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Filtering by Tag: mexican

Puffy Star Cookies

Patricia Reitz


This is my variation of a traditional Mexican cookie that bakes up to have a puffy appearance. From the very first time I made those cookies, which are usually shaped like little piggies, I thought they’d look nice cut into the shape of stars. Actually, there are many shapes that I think would work well for this dough, but stars were the first that came to mind. Because these cookies aren’t overly sweet, I recommend sprinkling them with confectioner’s sugar once they’ve cooled completely. Or you can decorate them with a glaze of royal icing and festive sprinkles, like I did.


Start by combining the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; set aside until needed.


The next step is to simmer a flavorful concoction of water, dark brown sugar, a cinnamon stick, and Lyle’s golden syrup until the sugar dissolves.


If you haven’t had the pleasure of discovering golden syrup, I strongly, repeat STRONGLY, encourage you to try it. In a word, it’s amazing - thick and sweet and full of caramel flavor. It’s an excellent substitution for any recipe that calls for honey or corn syrup. It’s actually a byproduct of the sugar refining process, which results in this amazing invert sugar (bonus - that means it doesn’t crystalize very easily).


If needed, you can replace the golden syrup with an equal amount of honey or light corn syrup, but Lyle’s golden syrup is superb and I promise you won’t be disappointed.


Okay, back to the recipe. Heat the sugar syrup on the stove top, stirring frequently, until the brown sugar completely dissolves.


Remove the sugar syrup from the heat and discard the cinnamon stick.

Add the cold butter and stir until the butter melts. Allow the mixture to rest for about 10 minutes as it cools.

After 10 minutes, add an egg and whisk well to combine.

That was easy!


Add the reserved flour mixture to the sugar syrup.

Stir with a silicone spatula until no traces of dry flour remain, being sure to press out any lumps as you stir.


Don’t be alarmed when the dough looks and feels like peanut butter - it will firm up after it chills.


Put the soft dough in a quart-size zipper bag and seal it closed.


Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours (or up to 5 days).

Break off chunks of dough and roll them between lightly floured layers of waxed paper to 3/16 to 1/4-inch thickness. I like to use rolling guides to ensure every cookie is exactly the same thickness.

Place the cutouts on silicone-lined sheet pans and bake for 8-12 minutes (depending on size) or until golden brown.


Transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely before sprinkling with confectioners sugar or decorating with royal icing (recipe below).

For chewy cookies, enjoy on the day they’re baked. After that, they firm to a crisp texture which is particularly good dipped in a hot beverage.

Items used to make this recipe:

Puffy Star Cookies

makes 3-4 dozen cookies

Printable Recipe


  • 11.25 ounces (about 2 1/4 cups) all purpose flour, plus more for rolling

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

  • 5 ounces (about 11 tablespoons) dark brown sugar

  • 6 tablespoons (90ml) water

  • 1 tablespoon (30ml) Lyle’s golden syrup (may substitute honey or light corn syrup)

  • 1 cinnamon stick (or 1/4 teaspoons ground - try to find Ceylon or “true” cinnamon)

  • 8 tablespoons (4oz or 113g) unsalted butter, cold

  • 1 large egg (50g without shell)

  • optional: confectioners sugar or royal icing for decorating (recipe below)


  1. In a medium bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), whisk together to flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

  2. In a small saucepan oven medium heat, combine the dark brown sugar, water, golden syrup, and cinnamon stick; stir until sugar completely dissolved.

  3. Remove sugar mixture from heat and stir in butter until it melts; allow to cool for 10 minutes, then vigorously whisk in the egg until completely incorporated (be sure sugar mixture isn’t hot of the egg will scramble).

  4. Add the brown sugar/egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix by hand using a spatula until no traces of dry flour remain, being sure to press out any lumps that may have formed..

  5. Transfer the dough to a large plastic zipper bag and chill for at least 2 hours (or up to 5 days).

  6. When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat oven to 375F, place rack in center position, and line 2 half sheet pans with silicone liners.

  7. Roll chilled dough between layers of floured wax paper to 3/16 to 1/4-inch thickness; cut out desired shapes using cutters dipped in flour and place on prepared sheet pans (I use rolling guides to ensure each cookie is exactly the same thickness).

  8. Bake cookies, one tray at a time, for 8-12 minutes (depending on the size) or until puffed and golden brown.

  9. Allow cookies to cool completely before dusting with confectioners sugar or glazing with royal icing.

adapted from Pati Jinich

Royal Icing

makes 2 cups



  1. Using the whisk attachment on a hand mixer, beat the confectioners sugar, meringue powder, water, and pure vanilla extract together in a medium mixing bowl for 5 minutes, adjusting consistency by adding more water or confectioners sugar if needed.

  2. If desired, color icing with gel paste.

  3. Dip cookies in icing or pipe icing on cookies; sprinkle with edible decorations and allow icing to set for at least 1 hour before serving.

Snowball Cookies

Patricia Reitz

Whether you call them snowballs, Russian tea cakes, or Mexican wedding cookies, these melt-in-your-mouth cookies are a must for so many people during the holidays. It seems no cookie platter is complete without them. I like to make them with ground pecans, but feel free to substitute ground walnuts or almonds.

This cookie dough is extremely easy to make as long as you start with room temperature butter. Just place all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and combine until no traces of dry flour remain. If you use BeaterBlade attachment, you won’t have to stop and scrape down the sides of your bowl.

Tip: Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to microwave cold butter to soften it - melted butter and softened butter act very different in recipes so just be patient and wait until the butter reaches room temperature naturally.


Use a #60 cookie scoop to portion out the dough.


Place them evenly on a silicone lined half sheet pan and bake as directed below. If you like, roll the dough into balls (I don’t because they roll all over the place).


Allow the cookies to cool for about 5 minutes before rolling in confectioner’s sugar.

Tip: I like to store used vanilla bean pods in my confectioner’s sugar. It really improves the flavor.


Just remove the vanilla bean pods from the confectioner’s sugar while you roll the cookies so they don’t get in your way. Replace them when you’re done.


Mmmm… your kitchen is going to smell like vanilla!


Allow the cookies to cool completely and, if you like, give them a 2nd toss in the confectioner’s sugar. Enjoy!

Items used to make this recipe:

Snowball Cookies (aka Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies)

makes 48 cookies


  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, room temperature (70F)

  • 1/2 cup (63g) confectioner’s sugar, sifted

  • 1 teaspoon (4g) pure vanilla extract

  • 2 1/4 cups (270g) all purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 cup (90g) finely chopped toasted pecans (or walnuts or almonds)

  • extra confectioner’s sugar for coating the cookies


  1. Preheat oven to 375F and place rack in center position.

  2. Place the first 6 ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a BeaterBlade or paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until no traces of dry flour remain (if you us a paddle attachment, scrape down sides of bowl as needed).

  3. Use a #60 cookie scoop to portion 12 cookies per tray; bake one tray at a time for 8-10 minutes.

  4. Remove cookies from oven and allow to rest on tray for 5 minutes before rolling in confectioner’s sugar; return cookies to tray and allow to cool completely before rolling in confectioner’s sugar a second time.

Note: to toast pecans, place in a 350F oven for 5 minutes; cool completely before using.