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Community Manager
Community Manager

Community Cookbook

This weekend mrssigma and I got to talking about what we were looking forward to eating this year during the holidays.  This might have been influenced by watching the ending of the current season of the Great British Baking Show, snacking on leftover Halloween candy, or something else entirely. She mentioned wanting a cannoli and it reminded us of a dinner earlier this year.  Late this summer Jez visited us here in Austin to film his session for THWACKcamp.  As part of that, we got to enjoy a dinner out with him.  When Dana started talking about cannoli, Jez said he didn’t know what we were talking about.

That’s really when it hit us: as much as we could travel around the world and sample local flavors, we already have friends from all over the world in the form of this community. So, this is the request: what is your favorite dessert or sweet/savory snack recipe?  Does it come with a story?  Does your family make biscuits or cookies you love?  What makes them special to you?

This is not a company sponsored event – this is just a Dana and I event.  It’s just my wife and I thinking about expanding our recipe book with influences from around the world.  The current plan is to try a few of the recipes out (neither of us are good bakers) and then the two of us possibly award a prize to our favorite recipe and/or story.  If we get enough recipes to make a cookbook, great!  If not, then it's still fun to share with everyone.

As all things I ask of the community, I'm willing to go first.  This is one of my favorite holiday bakes.  I like love a spicy cake for the holidays.  In my family, the holidays normally mean cold weather, warm blankets, and hot beverages.  This is still what I think of when I think about the holidays.  When I got a little older an aunt gave me this recipe.  I’ve made it multiple times over the years swapping in and out the raisins for walnuts, or adding a little bit of apple brandy to the mix, but the base recipe is the same.  Iced or plain is has a rich spice that cuts through the winter cold.  It’s my pleasure to share it with you.

Applesauce Cake


  • 2-1/2 cups – White flour
  • 2 cups – Sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp - Baking Soda
  • 1-1/2 tsp – Salt
  • 1/2 tsp – Baking Powder
  • 3/4 tsp – Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp – Ground Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp – Allspice
  • 1-1/2 cups – Applesauce (Cinnamon or Plain to taste)
  • 1/2 cup – Water
  • 1/2 cup – Shortening
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 cup – Raisins (Optional)


  1. Combine dry ingredients (except raisins) in a large bowl or mixer and mix thoroughly.
  2. In a separate bowl, melt shortening and combine with other egg, water, and applesauce.
  3. Add wet ingredients slowly to dry ingredients on slow mix.  Once the ingredients are incorporated, stop mixing.
  4. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  5. Butter and flour a Bundt pan.
  6. If you would like raisins (or nuts) add them now and incorporate into the mix - do not over-mix.
  7. Put the mixture in the Bundt pan and place on middle rack of the oven for 60-65 minutes.
  8. When a knife comes away clean, remove from the oven.
  9. Let cool for approximately 5 minutes and then turn out on a cooling rack.

P.S. - Don't worry about converting imperial to metric or vice versa.  Provide information the way you know.

"Shoot for the stars to reach the moon"
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Rosemary Red Wine Marinade
Best with beef, lamb, game meats

1 cup full-bodied red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 garlic clove, minced
1¼ teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Mix everything together and use as directed in a recipe


Port Wine Marinade: (Best with lamb, duck, game meats.)
Substitute port for the red wine, and increase the quantity of salt to 1 tablespoon.

Leg of Lamb Roasted with Rosemary

The leg of lamb is one of the most versatile cuts for grilling, providing everything from mammoth feast-worthy roasts quick-cooking steaks, lamb cubes for skewering, and even some ground lamb. A whole leg typically weighs about 12 pounds. For this recipe you want a steamship leg, which includes all of the meatiest parts of the leg, but without the aitch-bone (hip bone), which can make a full leg cumbersome to carve. A steamship leg of lamb still retains the major leg bone, which means the grill-roasting a leg will take a little longer than grilling boneless lamb, but the results are more flavorful and much juicier. Bones, particularly leg bones, have an insulating effect on the meat that surrounds them, giving credence to the old adage, "tender at the bone."

2 cups Rosemary Red Wine Marinade (above)
1 leg of lamb, steamship, aitch-bone removed (about 6 pounds)
Coarse salt and ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
¼ cup molasses
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Combine the marinade and lamb in a jumbo (2-gallon) zipper-lock bag. Press out the air, seal, and refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight.
Light a grill for indirect medium heat, about 300°F.
Remove the lamb from the marinade and pat dry. Discard the marinade. Season the lamb with salt and pepper, and set on a rack in a large disposable roasting pan.
Put the pan on the grill away from the heat, cover the grill, and roast until the lamb is browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 130 F, about 1 1/2 hours.
Once the lamb is grilling, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Then add the olive oil and rosemary and heat until fragrant, about a minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the molasses, mustard and soy sauce. Set aside.
After the first 45 minutes of grilling, baste the lamb with 3/4 cup of the rosemary mixture, brushing on a thin coat every 15 minutes.
Put the lamb on a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice against the grain, starting at the wider end and working your way around the central leg bone. Drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup rosemary mixture over the top.

From: Fire It Up; More Than 400 Recipes for Grilling Everything, by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim, photographs by Alison Miksch

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​German Sour Cream Twists

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Anise Tea Crescents

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The instructions for the anise tea crescents says to mix those ingredients until fluffy, then says later to use 1 cup of remaining powdered sugar to top off the crescents. Does this mean you only use 1/4 of the powdered sugar in the initial base cream?

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I will check with my wife, but yes that is typically how she writes these up on the cards. I just scanned these I didn't retype them.

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​Fennel and Blood Orange Salad

​We have had several sources for this salad over the years, this one is by Emiko

The classic Sicilian winter salad. This transitional salad changes from house to household. In it simplest version it has just blood oranges, sliced and seasoned with a pinch of salt and olive oil. In more elaborate versions, it can include green or black olives, anchovies, fresh chill, green onion, even smoked fish. This is somewhat in between.

Serves 4

  • 4 small blood oranges
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • a handful of good quality olives, green or black
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • pinches of salt

  1. Peel and slice the oranges into small segments, removing the membrane when you come across it. Reserve half an orange to use for the dressing.
  2. Slice the fennel, ideally with a mandolin, or as thinly as you can. Reserve some fo the green fennel tops for garnish.
  3. Toss the fennel, orange slices, and olives in a bowl together.
  4. In a small separate bowl, combine the juice of half an orange, the extra virgin olive oil and salt and whisk to form an emulsion. Dress the salad with this mixture and garnish with some fennel tops.

Roasted Chickpeas & Pecans with Bacon & Maple Syrup

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 cup (250 mL) cooked chickpeas, of half a 19 oz (540 mL) can, rinsed and drained
  • 2 to 3 slices of bacon, diced
  • Handful of broken pecans
  • 1/4 Cup (60 mL) maple syrup
  • Sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit

Spread chickpeas and bacon over a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake, stirring once or twice, until the bacon is starting to brown and most of the fat has been rendered, about 30 minutes.

Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and add the pecans. Roast for 5 minutes and add the maple syrup.

Toss well and return to oven for another 3 to 4 minutes. The maple syrup should be thickened and bubbling.

Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and allow to cool somewhat before eating.

Great way to have beans for breakfast

Christmas Nut Cake
Submitted by: Richard Reisner
"This nut loaf is all nuts. I have never met anyone who didn't like it - except for a few nuts!" Original recipe yield: 8 to 10 servings.


  • 1 1/2 pounds blanched whole almonds
  • 1 pound Brazil nuts
  • 1/2 pound walnut halves
  • 1/2 pound pecan halves
  • 1 1/2 pounds pitted dates
  • 1/3 pound red candied cherries [We substitute dried cherries]
  • 1/3 pound green candied cherries [We substitute pineapple]
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Line two 5x9 inch loaf pans with greased parchment paper. [We did not use parchment paper. We used non-stick spray to coat the inside of the pans.]
2. Combine the almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans, dates, red and green cherries; mix well.
3. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine with nut mixture and mix well. [We have done it this way and it works fine. However, we think combining the liquids in the next step with the flour and blending that prior to combining with the nuts.]
4. Beat eggs and vanilla, add to nut and flour mixture and mix well.
5. Press into 2 lined loaf pans and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Set aside for 5 minutes and remove from pans. Completely cool on wire rack.

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

Adapted from A Good Appetite

  • Butter for greasing pan
  • 3 blood oranges
  • 1 cup (200 grams or 7 ounces) sugar
  • Scant 1/2 cup (118 ml) buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup (156 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cups (219 grams or 7 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Honey-blood orange compote, for serving (optional, below)
  • Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Grate zest from 2 oranges and place in a bowl with sugar. Using your fingers, rub ingredients together until orange zest is evenly distributed in sugar.

Supreme an orange: Cut off bottom and top so fruit is exposed and orange can stand upright on a cutting board. Cut away peel and pith, following curve of fruit with your knife. Cut orange segments out of their connective membranes and let them fall into a bowl. Repeat with another orange. Break up segments with your fingers to about 1/4-inch pieces.

Halve remaining orange and squeeze juice into a measuring cup; you’ll will have about 1/4 cup. Add buttermilk or yogurt to juice until you have 2/3 cup liquid altogether. Pour mixture into bowl with sugar and whisk well. Whisk in eggs and olive oil.

In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently stir dry ingredients into wet ones. Fold in pieces of orange segments. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake cake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until it is golden and a knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then unmold and cool to room temperature right-side up. Serve with whipped cream and honey-blood orange compote (below), if desired.

Honey-Blood Orange Compote: Supreme 3 more blood oranges according to directions above. Drizzle in 1 to 2 teaspoons honey. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir gently.

Level 9

Being a native Texan, my family loves to have tacos and other such tex-mex food at some of our holiday dinners and even when we decide to have more "traditional" food, I am frequently asked to make this little slice of tex-mex heaven. Sopapilla cheesecake! My family isn't huge or anything, but we're a pretty close bunch and when we get together, there has to be a lot of food. Since there are usually anywhere from 15 to 20 of us, I typically have to make 2 of these, even when there are other desserts to sample too. I hope ya'll enjoy it as much as we do!


  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature


  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Beat the cream cheese with 1 cup of sugar and the vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth.
  3. Unroll the cans of crescent roll dough, and use a rolling pin to shape each piece into 9x13 inch rectangles. Press one piece into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Evenly spread the cream cheese mixture into the baking dish, then cover with the remaining piece of crescent dough. Stir together 3/4 cup of sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Dot the mixture over the top of the cheesecake.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until the crescent dough has puffed and turned golden brown, about 30 minutes.Cool completely in the pan before cutting into 12 squares.

*Note: sometimes you can find the cans of crescent dough sheets that aren't cut. Those are a little easier to work with if you can find them. You can just put the whole sheet directly into the pan without having to cut or shape it.

My Mom has made this for years, and I agree, it's delicious!

This is a great idea! I'll dig out the recipe for one of my favorites that my mother used to bake, an awesome cookie recipe

Watch this space!

Also, the steak and BBQ in Austin is incredible. One year I've got to attend the US Grand Prix, hosted at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, as I'm a MASSIVE Formula 1 fan. That way I can combine two of my favorite pastimes: good food and Motorsport.

Ok! Sorry for the delay all, here's the promised recipe. This was one of my mother's favourites to cook for my sister and I when we were little, and I share this as a tribute to her. She passed in 2016, and I'm sure she'd be happy to know that this recipe, which brought me so much happyness as a kid, has been shared with you all

Lillian's Golden Syrup Oatmeal Biscuits


3 ounces of rolled oats

3 ounces of self-raising flour

3 ounces of sugar

3 ounces of soft margarine

1 dessertspoon of golden syrup

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, dissolved in 2 teaspoons of full fat milk.


Have a lightly greased cake tray ready before starting, as you'll transfer the cookie dough to this once it is ready.


  1. Mix the oats, sugar, and flour in a large bowl.
  2. Heat the margarine and syrup gently in a pan until the margarine has melted.
  3. Add the bicarbonate of soda/milk mixture to the pan and mix.
  4. When this starts to froth, add immediately to the oatmeal mixture, and combine into a dough.
  5. Roll the dough into 1 inch diameter balls, place each on the cake tray you prepared earlier, and press very lightly, ensuring you leave room around each for the biscuit to spread during cooking.
  6. Cook on gas mark 4 for 10 minutes, or until the biscuits have lightly browned (180C = 350F = Gas Mark 4)


If you like your biscuits with a of fruit or nuts (or both!), I recommend the addition of chopped glace cherries and/or chopped walnuts to the mixture. Either with or without, these are gorgeously chewy

- Jez Marsh

okay the list is going to be long....

Pumpkin pie

pumpkin bread

apple pie

pecan pie

cheese cake

pumpkin cheese cake (think pumpkin spice)

coffee cake

and more to come....

My inlaws go nuts with thanksgiving is not uncommon to see 15-25 pies/cakes/other goodies show up at the family gathering.

Level 10

Oh boy, holiday desserts are best desserts. I have a few family recipes, but my cookbook is at home. I will add to this post once I retrieve. Setting a reminder now!

Dirt cake variation -dirtcake.jpg

Monkey-bread variation -monkey bread.jpg

Butterfingers crumble -butterfinger.jpg

Level 12

thanks for the post

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