Category Archives: Christmas

{Cookie Week} Mint Chocolate Cookies

If you are in a hurry and need to whip up an extra batch of cookies to get on your cookie plate this year, here is your go to recipe.  These chocolate mint cookies are delicious and the best part is they can be made quickly thanks to the use of a chocolate cake mix.  Mint not your thing?  Change up the recipe by adding white chocolate chips or raspberry chips for a totally different flavor.


Mint Chocolate Cookies

1 chocolate cake mix
1 egg
1 stick of butter, softened
3 tbsp water.
1 bag mint chocolate chips

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl until combined.  Drop onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

quick. easy. delicious.




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{Cookie Week} Vanilla Bean Spritz Cookies

There are few kitchen gadgets that are more fun than a cookie press. These pressed little butter cookies have the simple tastes of Christmas. I added some extra vanilla flavors for a slight twist on an old classic. The cookie press is a lot of fun with the little ones in the kitchen (and big kids too!). You can also add a little food coloring to these if you want to bring a little color to the cookie.

If you are looking for a cookie press, I received mine as a wedding gift. The Crate and Barrel version is almost more of a cookie gun, which makes it very easy to press the correct amount for each cookie.

Vanilla Bean Spritz Cookies via Haute Apple Pie

Vanilla Bean Spritz Cookies
Yields about 4 dozen
1 C unsalted butter, softened
1 C sugar
1 egg
1 TBSP pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/4 C AP flour
holiday sprinkles

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, salt and vanilla extract. With a sharp knife, slice open vanilla bean lengthwise. Scrape inside contents into the bowl and mix until combined.

With a spoon or rubber spatula, slowly fold in flour until completely incorporated.

Place desired disk on cookie press. Pack dough into the press. Once cookies are pressed onto ungreased cookie sheet, add sprinkles of your choice.

Bake for 9-12 minutes. These cookies cook quickly and vary based on your cookie sheet, so keep an eye out for them while they bake. Cool on rack.

Vanilla Bean Spritz via Haute Apple PieHappy baking!



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{Cookie Week} Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints

My mother-in-law always has the best cookie plate every year.  She makes sure everyone has their annual favorites and takes the time to make dozens of batches.  Last year, I couldn’t get enough of these Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints.  They are somewhat time consuming, but make the most delicious cookie!


Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints

1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

For the cookies, combine butter, sugar and  almond extract in large mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often until creamy. Reduce speed to
low; add flour. Beat until well mixed (2 to 3 minutes). Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Make indentation in center of each cookie with thumb (edges may crack slightly). Fill each indentation with about 1/4 tsp jam.

Bake for 14 to 18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand 1 minute, remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, stir together all glaze ingredients in small bowl with wire whisk until smooth. Drizzle glaze over cooled cookies. Makes 3 1/2 dozen


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{Cookie Week} Gingerbread Truffles

With our trees trimmed, some presents purchased and Christmas carols in our heads, it is time to start thinking about baking up a few batches of holiday cheer. It is never officially the Christmas season until you’ve eaten your first bite of buttery goodness. We are whipping up a variety of treats to share with you this year, so stay tuned every day this week!

While I enjoy the process of making everything from scratch, sometimes I like to go all Sandra Lee on my treats. When baking a lot of goodies at once, it is nice to have some fast treats to whip up in a jiffy. These Gingerbread Truffles, a form of cake ball, are fun and easy and make a beautiful addition to any cookie tray. There are a variety of similar recipes floating around the web on this one, but I am bringing you my own take and directions.

gingerbread truffle

These were sold at the #MKEFoodies Cookies for Kid’s Cancer holiday bake sale this past weekend. They are a beautiful bake sale treat and keep well for wrapping and transport.

Gingerbread Truffles
Yields around 4 dozen

2 boxes gingerbread mix (I used Betty Crocker) + ingredients on box
1 can of vanilla frosting
2-3 packages of almond bark or white melting chocolate
vegetable shortening

Bake both boxes of gingerbread according to directions in two 8-inch square pans or one 9×13 inch pan. Allow to cool. Remove from pans and cool completely, at least a couple of hours.

In a large mixing bowl, break up gingerbread and crumble it into pieces with your hands. One large tablespoon at a time, add vanilla frosting. Work the frosting together with the gingerbread, using your hands, until all of the frosting is incorporated.

Using a heaping tablespoon of dough, roll into tight walnut-sized balls. Place on a wax or foil lined baking sheet. Place in refrigerator for at least one hour.

When gingerbread balls are fully chilled, place on package of almond bark in the microwave with 1/2 tsp shortening. Microwave on 50% power for 45-60 seconds and stir. Continue to microwave at 50% for 20-30 second intervals until mixture is smooth and creamy, with no lumps.

With a teaspoon, drop the gingerbread ball into the melted chocolate. Gently roll around until full coated. Lift off and very gently place ball onto a wax or foil lined tray. You may need to give it a gently nudge with the edge of a fork. Decorate immediately with a dash of sprinkles of your choice. Continue the process (melting more chocolate when needed) until all are covered.

Allow to harden in a cool place. Store in a cool place or freeze for up to 3 months.

Holiday Gingerbread Truffles

These do not have to be perfect. If little spots of gingerbread show through, just drizzle a little extra over the top.

We are looking forward to bringing you more holiday treats this whole week. We would love for you to share your favorite Christmas cookie recipes with us! Also, if you make any of our treats, we’d love if you’d share a picture with us on Facebook.



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Holiday Gift Guide: For the Haute Hostess

We always like to wrap things up with gifts for the haute hostess (or host) with chic ideas to bring to those holiday parties, winter weekend getaways or even the in-laws. Be sure to check back next week for our holiday cookie ideas!

Anne’s Picks

If your hostess likes to cook, then chances are her pot holders have been through the ringer.  Surprise her with a brand new set that she will be sure to put to good use.  Mint tea is also a great choice to keep the stress of the season at bay.

1. Cutlery Potrait Napkins ($16)  2. Organic Chestnut Honey ($12)  3. Gunpowder Mint Tea ($12) 4. Mildred Potholders ($14)  5. Alain Milliat Nectars ($12) 

Katie’s Picks

In terms of bang for your buck, Restoration Hardware’s luxe throws come at a great deal because they’re often on sale.  Last year I went a little overboard and bought three of them as gifts (and one for myself…shhh!) Warm, stylish and easily washed without losing their plushness, these cozy finds are a great gift especially if you’ll be someone’s house guest.

1. Pie Plate ($45)  2. Cora & Lis Tumblers ($4.90, $6.90)  3. Truck Food Cookbook ($18.95) 4. Spritely Jig Potholders ($14) 5. Olivewood Coasters ($24)  6. Luxury Plush Throw ($39)

Stef’s Picks

If your host or hostess is social media savvy, now they can rest their glasses on their own Instagram pictures. Coastergrams allow you to turn those iPhone snapped photos into stone coasters. Fancy flavored olive oils always make a great hostess gift. Who doesn’t love themselves a bottle of truffle oil?

1. Joy the Baker Cookbook ($12)  2. Coastergrams ($30)  3. Chevron Hand Towels ($23.50)  4. Labeled Kitchen Utility Jar ($16)  5. Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Ornament ($10)  6.  Truffle Olive Oil ($16.50)

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Holiday Gift Guide: For the Enthusiast

Anne’s Picks: for the Homemaker

Most homemakers love serving their creations in a creative way which is why  my top pick is a versatile soup and sandwich tray.  Can not only be used for soup and sandwiches but also for morning oatmeal and fruit, ice cream and apple pie or salad and croissant…the possibilities are endless!  You also can’t go wring with the Capri Blue Candle from Anthropologie.  It is the perfect scent for any home.

1. Soup & Sandwich Tray Duo ($30)  2. Flavor-infused Mayonnaise ($7)  3. Capri Blue candle ($25)  4. Waffle Dipper Pan ($13)  5. Storybook Romance Dishtowels ($42) 

Katie’s Picks: for the Workaholic

My job has required demanding hours this year so any gift that makes my day a little more manageable – whether it’s time, travel or stress friendly – is high on my list. For your workaholic friends or family, I’d give a double de-stresser and pair Aveda’s heavenly Stress-fix rollerball concentrate with a subscription to Yogaglo’s online yoga classes.  Both will help them relax at home after a hectic day and are completely travel-friendly for business trips.

1. Fix, Freeze, Feast Cookbook ($10)  2. Travel Thermos ($31)  3. Yogaglo subscription (from $18) 4. Bose headphones ($135)  5. Stress-fix concentrate ($22)  6. iPad case ($19.50)  7. Paula custom duffel ($225)

Stef’s Picks: For the Do-It-Yourselfer

For all of those people out there that love to craft, paint, knit, cook crazy things from scratch and marvel at their own masterpieces, I bring you the gift guide for the DIYers. Surprise the independent in your life with a gift certificate to Arte Paint and Wine Bar. If you don’t live in the Milwaukee area, search for paint and wine bars in your area, they are popping up everywhere. They will get a blank canvas, some painting instructions and wine galore. If the piece doesn’t turn out like Van Gogh’s, you can blame it on the wine.

1. Arte Wine Bar & Art Studio class (prices vary)  2. Cricut Create machine ($129)  3. Created with Love stamp ($20)  4. Wilton decorating set ($48)  5. DIY Butter Making Kit ($30)  6. Keep Calm and Craft On Sign ($8) 

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Holiday Gift Guide: For Kids & Pets

Anne’s Picks

For the little girl in your life, you can’t go wrong with a pair of fringe boots.  Warning: if your little girl is anything like mine, putting these cute boots on will also add a touch of sass to her attitude.  You also can’t go wrong with any of the Olivia books which documents the adventures of a smart and creative little girl.

1. Olivia book ($18)  2. Fill and Spill Picnic Basket ($25)  3. Wee Wonderfuls Fern doll ($39)  4. Fleece Mouse Robe ($40)  5. Tall Boot ($30)  

Stef’s Picks

For the budding chef in your life, the MiMi the Sardine organic cooking aprons are the perfect gift. They are super easy to wipe off and have adjustable ties, so the apron grows with your little one. I’m also a big fan of the kid-tough Fisher Price digital cameras. Now your mini Ansel Adams can keep his paws off your camera and create his own masterpiece.

1. Curious George Matching Game ($8)  2. Train Sound Puzzle ($11)  3. Veggie Tales Christmas Collection ($15)  4. Organic Cotton Child’s Apron ($20)  5. Kid’s Digital Camera ($38)  6. Battatt Bristle Block Set ($24) 

Katie’s Picks

I’ll always have a soft spot for sparkly pet collars but this year I’m also intrigued by the Bolt laser toy.  Whether you’ve got a dog or a cat, your furry companion will be very entertained by this laser pointer.  The best part?  You’ll be equally entertained by their antics as they chase the beam around your home.

1. Chevron Pet Bed Cover ($59) 2. Sparkle Dog Collar ($23)  3. Interactive Laser Pet Toy ($16)  4. Cat Scratcher Lounge ($49.95)  5. Soggy Doggy Slopmat ($24.95)


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Holiday Gift Guide: For the Guys

Anne’s Picks

Most men love a clean shave and the starter kit from The Art of Shaving will give them the tools to do just that.  If scruff is more your man’s style grab him some Man Candles.  Scents like Saw Dust and Fresh Cut Grass will be perfect for any man cave.

1. Clarkson Belt ($35)  2. Leather iPhone case (from $20) 3. Lambswool Half-zip Sweater ($75)  4. Man Candles ($15)  5. Art of Shaving Kit ($115)

Katie’s Picks

Handcrafted and artisan are all the rage right now so I love the idea of giving the guy in your life (those of legal age, of course), spirits to match his tastes and attitude.  If he likes to have the best brought to him, choose a bottle of his favorite kind of liquor from a craft distillery like Templeton Rye or Death’s Door. If he’s more of a “do-er”, he’ll love a starter home brew kit from Northern Brewer.  If your guy doesn’t imbibe, let him savor the flavors of Ted’s Butcher Block Bacon of the Month club instead!

1. Quilted Puffer Jacket ($98) 2. Bacon of the Month Club (from $78)  3. You the Man mug ($16)  4. Artisan whiskey or gin (prices vary)  5. Homebrew Starter Kit ($80) 6. Kiehl’s Ultimate Man Set ($58)

Stef’s Picks

While you can never go wrong with a bottle of wine from Da Coach, my top pick this year is the subscription to If you have a baseball fanatic with an affection for personal electronics, streams games straight to your laptop or iPad.

1. Wool Puffer Vest ($80)  2. MLB.TV package (prices vary)  3. Mike Ditka wines (prices vary) 4. Hand Printed Whiskey Glasses ($24)  5. ESPN 30 for 30 Blu-Ray set ($55)  6. Personalized Whiskey leather shaving kit ($60)

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Holiday Gift Guide: For the Ladies

Every year we get excited to put together our holiday gift guide. Whether we’re making a list for our friends and family (or doing a little virtual window shopping for ourselves), we’ve found there’s no better way to start off the season. Join us all week as we share our favorite picks!

Anne’s Picks

Buying clothes for the lady in your life isn’t always easy, but any girl could use a good quality, basic long sleeve t shirt.  The JCrew vintage long sleeve tee is a perfect fit and comes in amazing colors.  Pair it with a chic (and surprisingly inexpensive) bubble necklace for an instant outfit.

1. Glitter iPhone case ($29.50)  2. Bubble necklace ($9.50)  3. Vintage cotton long sleeve tee ($34.50)  4. It’s Raining Men body wash ($28.95)  5. Joan of Arctic Snow Boots ($150)

Katie’s Picks

They’re a big splurge but if you have a special lady on your list, you can’t go wrong with a pair of Frye boots. She’ll love both you and them forever. For stocking stuffers and girl friends, Julep’s chic grey polish set is a perfect of-the-moment pick.

1. Fair Isle Sweater ($98)  2. Trinity post earrings ($28)  3. Bracelet watch ($180)  4. iPhone glam case ($40)  5. Melissa button boot ($328) 6. Shades of Grey nail polish set ($16)

Stef’s Picks

At the top of my Christmas list this year is a Jo Totes camera purse. It’s a chic purse from the outside but a DSLR camera bag on the inside. It makes lugging your camera around so much more stylish. I’m also shouting out some blog love this year with published works by some of our friends around the world wide web. Confessions of a Scary Mommy is a blog turned book, with some funny, touching and sometimes scary notes for the mommy in your life.

1. Bina Brianca Wrap ($42.50)  2. Confessions of a Scary Mommy ($10)  3. Tadasana Wrap ($99)  4. Jo Totes Camera Purse ($89)  5. Color Block Mary Janes ($50)  6. Sylvan Beaded Stretch Belt ($48)


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Save the Date: Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Milwaukee

This year, stuffing your stockings with homemade treats could mean a breakthrough in pediatric cancer research.

Haute Apple Pie is happy to participate again in the MKEfoodies sponsored holiday bake sale to raise money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. You can purchase HAP goodies along with many other local foodie treats on Saturday, December 8, 2011 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery, 901 W. Juneau Ave., Milwaukee.

Santa Claus is coming to town to greet kids of all ages and bestow gifts upon lucky supporters. All proceeds from the sale will be donated to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a not-for-profit organization committed to raising funds to support research for new and improved therapies for pediatric cancers.

We’ve got help from lots of great companies this year. OXO has pledged to match bake sale proceeds dollar for dollar! In addition, the Glad Corporation will give $1 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer for every cookie sold here in Milwaukee. Local sponsors include 88Nine Radio Milwaukee,, Yelp Milwaukee, Outpost Natural Foods, First Priority Printing, and Rishi Tea.

Childhood cancers are the number one disease killer of children – more than asthma, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and pediatric AIDS combined. Nearly 13,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. Survivors of childhood cancer face a broad range of physical and psychological challenges imposed by the disease, and some will suffer its long-term effects for the rest of their lives. Despite all these statistics, there has not been a new drug developed specifically for pediatric cancer in 20 years. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is committed to raising the funds to support research for new and improved therapies for pediatric cancer. It is not about one child or one type of pediatric cancer. It is about changing the facts of pediatric cancer for the better, forever.

For more information visit and

To donate online, visit:

We hope to see you there!

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