Let the Christmas Cookies Begin: Lemon-Iced Cookies

It's raining hard here, which means it's really almost Christmas in San Francisco. Isabella and I did some Christmas window shopping this weekend. Ingredients for Christmas cookies are showing up in our kitchen; Christmas tree is being purchased tomorrow.

Above is a picture of Noel's version of Gran Fran's lemon-iced cookies. Delish! Noel's an excellent baker, so I left the documentation to her. My cookies never quite look as good as hers, though they do taste delightful.

I wanted to share a recipe, but also these gems of Christmas-pictures past of the Claro kids. These were on Facebook already, so I figured my siblings can't complain about me posting them here....

 The little one in the grey dress is me. Kind of looking like a crazy monkey. I think there is at least one picture of each of my sisters wearing this dress. I know there are shots of me in the dress with the cherries Noel is wearing, and the blue dress Danielle has on. I never had the pleasure of wearing the funky heart-printed one Nicole has on, nor Chris' very awesome plaid pants.

How about those late '70's collars? I see tinsel on that Christmas tree. No idea Gran Fran used to allow that, must note for future Christmas

Gran Fran wrote a wonderful post that evokes memories of grandmas getting ready for Christmas in their community. The recipe for her lemon-iced cookies was included in the post. They're a wonderful addition to your traditional Christmas cookie repertoire.

And, finally, a picture of my daughter and her two local cousins enjoying some sparkling cider (no, it's not beer) at Thanksgiving dinner. These are who I bake for these days. Not too shabby, huh?

So let's start this Christmas season off right and get some baking done!

(All pictures are cookies made with standard all-purpose white flour. You can replace white flour with Gluten Free Pantry's All Purpose Flour Mix)

Angeletti –Lemon-Iced Cookies


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I use Gluten Free Pantry's All Purpose Flour Mix)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  •  2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Colored sprinkles (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Sift togther flour, salt, and baking powder; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and granulated sugaruntil fluffy
  4.  Add eggs one at a time; mix well after each addition.
  5. Mix in vanilla.
  6. With mixer on, gradually add flour mixture; beat until dough comes together.
  7. Gently roll bits of dough into  1 to 1-1/2 inch ballsand placeon lightly buttered or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. To cool cookies, transfer them to wire cooling rack set over a sheet of waxed paper.
  9.  In a medium bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar, lemon rind, and lemon juice to form a smooth glossy icing.
  10. When cookies are cool, dip tops in icing and return to wire rack.
  11. Shower with colored sprinkles if desired. Let cookies remain on wire cooling rack until icing is firm.

Featured: DailyBuzz Moms: Strawberry, Sage and Grapefruit Granita

I was looking at the DailyBuzz Moms site today and stumbled across my Strawberry, Sage and Grapefruit Granita on their Top 9!

Loving that I'm featured and can't wait to try the Blackberry Lime Tarts from Thyme of Taste's website.

Click on over to see the feature and check out some of the other recipes while you are there.

Cinnamon-Sugar Almonds: More Versatile Than You'd Think

Cinnamon-sugar, almonds, butter and salt. The ingredients for a fantastic little sweet treat, which is just what I was in search of.

I had a choice of walnuts, pecans, cashews or almonds. The almonds were already slivered and raw, so I went with them. This recipe is really adaptable, you can use any kind of nut (although I'd stay away from peanuts).

While I was eating these I realized they could be an accompaniment for savory dishes as well as sweet ones. These cinnamon-sugar almonds would be great in oatmeal or included in a rice pudding. For a savory use, serve them up with a really crispy-skinned glazed chicken and roasted Brussels sprouts. To add some texture and another level of flavor, stir a portion of cinnamon-sugar almonds into saffron rice with shrimp.

Add in a variety of spices, experiment a bit to see what flavor mixes work well together for you. Smoked paprika would go nicely with the sugar and butter, alongside the cinnamon. Have some fun and enjoy!

Cinnamon-Sugar Almonds


  • 1 cup slivered raw almonds
  • 1 tablespoon powdered cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter


  1. Heat a small skillet over high heat.
  2. Add butter, and swirl it around in the pan, until it is melted.
  3. Pour almonds into the butter, stir them around until all are coated with the butter.
  4. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until the nuts begin to brown.
  5. Turn off the heat and let the almonds sit in the hot pan for another 3 minutes, stirring to keep them from burning.
  6. Pour the almonds into a serving bowl and add the cinnamon-sugar. Stir to coat all the almonds in the cinnamon-sugar.

It's as Easy as Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. Three words I never would have put together on my own. You see, I don't love cooked strawberries, except in a jam-like state. And, rhubarb and I have previously been unacquainted. Pie is not something I make as a regular event.

My friend had a birthday and she loves fruit pies. So I thought I'd try my hand at making one for her. My CSA box contained both strawberries and rhubarb this particular week. I took a chance, asked a few friends some questions and concocted this lovely pie.

To be honest, I only had a small bit of it (I used regular flour pie crust instead of gluten-free) and I was wary of all that cooked fruit goodness in one place. I was pleasantly surprised by the resulting pie: not too juicy, nor overly sweet with a nice crunch from the rhubarb. I did read later on that there should be no crunch from the rhubarb but my friend said she preferred it this way (maybe only to be nice?!).

I think I also understand the saying "It's as simple as pie" now. I diced a few things, measured out some sugar, vanilla and lemon juice and plopped it all in a pie crust (yes, I used pre-made, we've already discussed that I am not much in the way of pastry doughs). Ina bout an hour, I had a pie that was cooling on a rack awaiting some frozen treat to be served alongside of it.

Pies are going to be featured a little bit more in my summer cooking. It's still quite warm here in San Francisco (which is not the weather we normally have in June) which is inspiring me to experiment with some more pie combinations soon. I'm thinking a plum variety, maybe with some apricot thrown in there, with a gluten-free piecrust so I can fully enjoy myself.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie


  • 3 stalks rhubarb, cleaned and diced
  • 1.5 pounds strawberries, cleaned, hulled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsps real vanilla extract
  • 2 prepared pie crusts (gluten-free pastry dough mix can be found here)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl place the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla.
  3. Using a large spoon (or I use my hands) thoroughly coat the rhubarb and strawberries in the sugar and liquids.
  4. Let sit for ten minutes, to get the juice flowing out of the fruit.
  5. While the mixture rests, take one of your pie crusts, flatten it out and cut it into strips to form the lattice for the top of the pie.
  6. After ten minutes has passed, put the fruit mixture into the remaining piecrust, making sure all of the juice get into the pie as well.
  7. Cover with strips of piecrust, making a criss-cross (or whatever pattern you like if you have a favorite style, as long as there are air holes of the steam to escape while baking).
  8. Crimp the edge of the top lattice to the bottom edge of the piecrust.
  9. Place the pie pan on a baking dish or put some aluminum foil underneath the pan to catch any drips.
  10. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F.
  11. Turn the oven down to 375 degrees F and bake for another 40 to 45 minutes.
  12. If the crust is browning too quickly, tent the pie with foil.
  13. Once the pie is out of the oven, rest it on a cooling rack for an hour (or if you want it to be warm, 40 minutes) before cutting and serving.
  14. Serve alongside ice cream or sorbet.