Pitka or Soda Bread-My Favorite

This is a recipe that I got from Martin’s baba. (FYI: Baba – Bulgarian for Grandmother) She just throws ingredients together visually.  I am more of a “how many cups” kind of girl.  Over a 2016 phone call she told Martin the ingredients she used for her Christmas Eve Pitka.  With those ingredients and a bit of luck I put a Pitka recipe together.  A couple of years have flown by and this year I updated with a few “FauxChef” additions.  For Christmas 2018 I added some sugar and buttermilk.  I thought these were a nice addition.

If you like, a Christmas Eve tradition is to put written charms and/or a coin in the bread. I wrap the coin in parchment paper or aluminum foil. With the charms I write a few positive expectations for the following year; good health, much happiness, that kind of stuff.  I flip the bread over and make a slit with a knife and put the coin/charms in random spots.  It is fun on Christmas Eve to see who gets the coin.

Martin said this was the best Pitka yet.  I have made many different “Pitka’s ” throughout the years.  This one seems to be a winner!!

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5 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk (keep the egg white.  You will need it to brush on top of bread)
2 cups plain yogurt (NOT non fat)
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (I use Sunflower oil)


  1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease and flour baking pan.  I used my cast iron skillet.  (You don’t need to grease or flour if nicely seasoned.) You could also use a 9″ round cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl add dry ingredients.  Whisk together and make a well by pushing the flour mixture to sides of bowl.
  3. Add eggs, egg yolk, oil and yogurt and buttermilk in center of bowl.  Mix with hands. (Also, I use my standup mixer.  That is easier for me.)
  4. After mixed together form a round, flat bread.  (approx 9″ round, 2″height)  Place in prepared baking pan.  Brush top with egg whites.
  5. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until golden brown on top. I check doneness by checking temperature.  190 degree internal temperature is what I use.
  6. Take out of oven.  While warm, wrap in a towel.  When cooled place in plastic bag to store.


No Bake Avalanche Cookies

Simple and Delicious for the holidays or any day!

No Bake Avalanche Cookies
(got recipe online.  Tons out there!)



2 cups Crispy Rice cereal
1 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
16 ounces white chocolate


  1.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Mix cereal and marshmallows in large bowl.  Set aside.
  3. Melt white chocolate and peanut butter together. I used the microwave.  Check frequently and stir.  Don’t over heat it though. (If you overheat it will become hard and crumbly.) You can also use the double boiler method.
  4. When above is melted, pour over cereal and marshmallows and mix until completely coated
  5. Drop using a tablespoon onto the lined pans
  6. You could sprinkle with mini chocolate chips, if desired.  (We didn’t do that.)
  7. Place in refrigerator until set.  About 1 hour.



Peppermint Bark (Very Simple)

6 years since I posted this one. Reposting this tasty Christmas tradition.  Give it a try this weekend!!  Merry Christmas!!

I have always enjoyed the combination of chocolate and peppermint.  Peppermint Patties have been a favorite confection of mine for many years.  When I bought a candle for Rachel this year from Bath and Body Works they had a recipe attached. (Yes, Bath and Body Works recipe!)  She thought this would be a fun recipe to make along with the Christmas cookies we made.  It was an awesome choice!  Surprisingly, it was a great recipe from a store that sells body lotions and candles.  We did make a couple of changes so you will be getting the recipe I made.  I tried to find their recipe online but was unable to locate it.  Needless to say this is a very “simple and delicious” recipe.  I wanted to get this on my blog so you could try it this year.  HO, HO, HO!!!



Peppermint Bark

12 oz Dark Chocolate Chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet Chocolate Chips)
1 Tablespoon Butter
12 oz Milk Chocolate Chips
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 cup coarsely crushed Oreos
12 oz White Chocolate Chips
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 teaspoon Peppermint extract
1/2 cups crushed red and white mints or candy canes

1.  To create bottom layer of bark, melt the dark chocolate chips and 1 Tablespoon of butter in microwave, at 30 second intervals.  Stir after each 30 second interval. (It took about 4 – 30 second intervals to get to a creamy texture.) When smooth and creamy, spread mixture in a greased 13″x9″ cake pan.  I used a glass dish.  (You could also add 1/2 cup of whole coffee beans.  I thought 3 different chocolates was plenty of caffeine for my family! Rachel agreed!!)  After you spread in the dish, put in freezer for 15 minutes.

2.  Melt milk chocolate chips and 1 Tablespoon of butter in microwave at 30 second intervals, stir until smooth and creamy.  Add 1 cup of crushed Oreos.  Spread mixture over the dark chocolate.  Freeze this mixture for 15 minutes.

3.  Lastly, melt white chocolate chips and 2 Tablespoons of butter in microwave at 30 second intervals, stir until smooth and creamy.  Add the 1 teaspoon of Peppermint extract after the 2nd 30 second interval.  (Rachel and I did not experience smooth and creamy with the white chocolate.  I always have problems with white chocolate.  Watch it carefully.  We were able to spread it okay and it worked out fine.  Just not as spreadable as the dark/milk chocolate. It had a crumbly texture.)

4.  After you spread the white chocolate, sprinkle with the crushed red and white mints.  (We pushed the candies in with the spatula.)

5.  Refrigerate 3-4 hours.  Break into pieces and ENJOY!!

This would be an awesome gift.  It is very easy and fun to make.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.   Merry Christmas!!

Chocolate Filled Orange Rosemary Butter Ball Cookies – Simple and Delicious

Thought I would bake some different cookies for the Holiday Season.  I found this recipe in my Betty Crocker cookbook.  I made some as sandwich cookies and the rest as a cookie with or without ganache topping. Give these a try!  I am going to use this recipe with lemon and thyme over the weekend. Hmmm, maybe lavender and lemon!  What do you think of that?

Chocolate Filled (or not) Orange Rosemary Butter Ball Cookies
(Compliments of http://www.bettycrocker.com)



1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh Rosemary, chopped finely
1 Tablespoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup sugar (to roll cookies in before baking)

Ganache Filling

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons heavy cream


  1.  Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In large bowl, beat butter, powdered sugar, orange peel, rosemary, salt and vanilla with electric mixer on low speed until mixed; beat on medium speed until creamy. On low speed, beat in flour and baking powder until dough forms. (I used my standup mixer.)
  3. In small bowl, place sugar. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar. On ungreased or parchment lined cookie sheets, place balls 2 inches apart. Press lightly with tines of fork to flatten slightly
  4. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or just until edges start to brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks; cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, in small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and whipping cream uncovered on High in 15-second intervals until chips can be stirred smooth. Refrigerate until cooled and mixture starts to set, about 10 minutes.
  6. For each sandwich cookie, spread about 1/2 teaspoon filling on bottom of 1 cookie. Press bottom of second cookie over filling. Let stand until set.

When they first come out of oven the rosemary is a strong flavor as a warm cookie.  At first I thought I would recommend cutting the rosemary quantity in half. As the cookies cool it is just right.




Faux Oreos – Simple and Delicious

Everyone in our home enjoys these cookies!

Faux “Oreo” Cookies

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For the Dough:

1 1/3 cups Dutch-process cocoa powder (Hershey’s is just fine)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling; (this is fabulous!!)

1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (Yup, Crisco Shortening)
3 cups of confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325 degrees

  1. Using mixer, cream the butter and sugar. (I used my Stand Up Mixer)
  2. Add eggs one at a time, then the vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients and mix together.  You need to scrape the bottom of the bowl to be sure all ingredients get mixed together.
  3. Divide the dough into 2 pieces; place one piece between 2 lightly floured sheets of parchment paper and roll into 1/4 inch thick rectangle.  (Mine was more of an oval, sort of kind of rectangle).  Repeat with the other piece of dough.  Refrigerate both rectangles, covered with the parchment sheets, until firm.  About an hour.  You could also keep in the fridge a few days until you are ready to use it. (I do that often)
  4. Using a 2-inch round cutter cut the dough into circles.  You can reroll the scraps.  Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet or line with parchment paper.  I line with parchment.
  5. Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes.  They should be slightly darker around the edges.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the filling; using a mixer, cream the butter and shortening until fluffy.  Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla.
  7. Flip half the cookies upside down and top each with 1 level tablespoon of filling. (I don’t use a Tablespoon.  I just spread filling with a knife and put a cookie on top.)