Get into the spirit of the season with these tasty treats

Happy Thanksgiving! It is a beautiful frosty morning atop the mountain and I have a million-dollar panoramic view of the bay from my kitchen to be thankful for, that’s for sure. It’s time to begin the annual holiday treat making extravaganza. We’ll make the traditional must-have cookies and candy, as well as hold auditions for a new goodie if something sounds intriguing.

Triple Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

I returned from Wisconsin this fall with a new appreciation for fresh cranberries after we visited a cranberry farm. Perusing the internet one day I discovered an oatmeal cookie recipe made with fresh cranberries, dark milk, milk and white chocolate chips. It’s an easy, sweet little treat to make and enjoy. Makes about 30.



1 cup all- purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries

2 ounces milk chocolate or white chocolate, chopped (for drizzling)


Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture and oats and stir until blended. Stir in all chocolate chips and cranberries.

Drop batter by rounded tablespoonful onto prepared sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until edges are light brown, about 16 minutes. Cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely.

Stir chopped milk chocolate in top of double boiler until melted and smooth or carefully melt in the microwave oven. Using small spoon, drizzle melted chocolate over cookies in zigzag pattern. Let stand until milk chocolate sets, about 1 hour. Store in an airtight container.


Raspberry Coconut Bars

This is a delightful way to use some of summer’s raspberries that were made into jam. These bars are quick and easy.


12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 ½ cups white sugar — divided into 1 cup and ½ cup

2 eggs — separated into yolks and whites

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup raspberry preserves

½ cup shredded coconut

1 cup chopped pecans or almond slices


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks and gradually add the flour. Spread into an ungreased 13x9x2 inch pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool slightly and spread with raspberry preserves and sprinkle with coconut. Beat the egg whites until stiff while gradually adding ½ cup of sugar until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the nuts. Spread mixture over the baked layer and bake again at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and cut into bars.


Alaska Potato and Butternut Squash Appetizer Cakes

Party food time is here! The Other Fisherman harvested plenty of potatoes this fall and we enjoy them prepared many different ways. I’m always looking for new ways to use them and think this recipe provides a bit of a fun twist by adding shredded butternut squash for a touch of sweetness and a nice orange hue. The smoked salmon or salmon caviar atop a dab of sour cream is a perfect complement.

Yield: 3 dozen mini cakes


1 butternut squash neck, peeled and coarsely shredded in a food processor or grater

1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and coarsely shredded in a food processor or grater

1/2 cup flour

2 large eggs beaten

1/2 cup onion, minced

1 teaspoon salt, pinch of cayenne pepper, pinch of herbs de provence

Vegetable oil, for frying

For topping: Sour cream; salmon caviar or smoked salmon pieces; and chives or green onion tops sliced for garnish


In a bowl, combine the shredded squash and potatoes. Transfer to colander and rinse well under cold running water. Lay a kitchen towel on the counter. Take a handful of the potato mixture and squeeze the excess moisture out with your hands and set on towel. Continue with remaining potato mixture and roll up in towel. Your goal is get the mixture dry. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the flour, eggs and onion and season with spices. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1/8 inch of oil until shimmering. Add 2-tablespoon-size mounds of the mixture to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until golden and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and repeat, adding more oil to the skillet as needed and wiping out the pan occasionally. Top the cakes with sour cream and caviar, or sour cream and smoked salmon. Sprinkle top with chives and serve.


There is your culinary inspiration for the week, and I hope it motivates you to get a start on your many lists and duties of the season. Most importantly though, have fun and don’t let yourself get too stressed out. Take some deep breaths and take in that beautiful view of ours.

I’ll be back soon with more delicious ideas for you to try out! Not feeling the holiday glow yet? Go tune into some Christmas music. That will put you in the mood for sure.


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