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Slow Cooker Black Beans

Making these slow cooker black beans from scratch is so easy, and so flavorful, canned beans will be a thing of the past!

Green pottery bowl filled with black beans surrounded by bowls, plates, limes, jalapenos and rice

Small antique bowl filled with black beans on a plate with rice, a lime and a fork

These slow cooker black beans have become one of my favorite recipes which seems crazy to say now. There was a time when I wouldn’t eat beans at all…not in chili, not on tacos and certainly not as a stew on rice. Most of the time, I’ll take the blame for my food preferences and dislikes, but on this account, I blame my mom.

When I was just a wee thing, she read to me Mickey and the Beanstalk over and over. Of course, it was Disney’s twisted version of a fairy tale in which everything seems more pleasant but the moral of the story is totally lost. In this version, Donald says “I hate beans” which is the only lesson I appeared to learn from the book. “I hate beans” in turn became a common refrain over the years as I refused to eat beans.

Alas, times change! In my 20s I became an adventurous eater. Working in the restaurant industry certainly helped, but so did my love of all things Martha Stewart and the influence of Kevin and his family. Each new recipe and restaurant challenged my dislikes and over the years I’ve come to love many ingredients I never would have eaten in my youth.

Small bowl filled with black beans with a side of rice

Kevin and I have been making these slow cooker black beans for years now. I’m so sorry I’ve kept this recipe a secret from you because you’re going to love it and wonder why you haven’t been making beans from scratch all along!

Just like our chorizo beans recipe, it’s a versatile dish…great as a main course, side dish or topping.  Because of this flexibility we eat these black beans all the time!

One of the reasons we love it so much is homemade beans are super flavorful. You could say that twice for these beans! However, I really struggled with what to call this recipe because these black beans aren’t really Cuban, Puerto Rican or Mexican but instead fusion. It’s inspired by our trips to Puerto Rico and our favorite Cuban and Mexican restaurants, pulling together my favorite elements from each cuisine and melding them together into one all purpose recipe.

Green pottery bowl filled with black beans

I’ve used sweet bell pepper and butternut squash to replace the sugar present in many recipes. It’s a trick I’ve picked up from Puerto Rican cuisine and obviously, it’s much healthier way to make your dishes sweet.

This recipe also calls for epazote, an herb from Central America that is commonly used in Mexican cuisine. It’s said to be an antidote to the gassy effect of beans. I add it to my enchilada sauce and just about any Latin American dish that might contain beans because I don’t need to feel bloated.

The rest of the ingredients are more like standard Cuban frijoles negros….onions, garlic, bay leaves, jalapeno, cumin, cilantro, vinegar and bacon. All the good stuff!

small bowl filled with black beans and topped with jalapenos and cilantro

There is a creaminess to these Latin style beans because they are simmered with vegetables that break down in the sauce, thus thickening and flavoring the stew. I mean, it’s hard to go wrong when your beans are swimming in a delicious broth!

The first day we make these crockpot black beans, we eat it over rice. It’s super satisfying this way and really hits the spot when the weather is chilly. Then we freeze the leftovers to pair with other dinners like our chicken enchiladas or shrimp tacos. But we use these beans in just about any recipe that calls for black beans.

You’re going to love the thick, piquant sauce and the tender bite of the beans. And I’m pretty sure you’re going to mad that it took me years to publish the recipe!

Tips for making black beans from scratch

  • Do black beans have to be soaked before cooking? The answer is no, but it can speed up the cooking time. Soaking is also said to help with the aforementioned gas. For information on soaking methods, this post from the Bean Institute is helpful.
  • Are black beans good for you? YES! Not only are they rich in folate and a great source of plant based protein, beans can help lower bad LDL cholesterol. Pulses (beans, peas, lentils) have many health benefits. Check out this article from Foodal for a more info!
  • Can I make this recipe in the oven? YES! My mom helped me prep this recipe, so I sent her home with the ingredients to make her own beans. She cooked them in a Dutch oven at 300F for about 5 hours.
  • How long will it take to cook the beans? No clear cut answer here unfortunately. It depends on how large the beans are, if you’ve soaked them and the temperature of your crock pot or oven. I always leave extra time because beans can be unpredictable. They can be left on warm in the oven or crockpot if they get done early. They are also great leftover, so you can easily reheat them if you’d like to make them a day or two in advance. Make sure to transfer them directly from crockpot to refrigerator for food safety.
  • Can these black beans be cooked in an Instant Pot? Maybe? I’m still mastering the Instant Pot, but can tell you that when I used the slow cooker function, the beans came out watery. That’s because I don’t have the tempered glass lid. The standard lid is too air tight so not as much liquid escapes during cooking. But I’m sure it can work both pressure cooked and slow cooked, I just haven’t figured out the right ratio of stock to beans yet. (If you’re an IP wiz and figure it out, leave a comment below telling us what worked!)
  • Can these black beans be made without bacon? YES! Use 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to replace the fat from the bacon. You might need to add more salt at the end though.

5 from 8 votes
Slow Cooker Black Beans
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
8 hrs 30 mins
Soaking
8 hrs
Total Time
8 hrs 45 mins
 

This black bean recipe is an amalgamation of some of my favorite Latin American techniques and ingredients. If you love Cuban black beans, you'll find this recipe similar but a little sweeter thanks to the squash. Whether you're eating Mexican, Cuban or Puerto Rican fare, this is a perfect complement to the menu.

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Carribbean, Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican
Keyword: black beans, crock pot black beans, slow cooker black beans
Servings: 12 cups
Calories: 254 kcal
Author: Vintage Kitty
Ingredients
  • 1 lb dried black beans
  • 5 strips thick cut bacon , diced
  • 2 large onions , diced
  • 10 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 bunch cilantro , divided
  • 1 jalapeno , seeded and minced
  • 2 large sweet bell peppers , diced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon epazote
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 cups butternut squash or pumpkin , diced
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
Instructions
  1. Sift through black beans and pull out any stones, then rinse. If desired, place in a large bowl, cover with water and soak overnight in the refrigerator. This will speed up the cooking time a little, but is not necessary. 

  2. On the stove in a large skillet, cook diced bacon over medium heat to render the fat.

  3. When the bacon is mostly cooked, add onions and garlic and saute until onions are golden.

  4. While the onions are cooking, finely chop the cilantro stems saving the tops for garnish.

  5. Transfer bacon onion mixture to a large crockpot and add the cilantro stems and the rest of the ingredients.

  6. Cook on low for 7-9 hours or until the beans are soft and the vegetables have turned into a thick broth. 

  7. Serve with chopped cilantro leaves. 

Recipe Notes
  • If you decided to soak the beans, it's safest to do so in the refrigerator to prevent fermentation. Always drain and rinse soaked beans.
  • For a vegan or vegetarian version, skip the bacon and use 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to saute the onions and garlic.
  • Sauteing the onions is optional, however we highly recommend cooking the onions first. Without this extra cook time, the onions can add a bitter quality to the beans. You can prep the bacon, onions and garlic in advance and refrigerate them until ready to cook. In fact, this dish is easy to prep the night in advance and then put into the crockpot in the morning.
  • This recipe freezes really well. We place the beans in small, medium and large jars so we have the perfect amount to add to tacos, burrito bowls or to have as a quick meal with rice.
Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Black Beans
Amount Per Serving
Calories 254 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 11%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 12mg 4%
Sodium 1380mg 58%
Potassium 918mg 26%
Total Carbohydrates 34g 11%
Dietary Fiber 7g 28%
Sugars 5g
Protein 13g 26%
Vitamin A 84.4%
Vitamin C 51.8%
Calcium 7.2%
Iron 15.9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Making these slow cooker black beans from scratch is so easy, and so flavorful, canned beans will be a thing of the past! #slowcooker #blackbeans #crockpot #dinnerideas #cubanblackbeans #beans #madefromscratch

Making these slow cooker black beans from scratch is so easy, and so flavorful, canned beans will be a thing of the past! #slowcooker #blackbeans #crockpot #dinnerideas #cubanblackbeans #beans #madefromscratch

Making these slow cooker black beans from scratch is so easy, and so flavorful, canned beans will be a thing of the past! #slowcooker #blackbeans #crockpot #dinnerideas #cubanblackbeans #beans #madefromscratch

Making these slow cooker black beans from scratch is so easy, and so flavorful, canned beans will be a thing of the past! #slowcooker #blackbeans #crockpot #dinnerideas #cubanblackbeans #beans #madefromscratch

Making these slow cooker black beans from scratch is so easy, and so flavorful, canned beans will be a thing of the past! #slowcooker #blackbeans #crockpot #dinnerideas #cubanblackbeans #beans #madefromscratch

Making these slow cooker black beans from scratch is so easy, and so flavorful, canned beans will be a thing of the past! #slowcooker #blackbeans #crockpot #dinnerideas #cubanblackbeans #beans #madefromscratch

Making these slow cooker black beans from scratch is so easy, and so flavorful, canned beans will be a thing of the past! #slowcooker #blackbeans #crockpot #dinnerideas #cubanblackbeans #beans #madefromscratch

Bakery Style Strawberry Muffins

These Bakery Style Strawberry Muffins bake up tall and moist just like the ones you buy at your favorite coffee shop. Sweet, fruity and so tender!

Bowl lined with a cross stitch tea towel and filled with strawberry muffins

Strawberry muffins in muffin pan

The inspiration for creating these bakery style strawberry muffins came from the strawberry puree leftover from my strawberry pate de fruit recipe. I figured why not make applesauce style muffins with the leftovers? It was worth a try, but must admit the first attempt wasn’t a stellar. They weren’t strawberry enough for me and I really wanted to be overwhelmed with sweet, fruity flavor.

Back to the drawing board… I added fresh strawberries in addition to the puree the second time around. The second time around was better… the strawberry flavor was there but the muffins were kinda rubbery.

Strawberry muffin batter in muffin tin before baking

Frustrating, right? Well, I pulled an old trick out of my book. Sour cream, buttermilk and yogurt are all baking miracle workers. There’s science at play I don’t understand… but I’m guessing it’s something about the cultures. They can be used interchangeably to make baked goods more tender and tasty.

So I replaced some of the strawberry puree with Greek vanilla yogurt and added more freshly chopped strawberries to the mix. These muffins were tender and sweet just like I was craving.

bakery style strawberry muffins in baking pan

You’d think I’d stop there, but no! I tested the recipe a few more times adjusting baking temps and figuring out how full to fill the cups.  I also tested the different baking pans:

  • Unsurprisingly, the dark pan baked the fasted, but they also ended up the tallest.
  • The pan pictured also turned out nicely baked muffins, but they did not dome as well as the dark pan. HOwever this pan had a skinnier, deep cup which made sure there was no spill over.
  • My worst batch was baked in muffin pans with a light brown enamel coating (unfortunately, my go to pans). Without tulip cups the muffins spilled over onto the top. I think these pans have a smaller cup size but I surmise that the difference in color resulted in a flatter top muffin. With tulip cups the batter was forced upwards and everything was a-o-kay.

top down view of strawberry muffins

To be honest, I prefer tulip cups for muffins, but I made them in standard muffin cups for the photos so you can see how pretty these strawberry muffins are. They turn out a beautiful golden brown with a crunchy, sugary top just like the ones you buy from the bakery. Inside they are full of strawberry bits and you’ll definitely catch a whiff of vanilla as you open a steamy, hot muffin.

They’re super moist and tender. You know what that means? They will still be tasty day two… or even three if you refrigerate them. Now these aren’t skinny muffins. The reality is that healthy muffins are only good freshly baked. You know the kind of muffins that once they’ve cooled they resemble hockey pucks?

Yeah, those are not the kind of muffins I want to eat. If I’m watching my diet, I’ll choose a different type of breakfast. The butter and sugar are absolutely necessary for a moist tender muffin. Anyone who says otherwise is lying to you!

strawberry muffin cut in half with a pat of butter

But in moderation, these muffins won’t ruin your diet either. For me it’s a small morning indulgence that starts my day with a warm, cozy feeling. Because I’m not a morning person, I bake a batch of these, wrap each individually and freeze them. To reheat, I place them in the toaster oven at 250F for about 25 minutes and they come out just like freshly baked muffins.

But if you make these for the family on the weekend, you’re unlikely to have leftovers! Maybe make two batches?

How to make bakery style strawberry muffins

  • A dark muffin pan performed the best in our recipe tests.
  • When in doubt, use tulip liners, they will force the batter upwards resulting a taller, more domed muffin.
  • Make them pretty! Topping the batter with extra diced strawberries and decorating sugar makes a beautiful, crunchy top.
  • Don’t overmix your muffins! If you see some unmixed flour in the batter, that’s okay.
  • You can use frozen strawberries for the puree, but for best results use fresh strawberries for the diced.
  • After you turn the oven heat down, watch the muffins closely. When the tops look done, test the muffins immediately.

5 from 9 votes
Bakery Style Strawberry Muffins
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

These strawberry muffins are tall and moist like the ones you buy at your favorite bakery. We love them because they freeze well and stay soft and tender even after reheating. Perfect for busy mornings!

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 muffins
Calories: 247 kcal
Ingredients
Strawberry Muffins
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup strawberry puree
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup diced strawberries
Topping
  • 1/4 cup diced straberries
  • Decorating sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450F and line a 12 cup muffin pan with tulip liners. If possible start with room temperature ingredients.

  2. Combine the  flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine.

  3. In a second bowl, whisk together the sugar, strawberry puree, vanilla extract and greek yogurt.

  4. Add in the melted butter, whisking fast so it doesn't reharden, and then add the eggs and mix thoroughly.

  5. Fold in the flour mixture until mostly combined. It's okay if you still see some flour.

  6. Fold in the strawberries. Don't overmix though or your have tough muffins.

  7. Scoop the batter into the muffin pan. I used a yellow Zeroll disher which is the perfect size for muffins

  8. Dot the top of the muffins with the remaining strawberries and then sprinkle with decorating sugar.

  9. Bake for 7 minutes at 450F, then reduce the temperature to 375F. It should take an additional 6-7 minutes. Bake until a toothpick inserted the the middle of a muffin comes out clean, Keep in mind that pans make a big difference in cooking times, so see the post above for additional notes.

Recipe Notes
  • These muffins are tall! Unless you have a deeper muffin pan, I strongly suggest using tulip baking cups. I love to use them because they keep the batter off my pans, which means easy cleanup!
  • Fresh fruit muffins will mold easily, so I suggest storing these muffins in the refrigerator or better yet the freezer. We wrap our muffins individually and freeze them up to one month.
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These Bakery Style Strawberry Muffins bake up tall and moist just like the ones you buy at your favorite coffee shop. Sweet, fruity and so tender! #strawberry #strawberrymuffins #baking #muffins #breakfast #bakerystyle

These Bakery Style Strawberry Muffins bake up tall and moist just like the ones you buy at your favorite coffee shop. Sweet, fruity and so tender! #strawberry #strawberrymuffins #baking #muffins #breakfast #bakerystyle

These Bakery Style Strawberry Muffins bake up tall and moist just like the ones you buy at your favorite coffee shop. Sweet, fruity and so tender! #strawberry #strawberrymuffins #baking #muffins #breakfast #bakerystyle

These Bakery Style Strawberry Muffins bake up tall and moist just like the ones you buy at your favorite coffee shop. Sweet, fruity and so tender! #strawberry #strawberrymuffins #baking #muffins #breakfast #bakerystyle

These Bakery Style Strawberry Muffins bake up tall and moist just like the ones you buy at your favorite coffee shop. Sweet, fruity and so tender! #strawberry #strawberrymuffins #baking #muffins #breakfast #bakerystyle

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Outstanding Hot Crab Dip -An Unbelievably Easy Recipe!

This hot crab dip is cheesy, creamy and full of sweet crab flavor. It’s exceptionally easy to make and just so delicious!

Gratin dish filled with hot crab dip on a table with crostini and lemons

Spoon in a dish of hot crab dip

Growing up in the mid-atlantic, with the Chesapeake Bay within spitting distance means a few things…. easy trips to the beach…wharf front dining in any number of quaint river towns… driving on long bridges with Hopper-esque sailboats drifting underneath in the bay…

But as memorable as those experiences may be, the most influential to my growing up is where two amazing things intersect: Old Bay seasoning and the blue crab.  My uncle Bobby had an annual crab feast… and to this day I still long to sit at the newspaper table rubbing elbows with family. If I close my eyes I can see my uncle’s shaggy dog running under the tall trees, the briny smell of crab wafting in the air… and me covered in butter and Old Bay and not getting in trouble for making a mess of myself.

I’m not sure if it’s the smell, or the taste of the memories but crab smothered in Old Bay makes my soul light up.

Now, there are 1000 ways to combine these two things, and they’re almost all delicious beyond speech, but there is one way to use it that is PERFECT for parties, particularly ones that happen around a certain football game that shall not be named.  That preparation is a hot crab dip.

Crab dip with toasted baguette slices and celery

Not only it it extremely tasty, it’s got to be the easiest recipe EVER! We are talking 10 minutes of work for all the oohs and ahs a normal sized ego can absorb.  There will be unbridled face stuffing and finger licking and for a moment you will ignore the lack of manners. You’ve made everyone deliciously happy while barely lifting a finger.

Guys we’ve made our share of complicated crowd pleasers from fancy fried green tomatoes to butter chicken meatballs. There’s nothing wrong with slow food… I mean, our recipe for fried mozzarella balls stuffed with caramelized onions and pumpkin is epic! But sometimes the easiest dish is also the best dish and that proves true with this hot crab dip recipe!

Dish of crab dip with crostini, lemons and celery

This appetizer is heavy on the crab, full of savory flavor and it’s HOT! This is particularly important as it’s been snowing for the better part of the day. But don’t let the hot bubbly cheese convince you this is only a winter dish. It’s great anytime of year for just about any occasion. It’s a bit like the perfect outfit that can be dressed up or down. You just can’t go wrong here!

crostini topped with crab dip on a white plate

Okay, so yes it’s easy but let’s cover a few details. Parties are notorious for having TOO MANY DAMN THINGS TO DO! So you’re probably asking can I make this hot can dip ahead of time? The answer is YES! You can make the filling, load it into your gratin dish and refrigerate it until it’s time to get the party started. HOWEVER, I suggest a MAX of 24 hours. That’s because crab is an extremely delicate ingredient. It can go bad in a heartbeat, so caution is warranted. That also goes for any leftover crab. Eat it, don’t let it go to waste, so make Maryland crab soup, crab fritters, whatever, but don’t let it spoil, because nothing goes bad as fast as crab meat.

So what should you serve with crab dip? We like our hot crab dip with crostini but if you need an easier option crackers will do. You’ll want a buttery cracker. Don’t go for fancy rice crackers or seed crackers because they will totally blow out the crab flavor. Instead, if you have to serve something gluten free, skip the bread crumbs and serve the dip with potato chips and carrot slices.

I also like to have celery and other veggies to munch on because calories! Hopefully it will also help stretch the dish because crab is expensive. As such, I suggest getting lump crab and not jumbo lump crab which is twice as expensive. And if you’re on a summer beach vacation, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to pick your own crabs!

Wherever you are when you make this recipe, I hope you find it delicious!

5 from 1 vote
Hot Crab Dip
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

This recipe is insanely easy to make. It take minutes to make and usually just minutes to disappear!

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: crab dip, hot crab dip
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 258 kcal
Author: Vintage Kitty
Ingredients
  • 4 oz cream cheese , room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 teaspoons old bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives or scallions greens
  • 1-1/2 cups lump blue crab
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F

  2. In a bowl mix together the cream cheese and sour cream with a wooden spoon.

  3. Add the lemon zest, old bay, hot sauce and cheeses and beat until smooth.

  4. Fold in the chives and crab being careful to not break up the crab.

  5. Spread dip into an oven safe dish and top with panko bread crumbs and bake for 20-25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

  7. Serve immediately with crostini or crackers.

Recipe Notes
  • This recipe makes about 3 cups of dip, but it's super easy to cut in half, double or even triple for parties. The only difference between a small or large batch will be baking time.
  • We've made it in a small 7 inch skillet and in traditional gratins dishes. Really any baking dish will work, just make sure that the dish isn't full to the brim because the mixture will bubble up as it gets hot.
  • The dip can be prepped a day in advance. Make the dip but don't add the bread crumbs. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Add the bread crumbs when ready to bake.

Nutrition Facts
Hot Crab Dip
Amount Per Serving
Calories 258 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 31%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Cholesterol 67mg 22%
Sodium 510mg 21%
Potassium 137mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 8g 3%
Sugars 2g
Protein 11g 22%
Vitamin A 15.5%
Vitamin C 4.1%
Calcium 21.3%
Iron 6.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This hot crab dip is cheesy, creamy and full of sweet crab flavor. It’s exceptionally easy to make and just so delicious! #crab #crabdip #appetizer #partyappetizer #hotcrabdip
This hot crab dip is cheesy, creamy and full of sweet crab flavor. It’s exceptionally easy to make and just so delicious! #crab #crabdip #appetizer #partyappetizer #hotcrabdip

This hot crab dip is cheesy, creamy and full of sweet crab flavor. It’s exceptionally easy to make and just so delicious! #crab #crabdip #appetizer #partyappetizer #hotcrabdip

Roasted Root Vegetable Pot Pies

These sweet and savory root vegetable pot pies are filled with a creamy cognac gravy and topped with golden  puff pastry. Just in time for the cold days of winter!

three root vegetable pot pies on a painted wooden tray with spoons and glasses of water

closeup of a root vegetable pot pie covered with puff pastry

When its cold outside, nothing is as comforting as a steaming pot pie filled with sweet root vegetables. It’s proof that there is an upside to the dark, gloomy days of winter. If it didn’t get cold we wouldn’t have extra sweet carrots or a reason to learn what hygge means.

I don’t talk about it too often, but we live in a huge fixer upper Victorian and winters here are cold! We keep the thermostat low to save money so we eat lots of hearty, piping hot dishes in the winter and for some reason soups top the list. Our creamy celery root soup and sweet potato chili are faves this time of year, but sometimes you want a soup that’s a bit more indulgent.

Well, pot pies are like stew with the added bonus of crust, so today I’ve got an excellent root vegetable pot pie recipe to share with you. It’s got all those great winter veggies in there like celery root, leeks, sweet potatoes and parsnips in a creamy gravy. It’s rich, buttery and will make winter feel like a blessing. So hygge!

spoon in bowl of root vegetable pot pie

This recipe started off as a single pot meal. The idea was to make a family sized pot pie that could go from stove to oven to table in one pot. But then I asked my facebook friends if they preferred family sized or individual pot pies. The overwhelming winner was individual because everyone wants a generous portion of crust.

So that’s how I’ve styled this recipe, but know that if you don’t have the time or inclination for individual pot pies, you can make this as a one pot meal. (Hello easy cleanup!)

The way I got the most flavor out of the root vegetables was by roasting them in a very hot oven. As they caramelize in a bath of butter and spices, you can keep prepping the other ingredients, so this method is a major time saver as well.

After the vegetables are slightly tender, you transfer the pot to the stove to make the creamy gravy which is seasoned with cognac, thyme and parsley. This is the point where you can transfer the filling to heat safe bowls or just lay the puff pastry on top of your Dutch oven.

Spoon laying across the top of a bowl of root vegetable pot pie. Underneath is a hand embroidered cloth.

It’s a winter dish that’s simple and rustic but also very satisfying. The crispy pastry complements the sweet earthiness of the veg and the fresh herbs give the sauce complexity. It’s the kind of dish that can be a humble weeknight pie or an elegant side dish for company.

We’ve made these pot pies vegetarian, but for those meat eaters out there, adding cubed ham would also be delicious. It’s versatile like that, so if you want to add some protein or an extra veggie, go ahead. Just try to keep the solid ingredients the same proportion so you have enough sauce to cover your filling.

You’re going to love this roasted root vegetable pot pie, so I’m going to quit chattering so you can get to the recipe! As always if you have any questions, leave me a message below. I’m here to help!

5 from 10 votes
Roasted Root Vegetable Pot Pies
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 10 mins
Total Time
1 hr 25 mins
 

I like to use a variety of colors of carrots in this recipe. It adds extra visual appeal. 

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pot pie, root vegetable, root vegetable pot pie
Servings: 4 individual pot pies
Calories: 960 kcal
Author: Vintage Kitty
Ingredients
Pot Pie Filling
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried corriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 2 cups leeks , sliced and soaked in cold water
  • 2 cups diced sweet potato
  • 2 cups diced parsnips
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 2 cups diced celery root
  • 2 tablespoons cognac
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2-1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley , chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
Assembly
  • 1-2 sheets frozen puff pastry
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
Instructions
Roasted Root Vegetables
  1. Preheat oven to 450F

  2. In a large dutch oven, combine the butter, dried thyme, coriander, salt and pepper. Place on the stove and melt butter over low heat while you chop your veggies.

  3. Once the butter is melted, add the leeks, sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots and celery root and give the mixture a couple stirs to coat the veggies in butter.

  4. Transfer the Dutch oven to the oven. Roast the veggies for 30 minutes, or until slightly tender. Make sure to stir the mixture every 10 minutes for even cooking. While the veggies are cooking, prep the rest of your ingredients.

  5. When the veggies are slightly tender, transfer the pot back to the stove and turn the oven down to 400F. 

  6. Over medium heat, deglaze the pan with the cognac. Once the cognac has lost it's alcohol smell, add the flour and cook for one minute, stirring constantly.

  7. Pour in the stock and milk and mix well, being careful to not crush the root vegetables.

  8. Bring to a boil. The sauce should be nice and thick at this point.

  9. Turn off the heat and stir in the herbs.

  10. Reseason with salt and pepper to taste.

  11. If desired, transfer the filling to individual, heat safe bowls.

  12. Roll out a sheet of puff pastry according to the package instructions. Cut squares large enough to drape over your pies and then make a few slits in the top of each to vent the steam.

  13. Place the pastry over your pies and then brush with egg wash.

  14. Bake pot pies for 25-30 minutes, or until the puff pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

Recipe Notes
  • You can make the filling in advance, so this is a great recipe for meal prep. Just cover with puff pastry and bake. They will take a bit longer to bake if the filling is cold.
  • There's roughly a half pound of each vegetable in this recipe. 
  • We tested this recipe with Pepperidge Farm and Wegmans brand puff pastry. The Wegmans puff is made with real butter, so we found it more tasty but easier to burn in the oven.

 

Nutrition Facts
Roasted Root Vegetable Pot Pies
Amount Per Serving
Calories 960 Calories from Fat 351
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 39g 60%
Saturated Fat 24g 120%
Cholesterol 155mg 52%
Sodium 1159mg 48%
Potassium 1188mg 34%
Total Carbohydrates 82g 27%
Dietary Fiber 10g 40%
Sugars 15g
Protein 13g 26%
Vitamin A 464.5%
Vitamin C 59.2%
Calcium 23.6%
Iron 27.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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These sweet and savory root vegetable pot pies are filled with a creamy cognac gravy and topped with golden  puff pastry. Just in time for the cold days of winter! #maincourse #dinnerideas #wintereats #potpie #vegetarian #rootvegetable #celeryroot #sweetpotato #sidedishThese sweet and savory root vegetable pot pies are filled with a creamy cognac gravy and topped with golden  puff pastry. Just in time for the cold days of winter! #maincourse #dinnerideas #wintereats #potpie #vegetarian #rootvegetable #celeryroot #sweetpotato #sidedish

These sweet and savory root vegetable pot pies are filled with a creamy cognac gravy and topped with golden  puff pastry. Just in time for the cold days of winter! #maincourse #dinnerideas #wintereats #potpie #vegetarian #rootvegetable #celeryroot #sweetpotato #sidedish

These sweet and savory root vegetable pot pies are filled with a creamy cognac gravy and topped with golden  puff pastry. Just in time for the cold days of winter! #maincourse #dinnerideas #wintereats #potpie #vegetarian #rootvegetable #celeryroot #sweetpotato #sidedish

These sweet and savory root vegetable pot pies are filled with a creamy cognac gravy and topped with golden  puff pastry. Just in time for the cold days of winter! #maincourse #dinnerideas #wintereats #potpie #vegetarian #rootvegetable #celeryroot #sweetpotato #sidedish

Strawberry Pate de Fruit

Strawberry Pate de Fruit, also called fruit jellies, are an inexpensive candy to make from scratch. It just takes a few simple ingredients and a candy thermometer to make this French confection at home.

strawberry pate de fruit in heart shaped candlewick bowl on a silver tray

strawberry pate de fruit on marble with x and o cocktail picksWhen I was very young, Tysons Corner Mall was the place to go shopping. Under one roof there were two sprawling floors of stores, all with shiny window displays. Malls aren’t very popular these days, but I still have fond memories of eating lunch at Hot Shoppes and running behind my mom as she walked at breakneck speeds.

Mom always seemed to be in a hurry and for my little child legs it was hard to keep up. But if I kept up and didn’t misbehave, the reward at the end of the day was a treat from the candy stand. You know those citrus slice jellies? I loved their fruity flavors and the way the grit of the sugar contrasted the soft jelly texture. So that’s what I would request EVERY TIME!

strawberry pate de fruit in a heart shaped bowl on silver trayAbout twenty years ago I was flipping through a French Laundry cookbook at my in-laws and discovered a recipe for pate de fruit. First, at the time I had no idea the French Laundry was a fancy pants restaurant. Second,  I had no clue pate de fruits were a famous french treat.

plate with strawberry pate de fruit In my mind, candy came from factories or quaint mom and pop shops at the beach. Who knew that these little confections could be made at home?

stack of strawberry pate de fruit on plate with sugar

Now I make my fruit jellies rather than buy them…. strawberry, pineapple, orange….you name a flavor, I’ve probably tried it!

Pate de fruit are actually quite easy to make but you do need a candy thermometer. Otherwise, this recipe for strawberry pate de fruit is pretty simple. It contains strawberry puree, sugar, unsweetened apple sauce, lemon juice, powdered pectin and a splash of red wine for added color and flavor.

The tricky part is really in the waiting. As the mixture boils you stir and stir and stir until you think your arm will fall off. But with time, the water cooks out of the syrup thus achieving a jelly consistency. Pour the candy into a pan and then wait again for it to set up…usually overnight.

strawberry pate de fruit

Obviously, this is a not a last minute snack attack kind of treat. But it does make a fantastic treat for holidays like Valentines Day, Christmas and Easter. Just one recipe makes 64 candies and they keep indefinitely if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry location.

What I love about these strawberry pate de fruit is the intense fruity flavor. They are soft and chewy with a deep berry color that is sure to please both kids and adults.

5 from 11 votes
Strawberry Pate de Fruit
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

These sweet and fruity strawberry pate de fruit are an easy to make homemade candy. You can use fresh or frozen strawberries, making this a great recipe for holidays and parties throughout the year.

Course: candy, Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: strawberry jellies, strawberry pate de fruit
Servings: 64 squares
Calories: 26 kcal
Ingredients
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (plus more for coating)
  • 3/4 cup strawberry puree * see notes
  • 1-1/4 cups unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons powdered pectin
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons red wine
Instructions
  1. Line an 8 by 8 inch square pan with  two crisscrossing pieces of parchment paper. I find it helpful to use clothespins to make sure the paper stays put.

  2. In a deep 3 quart pot, combine sugar, strawberry puree, apple sauce, lemon juice and pectin.

  3. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon.

  4. Once the mixture has been cooking for about 10 minutes, carefully attach a candy thermometer. At this point you'll want to stir continuously to keep the bottom of the pan from burning.

  5. Cook until the thermometer reaches 225F. Turn off the heat and stir in the red wine.

  6. Turn off the heat and stir in the red wine, then immediately pour the syrup into the prepared pan.

  7. Let sit 4-8 hours until set.

  8. Generously sprinkle a cutting board with granulated sugar and then turn out the pate de fruit onto the cutting board.

  9. Gently peel off the parchments paper. It will be sticky, so work from one corner and peel slowly. 

  10. Using a large sharp knife, cut the candy into one inch strips and then one inch pieces. You will have to wash and dry the knife between cuts.

  11. Dredge the pate de fruit squares in more sugar. 

  12. Store in an airtight container with parchment between layers.

Recipe Notes
  • I used frozen strawberries for this recipe. I let them thaw in a bowl and then very lightly mashed them. Then I strained them through a fine mesh sieve, leaving behind as much white colored pulp behind as possible.
  • This recipe results in a soft but firm candy. You can cook the mixture longer up to 245F but the higher the temperature, the more likely the mixture is to burn, so use caution.
  • If you make jelly often, I suggest buying the jar of powdered pectin rather than the boxes. It's easier to use and more cost effective. 
  •  
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Strawberry Pate de Fruit, also called fruit jellies, are an inexpensive candy to make from scratch. It just takes a few simple ingredients and a candy thermometer to make this French confection at home.
Strawberry Pate de Fruit, also called fruit jellies, are an inexpensive candy to make from scratch. It just takes a few simple ingredients and a candy thermometer to make this French confection at home.
Strawberry Pate de Fruit, also called fruit jellies, are an inexpensive candy to make from scratch. It just takes a few simple ingredients and a candy thermometer to make this French confection at home.
Strawberry Pate de Fruit, also called fruit jellies, are an inexpensive candy to make from scratch. It just takes a few simple ingredients and a candy thermometer to make this French confection at home.

Frozen Cranberry Daiquiris

Baby it’s cold inside with these frozen cranberry daiquiris! It’s a festive holiday twist on the classic daiquiri that’s sure to make your holiday a blast!

frozen cranberry daiquiris surrounded by a silver christmas scene

glass filled with frozen cranberry daiquiri with lime

I’m totally loving these festive frozen cranberry daiquiris! Maybe you’re imagining me in the tropics wearing a Santa hat with a drink in my hand. Sounds lovely but no, I’m still in the foothills of West Virginia, wearing hats and scarves inside to stay warm.

You may think I’ve fallen off my rocker. Who makes frozen cocktails during the winter season? But to me, Christmas is all about the cold. The idea of snow on pine trees and frost on the windows seems romantic, so why not celebrate with a frosty drink?

It’s actually pretty welcome idea because when the house gets packed with partygoers, it’s not long before someone’s opening a window to cool off the house. Save some heat and pass out frozen cranberry daiquiris instead!

sugared cranberries in a jar with cocktail spoon

Just like our strawberry margaritas, these drinks take a little prep work to get the perfect frozen consistency. I started with fresh cranberries because I wanted to get things really icy, but not compromise the drink’s flavor by watering it down.

That meant making a syrup that was rich and sweet and bursting with cranberry flavor. It’s quite like making cranberry sauce, so after the cranberries are cooked and strained, it has a jammy texture and dark ruby color.

Then we combine the syrup with white rum. lime juice, and agave and freeze it overnight. This ensures that when the daiquiris are blended with ice they don’t turn to liquid.

It’s all about the perfect frozen cocktail! It might seem like a pain but this prep work means you can mingle more and bartend less!

lime slices in a snowflake bowl

You can impress your guests with the fun stuff, like adding a white sparkly rim to your favorite stemware. The look is quite festive, especially once you add a slice of lime and a cocktail pick loaded with cranberries.

I made the mistake of sugaring my cranberries. It was a total waste of time because once they hit the cocktail, the sugar started melting off. But they looked super pretty anyway!

cranberry daiquiris surrounded by ice and ornaments

It’s such a festive looking drink! But it’s the flavor that will impress the most. These cocktails are just the right mix are tart and sweet with a boozy rum base that will kick the party up a notch!

Frozen Cranberry Daiquiris
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Freezing Time
8 hrs
Total Time
35 mins
 

Mix things up! These frozen cranberry cocktails will keep the party cool!

Course: Cocktail
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberry daiquiris
Servings: 1 drink
Author: Vintage Kitty
Ingredients
Cranberry syrup
  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
Frozen Cranberry Daiquiri
  • 2-1/2 ounces white rum
  • 1-1/2 ounces cranberry syrup
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce agave
  • 8-10 ice cubes
Garnish
  • Decorating sugar
  • Lime slices
  • Cranberries
Instructions
Cranberry syrup
  1. Wash the cranberries and place them in a medium or large pot with the water and sugar.

  2. Place pot over medium heat and cook until the berries have popped and there's a thick syrup, about 20-25 minutes.

  3. Run syrup through a fine mesh sieve, pressing all of the pulp out. Discard skins and refrigerate until ready to use.

Frozen Cranberry Daiquiri
  1. In a freezer proof container combine rum, cranberry syrup, lime juice and agave and freeze overnight. (You're likely lanning to make more than one cocktail, multiply as needed and make sure to mark your containers so you know how many cocktails are in each).

  2. When ready to serve, combine the cocktail mixture in a blender with 8-10 ice cubes (for each drink)  and pulse until smooth.

  3. Pour into a glass rimmed with sugar and garnish with lime and cranberries.

Recipe Notes
  • One drink recipe makes one large drink or two small drinks. For reference, 3 recipes filled the five glasses pictured in the post.
  • This recipe can also make a chilled but not frozen daiquiri. For chilled daiquiris, there's no need to freeze the ingredients beforehand. Just place them in the blender and pulse with the ice cubes until the mixture is smooth.
  • The cranberry syrup recipe makes about 4 cups, enough for about 20 drinks. 
  • The cranberry syrup will look gritty and as it cools will have a jam like texture. If you'd like it to look smoother, you can puree it in a blender, but there's really no need to do this since it will be blended later. I did try blending it and  it came out looking like cranberry curd. Much more appetizing looking if you plan to have a bar set up with cocktail ingredients.
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Baby it's cold inside with these frozen cranberry daiquiris! It's a festive holiday twist on the classic daiquiri that's sure to make your holiday a blast! #cocktails #cranberry #daiquiri #cocktailhour #christmascocktails #christmasparty


Baby it's cold inside with these frozen cranberry daiquiris! It's a festive holiday twist on the classic daiquiri that's sure to make your holiday a blast! #cocktails #cranberry #daiquiri #cocktailhour #christmascocktails #christmasparty

Baby it's cold inside with these frozen cranberry daiquiris! It's a festive holiday twist on the classic daiquiri that's sure to make your holiday a blast! #cocktails #cranberry #daiquiri #cocktailhour #christmascocktails #christmasparty

Baby it's cold inside with these frozen cranberry daiquiris! It's a festive holiday twist on the classic daiquiri that's sure to make your holiday a blast! #cocktails #cranberry #daiquiri #cocktailhour #christmascocktails #christmasparty

Baby it's cold inside with these frozen cranberry daiquiris! It's a festive holiday twist on the classic daiquiri that's sure to make your holiday a blast! #cocktails #cranberry #daiquiri #cocktailhour #christmascocktails #christmasparty

Homemade Carrot Cake Liqueur

Carrot cake liqueur is a delicious after dinner drink infused with sugar and spice and everything nice. It’s easy to craft and perfect for homemade gifts!

Bottle of carrot cake liqueur next to cordial glass

ingredients for carrot cake liqueur

We’ve been making liqueurs for quite a while now, so it’s surprising that this homemade carrot cake liqueur is the first to hit the blog! To date, we’ve made limoncello, gin, cherry brandy, homemade Kahlua and even a wild raspberry liqueur.  In a clean alcohol base like vodka or rum, the flavors pop so it’s a great way to preserve seasonal produce, herbs or freshly roasted coffee.

In this case, the winter season is perfect for making carrot liqueur! We all know that carrots are cold tolerant but did you know they survive the icy temps by converting some of their starch to sugar? It’s a win for us because winter carrots are sweeter than their summer counterparts. Perfect for an after dinner drink, wouldn’t you say?

Jar filled with carrot cake liqueur infusion

This carrot cake liqueur is also one of the quickest I’ve made. It only takes 10 minutes to load the concoction into a jar and there’s a relatively short infusion time. I tested the recipe at one, two and three week infusions  and I’d say there isn’t much difference in flavor (good news if you’re in a rush) although the batch that steeped for three weeks was the most colorful.

I’ll say that making the liqueur and eagerly shaking the jar day by day is the fun part. What follows is a tedious process of filtering out all those yummy bits of carrot and spice. I’ll admit that this takes patience. There’s a point about halfway through where you consider eating your liqueur like soup, chunks and all! But the finer you filter the liquor the less chance you’ll have carrot sediment in the bottom of your bottles.

Bottle of carrot cake liqueur with a gift tag that says cheers

If you have no interest in bottling the carrot cake liqueur (and who could blame you, this stuff begs to be poured), you don’t have to filter as much, just give the liqueur a good shake before serving. The tiny particles of carrot are so small they can really only be seen after they settle to the bottom, kind of like a giant orange snow globe of deliciousness. If your plan is to serve this as a dinner party aperitif, use a fine reusable coffee filter you don’t need to bother with paper coffee filters.

Our recipe makes a small batch, about 18-20 ounces of liqueur, enough for a good dinner party, but it’s very easy to make in larger batches too. Just make sure that whatever jar you use for infusing has room at the top so you can shake or at least swirl the ingredients every now and then.

Carrot liqueur next to a stick of cinnamon and a cordial glass

For Christmas, we made eight batches which filled a dozen 375ml bottles. It’s a lovely gift size and quite elegant when you attach a custom tag with gold threaded baker’s twine! The Fiskars tag maker made this last task super easy and continued the the made-with-love motif.

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Carrot cake liqueur on a crocheted cloth


5 from 1 vote
Carrot Cake Liqueur
Prep Time
30 mins
Infusing time
14 d
Total Time
30 mins
 

Making homemade liqueurs is one of my favorite pastimes. It's a great was to preserve the flavors of fresh produce and an easy endeavor. It just takes patience while you wait for your liqueur to infuse! This carrot cake vodka takes less time than the average liqueur, so in as little as a week, you could be serving this delicious drink to friends!

Course: Cocktail
Cuisine: American
Keyword: carrot cake, liqueur
Servings: 18 1-oz servings
Author: Vintage Kitty
Ingredients
Supplies
Ingredients
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons chopped golden raisins
  • 1 allspice berry
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups 80 proof vodka
Instructions
  1. Combine all the liqueur ingredients in a quart sized jar and cover tightly with a lid.

  2. Let the liqueur infuse  for 1-3 weeks, shaking the jar every couple of days.

  3. Over a large bowl strain the liqueur through a sieve.

  4. Wring the leftover solids through cheesecloth. You want every drop of liquor!

  5. Now run the liquor through the finest sieve you have. A reusable coffee filter works great. 

  6. At this point the liquid will be very orange. You can serve it this way, but over time the tiny particles of carrot will separate and settle on the bottom.

  7. If you prefer a clearer liqueur, filter again through paper coffee filters. This is a lesson in patience as the carrot particles will quickly clog the filters. For this step, I clean my coffee brewer parts and carafe and use the coffee maker to my advantage. I add about 1/2 a cup of liqueur directly to the filter and let gravity do it's thing. (Do not  turn on the coffee maker!)

  8. Store your liqueur in a nice bottle or decanter.

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Carrot cake liqueur is a delicious after dinner drink infused with sugar and spice and everything nice. It’s easy to craft and perfect for homemade gifts! #liqueur #aperitif #homemadeliqueur #cocktailhour #cocktails#homemadegifts #carrotcake #vodka

Carrot cake liqueur is a delicious after dinner drink infused with sugar and spice and everything nice. It’s easy to craft and perfect for homemade gifts! #liqueur #aperitif #homemadeliqueur #cocktailhour #cocktails#homemadegifts #carrotcake #vodka

Carrot cake liqueur is a delicious after dinner drink infused with sugar and spice and everything nice. It’s easy to craft and perfect for homemade gifts! #liqueur #aperitif #homemadeliqueur #cocktailhour #cocktails#homemadegifts #carrotcake #vodka

Carrot cake liqueur is a delicious after dinner drink infused with sugar and spice and everything nice. It’s easy to craft and perfect for homemade gifts! #liqueur #aperitif #homemadeliqueur #cocktailhour #cocktails#homemadegifts #carrotcake #vodka

Carrot cake liqueur is a delicious after dinner drink infused with sugar and spice and everything nice. It’s easy to craft and perfect for homemade gifts! #liqueur #aperitif #homemadeliqueur #cocktailhour #cocktails#homemadegifts #carrotcake #vodka

Cut Out Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

This Christmas cookie recipe combines the flavors of molasses and cocoa for a rolled chocolate gingerbread cookie that is fun to bake and decorate.

Christmas decorated chocolate gingerbread cookies on marble

gingerbread man, santa, reindeer and other chocolate gingerbread cookies

Baking Christmas cookies is one of those yearly checklist kind of things. Somehow, it doesn’t feel like Christmas until I’ve rolled out a batch of cookies and then decorated them with family and friends. It’s the creative part of the season.

You can tell a lot about a person based on what their favorite cookie cutters are. Are they drawn to rudolf or snowflakes? And when they decorate the cookies, do they prefer to cover the cookie in every sprinkle imaginable or gracefully pipe a minimalist design?

festive Christmas scene with decorated chocolate gingerbread cookies

It’s one of my favorite parts of Christmas, so when I bake a batch of cookies, I’ll message the neighbors to send their kids over to help or invite a friend to come over and share a bottle of wine. Then we  crank up the Christmas tunes and have a jolly good time!

Or sometimes date night turns into cookie night like it did last Saturday. Kevin and I had a blast decorating these chocolate gingerbread cookies. It was long awaited because recipe testing this cookie was not straightforward.

decorated chocolate gingerbread cookies

This might be the 7th batch? Some were too soft. Others were too hard. It took a lot of trial and error to figure out how long the cookies should be chilled, how thick they should be rolled and how long they should bake in the oven.

I feel like this is true of most rolled cookies. You want them to keep their shape but you also want the cookies to be delicious! So, I’ve balanced this recipe to have just the right amount of sweet, spice and chocolate but also be great for decorating.

chocolate gingerbread cookies on marble with candy canes and decorating sugar

For this gingerbread recipe, the key is rolling them out thinly while the dough is still a bit warm and then chilling them so they don’t spread in the oven. Fresh out of the oven they are soft and chewy on the inside with a sugary crunch on the outside. Days later, they lose their chewiness and become crisp with a crumbly texture that holds up well for gifting.

HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE CUT OUT COOKIES THAT HOLD THEIR SHAPE

  • For this recipe, I prefer to roll them when the dough is still warm. When the dough is chilled, it’s hard on the hands and wrists and is so much work to get the dough rolled thinly and evenly.
  • Roll the dough out by sandwiching it between two pieces of parchment paper cut to the size of your sheet pan. If the paper starts to wrinkle, flip it over and peel up the sheet. Lay the sheet back down and continue rolling. You can flip the sheets as often as needed to ensure a smooth roll. This way you won’t add unwanted flour to the cookies, which means that you can reroll the dough more times and still get good looking cookies.
  • Once the dough is rolled, cut out your cookies.
  • Don’t move the cookies. Instead remove the excess dough and transfer the whole sheet of parchment to your sheet pan. For tiny areas between cookies, use a toothpick to lift the dough.
  • Chill your cookies. For this recipe 60 minutes in the freezer worked best.
  • Never place chilled cookies on a hot sheet pan. Always start with one that’s cold or room temperature.
  • Once your cookies are chilled you can move them around so they have enough space to not run together while baking.
  • Make sure that your oven is completely preheated before baking your cookies.
  • Just like cakes, you can test the doneness by gently pressing your finger in the middle of a cookie. If it springs back, they’re done…but in the case of a thin chocolate cookie they may already be overdone. If you press the cookie and it mostly springs back, it’s probably done enough.

If you prefer a soft cookie, you can roll the dough thicker, upwards of 1/4 inch. You’ll have to bake them longer but they will stay soft. However, they won’t hold their shape well. I actually really loved them this way and think that if you just want round cookies they would be perfect with buttercream and sprinkles. I’ll have to try that next!

Cutting rolled out Chocolate gingerbread dough with cookie cutters

But for now I’m all about using my HUGE collection of cookie cutters…like it’s probably upwards of three hundred with at least a third being Christmas cutters. I first became obsessed back in the late 1990s when Martha Stewart sold cookie cutters in her catalog.

Martha Stewart Living always featured the most beautiful royal icing decorated cookies, so I bought a bunch of fancy cookie cutters and tried my hand at piping. It was a royal flop! The day ended in tears and I gave up any hopes of becoming a great cookie decorator.

Fast forward the 2010s, Sweet Sugarbelle reignited my desire to decorate cookies. I finally got the hang of royal icing  and even started a blog called Sweet Charity’s Chocolates. So with new found confidence my cookie cutter collection grew and grew and grew!

I’m not sorry either because you NEED cookie variety! For this recipe, I used some of my favorites. Both the reindeer and santa are made by Miri Miri. These are actually great gifts because they come in two packs and the shapes are anything but ordinary.

This scottie and larger snowflake are both classics made by R&M. I think the ornaments may be made by them too but I can’t find the big ornament cutter online.

Cut out chocolate gingerbread cookies on a cookie sheet ready for baking

I also have a ton of vintage cookie cutters in my collection. The star cutter is by far my favorite star cutter (only cookie nerds have a favorite star cutter lol). It’s the perfect size and it’s not so pointy that it loses it shape while baking. It can be found in this Christmas set on Etsy. And the mouse is not really a mouse at all! It’s from a Wilton cake decorating set but if you have imagination it’s a mouse!

I’m also fond of the smaller snowflake and the tree. They’re from a plastic set made by Kuhn Rikon, but I could not find them online nor could I find the Celebrate It gingerbread man. It is the perfect gingerbread man, so if you’re looking for one, go to Michaels because I’m pretty sure that’s where I found it.

Anyway, if you take good care of your cookie cutters, they’ll last a lifetime or maybe even longer! I’ve inherited quite a few from my mother and bought so many in antique shops. Just in case you’re a new cookie cutter collector (it’s such an affordable vice) read below for tips on caring for your collection.

Happy Baking and Happy Holidays!

xoxo Kitty

HOW TO CLEAN COOKIE CUTTERS AND STORE THEM

  • Always wash your cookie cutters by hand whether they are plastic or metal.
  • Never soak your cookie cutters for more than 10-15 minutes. Metal cookie cutters can rust and the new plastic printed type can be made of materials sensitive to water.
  • Always make sure to thoroughly dry your metal cutters as quickly as possible to prevent rust. I do this by placing them on a clean cookie sheet and popping them in the oven on warm with the door cracked.
  • Take extra care with antique cutters. They may have soldering that can melt. For these, hand dry them and then use a hair dryer to dry off any remaining wet spots.
  • Protect steel, aluminum and copper cutters by storing them in ziplock bags. This way they won’t rust from humid air or tarnish as quickly.
  • If they came in a box, save and reuse it! The easiest way to ruin a cutter is by accidently misshaping it in an overcrowded drawer.


We hope you have fun making this chocolate gingerbread cookie recipe! Kevin and I love to get feedback. Leave a comment below or even better, show us your creations by tagging #vintagekittyblog on social media!

5 from 8 votes
Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
8 mins
Rolling and chilling time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 28 mins
 

These chocolate gingerbread cookies are a fun twist on the classic recipe. 

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: christmas cookies, cookies, gingerbread cookies
Servings: 60 medium to large cookies
Calories: 105 kcal
Author: Vintage Kitty
Ingredients
Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
  • 3-1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour (15.75 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup dutch process cocoa
  • 1 large egg , beaten
Royal Icing
  • 3 pasteurized egg whites (see notes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 4-3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
Instructions
How to Make Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
  1. Combine the flour and salt and set aside.

  2. In a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, combine brown sugar, molasses, spices and butter.

  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until butter has melted.

  4. Turn off the heat and stir in the baking soda. The mixture will foam up.

  5. Once the foaming subsides some, stir in the cocoa.

  6. Add the egg, mixing vigorously so that it does not cook before you get it mixed in.

  7. Once the egg is incorporated, add in the flour a little bit at a time

  8. When you reach the point your arms are too tired to keep stirring in flour, transfer to a lightly oiled work surface ( I did this on my marble countertop) or to a very large bowl. Knead in remaining flour until the dough is smooth.

  9. Cover the dough and let it rest until it's cooled down. At first the dough will be very shiny from the melted butter, but as it cools and the butter rehardens, the dough will start to look more matte.

  10. Form the dough into 3-4 disks and wrap all but one so they don't dry out.

  11. Roll out the first disk between two sheets of parchment paper to about 3/16th-1/8th inch thickness. You'll want your sheets to be the same size as the cookie sheet you'll be using. 

  12. Cut out cookies then remove the excess dough but don't move the cookies. Transfer your parchment (with cookies) onto a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for 60 minutes. (Feel free to crowd the pan for freezing)

  13. Preheat oven to 350F

  14. Continue rolling out cookies with remaining dough, repeating steps above.

  15. When ready to bake, take your cookies out of the freezer and reposition them so they don't spread into each other while baking.

  16. Bake cookies 8-10 minutes. This is a guide! If you're cookies are rolled thick they will puff up and spread more and take longer. Thinner, smaller cookies may only take 6-7 minutes. My suggestion is to bake a few first to test the timing in your oven so you don't ruin a whole batch!

How to Make Royal Icing
  1. With a mixer, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.

  2. Slowly add in powdered sugar, whipping between additions.

  3. Once all the sugar has been added, thin with water one teaspoon at a time to the desired consistency. (see notes)

  4. Fill a pastry bag loaded with a number 2 or 3 piping tip with royal icing and place them in a large glass with a moistened paper towel in the bottom.

  5. Once cookies have cooled completely, have fun decorating! Make sure to leave the cookies overnight to dry.

  6. Keep unused icing in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes
  • Some stores carry pasteurized eggs, but many do not. You can make them at home on the stovetop or the sous vide method. I'll be honest, I don't use pasteurized eggs, but for children, elderly, sick or pregnant cookie eaters safety is a must. 
  • Make sure to not boil the molasses mixture when melting the butter. You don't want to cook the water out of the sugar. That results in hard, rather than soft and chewy cookies.
  • The thicker these cookies are rolled, the softer they turn out. However the thicker the cookies are, the less they hold their shape during baking. If you'd like soft cookies, I suggest cutting out rounds and then decorating them with vanilla buttercream frosting rather than royal icing.
  • I'm no expert at creating the perfect royal icing consistency but Sweet Sugarbelle is! Check out her guide on flood and piping consistencies.
  • If this is your first time making royal icing, check out this royal icing post from Foodal. It has many helpful tips. 

 

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This Christmas cookie recipe combines the flavors of molasses and cocoa for a rolled chocolate gingerbread cookie that is fun to bake and decorate. #christmascookies #gingerbread #cookies #chocolaterecipes #Christmasrecipes #chocolategingerbread

This Christmas cookie recipe combines the flavors of molasses and cocoa for a rolled chocolate gingerbread cookie that is fun to bake and decorate.

This Christmas cookie recipe combines the flavors of molasses and cocoa for a rolled chocolate gingerbread cookie that is fun to bake and decorate.

This Christmas cookie recipe combines the flavors of molasses and cocoa for a rolled chocolate gingerbread cookie that is fun to bake and decorate. #christmascookies #gingerbread #cookies #chocolaterecipes #Christmasrecipes #chocolategingerbread

This Christmas cookie recipe combines the flavors of molasses and cocoa for a rolled chocolate gingerbread cookie that is fun to bake and decorate. #christmascookies #gingerbread #cookies #chocolaterecipes #Christmasrecipes #chocolategingerbread

This Christmas cookie recipe combines the flavors of molasses and cocoa for a rolled chocolate gingerbread cookie that is fun to bake and decorate. #christmascookies #gingerbread #cookies #chocolaterecipes #Christmasrecipes #chocolategingerbread

This Christmas cookie recipe combines the flavors of molasses and cocoa for a rolled chocolate gingerbread cookie that is fun to bake and decorate. #christmascookies #gingerbread #cookies #chocolaterecipes #Christmasrecipes #chocolategingerbread

This Christmas cookie recipe combines the flavors of molasses and cocoa for a rolled chocolate gingerbread cookie that is fun to bake and decorate. #christmascookies #gingerbread #cookies #chocolaterecipes #Christmasrecipes #chocolategingerbread

This Christmas cookie recipe combines the flavors of molasses and cocoa for a rolled chocolate gingerbread cookie that is fun to bake and decorate. #christmascookies #gingerbread #cookies #chocolaterecipes #Christmasrecipes #chocolategingerbread

Foolproof Pie Crust #MyVintageRecipe

This heirloom pie crust recipe rolls out like a dream. It’s flaky, tender and time tested so you know it will never fail.

#MyVintageRecipe is a series that documents the anthropology of food one recipe at a time. My hope is that these stories will help us better understand how the food we eat plays a vital role in our personal lives and tells a larger story about the cultural impacts of food traditions. Every recipe has a story. Do you have one to tell? Email me at kitty@vintagekitty.com

bowl with shortening being cut into flour

As far back as I can remember my mom has been a baker. As a young child I can remember her waking me up late at night because she was in the mood to make cookies. In my nightgown, I’d teeter on a step stool, watching my mom as she turned flour and sugar into batter.

My mom was so adept at baking, that I usually watched, rather than participate. Mom performed her elegant dance, gently caressing the ingredients, massaging them into minimalist works of art. She was no foodie or gourmet, just a home cook with a rural Pennsylvania Dutch palate. Despite the simplicity, be it a humble pie or a buttery pound cake, the result was sweet perfection and I lived for a taste.

It was during these intimate nights, baking in the moonlight with my mother, that my deep love of food began.

pie dough before rolling

When I finally began to bake on my own, it was a rude awakening. Mom made baking look effortless but it did not come easily to me. There were many tears and fallen cakes before I earned a bit of my mother’s finesse. But with years of practice, I too have grown into a baker, like my mom and her mom before her.

Baker is a title of honor. Its a position earned through haphazard burns and dishpan hands. Yes, beyond the toil there is achievement. Nailing the meringue can be so satisfying! But the real reward is joyful smiles and full bellies.  It’s the gift that everyone appreciates and that will be remembered.

pie dough rolled out

I would love to personally bake something for all of my readers, but I’m afraid that’s not possible. Instead, I’m going to give you #myvintagerecipe for foolproof pie crust. Well actually it’s my mom’s recipe…but it’s not. You know how someone makes a recipe so long it becomes “their” recipe? That’s the story here.

Back in the early 1970s my mom got this pie crust recipe from her coworker. That coworker got it from her mother. That’s all mom remembers. I know mom was working at Capitol Records in Winchester, Virginia at the time and Winchester also happens to be were my parents also met. So, filling in the gaps in the story…maybe my youthful mother wanted to impress her beau with homemade pie? At least that’s the story in my mind.

As to the actual origins of the recipe, it’s unclear. I found a newspaper clipping on Teacup Lane that has a very similar recipe. Sandy writes that she found the recipe sometime in the 1980s but the clipping doesn’t have a date or title. The pie dough is called Linda Garner’s Absolutely Perfect, Never Fail Pie Crust. But unfortunately this little article left me with more questions than answers. Is Linda still alive? What paper did Judy McConnell Steele write for? I googled both names and looked for similar recipes in Google Books and several heirloom recipe databases. But my searches came up with zip, nada, nothing.

One day, I hope to find out exactly how this recipe made its way to my mom and how it came to be called foolproof pie crust. If you’ve read my post on the brown betty or my homage to the cut up cake, you know I’m a budding food anthropologist. So, when researching a recipe I’m like a dog with a bone. Who knows? Maybe one of you readers will have the next clue?

putting pie crust into pie plate

But I don’t need to give you a long history to convince you this pie crust is phenomenal! It’s all in the name…it really is foolproof. It rolls like a dream, there’s no need to refrigerate the dough before rolling, it mends well,  and it’s so flaky and tender!

It’s the ONLY pie crust my mom makes and she makes it often. So often, I think she could make this recipe in her sleep.

shaping pie crust

When mom visited before Thanksgiving to help bake pies, I put her beautiful hands to work. They’re hands that have the telltale lines and bumps of age, but they are experienced.  And despite the arthritis developing in her petite frame she works the dough just as quickly and smoothly as she did as a young mother.

Watching her roll and shape the dough, I am forever transported back to the stepstool, watching my mother and how blissfully happy she is when she is baking.

hands pinching a fluted pie crust

But now I peer through a lens. Beyond this perfect pie crust recipe, I have documented my mom’s precious hands and her place in the history of this recipe.

When I’m old, and she is gone and my memory is failing, I will have these things to cherish: the way she rolls the crust so much thinner than I can ever get mine; the way she crimps the crust, an altogether different approach than my own; but also how her hands are my hands. My crust is almost as perfect as hers and as I look at my own hands I see they too are developing those wise wrinkles. Perhaps one day I will have mastered the perfect roll, the perfect crust and the perfect pie?

Until then, I will continue to watch and learn from my mom and ask all the questions I didn’t know to ask when I was young.

pie crust ready to bake

Foolproof Pie Crust Tips

  • The first thing I do when making pie crust is fill a liquid measuring cup with ice and filtered water. That way when I’m ready for the water it’s very cold.
  • Although shortening is more forgiving than butter, on a hot day it never hurts to refrigerate the shortening. The key to a flaky crust is keeping the fat from completely mixing into the flour. That’s easier to do if the shortening is cold.
  • This recipe can be made in a food processor but I prefer to make it the old fashioned way with a large bowl and a pastry cutter.
  • There’s no need to rest or refrigerate the dough before rolling it out.
  • This dough can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Let it warm up a bit before rolling it out.
  • This is my prefered pie crust for custard fillings, like our sweet potato pie. I find that a shortening crust can withstand the longer baking time required for a liquidy filling.
  • For single layer pies, I like to freeze my prepared pie crust for 30-60 minutes before filling and baking. This will help the crust hold its shape.
  • Be sure to use apple cider vinegar. Any vinegar will impede the gluten from forming (this is a good thing in pie crust) but the apple cider vinegar improves the flavor as well.

5 from 10 votes
This heirloom pie crust recipe rolls out like a dream. It's flaky, tender and time tested so you know it will never fail.
Fool Proof Pie Crust
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

This recipe has been in my family for years.  It is my mother's go-to recipe.  It is tender and flaky and works perfectly every time.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pie, pie crust, pie dough
Servings: 5 single crusts
Calories: 1022 kcal
Ingredients
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-3/4 cups vegetable shortening
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large egg , beaten
  • 1/2 cup ice water
Instructions
  1. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt.  Mix to combine

  2. Cut in shortening with pastry cutter until pea sized crumbles occur.

  3. Mix in remaining ingredients until flour is incorporated. 

Recipe Notes

This dough can be rolled out immediately, but can also be stored in refrigerator for up to three days.

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This heirloom pie crust recipe rolls out like a dream. It's flaky, tender and time tested so you know it will never fail.

This heirloom pie crust recipe rolls out like a dream. It's flaky, tender and time tested so you know it will never fail.

This heirloom pie crust recipe rolls out like a dream. It's flaky, tender and time tested so you know it will never fail.

This heirloom pie crust recipe rolls out like a dream. It's flaky, tender and time tested so you know it will never fail.

This heirloom pie crust recipe rolls out like a dream. It's flaky, tender and time tested so you know it will never fail.

This heirloom pie crust recipe rolls out like a dream. It's flaky, tender and time tested so you know it will never fail.

This heirloom pie crust recipe rolls out like a dream. It's flaky, tender and time tested so you know it will never fail.

This heirloom pie crust recipe rolls out like a dream. It's flaky, tender and time tested so you know it will never fail.

This heirloom pie crust recipe rolls out like a dream. It's flaky, tender and time tested so you know it will never fail.

This heirloom pie crust recipe rolls out like a dream. It's flaky, tender and time tested so you know it will never fail.