Three-Cheese Mini Macs

The New Year is upon us and many of us will be hosting parties and get togethers with family and friends to celebrate.  So I thought I would share and document for my master list a favorite little hors d'oeuvres in our house.  

I think it is safe to say that almost everyone likes mac-n-cheese.  It is just good comfort food.  But why not enjoy that comfort food in one irresistible bite?  Pass them with cocktails or place them on the buffet table and let your guests serve themselves.   These will disappear before your eyes.  Not only are they delicious, they are easy to make and they can even be made the day before.  Just remove the unbaked mini macs from the refrigerator and bake them just before party time.

My inspiration for these came from an old Food & Wine article.  The original called for cheddar and American cheese, but I opted for a cheddar and Gruyère combination.  Those two cheeses pair perfectly with the parmesan.  I also added a bit more milk and an extra egg yolk.  A pinch of salt and some Panko crumbs for a little crunch and mmm--these are fantastic.  Who wouldn't want to eat mac-n-cheese with their fingers?

Feel free to change up the cheeses to what you like.  Jazz them up and add bits of ham or veggies.  Maybe give them a kick with some chiles and spices.  As I have said before-- make them for you , make them your own.  But for today's purposes, I am keeping them plain and simple in their pure comfort food form.

So whether you are ringing in the New Year with a cocktail party with friends or having a simple gathering with your family, make a batch of the Three-Cheese Mini Macs.  They will surely be a hit.

Wait--I almost forgot.  If you are in charge of packing those school lunches, then make a half a batch of these.  Kids, mac-n-cheese, bite sized portions--smiles all around!


Tuscan Frittata Affogata

I love getting my Williams-Sonoma catalog in the mail. While dinner is cooking, I will stand in the kitchen and leaf through the pages looking for inspiration.  This recipe was the perfect example, Tuscan Frittata Affogata.

A frittata is an egg-based dish similar to an omelet or quiche that can be filled with a wide variety of meats, vegetables, and cheeses.  Affogata is the Italian word for "drowned".  This recipe starts with browning sausage, onions, and peppers.  The egg is poured over the meat and vegetables and then it is "drowned" with crushed tomatoes and cheese.  Simple and delicious!

The original recipe called for Pecorino-Romano, but I had some good Parmigiano-Reggiano.  I also added some garlic because I love garlic.  In preparation, the original recipe called for flipping the frittata from one pan to another, but I just put it in a preheated oven and baked it for a few minutes. Then, I pulled it from the oven, "drowned" it with the tomatoes and cheese, and placed it under the broiler until the cheese was hot, bubbly and just starting to brown.  Served with a nice salad-- dinner was ready!

Oh, and if there are any leftovers...get yourself 2 slices of country bread.  Sandwich the frittata between the bread with a little extra mozzarella cheese.  Brush the bread lightly with olive oil and place it in a panini press or a skillet with a heavy plate on top.  Cook until toasted and melty and you have yourself a delicious frittata panini for lunch.  Yum!


Sunday Dinner

Rilletes aux Deux Samons
(Smoked and Steamed Salmon Rilletes)

Rice Soubise
Bibb Lettuce Salad with Bacon and Croutons

Wedge of Long Clawson Dairy Stilton Cheese
Sliced Pears and Candied Walnuts

I hope everyone enjoyed the Holiday weekend.  We are still eating and celebrating our way through.  

One of the things that we are still enjoying is this potted dish.    Rilletes is a classic way of preparing cooked and shredded meat that is creamed with its own fat until it is smooth and spreadable.  However, when using fish as the meat there is little fat, so butter, egg yolks, and crème fraîche are combined with the salmon for a rich and creamy taste.  

When topped with clarified butter the rillettes can be made a week in advance, but I omit that step and make it the day of and we have no problem finishing every last bite within 2 days.  I have also had good results with freezing any remaining rilletes for up to 2 months.  Spread it on slices of a baguette, toast, or crackers with a garnish of freshly chopped chives--it is a delicious dish to share with your family and friends.


Christmas Eve Dinner

Dad's Christmas Cocktails

Roasted Aged Beef Tenderloin
Port Sauce
Roasted Shallots

All-American Peppermint Stick Torte with Hot Fudge Sauce

Christmas Eve is, for me, one of the most magical evenings of the year.  Most of the magic comes from three beautiful little faces that light up with joy, excitement and anticipation of what is to come the next morning.  And being in my home with my husband our three children and our families is the best way to enjoy it. 

For the last couple of years this has been our Christmas Eve menu--the only change being the potatoes.  That depends on my potato and cheese pairing mood:)  From the Rillettes to the salad, this meal is delicious and decadent.  One of my sisters said this is her most favorite meal of the year.  Thanks, D!  But, I don't think our Christmas meal would be complete without this torte.

The All-American Peppermint Stick Torte with Fudge Sauce is the perfect  ending to our meal.  It is fairly easy to make and can be made up to a week ahead.  It is simply a parfait (which is a dessert made from sugar, egg yolks and whipped cream) that is poured into a chocolate wafer crust and frozen.  Top it with whipped cream rosettes, peppermint candies, and serve it with a warm and luscious chocolate fudge sauce--my jaws are cracking.  One bite of this wintry torte and I swear you can hear sleigh bells in the distance.  Hurry my children...off to bed! 

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
And to rest of my family that I cannot be with tonight...
Hugs and Kisses--Peace and Joy!


Pepperoni and Asiago Pinwheels

If you need a quick, easy, and make-ahead appetizer for your upcoming Holiday party then look no further.  These delicate little pinwheels are absolutely delicious, positively addicting, and devoured by adults and children alike.   Oh, and the smell of these while they are baking?  Pizzeria comes to mind.

I have been making these every year for Christmas ever since I saw them in the October 2001 issue of Bon Appétit.  Pepperoni, cheese, and puff pastry--yum!

This appetizer can be made in advance (perfect for the Holiday rush). Just roll them up and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag for up to one month.  Defrost the rolls in the freezer before slicing and continue with the recipe.

Normally I like to make my own puff pastry, but I got caught up in the Holly-Jolly and didn't get around to it.  Fortunately there are some acceptable options in the freezer section of your local market.  If you can, try to find Dufour Puff Pastry.  It is an all-butter puff pastry that bakes up beautifully--it is the next best thing to homemade.  The Whole Foods in my area carries it.

The recipe calls for sliced pepperoni, but I prefer the taste of log pepperoni.  I just peel off the casing, give it a rough chop, and then throw it in my food processor to finely mince the pepperoni. The recipe also calls for honey mustard, but instead of buying a special ingredient I just stir together some Dijon and honey for a sweet and savory spread.  

Bake the pinwheels just before your guests arrive and serve warm and within the hour.  Any leftovers can be refreshed in a 350º F oven for 5 minutes, but I doubt there will be any leftovers.  Perfect for a Holiday get together and lovely for a cocktail party.  I do hope you will give them a try.


Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions

There is a running joke in our house between me and my husband about onions and it goes something like this..."what is the count up to now?"  Sometimes I feel like Julia Child in the movie, Julia and Julia where she is practicing cutting onions.  Just in the last 48 hours, I have prepared and we have eaten 6 pounds of onions!  I am not complaining, nor is anyone in my family.  We love our onions.

This dish is a favorite for our Sunday dinner appetizer.  I sometimes make a big batch to have leftovers for sandwiches--onions, cheese, bread, and maybe a slice of meat--yum!  The onions are tender, sweet, and caramelized.  The cheese is warm, gooey, and tasty. 

The only trick to this recipe is in the cooking of the onions.  I like onions that are deeply caramelized--not just sautéed.  It requires a bit of time in the kitchen stirring the onions so they don't burn.  That is a good time to enlist some help.  The nice thing is that the onions can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them.  Top the cheese with the onions and bake.  Serve with crostini or your favorite cracker ( I like Carr's Water Crackers).  It is delicious straight from the oven and equally good at room temperature.  

When my son found out what we were having for appetizer he shouted, "Yeah!" One of my daughters claims this as "the best dish ever!"  With all those onions, may they live a long and healthly life.


Sunday Dinner

Pork Ribs braised in Sauerkraut

Christmas Coconut Cake

I was recently asked for the recipe for my Coconut Cake.  I got excited because it gives me the opportunity to share with you a holiday spin on said cake.  It's Sunday and as regular readers know, we enjoy our Sunday dinner, so it was the perfect time to feature this recipe.  Besides, I never need an excuse to make a cake:)

Way back in December of 1998, I tore out a recipe for a Cranberry Coconut Layer Cake from Gourmet magazine.  I never made the exact recipe.  I just kept the page for inspiration (you don't want to see my stacks of notes/tear-outs/xerox copies from the library of recipes that inspire me).  A few years ago when I finally tweaked my Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce to my liking, it was time to pull out that page of inspiration and make the cake.

This cake is something special--a fluffy white coconut cake layered with a coconut cream cheese frosting and a thin jewel-like layer of cranberry sauce.  It looks like a giant snowball and it tastes like a tropical slice of holiday heaven.  ♪♫"How'd you like to spend Christmaaasss on Christmas Iiiislaaand..."♪♫

I use about 2/3 cup of my Whole Berry Cranberry sauce and purée it.  That way there is no slicing into big chunks of cranberry.  The cake layers can be made ahead of time and frozen.  Assemble and frost it the day before to allow the flavors to meld.  This make-ahead dessert is a bonus for me during the holidays.

If you are looking for something different to share with family and friends this Holiday season, give this cake a go.  If you are like me and are surrounded in snow,  one taste of this cake will melt all of that white stuff and transport you to a tropical holiday getaway--if only for a moment.


Gingerbread Pancakes

I have been craving gingerbread lately, but it is not quite time to make our Gingerbread houses and cookies and I have other sweets on the menu for dessert. What to do?  Why, make a batch of my Gingerbread Pancakes for breakfast of course.

These are such a lovely thing to wake up to on a chilly Saturday morning right before Christmas.  Just the smell of these cooking puts you in that Holiday spirit.  They are light, fluffy, and perfectly spiced.  I like to serve them with sautéed pears and a dusting of powdered sugar.  But what really makes this dish is the infusion of good maple syrup with strips of lemon peel.  That gives the pancakes that traditional gingerbread and lemon sauce taste.  Yummy!  Even my husband, who is not the biggest gingerbread fan, enjoys these seasonal pancakes.

So get in the kitchen, whip up a batch, and indulge.  Your family will thank you.


Mint Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

What do you do when you receive a box of some of the very best Dutch cocoa straight from the Netherlands?  First, thank Sonya at Home Cooking with Sonya and then go and make some of your favorite cookies.

I have always loved Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.  Mostly because it is an all chocolate cookie that you can enjoy anytime of year, but the snowy crinkled appearance makes them absolutely perfect for this time of year.  

I had a pretty standard recipe for this cookie that was really good, but last year I bought this book, 
                                      Christmas Gifts from the Kitchen
Christmas Gifts from the Kitchen by Georgeanne Brennan, from Williams-Sonoma.  It is filled with all sorts of wonderful sweet and savory recipes and creative ideas for packaging those Holiday goodies from your kitchen.  But, it was the recipe for Chocolate Crinkle Cookies that caught my eye.  It has 3 different types of chocolate and as far as I am concerned you can never have too much chocolate in a cookie:)  These are outstanding.  Crispy edges, soft and fudgy centers, gooey chocolate chips---what's not too love?  This is the ultimate Chocolate Crinkle Cookie!

The recipe calls for unsweetened cocoa powder, but I highly recommend Dutch Process Cocoa for the best chocolate flavor.  It is a bit more expensive than unsweetened cocoa powder, but so worth it.  

 I wanted to put a Holiday spin on the recipe this year so I decided to use mint chocolate chips.  Wow!  The mint really gives these cookies a festive flavor.  This recipe is fairly easy, but there is a trick to rolling the balls of dough.  The dough is a bit sticky so make sure that it is well chilled.  After rolling several balls of dough between the palms of your hand you will need to lick wash the residual chocolate off your hands, dry them thoroughly and then keep on rollin'.  If I am making the whole batch all at once, I like to roll all the dough into balls first then roll them in the confectioners' sugar.  If I am just making them batch by batch, I keep the dough in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use as needed for up to 3 days.  

The recipe yielded 2 1/2 dozen 1 1/2-inch dough balls, but I rolled mine about 1 1/4-inch and yielded about 4 dozen.  I found this to be the perfect size.

One bite of these cookies and you will hear nothing but moaning, groaning, and people saying, "Oh my goodness" with their mouths full of that wonderful minty chocolate flavor and confectioners' sugar flying everywhere--cue the family dog for clean up:)  

Thanks, puppers!

Please make these cookies for your upcoming cookie exchange, make them for your neighbors, or make them for your family and hoard them all to yourselves.  Just please make them!  You will be glad you did. 


Caramelized Pear and Gruyère Torta

Whether you are hosting a Christmas party for your family or having a Holiday Open House, this is a perfect dish to serve.  It can be made in advance, served at room temperature, and your guests can serve themselves,  allowing you to mingle and enjoy your company.

I found this recipe in the Entertaining Guide to Victoria Magazine this past summer.  Thinking ahead, I knew it would be wonderful for the Holidays.  Caramelized pears, cream cheese, Gruyère, and roasted pistachio nuts--it is an all-in-one fruit, cheese and nut plate that pairs perfectly with a crisp white wine.

The original recipe called for Neufchâtel cheese.  I don't care for the taste of Neufchâtel cheese so, I went for the full fat.  Hey, it's the Holidays!  It also called for just four pears, but after making it for Thanksgiving, I thought it needed more.  An added pinch of salt and this torta is mouthwatering!  It is such a wonderful play on taste and texture.  The pears are tender and caramelized, the cream cheese so spreadable and creamy, the pistachios are salty and crunchy and the Gruyère just adds that--je ne sais quois.  

You can serve this with your favorite cracker or crostini, but I highly recommend Carr's Rosemary Crackers.  The Rosemary really brings it all together to make this the perfect sweet and savory dish.  It looks elegant and tastes divine.  I do hope you'll give it a try.


Sunday Dinner

Caramelized Pear and Gruyère Torta
served with Rosemary crackers

Saucisson de Toulouse Aux Lentilles
Toulouse Sausage with Lentils
Simple Salad

Chocolate Fallen Soufflé Cake
served with a Crème Anglaise

With near blizzard-like conditions outside, I couldn't think of a better way to spend the day than to be in the kitchen preparing this meal; classic, comforting, and make-ahead.

For entertaining purposes the whole meal is wonderful because you can prepare it all in advance.  But for today, it is wonderful because I can spend the day lounging about with my family watching the snow blow by.  No rushing about at the last minute.

I am sharing the recipe for this Chocolate Fallen Soufflé Cake. It was originally printed in a February 2004 issue of Gourmet Magazine (oh, how I miss Gourmet).  If you like chocolate, fudgy brownies and crispy meringue tops, then this dessert is for you. Mind you it is not the prettiest cake, but it sure is delicious.  

Unlike a traditional soufflé that needs to be served immediately, this cake is made to be eaten after it has collapsed and cooled.  Make it the night before, wrap it in plastic wrap, and serve at room temperature the next day.   The recipe recommends serving it with ice cream or whipped cream, but I enjoy it lightly dusted with confectioner's sugar and served with a simple crème anglaise.  The creamy sauce pairs perfectly with the cakey, fudgy, and crispy textures.

The original recipe called for bittersweet chocolate, but I used semisweet instead.  Please use the best chocolate you can find.  This is all about the chocolate flavor.  And to enhance that chocolate flavor, I added a bit of espresso powder.

So, for all you chocolate lovers out there--here is another recipe to add to your repertoire.


Peppermint Crisps

I have been waiting a whole year to make these.  I mean exactly a whole year.  See the recipe print out below?  Look at the date at the bottom of the page...12/10/2009....exactly a year.  I intended to make them last year, but never got around to it.  Now is the time.

These just sounded too good--chocolate, coconut, and peppermint.  I found this recipe in an issue of delicious., a beautiful Australian food magazine that I believe originated in the UK.  I couldn't find the original recipe that I tore out of the magazine, but I did find it on this site, Taste.com.au. It is full of wonderful recipes.  The ingredients are listed in metric.  I have a kitchen scale to help me on metric measurements (put one on your Holiday gift list if you don't have one), but for the ease of those who don't I have adapted the recipe for U.S. equivalents (roughly--a little less and a little more).

These are absolutely scrumptious.  I find them to be a perfect afternoon pick me up or a delightful after dinner mint.  Package them for gifts and share them with everyone.  You can cut them to any size you prefer.  I enjoy them about the size of half dollars and stored in the refrigerator.  The best part are the scraps.  DO NOT throw them out!  Simply fold them into your favorite vanilla or chocolate ice cream and you have yourself a tasty, wintery treat:P


Mixed Antipasto

The Holiday and entertaining season is here, so I wanted to share with you this appetizer/first course.  It is perfect for those open house parties, elegant for a buffet and--well, we have been known to eat this for a meal with some crusty bread to sop up the sauce.  Meats, cheese, veggies...what's not too love?  The fennel and carrots are cooked just until tender and jarred roasted red bell peppers are used for ease.  The bocconcini (small buffalo mozzarella) is creamy, the artichokes briny and the herbs just bring it all together.

It is better if made in advance, so make it then go and get some holiday shopping done.

I serve it with toothpicks for an appetizer and with small shallow bowls on the side for those who want to enjoy it as a first course.  

Note:  I enjoy Columbus Soppressata and I use really good balsamic vinegar--it is like a sweet syrup.  It makes a difference, so buy yourself an early gift and enjoy it all year long.  Otherwise, I would suggest reducing a non-aged balsamic vinegar by half or until it becomes thick and syrupy.

This is perfect party food.


Sweet Potato Ravioli in Cheese Broth

What do you do when you receive a copy of this book
from the lovely Sarah over at Tastespotting?  Jump up and down and scream because you have never won anything before.  Then immediately open the book to page 110 and make that recipe first.
As soon as I saw this recipe I was intrigued by 2 things--the cheese broth and the five spice.  Two things I have never made or used.  I have made all types of my own stock and broth.  I have even infused soups with rinds of cheese, but cheese broth?!  That was a must try.  As far as the Chinese five-spice, it is a spice I have always wanted to use.  So, this is the part of my blog where I get to try new recipes.  Fun!

When I first read the recipe and saw that there was Chinese five-spice, wonton skins, and scallions, I couldn't help but think that it might have an Asian flair to it. Boy, was I wrong.  The wontons are for ease of preparation; no making your own pasta dough and on a weeknight, that is a bonus for me.  Chinese five-spice is a mixture of cinnamon, anise seed, clove, ginger, and fennel seed, so you can imagine how wonderful that would compliment the roasted sweet potatoes.  It tastes like Fall.  And the scallions, they just make the dish.  They help balance the sweetness, an absolute must.
My children are good eaters, but I was slightly hesitant to serve this to them.  I don't like turned up noses at the table.  But one bite and they totally understood this dish.  They even went back for more--enough said.

I made a few minor adjustments to the original recipe.  Just a bit more of this and a bit more of that.  The original recipe called for round wonton wrappers, but I couldn't find them, so I just bought some egg roll wrappers and cut 4-2 3/4-inch cirlces out of each sheet.  I also sandwich the filling between 2 circles instead of folding one in half.  I just liked the presentation better.  My recipe made quite a bit more than the original 48, but you can freeze them in a freezer bag for up to a month.  Perfect for those unexpected dinner dates or a simple solution for a busy weeknight.  But the one change I made that really made this dish pop was to brown the butter first before adding the cheese broth. That added a wonderful nutty aroma and taste that just went perfectly with the ravioli.  I thickened it slightly with a little cornstarch so it was more of a glaze than a broth.  It coated the ravioli perfectly.

Serve a few ravioli as a first course or a couple more for an entrée.  Just please serve them.  They are delish!  Thanks again to Sarah for the book and to The Frankies.  You have helped me add another recipe to my master list.


Sunday Dinner



   Whenever I would go to an Italian restaurant, I would always order the Tiramisù on the menu.  Most of the time I would be disappointed.  It was either too soggy, had too much rum, had overpowering Marsala, or was just not that good.  But about 6 years ago, I did come across a Tiramisù that I fell in love with.  There was just one problem--it was 3 hours away.   It was time to recreate that Tiramisù so I could enjoy it any time of the year.  

   I had always heard that Williams-Sonoma had a great Tiramisù, but I had never tried it.  I searched online and came across this site.  There I found the recipe for W-S Tiramisù.   The only thing was it had rum in it and I knew I did not want rum.  So, what is the next best liquor that pairs well with chocolate and coffee?  Kahlúa--that was the ticket!

I used to make it with ladyfingers, but when my supermarket stopped carrying the brand that I liked, I started making my own European Sponge Cake.  I have to say that I like it much better.

 It is best to make this dessert at least a day in advance--or preferably 2 days,  so that the syrup soaks into the sponge cake nicely.  Making your own Tiramisù is a little labor intensive, but the results are just heavenly. 


German Apple Pancake

I love weekend breakfasts...lingering at the table, reading the paper and tackling the Sudoku puzzle.   Since the weather has been in the 20s and 30s here (brrr--time to break out the slippers), I wanted something to warm me up.  I haven't made this recipe since last Fall, so it was high time to make it again.

This giant pancake is basically a custard that is poured over sauteéd apples and baked in the oven until it is puffed and golden.  The apples are tender and spiced with a hint of cinnamon.  It is delicious!  

Serve warm (careful the apples stay hot) with a dusting of confectioners' sugar or maple syrup and maybe a few sausage links on the side.  Yummy!  Perfect for Fall, perfect for when it is cold, and perfect for those lazy weekend mornings.


Turkey and Sausage Gumbo

Going back to my heritage and upbringing, my family moved a lot when I was a kid.  At the time, I didn't like it one bit.  Sure, I got to enjoy the beauty of the Pacific on the island of Oahu.  I played in the sandy beaches in southern Florida.  I even shouted, "Throw me something, Mister" to a krewe at Mardi Gras.  But when you are young and constantly changing schools and having to meet new friends that look at you like you are an alien (at least that is how I felt), it was no picnic.

However, looking back on it I realize that all of those moves brought a little love into my kitchen.  This recipe is the perfect example.

We spent several years in New Orleans and boy, oh boy are there some good eats in that city.  Étouffé, Jambalaya, crawfish, and beignets just to name a few.  But there is one dish we have been enjoying ever since we left New Orleans to use our turkey leftovers--Turkey and Sausage Gumbo.  My mom made it back then, but I continue the leftover tradition with my family. Now mind you, this is not the most authentic recipe (hard to find good andouille sausage here and my children aren't fond of okra), but it is the tastiest.  

Gumbo is a classic Cajun dish.  It consists of  a dark brown roux, the "holy trinity" (onions, bell pepper and celery) of the South, a good stock, and various meats or shellfish.  It is served as a soup or stew. The hardest part about making gumbo is the roux.  Not that it is difficult, it just takes a little time.  A roux is a mixture of flour and fat that is cooked to a dark nutty brown.  Below is a little step-by-step to show you the color changing process of the roux.  Once the roux has achieved its desired color, immediately add the prepared vegetables to stop the cooking process and to quickly soften the vegetables.  Then add your stock and meats and let it simmer the day away.  I finish mine with a little cornstarch mixture to thicken it up a bit.  Serve the gumbo over steamed white rice with a garnish of sliced green onions and some corn bread to help clean every morsel off the plate.  That is a bowl of some serious comfort food.  Oh, and if you have already used your leftover turkey, you can roast a few turkey thighs and legs (they are on sale at the market) or feel free to just throw in some roasted chicken.  Either way, it is going to taste good--real good!

Over medium-low heat whisk together flour and oil.

Keep whisking and whisking and...

whisking until you have reached a nutty brown color.

Add the "holy trinity" to stop the roux from cooking.

Pour in the stock, herbs, spices and meats and simmer away.

Mmm...dinner time!


Nutella Pinwheel Cookies

Well, it is December 1st and that means the holiday baking season has offically begun.  And after making the pumpkin roll, I was inspired to share this swirling recipe with you.

I love Nutella.  And for those of you who do not know what Nutella is (I say that because I have introduced many women and children to this delectable spread), it is a hazelnut spread that is made with skim milk and cocoa powder.  We enjoy it for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dessert.  Spread it on bread, eat it with fruit, warm it and drizzle it over ice cream, or sandwich it between two Pepperidge Farm Bordeaux cookies for a particularly nice treat.

A couple of years ago I came across this site, World Nutella Day.  It was started in 2007 by Sara Rosso, an American blogger living in Italy. She felt the world needed a day to celebrate our love for Nutella.  Bless her soul:)

So, World Nutella Day 2009 rolled around and I saw a recipe for Nutella Pinwheel Cookies.  A simple butter cookie dough slathered with Nutella, rolled into a log, sliced and baked.  Yum!  These cookies are some kind of good.  I even had a neighbor who doesn't care for sweets (what?!?)  thoroughly enjoy them. 

Back to the holiday baking...these are perfect because you can make the dough in advance and store it in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.  And once baked they will keep for up to a week in an airtight container, but I doubt they will last that long.  So make a batch and share them with your family, friends, neighbors, and teachers.  They will love you for it!

*Update-- A reader contacted me and told me that she used Cocoa Bliss in lieu of the Nutella for her nut allergy friends.  Good to know so all can enjoy!