Pola Pola Kolačiči (Croatian “Half + Half Cookies”)

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Each year I hold on to our family tradition of exploring the foods of a different culture during the holidays, and Pola Pola Kolačiči is a new recipe on its way to becoming an old classic.

These Croatian cookies (kolačiči) take jammy thumbprints to the next level: One half (pola) studded with poppy seeds, the other half (pola) bathed in espresso + glistening with cinnamon sugar. Where the two meet, a dot of pear cardamom butter — a favorite wintry flavor pair — adds a little something extra. Plus, of course, all the crumbly, buttery goodness you expect of a Christmas cookie.

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Harvest Apple Chai Muffins

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Autumn is my season, and back home in the Wisconsin, it’s the most splendid season of all.

One of the traditions I miss most is driving north along country roads to the rolling, tree-dotted hills of The Little Farmer Orchard in Pipe. Rows and rows of apple trees as far as the eye can see. Twisted branches stretching skyward like gnarly fingers, each drooping slightly under the weight of juicy, white-fleshed Cortlands. A dazzling display of autumnal beauty.

Memories of these orchard afternoons are always on my mind come October. An apple-y sweet does nicely to satisfy some of the nostalgic longings. Traditionally this is an apple crisp with vanilla and lots of walnuts, but this year I dreamed up a spiced multi-grain apple muffin instead. (There’s still plenty of apple season to bake a tray of that crisp.)

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Maple Fig Shortbread Bars

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

There is a definite seasonal urgency to cooking, especially this time of year. One minute you’re on top of the game, the next Mother Nature snatches away your favorite ingredients without warning. Removing her wrench from my plans is where you will currently find me.

Originally conceived to capture the final harvest of fresh figs, our tree took an early holiday, and has since been put to bed. But I’m a sucker for fig cookies, and darned if this setback was going to impede my weekly baking therapy — dried, it is!

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Yogurt Cloud Cake

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Showstopping desserts don’t have to mean fancy techniques or expensive ingredients or even butter and chocolate. Sometimes it’s more about a willingness to change the way we think about every-day food items we keep. Sometimes favoring simplicity + ingenuity wins the day.

A small mountain of fresh figs doesn’t hurt either.

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