Rich Roll Cookies

Hi there! If you came of age in the Eighties, like some of us did, you may have been familiar with the pretty blue binder of this Joy of Cooking book.


My mom had/has a similarly worn copy. I love these recipes, and someday, when I’m in Chicago, I will cook my way through the book. In the meantime, however, I simply can’t let these Rich Roll Cookies slip away.


Mine looked absolutely nothing like this. Mine looked a LOT more like a Pinterest fail picture, but, like I tell my son, I tried really hard. And I actually found this recipe for Royal Icing from the NYT to be so-so at best. It did harden up and make the cookies stackable, which was it’s main job, but I think I just prefer a good thick layer of buttercream on a sugar cookie, stacking be damned.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cream: 1 cup butter, 2/3 cup sugar
  • Beat in: 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Combine and add: 2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt (less if you use salted butter)
  • Chill dough 3 to 4 hours before rolling
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes

Some recipes online call for 1/4 tsp baking powder; I will check with my mom and amend this post if necessary. Happy baking!


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Irish Cream Ice Cream Pie/Cake

I avoid Cool Whip as a general rule, though I have to admit it works magic in this recipe. Once you make this pie and let it sit out on the counter for just a very little while, it thaws a bit and takes on a velvety, mousse-like texture that is really quite magnificent. This was very boozy (and I liked it that way) but definitely NOT for kids. I’m thinking I may try it with a different kind of ice cream and just omit the Irish Cream. Tonight would be a good night to do that, or any night, really. I may even bring it to the family Thanksgiving this year. My family aren’t big drinkers and I think they’d be a little tipsy after a big slice of this pie/cake. Mwahahaha.



  • 30 Oreos, finely crushed (I put them in a ziploc and whacked with a hammer, they were a bit chunky but worked just fine)
  • 5 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1.5 quart premium vanilla ice cream, at room temp (let sit out for 30 minutes)
  • 2/3 cup Irish Cream liqueur
  • 1 cup Cool Whip Topping (generous), at room temp.
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped Heath Bar (I omitted)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I omitted)


  1. Place crushed Oreo crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a bowl and mix until combined. In a 9 inch spring-foam pan place the Oreo mixture and press into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Set aside. (Note: I baked this for a few minutes at 350• to crisp up the crust a bit — just be sure to wrap in foil or put a cookie sheet under it to avoid burnt butter on your oven bottom.)
  2. In a large bowl mix together ice cream and irish cream. Fold in whipped topping and 1 cup of Heath bars (if using). Pour into prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
  3. In a microwave safe bowl melt chocolate chips for 20 second increments until melted. Mine took about 40 seconds. Drizzle on top of cake and sprinkle with remaining Heath Bars. (I omitted this step, obvs.)

I ran out of time, but planned to serve with lightly sweetened, freshly whipped cream and chocolate sauce. I was hoping to try this Martha Stewart recipe, since so many others call for evaporated milk and I never have that in my pantry.

Also, I didn’t use the Heath Bars because a friend has a nut allergy, but the crunchy element would’ve worked nicely here. In fact, I think if you used chocolate ice cream, a little mint flavoring and toffee on the top, you’d have a fairly good approximation of Frango Mint Ice Cream Pie. Sounds like a delicious experiment!

Adapted from this recipe.

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We All Scream for Zucchini (Pasta)

This Summer Pasta with Zucchini, Ricotta and Basil from the New York Times food section was labor intensive, but really quite delicious. And no need to turn on the oven! I made a few changes (chicken and walnuts) and I don’t want to forget how I did it. The recipe says 4-6 servings but it makes a huge quantity. Luckily, the leftovers are really good, especially if you top with more parmesan. Maybe try it with half or 3/4 of the pasta called for in the recipe.

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 or 2 chicken breasts poached with a few smashed garlic cloves and salt, then shredded
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 pounds zucchini, halved, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, or 2 tablespoons chopped green garlic
  • 1 ounce basil, about 2 cups loose leaves
  • handful of walnuts, 1/4-1/2 cup
  • 1 pound ziti or other dry pasta
  • 8 ounces ricotta, about 1 cup (see recipe)
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper (I omitted)
  • Zest of 1 lemon (I omitted)
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan, pecorino or a mixture, about 1 cup, plus more for serving
  1. Put a pot of water on to boil. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the onions in 3 tablespoons olive oil until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat as necessary to keep onions from browning. Add zucchini, season generously with salt and pepper, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until rather soft, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat.
  2. Meanwhile, use a mini food processor to grind garlic, basil, walnuts and a little Kosher salt into a rough paste. Stir in 3 tablespoons olive oil.
  3. Salt the pasta water well (2T) and put in the pasta, stirring. Boil per package instructions but make sure to keep pasta quite al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.
  4. Add cooked pasta and chicken to zucchini in skillet and turn heat to medium-high. Add 1/2 cup cooking water (I used the whole cup), then the ricotta, crushed red pepper and lemon zest, stirring to distribute. Check seasoning and adjust. Cook for 1 minute more. Mixture should look creamy. Add a little more pasta water if necessary. Add the basil paste and half the grated cheese and quickly stir to incorporate. Spoon pasta into warm soup plates and sprinkle with additional cheese. Serve immediately.


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Yummy Fruity Scones

Mere words cannot describe how much I adore the Great British Bake Off. It’s a little sleepy, but in the sweetest possible way. They bake in a dreamy white tent surrounded by green pastures, which in turn are dotted with little white lambs. It’s the perfect thing to watch before bed!


Thanks to Bake Off, I discovered HUGE British celebrity and sexxy septuagenarian Mary Berry, and her yummy fruity scones. (She is not literally huge. Quite petite, actually, considering how much pastry she eats.) Every time I bake these, I write the American measurements on a scrap of paper and then promptly lose the paper. So I’m recording them here, now, to avoid future sconus interruptus issues.

Mary Berry’s Fruity Scones

6T butter, cubed (1/3 cup)
2 and 2/3 cups self-raising flour (plus more for dusting)
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
2T (or more to taste) sugar
1/3 cup raisins (or more), soaked for a few hours (or even overnight) in enough apple or orange juice to cover them completely
2/3 cup milk minus 2T (or 10T total)
2 large eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 425•F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Make a light crumbly dough: Put the flour and baking powder into a large chilled mixing bowl. Add the cubes of butter, keeping all the ingredients as cold as possible. Rub the butter in lightly and quickly with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and sultanas.

Pour 7 tablespoons (3 and 1⁄ 2fl oz) of the milk and all but 2 tablespoons of the beaten egg into the flour mixture. Mix together with a round-bladed knife to a soft, but not too sticky dough, adding a bit more milk if needed to mop up any dry bits of mixture in the bottom of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, lightly knead just a few times only until gathered together, then gently roll and pat out to form a rectangle about 2cm (3⁄4in) deep.

Cut out as many rounds as possible from the first rolling with a 6cm (21⁄2in) cutter (a plain cutter is easier to use than a fluted one) and lay them on the baking sheet, spaced slightly apart. Gather the trimmings, then roll and cut out again. Repeat until you have 10 scones.

Brush the tops of the scones with the reserved egg. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until risen and golden. Remove and cool on a wire rack. Serve sliced with lightly sweetened whipped cream and good jam!


Scones need a light touch or they can become tough and heavy, so handle them as little as possible. Roll them out quite thickly to start with; they never rise as much as you think they will. As the dough is quite deep, dip the cutter in flour before cutting out each scone to prevent the dough from sticking to it.

Adapted from the Laura Ashley blog.


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Just Sweet Enough

little feet

Hello! I’ve been re-reading posts from… well a long time ago, and wow I was a snarky little Drucker, wasn’t I? Now I’m a mom, who bakes cake (too much) and drinks vodka (not enough), and I melt when I see little feet peeking out from under a blanket. How the mighty do fall!

Like so many cake-baking bloggers before me, I had to go ahead and try Edna Lewis’s Busy Day Cake. I’ve made it both with buttermilk and without, and I can’t honestly say I noticed a difference. What I can say is that it is absolutely divine. Even the name evokes a simpler time, when people baked cakes on busy days and kept a pitcher of buttermilk out on a countertop, to dip into now and again throughout the day.

It’s buttery and fragrant and just sweet enough, sheer perfection by itself or topped with warm strawberry compote and a dollop of freshly whipped cream.

Thank you, Reverend Michael, for the gorgeous plate.

Thank you, Reverend Michael, for the gorgeous plate.

Like so many good things in life, this cake goes fast, and when it’s gone, you wish there were more. If you’re reading, please comment! I crave adult conversation. (Not THAT kind of adult, Mr or Ms Naughty Knickers. Adult as in Elmo, Peppa and/or Thomas the Train do not enter the conversation.) TIA!

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It Was A Happy Day

Look! Mother Drucker made an engagement party — and it actually looks kinda good?!! (Proud of self.) I spent so much time being crafty that the hubs has forbidden any more party planning in the foreseeable future. But given how much I love this couple, it was actually super fun, and their reaction to all the little details (ahem, Pinterest) was priceless!

Speaking of priceless, check out these sugar cookies shaped like engagement rings. Yum. Just Nigella’s easy cut out cookie recipe, food color, sparkly sprinkles and my favorite C&H buttercream. And this cookie cutter from Amazon.

ring cookiesChalkboard signCupcake toppersdonuts tableMr and Mrs bannerHydrangeas are from the LA Flower Mart, burlap from the fabric store, a few flea market finds, craft supplies from Michael’s, cupcake toppers from Etsy, donuts from Randy’s and all other cooking and craftiness done by yours truly. (I referenced Ina Garten when creating the cheese tray, and frosted the cupcakes with this tip.) And thanks to my friend Alison for recommending this Pampered Chef Sweet & Salty party mix. It was gone in a matter of minutes!

And just to be sure that this party started their wedding year off with a bang, it rained for about the first time in three years. As I raced around the house setting up, a bolt of lightning hit a nearby car. It was so incredibly loud that I actually stopped to ask myself, is this the apocalypse? No? Well. I’ve got a party to throw.

car lightning

I’m pretty sure I pinned all the tutorials on Pinterest but if you have any questions just ask. Believe me, if I can do this, ANYONE CAN. The groom-to-be summed it all up perfectly: it was a happy day. Good luck Cat & AC!

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BBQ Chicken Drucked Salad

I didn’t realize how attached I was to this recipe until I couldn’t find it. I am a HUGE fan of the California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad, even after I read somewhere that it’s 750 calories. (Roughly a Big Mac and small fries.) Nutritional info not withstanding, it turns out that making your own is easy, especially if you use helpful shortcuts from the supermarket. (In other words, Semi-Homemade!)

Not the best photo quality. But you get the idea.

Isn’t it magnificent? I brought it to a dinner party in a big, beautiful serving bowl and it was gone before you could say CPK. It’s kind of labor intensive with all the chopping, but the results were well worth it! (And now I can use my food processor, yay!) Since it requires only the slightest bit of on-site finagling and doesn’t take up space in my host’s oven, this is my new go-to dish for potlucks, parties, etc.

Such a fresh alternative to typical dinner party fare.

So here is the recipe (I halved it, which was just enough for six people with lots of other options) and here are my super-sneaky shortcuts:

  • Store-bought tortilla chips, crumbled
  • Whole head of romaine lettuce instead of half/half with iceberg
  • Toss salad just before serving with high-quality buttermilk ranch dressing, to taste
  • 2-3 grilled, fried, broiled or barbecued chicken breasts from the hot deli counter (Peel off the skin and chop into bite-sized cubes)
  • Skip the cilantro because too many people hate it
  • Be sure to peel your jicama (this won’t be easy)
  • Use plum tomatoes and squeeze ’em a bit before chopping (thanks for that tip, Rachael Ray) so they don’t make everything soggy
  • Top the salad with one or two chopped avocados that you’ve drizzled with lime juice and lightly salted
  • A few lime wedges are a nice touch

Follow step #4 in the recipe “Directions” to assemble the salad. I always wondered what that fresh, ever-so-slight licorice flavor was that kept me coming back for more of this salad, and I mistakenly assumed it was fennel. It’s a healthy dose of basil!

This was good enough that even my veggie friends were tempted to nibble around the chicken, making me think that you could make it with cubes of firm tofu, if you were so inclined, or just skip the protein altogether. I know, I know, we’re in holiday party mode now and it’s a very summery salad. But the colors are so Christmassy! And most of the ingredients are now available year ’round, except for jicama, and peeling that thing was like wrestling a warthog, so maybe you’re better off without it!

One last caveat — the ingredients for this salad were a cool $35. (Ouch.) You can get a Totino’s party pizza for $1.50. Food for thought.


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