Featured Recipes
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Toffee Nut Squares

These addictive cookies that mimic the chocolate chip can be prepared ahead of time and make great snacks to have on hand for kids and adults during the holidays. The fresh brown sugar gives the cookie a soft texture and a toffee-like flavor. Be careful not to overbake the cookies.

Makes 4 dozen squares

2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup (1 1/3 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
2 cups lightly packed very fresh light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons medium-fine chopped walnuts, divided
1 cup semi-sweet mini-chocolate chips

1. Position the shelves to the middle of the oven. Heat the oven to 350 °. Butter the 10 1/2 x 15 1/2 x 1- inch jelly roll pan well.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until lightened in color. Add the brown sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, and beat well until light in color, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the side of the bowl as needed. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing just to incorporate.
4. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a large rubber spatula, fold in 1 cup of the walnuts and the chocolate chips. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a small offset spatula. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of walnuts.
5. Bake for 16 - 18 minutes, or until the sides are lightly browned. Do not over bake. A toothpick inserted in the center should still show signs of moistness. Place on a cooling rack for at least 1 hour. To cut these cookies into squares, divide the long side into 8 strips and the short side into 6 strips.

STORAGE: Store in an airtight container, layered between strips of waxed paper, for up to 5 days. These squares may be frozen.
Copyright © 2017 by Carole Walter, CCP

Carrot Muffins

Of the many muffin varieties, carrot muffins are certainly one of the most popular. Sweet carrots, crushed pineapple, and raisins form a tasty trio that blends perfectly with the spice-accented batter. Be sure to use canned crushed pineapple, not fresh; fresh pineapple must be cooked before using in baked goods.


8 ounces (about 3) carrots, peeled
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
⅓ cup (⅔ stick) unsalted butter, slightly firm
⅓ cup canola oil
½ cup very fresh dark brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup canned crushed pineapple, drained
¾ cup walnuts, medium chopped
¼ cup golden raisins, plumped

Makes scant 1 cup

4 ounces cream cheese, cold
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
1 cup strained powdered sugar
¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ (generous) teaspoon freshly grated navel orange zest

1. Cut the carrots into 1-inch chunks. Shred the carrots in a food processor fitted with the medium shredding disk using little or no pressure on the pusher. NOTE: This will give you a finer shred. Change to the metal blade and pulse the carrots 10-12 times until finely cut. You should have about 1 cup of carrots. Set aside.

2. Position the shelves in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Heat the oven to 375°F. Line the muffin pans with paper or foil cupcake liners.

3. Place the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cloves in a medium bowl and thoroughly whisk to combine. Set aside.

4. Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and place in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the butter on medium speed until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Drizzle in the oil taking about 1 minute, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed. Add the brown sugar in three or four additions, then pour in the granulated sugar and mix until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the side of the bowl again. Blend in the vanilla.

5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and blend in the carrots and pineapple. Add the dry ingredients in two additions mixing just until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the nuts and raisins.

6. Portion the batter into the prepared pans using a no. 16 ice cream scoop (¼ cup capacity). Fill the cups until almost full. Bake for 25 - 28 minutes or until the tops show signs of browning and are springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool.

7. While the muffins are baking, prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting.

8. To make the frosting combine all of the ingredients in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse 3 to 4 times, then process for 3 to 4 seconds. Stop the processor, scrape down the side of the bowl, and empty into a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

9. When the muffins are cool, spread the tops with frosting.

Refrigerate the muffins, tightly wrapped in aluminum foil for up to 5 days. These muffins may be frozen.

Store frosting in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze in a plastic container for up to 3 months.

This recipe, and many more, can be found in my cookbook "Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins and More," now available as a Kindle edition from Amazon:


Copyright © 2018 by Carole Walter, CCP

Cranberry Grape Tart

This cranberry grape tart is the perfect seasonal dessert to ring in the new year! Sweet red grapes compliment tart cranberries to make an addicting flavor combination. When baked, these ruby red fruits will dress up any holiday table.
1 recipe Classic Tart Pastry

3 cups cranberries, rinsed and dried
2 cups seedless red grapes, rinsed and dried
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon red currant jelly

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Position the oven shelf to the lower third of the oven. Butter an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.

2. On a lightly floured pastry cloth or floured rolling surface, roll the pastry into a 15-inch circle. Wrap the pastry around the rolling pin, lift the pin and unroll the pastry over the tart pan, leaving about 1 ½ -inches of dough hanging over the edge. IMMEDIATELY lift the overhang into the pan to prevent the edges of the pan from tearing the dough. Shape the pastry into the pan, molding it into the creases.

3. Trim the pastry leaving a ¾-inch overhang. Turn the overhang in, creating a double layer of dough around the side of the pan. Seal the two layers of dough together using the side of your forefinger. Refrigerate the pan while you prepare the filling.

4. Combine the cranberries and grapes in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the orange and lemon juices over the fruit, shaking the bowl to make sure that all of the fruit is moistened.

5. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt and pour it over the fruit. Use a rubber spatula to thoroughly blend the dry ingredients through the fruit. Empty the fruit into the tart shell taking care to distribute the fruit evenly. It should be SLIGHTLY higher than the top of the pan.

6. Bake for 50 minutes. To insure doneness of the fruit, lay a strip of aluminum foil loosely over the top and bake for an additional 5 – 8 minutes or until the sides are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 – 10 minutes. While the tart is hot, warm the currant jelly and glaze the surface by brushing the jelly across the top. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

My recipe for tart pastry can be found in the Kindle edition of my book Great Pies and Tarts, available at Amazon:


Copyright © 2017 by Carole Walter, CCP
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