Dragonfly Home Recipes

Recipes, Photography, Musings

Month: November 2014 (page 1 of 2)

Cocoa Chocolate Chip Cookies

cookies, raspberries, and mug 1I had the urge to make something with chocolate today, and I wanted to share a fun adaptation of a recipe that has become a favorite at our house.  It has been very cold and snowy this week, and the driving has been precarious at times. The air is fresh and the snow is beautiful though, and it feels good to come in from the cold and have something warm to drink and a chocolate cookie to eat.  cookies in the snowMy kids are on a hot cocoa kick lately, so we have a lot of hot cocoa packages in the pantry.  My daughter and I love to experiment in the kitchen, and she is the one who actually came up with this variation of the traditional Nestle’s Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies.  We have tested it several times, and it has become a favorite winter treat.  We replace 1/4 of the white sugar with hot cocoa mix (I buy the kind sweetened with sugar, not high fructose corn syrup, and try to see that it is ethically sourced cocoa) and we add 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract to the batter, which gives a hint of cherry flavor.  Serve these cookies with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee or tea, and a little bowl of fresh raspberries.  They are the perfect treat to take the edge off the stress of the week! “As with most fine things, chocolate has its season.  There is a simple memory aid that you can use to determine whether it is the correct time to order chocolate dishes: any month whose name contains the letter A, E, or U, is the proper time for chocolate.” –author Sandra Boynton

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Cocoa Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: about 48 cookies
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  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt (if you are using salted butter, cut the salt to 1/2 teaspoon or omit completely)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sweetened hot cocoa mix
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups chocolate chips


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.  Vigorously stir the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, hot cocoa mix, vanilla extract, and almond extract in a bowl until creamy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring well as you add them.  Gradually stir in the flour mixture until everything is combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until cookies are done.  Cool for a couple minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from the traditional Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe

Warm Up with Roasted Butternut Squash and Cauliflower in Pita Bread

chopped vegetablesIt snowed almost all day today.  The sandhill cranes must be getting ready to head south, because I could hear them at dusk this evening, calling and honking and making such a racket, gathering at the bird sanctuary near here.  snowy grassesThese are perfect times to roast vegetables, using nature’s bounty, warming up the kitchen, warming up ourselves. The recipe I have posted below is very flavorful and nourishing.  I love the color combination of the vivid, golden butternut squash with the deep purple of the onion. Butternut squash and cauliflower can taste a little bland when cooked all on their own, but when they are roasted with a little olive oil, red onion and garlic, and then tossed with lemon and toasted walnuts, the result is delicious flavor and lots of nutrients.  Add some grated Parmesan cheese, spoon the mixture into a pita pocket or onto a piece of flatbread, and you have a light, yet satisfying meal.  This time of year makes me think of the following quote by the poet Wendell Berry: “Eating with the fullest pleasure is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world.  In this pleasure we experience and celebrate our dependence and our gratitude.”

unchopped vegetableswalnuts and pitavegetables in bowl 2vegetables in pita 

Butternut Squash and Cauliflower Roasted with Red Onion and Garlic

  • Servings: 2-4
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  • 2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup red onion, sliced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  •   1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 pita bread pockets or 2-4 pieces flatbread


Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Wash and chop/slice the vegetables.  Spread the vegetables in a single layer onto a rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Roast in your oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the vegetables start to turn lightly brown and are crisp-tender.  While the vegetables are roasting, grate the teaspoon of lemon zest and squeeze the tablespoon of lemon juice into a cup.  Also, on a separate baking sheet, lay out the walnuts and pita bread.  For about the last five minutes of roasting time, place the walnuts and pita bread in the oven with the vegetables, till the walnuts are lightly toasted but not burned.  Remove the walnuts, pita, and vegetables from the oven and toss the vegetables and walnuts in a bowl with 1 more tablespoon of olive oil, the grated Parmesan cheese, the lemon zest and lemon juice.  Gently spoon the mixture into the pita pockets or spoon onto flatbread. Enjoy!

Festive Apple-Filled Acorn Squash

acorn squash in bowlI love it when I find a recipe for a dish that is fun, seasonal, healthy, and pretty.  This month, I had an acorn squash sitting on my counter top for longer than I would care to admit. (Luckily, they keep really well!)  I wanted to use it, but I just kept putting it off.  Then a couple of days ago, I was leafing through one of my many favorite cookbooks, Mrs. Chard’s Almanac Cookbook: Hollyhocks and Radishes, by Bonnie Stewart Mickelson.  This cookbook is so much fun to simply look at, with lots of stories and beautiful illustrations about life in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  And the recipes are beguiling too, with many of them based on local, seasonal produce.  I found a recipe for acorn squash that caught my eye, and I acorn squash and apple slicesam so glad I found it that I wanted to share it as soon as I could get a blog post together.  The recipe combines acorn squash with apples and a brown sugar/lemon juice/ginger mixture.  Not only does this combination taste really great together, but it also looks so festive.  And it is super-easy–most of the time it is simply baking away in the oven, warming up your kitchen and making it smell divine.  You can scoop out the apple/squash mixture and serve it in bowls, but if you find small enough acorn squashes, they serve as their own pretty bowls.  The only thing I did to change the recipe is that I cut it down by thirds, since I was only making enough for my husband, myself, and our children this time.  And truth be told, not everyone in the family is a squash-lover.  But some of us are, and we really enjoyed this side dish.  (I even converted one non-squash-lover into a squash fan!)  For the recipe I post below, I will use the amounts given in the above-mentioned cookbook.  However, if you are cooking for a smaller group, just divide by half or thirds.  If you are looking to jazz up a standard squash dish or need a fun dish to make for guests, this is a good one to use.  acorn squash with applesacorn squash 1

Apple-Filled Acorn Squash

  • Servings: about 6
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  • 3 acorn squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 4 tart apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • about 6 Tablespoons butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place squash halves, cut-sides down, in a buttered baking dish.  Bake 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, and ginger.

Turn baked squash over and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Fill with apple mixture, then dot with butter.  Return to oven for another 25 minutes.  Enjoy!

This recipe comes from Mrs. Chard’s Almanac Cookbook: Hollyhocks and Radishes by Bonnie Steward Mickelson.

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