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Filtering by Category: cinco de mayo

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.

Restaurant Style Salsa

Patricia Reitz

I’m not kidding when I say I could eat chips and salsa every day of my life, without complaint. No exaggeration - it’s one of my favorite things ever. I have a number of oven roasted salsa recipes on this blog, but when I need a salsa fix fast, I can throw a few simple canned ingredients together to to make this restaurant-style version. It goes without saying, use the best canned tomatoes you can - DO NOT use bitter tasting canned tomatoes. No amount of salt or sugar will fix the bitterness. Some canned tomato brands I’m fond of - Cento, SMT, Tuttorosso, Muir Glen, and Sclafani.

Restaurant Style Salsa

makes about 1 quart

Printable Recipe


  • 28-ounce can tomatoes (whole, diced, crushed… doesn’t matter)

  • 10-ounce can Ro-tel tomatoes (tomatoes with chilis)

  • 1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1 jalapeno pepper, stem and seeds removed

  • juice of 1 lime

  • 1 teaspoon Jane’s crazy mixed up salt (or table salt)

  • optional: 1 cup fresh cilantro (leaves and tender stems)


  1. In a blender or food processor, pulse all ingredients together until they reach your desired consistency.

  2. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.

Gluten-Free Fudge Cake

Patricia Reitz

This dense, rich, fudge cake is not only gluten-free, the batter is mixed together in a blender.  When have you ever heard of such a thing?   This cake takes no time to make at all - the batter is literally ready in a matter of minutes.  You can serve this cake warm or at room temperature, but we like it chilled. 

how to line a springform pan with parchment

Start by lining the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, then spray the rest of the pan with Baker's Joy to ensure perfect release.

DSC_0986 (2).JPG

In 30-second bursts the microwave, slowly melt butter and chocolate together, stirring between bursts.  When the chocolate is completely melted, stir well to make sure butter is completely incorporated.  Set aside until needed.

NOTE:  if your microwave is very powerful, decrease the power to 50%. 

Alternatively, you can melt the butter and chocolate together over a double boiler of simmering water, stirring frequently.


Additional ingredients needed are almond meal (finely ground almonds), salt, baking soda, baking powder, espresso, and....


Whole eggs and sweetened condensed milk.


Now for the fun part - we mix all the ingredients together in the blender (this is the one I love).  Start to combining the eggs and sweetened condensed milk on low speed until combined.

gluten-free fudge cake recipe made in a blender

Add the chocolate/butter mixture, almond meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and coffee.  Blend again on low speed until combined. 

gluten-free thanksgiving dessert recipe with how-to photos

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes in a preheated oven.


The cake will come out of the oven puffed up in the center.  


Allow the cake to cool for 1 hour before chilling for at least 2 additional hours.  The cake will fall in the center as it cools - this is normal so don't be alarmed.

Gluten-free cake recipe with how-to photos

Remove the sides of the springform pan and cut into 16 slices with a hot, sharp knife (long, thin, non-serrated blades work best - like this one).  This cake is very moist so if you want to sprinkle it with confectioner's sugar, use the non-melting variety.

Gluten-Free Fudge Cake

makes 16 servings


  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 6 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate (I used Moser-Roth 85%)

  • 4 large eggs

  • 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk, plus 1/4 cup

  • 1 1/2 cup almond meal (aka almond flour)

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1/4 cup hot espresso (or see note below)

  • Optional: non-melting confectioner's sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and place rack in center position.

  2. Line bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and spray pan with Baker's Joy.

  3. In 30-second bursts the microwave, slowly melt butter and chocolate together, stirring between bursts; set aside until needed. NOTE: if your microwave is very powerful, decrease power to 50%, or you can melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler over simmering water.

  4. In the jar of a blender, combine eggs and sweetened condensed milk on low speed until combined.

  5. Add chocolate/butter mixture; mix on low speed until combined.

  6. Add almond meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso; mix on low until combined.

  7. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake tests done (a few crumbs sticking to the toothpick are ok).

  8. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 1 hour; cover with plastic and chill for at least 2 hours.

  9. Remove sides of springform pan and slide cake off of parchment base.

  10. Use a hot knife to cut cake into 16 slices. Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Note: to make espresso, combine 1/4 cup boiling water with 1/2 teaspoon high quality espresso powder .

recipe adapted from Pati Jinich


Chipotle's Famous Guacamole

Patricia Reitz

Chipotle's Famous Guacamole - ButterYum

Chipotle's Famous Guacamole - ButterYum

I grew up without avocados in my life so I need to make up for lost time.  That means I enjoy avocados whenever I get the chance.  I usually eat them straight up with a spoon, but occasionally I like to turn them into guacamole.  Recently I learned that Chipotle Mexican Grill decided to share their awesome guacamole recipe, and now I'm sharing it with you.  Thank you, Chipotle! 




Before you can make really good guacamole, you have to start with beautifully ripe avocados. Here's a nifty chart that shows the various stages of ripening.  

In my personal experience, I find the closer avocados are to being ripe when I buy them, the more bruised they tend to be - probably because lots of people have been squeezing them.  So I like to buy them when they're still very green and firm.  Then they can ripen to perfection on the counter, safe from frisky hands.  When they're perfectly ripe, they can be stored in the fridge for several days to prevent over ripening.  

Start with a couple of perfectly ripe avocados, red onion, fresh lime, fresh cilantro, a little jalapeno, and some salt.  Honestly, anyone can make it. 

Ok, scoop the ripe fruit out of the avocado shells and put it in a bowl.  I like to use a shallow bowl - it's easier to mash and mix the guacamole that way.

Now we need a little fresh lime juice.  It adds great flavor and helps keep the guacamole from oxidizing (turning brown).  

Please note the correct way to use a citrus press.  The cut side of the lime goes down, not the other way around.  Hey, that kind of rhymes.

I'm always amazed how much more juice you get when you use a citrus press.  It's crazy.

Two teaspoons of lime juice go into the bowl.   Add the salt too and toss well. 

Then add the finely chopped red onion....

And 1/2 of a jalapeno, minced....

And lastly, a couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro.  

Mix and mash until you get the consistency you desire.  Serve immediately.  

Store guacamole in an airtight container with plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface.

Chipotle's Famous Guacamole

makes about 2 cups

Printable Recipe


  • 2 ripe Haas avocados (skin should be dark and the flesh should give slightly under gentle pressure)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped (including seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup finely minced red onion


  1. Carefully cut avocados in half and remove pits.
  2. Use a spoon to scoop fruit into a mixing bowl and toss with lime juice.
  3. add salt and mash with fork or potato masher to desired consistency.
  4. Stir in jalapeno, cilantro, and red onion.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Adapted from Chipotle Mexican Grill

$11.95 $29.97

Cinco de Mayo Roundup

Patricia Reitz