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Southern Tea Cakes for two

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Unassuming though they might look, Southern tea cakes are special cookies. It’s said that these sweet little cakes were served at tea parties hosted by Juliette Gordon Low in her efforts to form the Girl Scouts of America.

President Clinton’s oatmeal cookies

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The best oatmeal cookies I've ever had - Mr. Clinton knows about cookies! :)

Hearty Baked Oatmeal

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Dear "oatmeal haters," this recipe is for you (and me)! The secret to Bobbi's baked oatmeal lies in a "custard-like mixture" that the oats sit in overnight to "soak up the delicious flavors" of cinnamon, nutmeg and toasted coconut. "This also gives the oats a chewy, nutty texture, which is quite nice - especially when topped with toasted walnuts and dried cranberries and submerged in a puddle of warm milk."

"Who's hatin' on oatmeal now?" Not me!

Spiced banana breakfast loaf

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There's no such thing as too many banana cakes - this one is packed with spices and they go wonderfully well with the banana flavor.

Buttermilk Cakes with Spiced Vanilla Icing

Buttermilk Cakes with Spiced Vanilla Icing

These little cakes walk a fine line between muffin and cupcake, but they do it so well that you can serve them as either. Thanks to the buttermilk and a secret ingredient (butternut squash!), they're savory enough to serve with brunch (we did!) but sweet enough to enjoy again after dinner. Twice as nice. 

Recipe: Buttermilk Cakes with Spiced Vanilla Icing

Chocolate Ginger Cookies

Chocolate Ginger Cookies

If you're going to make one "blow you away, never forget about it for the rest of your life" Christmas cookie recipe, this is it. Seriously, these cookies will change your holiday season. These are our absolute favorites; they're also the best ones we make. 

The ginger flavor isn't overwhelming at all - it adds just a bit of spice, which is offset perfectly by the addition of cocoa and chocolate chips. The baking sugar adds sweetness and crunch. They're adorable, yummy and festive!

Recipe: Chocolate Ginger Cookies

Cinnamon Chip Chai Shortbread Bars

Cinnamon Chip Chai Shortbread Bars

Everything you love about shortbread is in these bars - the butter, the crumb, the deliciousness... What you might not expect is the zing of chai spice and cinnamon chips - perfectly festive and potentially impossible to resist!

Recipe: Cinnamon Chip Chai Shortbread Bars

Julia Child’s Soufflé au Fromage

Julia Child’s Soufflé au Fromage

I'm going to go ahead and admit something: I am green with envy at this gorgeous cheese soufflé. Not only is is beautiful, but it's a Julia Child recipe. Julia is the original Martha Stewart: her stuff is not easy to make, but when it's done right, it's incredible. The flavors sing. The food melts in your mouth. Culinary perfection.

And I imagine that's exactly what this soufflé did for Kocinera. Gruyère, Swiss and Parmesan cheeses combine to make an "airy soufflé with hidden cheesy flavor permeating every bite."

Directions andRecipe: Julia Child’s Soufflé au Fromage

Texas Pecan Cake with Butter Pecan Glaze

Texas Pecan Cake with Butter Pecan Glaze

I was recently asked to contribute an "Austin" recipe to our company's holiday card, which happens to be an electronic cookbook featuring a recipe from each of the cities where we have an office. (How fun is that?!) 

I wanted to be sure to pick a recipe that is true to Austin and the Texas Hill Country. This cake is perfect because it just so happens that Texas’ state tree is the Pecan Tree. 

The cake batter is made with local, homegrown butternut squash and seasonal spices, but Texas pecans are the real star of this dessert. Both the cake batter and the glaze are chock-full of them. And yes, this is just as good as it looks - my holiday gift to you!

Recipe: Texas Pecan Cake with Butter Pecan Glaze