Baking, Candies & Other Sweets

Holiday Desserts

2013 Holidays
Every year it is the same old, same old…I decide I must bake holiday cookies. Not just any cookie but the perfect cookie for December. I pour through my cookbooks, magazines, other websites in this search. This year my quest for the great cookie of 2013 was simple….a chewy, rich, deep, dark chocolate cookie.

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

Cocoa, egg whites, confectioner’s sugar were some of the things that went into this gem. Those crushed candy canes sure do provide a nice pop of color atop that cocoa cookie dough, eh? Do not follow my example. Your teeth will thank me (the dentist? probably not).

Flourless Chocolate Cookies with Candy Cane Sprinkles

The cookies lived up to the chewy factor. To my tastebuds I felt that this cookie was overly sweet with confectioners sugar and the cocoa was…off. I resumed searching. I reached out for help and I was pointed in this direction. A chewy chocolate sugar cookie? A new ‘local’ band came across my radar  Show of Cards  and proved to be the perfect soundtrack to this next cookie project.

Chewy Chocolate Sugar Cookies

The dough was super simple and the best news was it required no chilling time as most sugar cookie doughs require. I brushed it off. I baked off these cookies, sprinkled them with little candy canes and let them cool. The taste was just like a chocolate sugar cookie. Ok, one cookie down and a few more treats to go.


I wanted a few more treats to add to this dessert tray which I was going to bring to a holiday party. A holiday party in a new town, with new people. I was in completely new territory. I did what anyone would do. Find a single cookie recipe that has been around since the Middle Ages and is known as Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Snowballs, or Polvorones. Surely the cookie would pack a sense of familiarity with someone right? That sweet little round cookie that is made with butter, ground nuts and other delicious things. The result was as expected: a little sweet, slightly nutty, buttery and tender little cake-like cookie. Win! I used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe. I used toasted walnuts as it is what I had on hand. I would like to try these again with pecans though. I also added a dash of the optional cinnamon to the sugary dusting.


I was up to chocolate sugar cookies and wedding cakes. I was still wanting one more treat. I spied my dark chocolate chips and crystallized ginger. Could I lose this round? Should I quit while I was ahead?

Chocolate Ginger Treats

Taking chances, I melted a bag of dark chocolate chips over a low heat, chopped up some candied ginger, grated a little orange zest in and sprinkled a little fancy sea salt that was hiding in the cupboard…merlot sea salt.

Chocolate Ginger Merlot Sea Salt Bites

This last minute simple idea was the talk of the party! I happily shared my genius idea with these new people – everyone needs a simple party trick! Sharing is caring, friends. 2014 is coming at us fast and furious. Are we ready to welcome in the new year?

Thanks for reading!

Chocolate Ginger Orange Bites


  • Bag of Chocolate Chips, I used Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate
  • 1/2 Cup Candied Ginger, chopped finely
  • 1 t. or so of citrus zest, I used orange
  • Sea Salt, for sprinkling, I used Red Merlot Sea Salt


  1. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Over low heat, melt the chocolate chips, stirring occasionally. Mix in 1/4 cup of the chopped ginger and citrus zest. Pour the melted chocolate mixture onto the parchment paper and shape into a oval shape. Top with the remaining candied ginger, pressing gently. Add a small sprinkle of salt to the top. Chill until firm, break apart and enjoy.

Holiday Dessert Tray

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