Thursday, December 20, 2012

Holiday Treats - 4 Gosling Favorites

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Gosling

I am no Christmas cookie extraordinaire by any stretch of the imagination!  I have to cook and BAKE for the masses, so I have never really gotten into making dozens of little delights.  I do, however, make a few holiday staples that I pass around to neighbors, teachers, mail carriers and myself.  Here they are:

1.  Heath Bar Crunch
2.  Chocolate Crackle Cookie
3.  Banana Bread
4.  Lemon Loaf

  • 1 bag of milk chocolate chips
  • 1 box of saltines
  • 3 cups of brown sugar
  • 1 small bag of nut topping or nuts of your choice

Prepare a cookie sheet with cooking oil or butter.  Lay out saltines covering the entire sheet.  Set aside.  On the stove, melt 1 stick of butter and 3 cups of brown sugar, stirring occasionally, bring to a boil (make sure not to let it burn).  Remove from heat, giving it a good stir.  Pour the contents over the saltines, spreading with a spatula, covering the crackers.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the cookie sheet.  Let them melt into the brown sugar mixture (appr. 1 or 2 minutes).  Once the chips have melted, spread them around.  The saltines may shift at this time, don't worry about that, just re-position them.  Allow for a few more minutes of melting, then top with the nuts.  Place in freezer for 1 hour +, remove the cookie sheet and break apart the saltines.  

Source:  My Mother in Law! 


  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I use chocolate chips, semi sweet)
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup whole milk (I use whatever I have in the fridge, usually 1%)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water or microwave.  Set aside and let cool.  Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl. 

With an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Mix in the eggs and vanilla and then the melted chocolate.  Reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk.  Divide dough into four equal pieces.  Wrap each in plastic; refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Divide each piece into 1 inch balls.  Roll in granulated sugar to coat, then in confectioners' sugar to coat.  Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. 

Bake until surfaces crack, about 14 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet halfway through.  Allow to cool on wire racks.  Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment paper, in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 


yields 2 loaves

  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 bananas mashed
  • 1/2 sour cream
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease two loaf pans and flour the bottom of the pans.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.  Cream the butter and sugar until light.  Add the eggs, mixing well after each.  Add the mashed banana.  Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternately with the sour cream, ending with flour.  Blend quickly but thoroughly.  Stir in the nuts (optional)  Pour into prepared pans and bake 45 minutes (I only bake for 39 minutes and then leave the bread in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack), or until the center tests done. 


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • zest of one lemon
  • Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour 1 loaf pan.  Combine all the dry ingredients.  In a mixer, combine all the wet ingredients until light and fluffy, about 2 or 3 minutes.  Combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, adding oil and lemon zest.  Mix thoroughly.  Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 45 - 55 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean.  Let cool on a wire rack, then pour the glaze over the entire loaf, let cool completely. 

*It has been my experience that this lemon loaf, although EXCELLENT, is a little more cake-y than the actual Starbucks lemon loaf.  I don't know what the Starbucks angels do every morning, but that is a hard pastry to duplicate.  However, this recipe is an excellent second fiddle! 

Start heating up the kitchen,

Mrs. Kelly Comment:  Thanks for these.  I'm all over that heath bar crunch.  Mmmm.  Guess I should start baking soon, huh?  Also, where have you been hiding that lemon loaf?  

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