Cherry Chocolate Chip Cake (for Easter)

Hey all– It’s the day after Easter here.  Spending the morning stashing bunnies and plastic eggs away for next year.  And toasting up some leftover biscuits and jam for breakfast.

And sending off this Easter Cake recipe to you.  It’s cherries and chocolate nestled into a white cake, with cherry cream cheese frosting.  Add a few Cadbury eggs on top (or birthday candles for a different occasion) and it’s ready to go!


1 white cake mix
canola oil
3 eggs
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, chopped to tiny bits

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
8 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. amaretto (or vanilla)
1 pound box powdered sugar (3  3/4 cups)
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, chopped fine
2 tsp. juice from the cherry jar
garnish: Cadbury Easter eggs

With an electric mixer, make the cake mix according to the directions on the box (mine added 1/3 cup oil, 1 cup water and 3 eggs).  Beat for 2 minutes.  Then stir in the chocolate chips and chopped cherries.

Spoon the batter into 2   9″ cake pans (or a 9″x 13″ pan) that has been spray with cooking spray.  Pop it into a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cake layers are golden and firm to the touch.  Let the cakes cool completely before you frost them.

To make the frosting, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, cream cheese, amaretto, powdered sugar, chopped cherries and cherry juice.  (Start on the lowest setting or the powdered sugar will fly out of the bowl!)  Beat until it is all smooth and creamy, with little cherry bits here and there.

Spread frosting on the first layer.  Top it with the second layer and then frost the top and sides.  So pink and pretty!


Swedish Lemon Hearts


Hello Cookie Makers– Got this recipe from my friend Sue, who actually learned to make these from her Swedish grandmother.  We’ve both been making them since our kids were small– almost 40 years!  It’s a Christmas favorite.

They are thin and crisp and citrusy and sweet.  And so pretty, they belong on a Christmas table.

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 lemon
maraschino cherries
sprinkling of sugar


With a fine grater, grate the peel off of the lemon.  Then juice the rest and strain the seeds from the juice.

With an electric mixer beat the butter, sugar and lemon juice until it’s blended and smooth.  Then beat in the flour (it will be dry, may take a few minutes).    Chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes or more.

Roll out the dough thinly with a rolling pin an a floured counter.  Also sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough–it may be a little sticky.  Cut out your hearts and place them 1″ apart on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Sprinkle a sugar very lightly and cut up the cherries and put a small bit of cherry at the cleft of each cookie.

Bake them up at 350 degrees for 8 or 9 minutes, just until they start to brown at the edges.  Merry Christmas!


Cranberry Cherry Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze


Hello all– It seems most every Thanksgiving we find ourselves seated at someone else’s table for a bountiful Thanksgiving feast.  And this year it’s true again.  We’re trekking up to San Francisco to share the day with kids there.

But don’t you know one of the nicest parts of Thanksgiving dinner is the leftovers!  So a couple weeks ago we decided to have an early Thanksgiving with friends– with the bonus of a little turkey, cranberry and stuffing in the fridge over the next few days!

It was the best.  Dear comfortable friends, talking long into the night over our potluck feast.  They brought the chutney, potatoes, asparagus, chipotle sweet potatoes in the door and I roasted a turkey– and baked up these cranberry cherry rolls.  I think they might just right for Christmas morning this year too.



1 package rapid rise yeast (1 tab.)
1 cup warm milk (120-130 degrees)*
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup oil
1 egg, room temperature**
3  1/2 cups flour

1  1/2 cups cranberries, finely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cherry preserves

4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 or 2 tab. whole milk or half & half
1/2 tsp. vanilla


Put the yeast in a large heat proof mixing bowl (glass is best).  Stir in the warm milk until the yeast is dissolved.  Then add in the sugar, salt, oil and egg.  Mix together.  Next about 1/2 cup at a time, stir in the flour.  When it’s all mixed, knead the dough just 3 or 4 minutes.  If the dough gets sticky, add a bit more flour.

Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel and set it in a warm place to rise and hour & 15 minutes. (I heat the oven to 200 degrees for just 3 minutes and then turn it off while I’m mixing up the dough– then set the bowl in the warmed oven to rise)

While the dough’s rising, chop the cranberries– blender or food processor cuts them to fine bits.  Stir them with the sugar in a bowl and then add the cherry jam.  Set aside.

Take the dough out and punch it down and lift it from the bowl to a counter sprinkled with flour.  Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until you have a rectangle about 10″ by 18″.   Then spread the cranberry mixture over the rolled out dough clear to the edges.

Starting at the long 18″ upper edge, roll the dough toward you until you have a long tube shaped roll.  Then cut the rolls into 1″ slices and put them in a 9″x 13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  (or–I used 2 10″ tart pans instead.)  Makes about 18 rolls.

Pop the rolls into the slightly warm oven to rise for 45 minutes more.

At the end of the 2nd rise of 45 minutes, turn up the heat to 375 degrees and make the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes until they are nicely browned.

While they are baking, whisk together the powdered sugar and 2 or 3 tablespoons of milk (depending on how thick you want your glaze to be).  When the rolls come out of the oven, let them cool about 10 minutes and then drizzle the glaze over the rolls.  They taste heavenly, eaten warm from the oven!

*I microwave the milk for 1 minute and it gets it pretty close to 120–then use a candy thermometer to check the temperature.
**Just microwave the egg for a few seconds if you’re taking it from the fridge.


And here’s the friends– Sue pouring helping with the table before dinner.
Thankful for you– Sue, Paul, Jill, Tim, Jenni, Jim, Jac, Jackie, Janet & my Larry too.


Cherry Amaretto Cookies

IMG_7945Hello friends–  It’s almost Christmas around here!  Set out with my sis Lulu for our 14 hour shop-a-thon on Saturday–more fun!!  Check.  Mailed a hefty box of gifts to the grand-girls in China.  Check. Picked out a friendly, if slightly crooked, tree with Larry and set it aglow. Check. Welcoming wreath on the door.  Check.  Nativity set out and carefully arranged.  Check.  And today!!–Begin to bake!  Checkity-check!  The caroles are playing and the cookies are browning in the oven.  Now all we need is for our kids to walk in the door and it will really be a blessed Christmas!

1/2 cup maraschino cherries, chopped fine
1 cup toasted almonds, chopped to bits
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. amaretto*
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour
plus more for rolling out the cookies

IMG_7938Chop the cherries and almonds and set aside.  With an electric mixer combine the butter, cream cheese, sugar and amaretto.  Then add in the salt and flour.  Mix until the dough likes like coarse crumbs.  Then add in the cherries and almonds.  Continue to mix until the dough becomes one stiff ball.

Sprinkle the counter with a dusting of flour and roll out the dough with a rolling pin to about 1/4″ thick.  Cut out those cookies and pop them in the oven at 350 degrees for 14-16 minutes, until they just start to brown around the edges.

This makes about 6 dozen smallish cookies– a few for us now– and more to freeze for Christmas week.  Not too sweet, buttery and crispy… yummy.


Cherry Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cookies

Warm from the Oven…

1 stick of butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup dried cherries (chopped fine)
1 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup salted pistachios

Beat the sugars and butter together until it’s creamy with the mixer.  Then blend in the egg and vanilla.  Dump in the flour, baking powder and salt and mix it up.  Finally Stir in the cherries, chocolate and pistachios.  Drop the dough by tablespoon-fulls on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until they are deletably browned.  Eat at least one while they are still hot and share the rest with friends.  (makes about 18 large cookies)

Cherry Nut Muffins

Hi all–  Saturday morning breakfast–With summer cherries waiting in the bowl in the fridge, these nutty muffins seemed like a good idea.  They came out of the hot and with all that juicy sweetness tucked inside.  Perfect with a mug of Lady Grey Tea.

1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
30 fresh cherries, pitted
2/3 cups chopped walnuts

Cut the cherries into fourths and set aside.  Then stir together the egg, milk and canola oil.  Finally, mix in the other ingredients.  (Don’t over mix or the cherries will turn the batter pink!).  Spoon the batter into a 12 hole muffin tin lined with paper wrappers.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to18 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.