Fox Cookies for Fall

Cookie time!  It is fall and I received the Cheryl’s Cookie Catalog in the mail this weekend.  They always have cute designs…. I love the $6 (used to be $5) cookie option as a quick and fun gift for friends.  Here is a super easy method for cute fox cookies out of a heart cookie cutter.

First, I followed my recipe for sugar cookies.  I made them without baking powder and cut them into heart and pumpkin shapes.  As usual, I freeze my cookies before baking.  This goes for sugar cookies and drop cookies!  It keeps the cookie from falling flat and losing shape.  When you cut out the heart, use your thumb to push the tip of the heart to make it more rounded.

Second, I followed my recipe for royal icing.  I split it and made orange flood icing, white flood icing and green for the pumpkins.

Third, I flooded the heart with orange icing and let it dry with a fan on.  This took about 1-2 hours.

Fourth, the next layer was a small heart of white for the face, two triangles for the ears and white dots inside the ear.

Finally – for the eyes and mouth I did not use a food coloring pen.  Instead, I simply use food coloring gel and a toothpick.  I squeeze out a pea size amount of black coloring gel onto a plate, and then I use my toothpick to carefully place the eyes and mouth.  It sound worse than it is.  This is actually my favorite part and I have never had a problem with it.   I started doing this when I made snow globe cookies a few years ago and needed black for this eyes and mouth.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Dip

It’s strawberry season!  My favorite food in the whole wide world!

My 6 year old daughter made this chocolate cream cheese dip with some leftover cream cheese we had and it was DELICIOUS!  So quick and easy!  Plus it pairs well with all kinds of fruits and graham crackers.  The kids are sometimes hungry after playing outside or after school and this will fit the bill nicely.  Lots of fruit and protein and chocolate 🙂   It sounds weird, but pineapple tastes really good with chocolate, too!

Book:  The newest book I am reading is a textbook for my class starting next week:  Comprehensive Curriculum for Gifted Learners.

 (photo credit: Amazon)

It is the best book on Gifted instruction that I have found in regards to teaching and curriculum.  This book is not necessarily full of printables and handouts.  The text is a firm grounding in the research of gifted education and how to set up the curriculum and goals for the class.   If you homeschool gifted children or teach some in your classroom, this textbook is a GREAT resource.  It goes into depth on the goals of many gifted classes:  critical thinking skills, research skills, and problem solving skills.  I believe addressing the affective needs of these students by adding a goal of self-understanding of their strengths and weaknesses as well as high level oral and written skills should be added.

Recipe:  Since this recipe involves chocolate, I recommend the Rodelle Dutch Cooca.  Costco sells it during the winter time and I stock up.  Amazon also carries it and Hy-Vee.  I have heard great things about Ghirandelli as well.  It is not necessary, but the chocolate products seem darker and richer when using higher quality cocoa instead of Hershey.  Dutch cocoa also blends better with liquids – which is a nice perk when making this or hot cocoa!

The recipe makes a 4 serving amount of dip, so you may want to double or triple the recipe for a party.  Or keep it small like this for that family dessert or afternoon snack.


Chocolate Cream Cheese Dip
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 4 servings
  • 4 ounces cream cheese or neufschetal cheese (like cream cheese but fewer calories)
  • ⅔ cup plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder (baking cocoa powder)
  • 6 T powdered sugar
  • 2 T mini chocolate chips
  1. In a medium bowl, allow the cream cheese to sit and come to room temperature. Or, put the cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl for about 30 seconds to soften.
  2. Add everything except the mini chocolate chips and mix with a fork until well combined.
  3. Top or stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Serve with strawberries, graham crackers, pineapple, kiwi or bananas.


Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

whole wheat chocolate zucchini bread snack dessert


Here are some of the latest fairy photos from a park photo shoot last week.  I just love the sun behind trees and bushes!!!  Creates such pretty bokeh.

fairy photo, Wentzville, Family Photographer


fairy photo, Wentzville, Family Photographer


Book:  I continue to read “Washington” by Ron Chernow in hopes that no one else in St. Charles county will request the book.  It is 800 pages and no way will I finish it in 2 weeks!  Again, there are pieces of his life illuminated within just the last few years that never made it into the history books that we learned from as children.  It really goes to show that just because we learned something in school doesn’t mean it is 100% accurate.  Chernow has uncovered many new essays and letters in the past few years on some of these influential men in US History.

Another death has occurred in the Washington legacy  – this time it is his stepdaughter Patsy.  The poor girl had epilepsy and constant seizures.  She died and half of her estate went to her brother Jacky and the other half to Martha and George Washington.  This development was rather significant to our history in a number ways.  #1, Patsy was never ever left alone because of her frequent seizures and therefore Martha would never have joined George much – if at all – during the Revolution. #2 George now had the financial flexibility to lead the country in the American revolution without requiring a salary (which he didn’t take and Alexander Hamilton didn’t either… though he was so poor that after his death the family requested some of his pay just to buy food and such).  Without this financial security, George may never have left Mount Vernon for such a lengthy amount of time to attend the Continental Congress, lead the Continental Army in the Revolution or accept the presidency for two terms.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread Recipe 3

Recipe:  I thought I couldn’t compete with the Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread that we have been making for years and years.  It is a favorite even among the pickiest of eaters.  But this one is just as good or better!  You see…. another favorite of ours is the recipe for Chewy Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies  🙂  Drool…..

Oh right.  The new recipe.

So, Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread is a combination of these two favorite recipes.  We used 100% molasses which gave the bread a dark color and deep, rich flavor.  It does taste wonderful with chocolate.  The flour is replaced with all 100% whole wheat flour.  The oil can be swapped out with applesauce.

Feel free to freeze this bread.  Make into smaller loaves.  Make into muffins, mini muffins, whatever!

The flavor is complex and not too sweet.  The texture is typical for a quick bread without being too gummy even when using applesauce instead of oil.  I’m sure the bread would last a few days, but I don’t think ours lasted more than 24 hours in this house.

whole wheat bread, zucchini, chocolate chip


Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
Serves: 1 loaf
  • 2 eggs (large or 3 small/medium)
  • ⅓ cup molasses (or honey if you don't like molasses)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil or applesauce
  • ⅓ cup (2.5 oz) brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups (8.5 oz) white whole wheat or whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups shredded and unpeeled zucchini (choose a medium size one)
  • 1 cup (6 oz) chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (Or convection oven to 325 degrees)
  2. Grease with baking spray, butter or cooking spray a 9x5" loaf pan.
  3. In a great big bowl, mix the wet stuff: eggs, molasses/honey, oil/applesauce, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir or whisk together until there are no lumps.
  4. To the great big bowl with the wet mixture, add in the dry stuff: flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix well. Since it is whole wheat flour, we don't have to worry about gluten forming!
  5. Add in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Stir with a large spoon or spatula.
  6. Put the quick bread mixture into the loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes. (It may be done in 45 minutes with a convection oven).
  7. Test the center of the bread with a toothpick and you may get some melted chocolate, but there shouldn't be any bread on it.
  8. Cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Turn the bread out of the pan and allow the bread to cool directly on the cooling rack.
Recipe from King Arthur Flour

Weigh the ingredients for the best accuracy!!! Or spoon the flour into the measuring cup. This is how KAF develops their recipes and provides the best match.


Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookie Whole Wheat

Book:  I started Ron Chernow’s “Washington” and it reminds us how little decisions have such a big impact.  How did Washington at such a young age get to where he needed to be?  His family was not upper class nor lower.   He may not have become a figure at all in history.  But he was the right person in the right place at the right time.  And what formidable stuff was he made of!  Travelling 250 miles in November through the northeastern United States (yes yes we weren’t the United States then) on horseback in pouring rain and snow!  His brother Lawrence happened to marry Anne Fairfax – one of the most prominent families in Virginia.  This marriage gave George Washington access to people and culture that was not possible before.

Plus, George went with Lawrence to Barbados to help cure Lawrence’s tuberculosis.  George contracted a mild form of smallpox and recovered there in the Caribbean.  As a result, George Washington became immune to the #1 killer of men during the American Revolution: smallpox.  Lawrence returned to Mount Vernon and died.  He left the estate to his wife Anne.  After she had died, Lawrence left the Mount Vernon estate to George Washington.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookie Whole Wheat

Recipe: We have zucchini growing out of our ears!  🙂  After freezing some zucchini bread, we decided to try a new twist – chocolate chip cookies.  These were so good!  The recipe is similar to our favorite all-time chocolate chip cookie.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookie Whole Wheat

Why we love this recipe:

  1.  It freezes well.  Make as many or as few as you like.  Keep the rest for Christmas even!  Just store in an airtight bag and remove the air with a straw.
  2. You only need 1 bowl.  One bowl = less mess 🙂
  3. The ingredients are fairly standard and found in the pantry.
  4. They taste amazing!
  5. When baked, they are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
  6.  Many of the ingredients are weighed – so just place your bowl on the scale and dump!  No mess and no measuring cups scattered about.  Plus they will turn out the same and perfect every time when you weigh the flour.

    Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookie Whole Wheat
    A note on King Arthur Flour recipes (this is one of them and mentioned in the notes):   they always weigh their flour or they scoop their flour and add it to the measuring cup.  The company doesn’t put the measuring cup into the flour and scoop and level like you see on TV.  This creates a difference in their recipes and I have received some complaints about the recipes not turning out.  Every single time it is the same: I didn’t weigh the ingredients.  Please weigh, or scoop and put into the measuring cup to get accurate results.


Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies
Serves: 30 medium size cookies
  • ¼ cup butter (melted) or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup minus 2 Tb. (6.5 ounces) brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips (we used semi sweet)
  • 1 cup (4.25 ounces) white whole wheat flour
  • 1 and ½ cups (4.5 ounces) quick oats or old fashioned oats
  1. In a great big bowl: mix the melted butter, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla and egg with a fork.
  2. Add the zucchini and mix well.
  3. Add the chocolate chips, flour and oats. Mix until just combined.
  4. For nice rounded cookies, take a piece of parchment or silicone mat and place it on a rimmed cookie sheet. Using a small or medium size cookie scoop, scoop the cookie dough onto the sheet and freeze for 1-2 hours or more. You do not absolutely need to freeze them. They will bake, but they will spread and I like my cookies not to be flat.
  5. Bag any cookie dough balls you want for later.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake the cookies for 14-16 minutes. They will take a little longer from frozen. The bottoms will be golden brown and the tops will not be gooey but just set. I wait for the tops to stop looking gooey.
  7. Then remove from the oven and place them on a cooling rack. I pull the parchment or silicone mat off the cookie sheet and onto the cooling rack to stop the cooking process.
  8. Cool slightly and eat! Store in a airtight container up to 1 week.
Recipe adapted slightly from King Arthur Flour

Weigh the ingredients for accurate measurements.



No Bake Chocolate Cherry Crisp

Chocolate Cherry Granola Crisp No Bake 6

Ooh Wee –   It is hot outside!  This Sunday we experienced a heat index of 100 degrees by 9am and 118 degrees later.

But who wants dessert?


Chocolate Cherry Granola Crisp No Bake

Golden Girl Granola has graciously provided the secret main ingredient for what makes this a no bake dessert –> GRANOLA.  I used their Chocolate Decadence Granola this time.  (The last blog post used Bluesberry Granola which was soooo good!)  I love how their granola tastes homemade because it is made that way.  If you read the ingredients, Golden Girl Granola is exactly what you would use in making homemade granola.  Real ingredients.  Really good granola.  Instead of chunks, it is sweet and delicious with a hint of almond.

Chocolate Cherry Granola Crisp No Bake 3

Crisps are great with cherries and summer is cherry season.  I have included a recipe for your own homemade cherry filling that is tasty and fast – so you don’t have to buy the canned stuff enhanced with Red #40 and all kinds of totally useless ingredients.  If you have a pot, you can make cherry pie filling!  Don’t have fresh cherries around?  Use frozen!

This filling also works great for topping cheesecake, eating with Greek yogurt, making my favorite cherry pie, or topping for chocolate cake.

Chocolate Cherry Granola Crisp No Bake 4

No Bake Chocolate Cherry Crisp
  • 4 Tb. butter
  • 1 and ½ cups Chocolate Decadence Granola
  • 2 Tb. white whole wheat or all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups dark sweet cherries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Toppings (optional but tasty): vanilla ice cream, whipped cream
  1. In a large pot, add the butter and melt over medium heat. Once melted, turn the heat down to medium-low and add the granola and flour. Stir often to toast and coat the granola.
  2. Pour the granola from the pot into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add cherries to the same pot you used. Cook over medium heat until bursting. My cherries were pretty large and I cut them in half with my spoon while stirring.
  4. Once bursting. add the sugar and cornstarch. Bring to a boil and stir constantly for two minutes while the mixture boils. Remove from heat.
  5. Add the extracts and stir to combine. Allow to cool slightly.
  6. Now, you can pour the cherry pie mixture into 4 individual dishes or a 8x8 or 9x9 pan. Pour the granola topping on top of the mixture. Top with ice cream and eat!

Chocolate Cherry Granola Crisp No Bake 5

Rhubarb Apple Crisp

rhubarb apple crisp recipe

Book:  I finished the 750 pages of “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow.  I loved it so much I now have his new book “Washington” as well which is 800 pages!  But it goes by quickly and written so well that the length is really no bother.  Chernow found 50 new essays that had not been previously discovered on Alexander Hamilton detailing much more about the duel that caused his death and his elusive time in the Caribbean during his youth.    If anything the book gives you insight into the founding of our country and the men who set in motion the direction of the United States of America at a time when there was no United States.  He really was a true genius for creating all that he did from writing the Federalist papers, creating the National bank, the Coast Guard, the debt, and the coins that we used today.

rhubarb apple crisp recipe


I hope you had a GREAT weekend!  Now is the time we are picking our zucchini, tomatoes and rhubarb out of the ground!  But how do you use rhubarb?

Well, don’t eat the leaves 🙂  They are toxic.  But the rest is delicious!

I know rhubarb and strawberry combinations are super popular.  But apples are always around and last a lot longer.

rhubarb apple crisp recipe

Anyway – make this if you like desserts!  At all.  It is super easy and delicious.  I have made 3 batches so far this  summer.  Now, I don’t like super sickly sweet.  This crisp you actually taste the rhubarb and it does not require mounds of vanilla ice cream to cut the sweetness.  We added a little whipped cream, but even that was just a little and not totally necessary.  If you do like sickly sweet desserts, there are other recipes that add up to twice as much sugar.

rhubarb apple crisp recipe

Didn’t grow any rhubarb?  That’s okay!  Your grocery store will have it.

Rhubarb Apple Crisp
Serves: 9 servings
  • 1.5 pounds (6 cups) rhubarb, sliced into ¾" pieces
  • 2 cups or 2 Granny Smith apples, cut into ¾" pieces (I leave the skin on, feel free to remove)
  • ⅓ cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
  • 1 and ⅛ cup (9 ounces) sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup (4 ounces) brown sugar
  • ¾ cup (3 ounces) white whole wheat flour or all purpose
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or ¼ cup butter + ¼ cup Greek yogurt, cold and cut up
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease or spray a 9x9" dish or ceramic dish about the same size.
  3. In a great big bowl: mix your rhubarh, apple, ⅓ cup flour, sugar, salt and lemon juice. Toss to combine. Pour into the baking dish.
  4. In a medium bowl: mix the brown sugar, ¾ cup flour, oats, salt and cinnamon. Once mixed, scatter the butter (or butter and yogurt combo) throughout and mix with your fingertips until the topping becomes crumbly. Add this on top of the fruit filling. Bake for 40-50 minutes. The top will be brown and the fruit filling bubbly.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour


Lemon Snack Cake

Lemon Snack Cake 05 Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Woo hoo!!  The studio smells like fresh new babies again!  🙂  This is Baby Bryce – sweetest little guy who loves to lay on his side.  I think I smelled like new baby all day – sigh.

Bryce Collage copy

The official day of summer is almost here!  Next Monday – but you can make this yummy dessert any day.  The berries in season right now are the perfect compliment to this light and refreshing dessert.

Lemon Snack Cake 03 Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

The whole family and guests LOVED this cake.  The kids even asked for second and third helpings – so we know it’s a winner.  I love Bundt cakes and there is a great lemon bundt cake that America’s Test Kitchen makes.  This cake is great if you don’t have a bundt pan or do not need that much cake.  A bundt serves a lot of people.

Lemon Snack Cake

This recipe can also be cut in half if you don’t want a full 9×13 sheet cake.  It was also made in a 7×11″ pan with perfect results.

Lemon Snack Cake 04Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

The taste?  I love LEMON!  This is lemony without being too tart.  The cake texture reminds me of my lemon muffins (which you should also check out!).

Lemon Snack Cake Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri



Lemon Snack Cake
Serves: 12 large slices; 20 small slices
  • 3 cups all purpose flour (healthier version: use part or all white whole wheat flour)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk or almond milk
  • ½ cup lemon juice (fresh from about 3-4 lemons or organic bottled lemon juice)
  • ⅔ cup vegetable or canola oil (fewer calories: substitute applesauce)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (I use ½ tsp. vanilla and ½ tsp. Fiori di Sicilia)
  • 1 Tb. lemon zest - zest from 2 of the lemons that you juiced
  • 2 eggs
  • Toppings: chopped strawberries with a little sugar, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, whipped cream, powdered sugar glaze (powdered sugar mixed with a little fresh lemon juice), simple syrup glaze etc.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Or 325 degrees if using convection oven or Pyrex dish.
  2. Spray your 13x9" pan with baking spray or grease and flour.
  3. In a great big bowl, mix the dry stuff: flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  4. In a mixing bowl, mix the wet stuff: milk, juice, oil and/or applesauce, lemon zest, vanilla and eggs.
  5. Add the wet to the dry and mix until combined.
  6. Bake 35 minutes for a 9x13" pan. Bake for 25 minutes for a 7x11" pan (recipe cut in half of course).
  7. Cool and serve with toppings.
  8. Powdered Sugar Icing: sift 1 and ⅓ cups of powdered sugar. Mix with about 2 Tb. lemon juice. Spread and let harden about 15 minutes.
  9. Simple Syrup Glaze: Mix ¾ cup sugar, 2 Tb. lemon zest and 6 Tb. lemon juice in a saucepan. Boil and then simmer 5 minutes. With cake still warm, poke with a fork and brush syrup on top.
Recipe adapted from Crazy for Crust

Lemon Snack Cake Pinterest Whisk Together

Rice Pudding & Book Review | Instant Pot Recipe

Rice Pudding on Whisk Together Photo by Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Happy Summer Everyone!  I have been busy painting the house from top to bottom and hope to have photos very soon!!

My children and I were at Costco and tried a sample of Kozy Shack rice pudding.  We all LOVED it!  And since rice pudding is one of those staples, I had to try and make it myself.  This recipe is also great for leftover rice in the fridge.

Understanding Exposure

Book Review:

This book is a must read for any D-SLR owner who wishes to get their camera off of “Auto” mode.  The three items for exposure – ISO, aperture and shutter speed – are discussed in detail with accompanying full color photographs.  I particularly enjoyed the section about “Creative Exposure” and how there are 6 different correct exposures you can take.  In addition to the exposure triangle of the camera, light is discussed section by section as well.  Sidelight, backlight and frontlight are discussed as well as some “tricks” on how to make it look like it is raining on your flowers.
“Understanding Exposure” also goes beyond the basics and introduces to readers about flash photography and using special filters.
Peterson writes in a very conversational tone with easy to understand vocabulary.  Although the book does not go into a lot on composition and posing, those items really do not matter until exposure is perfect and second nature.  That is why I think this is a go-to book about photography.
This book is helpful at any photography level.  I have been reading and doing photography for years and never knew that the sharpest aperture of your camera is f8-11.  This is due to the ellipsoidal shape of the lens.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Rice Pudding 3 on Whisk Together Photo by Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri


Rice pudding is one of those go-to desserts (or breakfast?) because you almost always have the ingredients on hand:  rice, sugar, milk and eggs.  That’s pretty much it!  I throw in a little vanilla and cinnamon just for some fun.  It is eaten traditionally hot or cold – but in these hot summer months we like it cold.

Now I added the brown rice spin on it to make it healthier.  The kids like the white rice medium grain version they tried at Costco.  Go figure :-/

Well okay.. it IS tastier with the medium grains.  Use medium grain rice!!

The brown rice was cooked in the pressure cooker (Instant Pot aka Magic Pot)… but of course you can make brown or white rice on your stove top!  The pressure cooker just makes everything fast and easy.  Instead of 45 minutes of cooking, the brown rice only takes 18 minutes.  But what I really like about it is that it cooks large cuts of meat (2-3 pound roasts) in 35 minutes instead of 8-10 hours like a slow cooker.

Rice Pudding 2 on Whisk Together Photo by Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Rice Pudding & Book Review
Serves: 6 servings
  • 1 cup medium grain white rice (or 1 cup brown rice)
  • water per directions on bag
  • 2 cups milk, divided (or cream or half and half or mixture of them)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Optional toppings: whipped cream, raisins soaked in water, bourbon or whiskey, ground nutmeg or cinnamon, etc.
  1. Cook white rice per the directions on the bag. Or select "rice" on the Instant Pot and cook with 1 cup water. If using brown rice, cook on "high" (15 psi) for 22 minutes in pressure cooker, then allow to cool 10 minutes at least before releasing the valve or allow valve to go down naturally.
  2. Once the rice is cooked, add 1 and ½ cups of milk and ½ cup sugar. Stir thoroughly.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the 2 eggs and ½ cup of remaining milk. Strain this through a fine mesh strainer and add to rice. If you don't strain it - you will still be fine.
  4. Cook over medium heat until boiling. Stir often. Once at a boil, the egg should be cooked.
  5. Remove pot from heat and stir in vanilla and cinnamon.
  6. The mixture should be thicker and coat the back of a spoon. Eat while warm, or as we prefer, put into the fridge until chilled. Add toppings and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from:

Rice Pudding 4 on Whisk Together Photo by Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Hamantaschen (or Thumbprint Cookies!)

Hamantashan Cookies 11 on Whisk Together Photo by Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Good morning!  The recipe for this week is for my friend Jackie – she stayed with us for a week and Purim fell on one of those days.  So, we made hamantaschen cookies.  You may know them as Thumbprint cookies – and this recipe is SO easy and delicious!

This weekend I had the pleasure to photograph eight families in 15 minute sessions.  This was a fundraiser for MOPS at Living Lord Lutheran Church.  The session fee goes to MOPS and Teen MOPS and the photographs go to the families.  It was SO much fun!!  Here are just a few highlights:

Bollman copy

Bricklemyer6 copy

Clayman9 copy


Kelly10 copy

These cookies use orange zest which gives it that light, spring time taste and scent.  Everyone here loved the cookies.  What is also fantastic is that you can choose whatever filling you want.  We used apricot jam because it is one of our favorites.

Hamantashan Cookies 4 on Whisk Together Photo by Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

But, you could make your own filling or use your own favorite jam.  Or, you could use caramel apple filling, nut filling, poppyseed, or Nutella.


The recipe begins like a typical sugar cookie.  The kids had fun shaping them dough and forming the cookies.

One of the great things about this recipe is you can really make it your own.  You can shape the cookies into triangles.  You can fold them different ways.  You can add your own extracts to the dough.  You can create your own fillings.  I used my Fiori di Sicilia extract in the dough with a little bit of vanilla.  Plus, the dough is freezable!

To form the cookies:  

Step one:  Roll out the dough between 1/4″ and 1/8″.

Step two:  Cut the dough with a 3″ circle cutter or biscuit cutter.

Hamantashan Cookies on Whisk Together Photo by Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Step three: Dollop 1 teaspoon of filling into the center (overfilling can result in messy cookies!)

Hamantashan Cookies 2 on Whisk Together Photo by Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Step four:  Fold one third of the cookie over – see photo.

Hamantashan Cookies 5 on Whisk Together Photo by Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Step five:  Fold the other side of the cookie over (one third).

Hamantashan Cookies 6 on Whisk Together Photo by Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Step six:  Carefully fold the last third over.  Tuck in one side under the fold and fold over on the other side.   The top of my cookie  should have been tucked in side each other!  Sorry about that.  This way you get a pinwheel effect.

Hamantashan Cookies 3 on Whisk Together Photo by Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Step seven:  Bake, cool and eat!

Hamantashan Cookies 9 on Whisk Together Photo by Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Hamantaschen (or Thumbprint Cookies!)
Serves: 2-3 dozen cookies
  • ¾ cup (1 and ½ sticks or 6 oz.) of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or ½ tsp. Fiori Di Sicilia and ½ tsp. vanilla)
  • 1 tsp. grated orange zest (not the white pith, just the orange outside)
  • 2 and ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2-5 tsp. water
  • 1 cup of filling: fruit preserves, nut filling, caramel apple filling, poppyseed filling, etc.
  1. In a great big mixing bowl, beat your butter and sugar together until light and fluffy - about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add egg, extracts and zest. Mix well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Stir in the flour and salt. Mix until just barely combined. It will be a little crumbly.
  4. At this point, you can use your mixer or your hands. Add about 2 tsp. of water and mix slowly. The dough should become a ball that is smooth and not sticky. If it is not smooth, just keep adding water 1 teaspoon at a time.
  5. Split the dough in half. Shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Keep in the fridge covered for 2+ hours or chill faster in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper, cooking spray or silicone mats.
  7. Roll out one disk of dough to about ⅛" to ¼". ⅛" is hard to work with if you are not used to it - but if you are go for it and you will get thinner and delicate cookies. Follow the photo steps in the blog post: Cut out a 3" circle. Dollop 1 tsp. of filling in the middle. Fold over ⅓ of the circle, but you can still see the filling. Fold over the other ⅓. Finally tuck under the final one third.
  8. If you wish, you can store in the freezer on cookie sheets until the oven is up to temperature and all the cookies are ready to go.
  9. Bake the cookies for 20 minutes or starting to get golden brown on the edges and/or bottom.
  10. Cool and eat!
  11. Store at room temperature in a sealed container. Since there are preserves, I will store in the fridge if left out more than one day, but that is my personal preference.
Recipe is from


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