small little cakes. Amply satisfying in just a few bites. A personal sweet for just one person. Yeah, I like cup cakes. For that reason I obtained Martha’s Cup Cake Book. Which led me to a baking group called MSC or Martha Stewart Cupcake Club. As a group we bake one, just one, of Martha’s Cuppys every month. Fun!!

This month’s pick comes from my Twitter Buddy Kayte of Grandma’s Kitchen Table

      Gingerbread Cup Cakes with Gingerbread Cutouts


This was a perfect pick for this time of the year. All the holiday spices – ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and molasses. Topped with a fluffy white layer of Royal Icing. The Cookie Cutouts were optional, but I couldn’t pass them up. And since it is Gingerbread House season it seemed only right to do the village. The frosting snow. Perfect. Fun to make.

Now go visit the other members and see their ‘interpretations’ of this little cuppy.

Actually they are called Cafe Volcano Cookies . And they were the pick this week for TWD chosen by Macduff of Lonely Side Car. I was wondering if they were called volcano cookies because they would explode in my oven – which would NOT be a first in my Kolin Kitchen. Then I thought of the lava cakes that were THE THING a few years back. Would I have molton egg white streaming out of my oven?? But nothing as dramatic as either one of the those things happened.

Instead I came out with a crunchy, nutty, sweet little cookie that exploded with flavor and sizzled (well, maybe not sizzled, but…) in my mouth, “You’d think you were eating expresso Pop Rocks.” (Quote from Dorie.)

I was leary about making these cookies today. It is raining buckets and they had meringue in them. If I had bothered to read ALL of the recipe CAREFULLY I would have seen they just have egg white. Plain. Simple. Eggwhite. Whew!!! Maybe these wouldn’t fail after all!!!

I did make a couple of changes. I used up the last of my almonds in some toffee so I subbed pecans (like a good Southern Belle). And since I NEVER buy expresso I subbed in Cocoa (but the flavor was mild, so next time will add more).

Now, if you look closely at the ‘innards’ of that cookie, I think you can see why they might be called Volcano Cookies. Look at those lava tubes running through them.

Try these. Simple. Delicious.

And check out the other bakers at TWD and see how their’s came out.

For many years I subscribed to Taste of Home, Cooking For Two, Simple and Delicious. I looked through them, but very rarely cooked/baked anything from them. Now that I have to time I am going back through them and am constantly surprised at how much I missed by NOT using the recipes from “1000” cooks across the country. SO!! I am starting early on one (maybe the only) New Year’s Resolution – to cook/bake more from all those mags that are gathering dust in the storeroom (Thanks, Recipe Girl!!)

I was looking for Christmas Cookies for Secret Baker and came across this:

      Cranberry Eggnog Braid

Sweet, with a hint of eggnog flavor, studded with dried cranberries, drizzled with an Eggnog glaze and sprinkled with fresh ground nutmeg.

I am surprised this bread came out at all. I put it to rise about 4:30, went to a Christmas Party, forgot about it until about 11:30 last night. Ran to the kitchen and threw it into the chill chest until this morning. Warmed it up and baked it. It should be taller – it was beautiful before I threw it in the fridge. But it was still GOOD!!!

Next time I think I will try some fresh cranberries, add some nutmeg to the dough and TRY. NOT. TO. FORGET,. ABOUT. IT!!!

From a 1990 Taste of Home Magazine.

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