Butter cookies with dried cranberry and roasted pecans
The inspiration for this recipe arose a few years ago, when my mother-in-law gave me a huge bag of freshly picked pecans. I was absolutely delighted, of course, but wondered what I would end up making with all these pecans.

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Sienese almond cookies

November 24, 2009

Food and Style - Sienese almond cookiesThe first time I tasted Sienese almond cookies was in Tuscany, in fact not too far from Siena. My husband Marc and I were vacationing at Borgo Pretale, an enchanting hotel tucked away in luscious green hills, surrounded by lavender, vineyards and sunflower fields — the quintessential Tuscan destination!

We were relaxing on the terrace after a memorable meal when the staff brought us a glass of sinfully-delicious Vin Santo and Sienese almond cookies to nibble on. I still remember the first bite — an intense almond flavor exploded in my mouth. I swooned!

Needless to say, I brought several bags of those delicious treats home, but when they ran out I set about creating my own recipe. These dainty and flavorful cookies have since become a household favorite, especially around the holidays when we are more prone to indulge in a glass of dessert wine — and a cookie — while relaxing in front of a warm fire.

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Making herb-infused honeys

November 23, 2009

Making cookies, jams, infused honeys or sauces for gift-giving has always been part of my life, but never more so than in 2008 when the downturn in the economy made so many of us re-think what gift-giving really means.

So last year, all my gifts (with very few exceptions) were prepared in my kitchen. It took several days to make all the goodies and package them beautifully, but the result was that long past the holidays, friends and family members would call me to thank me for the gifts they were still enjoying.

This made such an impression on me that I’ve committed to do the same every holiday. It’s not a small commitment — making gifts from your kitchen takes time! — but with a little creativity and planning I find that it’s not only doable, it’s downright enjoyable!

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