November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving. I adore this holiday, especially for the reminder to count my blessings. It’s that time of year. The gratitude days. Today, I am feeling particularly grateful for this space, and all of you who come to visit me here. I am grateful for my kooky dog who leaps into my lap at the most surprising moments. I am grateful for lazy mornings and apple fritters with Dennis. Gratitude extends to good novels (The Goldfinch. Read it. No kidding) and afternoons spent knitting, watching movies on Netflix.

pieI am breathing again. Remembering what I do when not facing a massive list of obligations. For the first year in ages, we’ll have Thanksgiving elsewhere and will forego our annual Dead Poultry Society party. It didn’t seem like a good year to add more stress to my adrenaline fueled life. I’m happy to be making this stuffing and a couple of pies (this one and this one) for tomorrow’s dinner. I like the idea of being a guest.


It’s cookie and candy time around here. I do this every year, and, frankly, I over-do it every year. The list of cookies is crazy long and there will be some busy days and nights, but each sweet is like an old friend, and the stirring, kneading, decorating and packaging is a meditation for me, releasing memories with each step.

I’m so happy to be holding another holiday cookie giveaway. Just leave a comment, tell me your favorite holiday treat, and please “like” my Facebook page and if you’re on Twitter, would you click Follow? (I pretty much hate asking, so don’t expect a lot of this shameless begging.)

The contest closes next Monday, December 2. I’ll use the Random Number Generator to select a winner, and your cookies will arrive a few days later. Until then, you’ll find me in the kitchen in a cloud of sugar, butter, vanilla and flour.


What I am making —

Candied Citrus Peel
Meyer Lemon Gumdrops
Chocolate Chili Caramels
Cardamom Vanilla Caramels
Little Apricot ConfectionsGrasshoppers
Peppermint Patties
Peanut Brittle
Gingered Pecans
Pistachio Sand Crescents with White Chocolate
Fig Newtons
Ginger Chocolate Chip
Raspberry Hazelnut Thumbprints
Mocha Brownies
Rum Balls
Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies




86 Responses to “gratitude, sweets and a giveaway”

  1. Gillian

    There are 6 cookies on my list for this year (pecan shortbread ganache bite size sandwiches are my favorite) and I thought that was a lot! The box is simply beautiful! My trees are heavy with Meyer lemons, so maybe the peel should be a new addition. As always, thank you for sharing your recipes!

  2. Sharon Miro

    OMG…I am envious of your ambition! My favorite: what could be better than a rugelach with a good cup of coffee. Maybe two rugelach…OK three.

  3. Zora Margolis

    You are truly a culinary over-achiever, Cathy. I just made my 4th batch of dulce de membrillo. And I plan to make Laura Silverman’s chocolate-chile caramels.

  4. Julia

    Oh, how I wish I would win! It all sounds so delicious. I need to make those gumdrops.

    For the record, I like you on Facebook and follow you on Twitter. (And I’ll send you something back, if that will help the rafflecopter pick me!) Anyhoot, right now I’m thinking of making some caramels only because you suggested it. I’ve never been able to pull it off before. I figure if I follow a recipe from Laura I might just get it this time.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Cathy!

  5. jwlucasnc

    Happy Hanukkah, Happy Thanksgiving, and most of all, happy to count you as a friend. You inspire on a routine basis to be a more creative cook.

  6. VictoriaInMD

    The gratitude days…that will stay with me. Glad to hear you have a little breathing space. It’s been quite the year for you!
    I am feeling a little nostalgic this year so anticipate making mince pies as a nod to English christmas past……(with a little dot of almond paste in the bottom of each pie-yum!)

  7. mary

    I usually only enter giveaways when it’s something really good. Those cookies look REALLY good. Happy Holidays!

  8. Holly Berkley

    I’m having happy apoplexy just looking at the groaning table of goodies, and wish I could just dive right in! In past years, I’ve made your peppermint patties, rum balls and caramels, and you are inspiring me to consider going crazy with that and more this year. Big Thanksgiving hugs to you and Dennis, and I’m glad you’re a bit “off duty” this year…you need the break! xoxo

  9. Teresa

    I love homemade caramels โ€” though everything you listed above sounds delicious. I might have to make a few batches of cookies, too!

  10. Deirdre

    Wait, you are making peppermint patties? Holidays to me always meant..sugarplums, ahhh. Harry and David used to sell milk chocolate covered ones, but no more. That pie crust is so cool, as well as botanically correct ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. sara

    Wow, that pie looks SO COOL! I am very impressed. ๐Ÿ™‚ For Thanksgiving, I’m a big pecan pie fan…my aunt makes one with chocolate that is to-die-for! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Lauren

    Happy Thanksgivukkah! These look beautiful. I love following you on FB (don’t do twitter) and the kids and I enjoy making chocolate peppermint bark together.

  13. Cook In / Dine Out

    Happy Thanksgiving Cathy! I hope you have a wonderful holiday. That pie with the leaf cutout crust is really cool looking. I’d like to make a pie like that sometime. My favorite holiday treat, besides Thanksgiving pies, are old-fashioned sugar cookies I’ve been making for years from a Mary Engelbreit recipe. It’s the best-tasting sugar cookie recipe I’ve come across. Here’s a link to when I made them last year:

  14. Cheryl

    I dont really have a favorite Holiday treat anymore. Once I had the gastric bypass surgery my love affair with food went right out the door, along with the marriage to my fork. But there is this thing called regifting that us federal employees can certainly utilize this year… And since I am gifting the fruits of my canning obsession this year…it sounds like a match made in my kitchen!!

  15. Maryann

    It’s such a great time of the year for people who have something. These days there are so many people who have so litttle or nothing. It’s a good time to try to help out as much as you can. I love the italian cookies that a real italian bakery (one of the last) makes only at this time of the year. Happy Holidays!

  16. ikkinlala

    Not entering because I’m not on Facebook (plus I’m in Canada), but thanks for the recipes – I’ll have to try making candy this year.

  17. Brook - Learn To Preserve

    Cathy – when do you sleep? As usual, I am so impressed with all of your projects.

    Favorite treat? Those Little Apricot Confections. I made them once – years ago – and had totally forgotten about them. Thanks for jogging my memory.

    I hope you have a fabulous day.

    Brook xoxo!

  18. Judy Froat

    This is the first time in 52 yrs that I have not had to fix a big Thanksgiving dinner. We are going to my nieces for dinner.
    Your pies look delicious. Have a great day.

  19. Bernice

    I am new to your facebook page and blog. I truely enjoy both! I have passed them on to a friend who would be inspired by you as well. My favorite holiday treat is homemade toffee ๐Ÿ˜‰

  20. LarryK

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! My favorite cookie for the holiday is Pfeffernรผsse. Have a bountiful holiday!

  21. Sheri

    1. My favorite cookie is the one you make for me.
    2. I also make a leaf-covered pie, but I love your leaf cutter more than mine! Where can I get one?
    3. Happy Thanksgiving!
    (4. See you at IACP in Chicago?)

  22. Pat Nelson

    My favorite cookie is the finished product of any cookie recipe started. Each and everyone is an act of love. I don’t buy gifts, I buy ingredients, make my gifts for everyone and share the heaping dose of love that is included in every bite.

  23. Kelly

    All of those cookies sound Delish! You have inspired me to branch out this year. Your leaf pie is gorgeous! My favorite holiday treat is fudge. I love fudge ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Kiki

    My favorite holiday cookies are these little almond cookies my mom made every year. They are divine and I can’t make them or I will eat about 50 in one setting; thereby, setting the stage for a massive New Years resolution.

  25. Whitney

    Homemade mincemeat and peppermint stick ice cream. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and I’ll add a wish for a nice visit from Sinterklaas on 5 Dec as well. Best from The Hague!

  26. Denise

    Just getting ready to jump back into the world myself…….Nova Scotia shortbreads made to look like chocolate dipped strawberries and canadian tourtiere are my favorites. I’m afraid I don’t facebook or twitter but, be assured I “like” you.

  27. Amy P.

    My favorite holiday treats are fancy chocolates. They’re the one thing I buy for myself. Sometimes after hours of baking, I love having a cup of tea and a treat that I didn’t prepare myself.

  28. keapdx

    What an inspired assortment! What discipline to have them all around you! Thank you for year round deliciousness..

  29. Tierney

    Kathy, I love your blog and your cookies look amazing! You are an inspiration, especially here in D.C.!

  30. Lisa

    Pick me! Pick me! I know it’s random, but I’m sending winning vibes out ๐Ÿ™‚ Honestly Cathy — and this is going to sound like teacher’s pet, but I looked forward to your awesome gift of holiday goodies every year. I always thought I’d savor them over the week, but by the end of the day they’d be gone. I never shared them with anyone and I never felt a bit guilty for that! I’m excited that you’ve posted recipes for all my faves and I plan on adding quite a few of yours to what I make this year. Thanks!

  31. Lisa Lyon

    What a beautiful Pie!
    I guess my favorite holiday cookie is one from my childhood. One of the many holiday cookies my mother made (and I still make) are the Ginger Creams from the Betty Crocker cookbook.

  32. Lisa Woods

    Homemade caramels are our favorite! Melt in your mouth & wrap up nice for gift-giving!

  33. Jean Marie Doyle

    My favorite holiday treat has got to be toffee and I resolve to learn to make it this year. A delicious crunchy crumbly layer of toffee covered with good chocolate and chopped nuts … Yum.

  34. Wish

    I am such a sucker for jam thumbprint cookies and ginger snaps. We make them every year to give to friends and family

  35. Sandra

    I used to make truffles with a group of ladies, one who used to own some fancy chocolate store in Colorado. Each year she would make the truffle base and the ladies would all decorate with nuts, nonpareils, cocoa, etc., but she’s never share the recipe. I have the recipe……and will share for for a share!

  36. KarenO

    I love so many – but I think my favorite to make and stash and eat (and sometimes share) is the fairy food sponge candy – coated in a combination of semi sweet and milk chocolate.

  37. Kymberly Zyl

    I don’t know if this would count, but I LOVE to make homemade eggnog every holiday season!!! I consider it a huge treat, that I wait all year to make! I also absolutely adore holiday cookies who doesn’t really, so festive, cheery and tasty. Thanks!

  38. amy

    Favorite: the (overly) frosted cookies I make with my daughter.
    I may need to try these this year: Meyer Lemon Gumdrops

  39. Diane

    Happy Thanksgiving! I love to bake cookies for Christmas too. A few favorites here are peanut butter blossoms, chocolate gingerbread, and chocolate crinkles.

  40. Eileen

    My favorite treat is the chess pies that my mother made. There is absolutely no nutritional value and way too much sugar, but they are sooo good.

  41. Liz Ehinger

    My favorite holiday treat — my great Aunt Emilie’s Russian Tea Cakes. I can never make them as small and perfect as she did.

  42. Devon H

    Wow I’m impressed by your spread and ambition! This looks amazing. My favorite holiday treat is some hot chocolate and ginger molasses cookies. I’d love to be entered in your drawing, and I’ve liked you on Facebook. ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. Pamela Murphy

    One of my favorite Christmas memories was helping my Grandma make divinity. She would let me put the cherry, raisin or black walnut on top.
    Divinity is still one of my favorites, as was Grandma .

  44. shafaq

    I love jam thumb print cookies and lemon gum drops. Your kitchen must be full of beautiful aromas….

  45. Bibi

    Honestly, Cathy, our NEW fave treat is your Cran/Ras/Pecan Conserve from the NYTimes last year! Just made a new batch and am busy giving it away… Our OLD fave is mom’s Land O’Lakes Nutmeg Butterfinger cookies. She really got into nutmegs one year and even wrote a small nutmeg cookbook as xmas giveaway!
    Thanks for being a graceful Holiday inspiration and such easy, clear recipes! Bless, Bibi

  46. Sharon P

    I covet your confections! Every year I bake at least ten different types of sweets, but this year I won’t be able to. i’ve had abdominal surgery and I can’t roll out dough, bend down to get into my cabinets or lift my mixer! Sigh. My absolute favorite holiday treats are the made-from-scratch gingerbread houses that have become a family tradition. I had enough time before surgery to roll out, cut and freeze all of the individual pieces. We’re all looking forward to filling the house with the smell of clove, ginger and cinnamon!

  47. Abby

    Everything you make is dreamy-good!
    Your holiday treats are the sugar plums dancing in my dreams.
    Already sending FB and twitter (and IRL) love to you.

  48. Sara

    I wish I had that energy! I am hoping to get the motivation to make linzer cookies and gingerbread. Already a fan on facebook and twitter.

  49. Theresa Wohlfeld

    Beautiful cookies! My favorite holiday treat is my mom’s chocolate covered toffee. I haven’t made it in a few years… this year I will.

  50. Cindi

    Every last one of those cookies looks spectacular. You have such great energy. Used to be in a cookie swap and now that I’ve moved I can’t find anyone who makes cookies — or cooks for that matter. ๐Ÿ™‚

  51. Sarah C.

    How wonderful that you are enjoying the holiday season and able to take a few deep breaths. I am hosting a gingerbread party this weekend and hope to be channeling your talents as I bake this week. And caramels…I must find the time to make the caramels!

  52. Maggie

    I love homemade almond roca and peanut brittle my mom and I make every year. The holiday starts when I eat the first pieces.

  53. Eva

    I feel a little stalker-y, but I’m already following your twitter and FB accounts. ๐Ÿ™‚

    My favorite (at least right now) is peppermint bark. I think I need to make some this year. ๐Ÿ™‚

  54. Susan

    I liked you awhile back on FB and love reading your posts and your recipes. Your cookie box assortment is beautiful! My Christmas favorites are anise drop cookies and rosemary/cranberry biscotti (great dipped in a glass of red wine).

  55. Mary Caputo

    I like to make my mother’s cottage cheese tarts–bow-ties made with cottage cheese and filled with either apricot, cherry or poppyseed filling.

  56. Paula

    What a gorgeous array of cookies! I’m drooling. My favorite Christmas cookies at the moment are pistachio and cranberry biscotti, chocolate espresso cookies, and Italian honey cookies (an old family recipe from my great-grandmother). In addition, this year I plan to make panettone and homemade marshmallows.

    I am already a FB and Twitter friend. Really enjoy all of your posts. ๐Ÿ™‚

  57. Christopher Milhoan

    Cathy, What a delicious smorgasbord of cookies! The Rugelach reminded me of the days sitting on Grandma’s counter, learning her secrets. Not to mention getting to participate and eat the ending results! A favorite confection she made, and I continue to make, is Peanut Butter Candy Balls. Different from the traditional Buckeye candies you see everywhere, they have more than just powdered sugar and P.B. Who doesn’t like chocolate and peanut butter?!!
    Enjoy the Holidays!

  58. Hannah M.

    cardamom-vanilla caramels sound amazing! I’m a gingerbread cookie girl, myself, when it comes to holiday baking.

  59. Connie

    I would have to say that my favorite holiday treats are a tie between giant ginger cookies (from better home and garden), holiday chocolate delights (from eating well) and easy Italian cookies (also from bhg). I won’t have time to do much baking this year though, as we have a serious illness in the family. Your cookies look amazing!

  60. Holly Berkley

    Just tried the link for the Cardamom Vanilla Caramels and it goes to the Choc-Chili recipe. I don’t see any link from there….am I missing how to get there?


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