November 2012 Recipes


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It’s the end of the month and time to recap the noteworthy recipes and events from the month:

Cranberry Bliss Bars {Starbucks Copycat recipe} – One of the best desserts I’ve made in ages, with a white chocolate and cranberry blondie base, topped with white chocolate-infused cream cheese frosting, more cranberries and a white chocolate drizzle. It’s a good thing the batch size only yields eight wedges because they’re dangerously good and a dead ringer for the Starbucks version

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Homemade Vanilla Extract – Making your own vanilla extract is extremely easy and between the cost savings and the wonderful flavor of homemade, you’ll never want or need to purchase storebought vanilla extract again. It takes about 8 weeks for the extract to be ready for use, but in those 8 weeks, there’s no work and it’s worth the wait. Makes fabulous gifts and people are always grateful for this easy yet impressive gift

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract pic collage

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Jacques Torres) – I learned many valuable lessons when making these cookies, from loving bread flour in cookies to detesting cake flour in them; to baking bigger-sized cookies to stuffing in extra chocolate. The cookies are very good, and I loved them on the first day, and wrote extensively about my overall thoughts

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cinnamon Swirl Bread – As close to cinnamon rolls as bread can get and still be passed off as bread rather than dessert

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream – Small-batch recipe and makes just 6 cupcakes, perfect for times when more is not better and the recipe helps make use of that last little bit of pumpkin puree in the bottom of the can that you don’t know what to do with. The cupcakes are moist, dense, and robustly-flavored with fall spices. The sweet, creamy, fluffy yet dense, marshmallow buttercream is the perfect complement to the half-dozen little cupcakes

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream

Baked Parsnip Fries with Creamy Balsamic Reduction Dip – (vegan, GF) Healthier than potato-based fries and baked, so you can have more. Parsnips have a nice warming little kick and the cooling creamy dip is a perfect complement

Baked Parsnip Fries with Creamy Balsamic Reduction Dip

Honey Dinner Rolls – The best dinner rolls I’ve ever had and I will use this recipe over and over, for years to come. Soft, fluffy, scrumptious and they can be made in advance. Honey is both used in the dough as well as brushed on top prior to baking in a honey-butter mixture for golden tops. Many people have written saying they made these for Thanksgiving with rave reviews from friends and family members and they’ll be on their menus for years

Honey Dinner Rolls

Chocolate Molasses Cake with Baileys Irish Cream Glaze – Part chocolate cake, part molasses cake, with chunks of chocolate chips and soft, juicy, tender dates in every bite. The cake is moist, rich, and reads more chocolate-flavored with molasses undertones, in a pleasantly intense way, without being bitter the way some dark chocolate or molasses cakes become. The Baileys Irish Cream Glaze adds creaminess, richness, and a light sweetness and is the perfect compliment to the robust cake flavors. And an easy, one-bowl, mixer-less cake batter to make

Chocolate Molasses Cake with Baileys Irish Cream Glaze

Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookies – A new favorite cookie. Simple ingredients create cookies far more delicious than just the sum of their parts. A hybrid between a sugar cookie and a snickerdoodle, and are scented abundantly with vanilla. They have wonderfully chewy edges, thanks to the addition of bread flour, and soft, tender centers. This is a small-batch recipe and makes just one-dozen, perfect for times when you just need a quick dozen

Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookies

Challah – Recipe and method is based on Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking and is incredibly easy. It’s make-ahead dough, here’s no kneading, and it’s truly fuss-free bread making and great for new bread makers. The challah turns out light, fluffy, almost croissant-like, with just a hint of sweetness. I will make this bread for years to come and it’s my husband’s favorite bread



Molasses Triple Chocolate Cookies – A new holiday favorite cookie. Soft, tender, yet chewy molasses cookies that are robustly flavored with molasses, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Chocolate is used three times – cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and chocolate chunks. The best part of making these cookies is that the first twelve ingredients are combined all at once in a bowl and whisked, no need to even dirty a mixer

Molasses Triple Chocolate Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Rolls – Part oatmeal dinner roll, part cinnamon raisin bagel, and part soft and healthy cinnamon roll. Very chewy and chock full of texture from the raisins and oats. They’re lightly sweetened from honey in the dough and brushed with honey-butter prior to baking, which lends both a golden color to the rolls and infuses them with a subtle sweetness. The rolls can be made ahead of time or make a batch from start to finish, freeze the rolls, and pull them out as needed for dinner, brunch, snacks, a special meal, or holiday gathering

Oatmeal Raisin Rolls

Creamy and Crispy Hash Browns Frittata (vegetarian, GF) – For eggs and hash brown lovers, this is a fast brinner (breakfast-for-dinner) or brunch to throw together in virtually no time. The cream-style soup gives the frittata an almost cheesy-like quality. The eggs are creamy and the potatoes crisp up, creating both softness and a bit of crispy texture and crunch

Creamy and Crispy Hash Browns Frittata

Roasted Cinnamon-Ginger Delicata Squash (vegan, GF) – Delicata squash is much easier to cut and work with raw, compared to much harder butternut squash. Cooked delicata is slightly sweet, not fibrous or stringy, and reminds me of roasted sweet potatoes. The warming spices used in this recipe complement the soft interior and slightly crisped exterior of the roasted squash

Roasted Cinnamon-Ginger Delicata Squash

Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies – This is my new favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. They are soft, chewy, tender, moist, a snap to make, and have two kinds of chocolate in every bite. I wrote extensively about why I love them and if you need a solid, fuss-free, and straightforward recipe for chocolate chip cookies that yields fabulous results on every level, try this one. It’s my new gold standard

Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze – All the flavor of cinnamon rolls without the work because you don’t actually need to make cinnamon rolls to make the cake. Rather, the finish cake just tastes like a cinnamon roll, warm and buttery, and loaded with baked-in crunchy streusel topping and the cream cheese glazes add cinnamon-roll authenticity. The cake is ready from start to finish in one hour and easy

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

Caramel Apple Crumble Pie – Apple pie meets apple crumble in this extremely easy and fast pie to make. The pie comes together in less than five minutes of active prep work with just a whisk and one bowl. The pie is dense, rich, with notes of cinnamon and plenty of caramel flavor, both from the caramelized brown sugar as well as a drizzle of caramel sauce added prior to serving. Easy and impressive with five minutes of work

Caramel Apple Crumble Pie

Cranberry Pineapple Mango Preserves (vegan, GF) – Much more flavorful than traditional cranberry sauce from the addition of pineapple, mango, cinnamon, and ginger, which sweetly spice and enhance the fresh cranberries. The preserves are full of chunky texture from the variety of fruits used, and can be made in just over a half hour and will keep for up to a month in the refrigerator, and makes a nice gift

Cranberry Pineapple Mango Preserves


Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival – I went to Barbados last weekend for the Food & Wine festival and saw many famous chefs, sampled great food, and saw the beauty of the island. A whirlwind fun getaway

Man at Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival


I feel like I lived in my kitchen this month and cooked a ton. If I wasn’t cooking, writing about it, taking pictures of it or editing the photos, I was researching what I was going to make next. It was a cook-eat-reserach-repeat cycle and because I knew I was traveling, even for just a few days, between cooking for my blog and cooking for my family in advance of the trip, I felt like I was never ahead and that I never left the kitchen all month, except to go to Barbados, which was fun and the three and a half days just flew by. Traveling from California was an 18 hour event, both ways.

The night I returned from Barbados, I walked in the door at 8pm, put my suitcase down, tied my hair up, and started baking. I had pies and bars in the oven by 10pm that night in advance of Thanksgiving. Between food I had committed to making for Skylar’s school’s Thanksgiving and our own Thanksgiving, I cooked and baked my heart out.

The first day of the month and the last, I posted cranberry recipes. The Cranberry Bliss Bars are one of the best bar recipes I’ve made in ages. They’re ridiculously close to the Starbucks version and people who’ve written to say they’ve made the bars have echoed what I’ve said; they’re shockingly good and better than you’d ever expect just from looking at the ingredients list.

I posted four bread recipes: Cinnamon Swirl Bread, Challah, Honey Dinner Rolls, Oatmeal Raisin Rolls. One of the reasons why I felt like I never left my kitchen in November was because dough was always in a state of rising, needing kneading or shaping. Bread isn’t like a pan of Rice Krispy bars that can be slapped together; it does require some attention, and four bread recipes was ambitious. However, of all the things I make, bread is without a doubt, the most rewarding. I feel connected to my food at a deeper level when I made it from scratch and kneading bread, watching the dough rise, and churning out loaves with my own hands is richly satisfying. All the bread recipes are easy enough for beginners and the Challah which uses the Artisan Method in Five  Minutes a day is no-knead, the dough makes enough for a second batch later in the week, and it’s extremely goofproof with stellar results. The honey dinner rolls are amazing, too, but shaping the rolls is slightly more work, but worth it.

I made four types of cookies: The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies, Sugar-Doodles, Molasses Triple Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip and Chunk. I made all those cookies to have as recipes in advance of the holidays because I know that people love cookie recipes in November and December, but also it had been awhile since I made any noteworthy new cookie recipes and I was due. Three of the four were total hits in the taste department and I am thrilled with the results. The Sugar-Doodles are buttery, rich, smooth and taste far more sophisticated than the very simple ingredients used. The Molasses cookies will be in my holiday lineup for years to come, and I feel like I hit major paydirt with the Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies. I have a chocolate chip cookie recipe that I can and will make over and over, for years to come, with guaranteed success. I like the recipe even better than my previous gold-standard recipe, detailed extensively in the post. Even the New York Times cookies, although they weren’t really ‘my cookie’, I am glad I made them because not only can I check that recipe off my bucket list, but I learned many valuable lessons about baking in general and about my own personal preferences for ingredients. It was a situation where the process was far more meaningful than the results, so in that sense the cookies were a hit, too.

I made three types of cakes and one pie: Pumpkin Cupcakes, Chocolate Molasses Cake with Baileys Glaze, Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake, and Caramel Apple Pie, all of which were very different in terms of flavors, batch size, and methods. I challenged myself to make a variety of cakes and recipes, not just standard 9-inch round cakes or a basic Bundt. And over the years, I had only amassed three recipes for pie on my blog, but now I have four. I feel like with cakes and pies, people tend to not want to make them as much and the response to them isn’t as good as it is with bars or cookies; however the Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake and the Apple Crumble Pie seemed to go over better than anticipated. In my experience, most of the time cakes (and bars) are easier than cookies or cupcakes; it’s one big thing in a pan rather than having to potion out two dozen balls of dough or frost two dozen cupcakes, after pouring batter into two dozen liners. But people seem to really love their cookies.

I didn’t totally neglect the savory department and had three savory recipes plus a recipe roundup. And although cranberries aren’t savory, they’re not a dessert per se; nor is bread.

My how-to post about making vanilla extract has been popular on Pinterest, and my how-to post for making homemade Peanut Butter also got popular again. Although I sometimes feel like the information is basic and almost hesitate writing about it, after I do, I’ll get comments thanking me for the tidbits I shared, reminding me that we all come from different backgrounds and what’s old to me may be new to others, and vice versa.

I am pleased with the month in that I made classics and stuck with my commitment to more classic recipes. These recipes will stand the test of time; from bread to chocolate chip cookies. Nothing gimmicky, nothing candy-stuffed, just good old-fashioned food that people can make for the long haul.

Previous Month Recaps:

January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012

Tell me about your month!

What did you do or make in November that was memorable?

About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.


  1. Averie! I enjoyed taking a walk through November memory lane with you. So many stellar recipes to celebrate again. Love the re-introduction of cookies back on AC! As we both know, cookies seem to be the most popular! I sure do love to bake them the most, but I think you’re most noteworthy recipe of the month (and it is HARD to chose) would be the honey dinner rolls. A recipe you will go back to for years and years to come. A “go-to” roll recipe is something every baker needs in their repertoire. Another winner? the cinnamon raisin swirl bread. Gorgeous. And all of the things I love about both bread and cinnamon rolls. You NAILED the yeast breads this month, it is no wonder you were a slave to your kitchen girl. I’m very proud of you! And I’m eager to bake my first yeast pecan rolls soon.

    I love your monthly re-caps! I pin things I forgot to pin before! :)

    1. I loved the honey dinner rolls – the recipe, the photos, the fact that it’s classic, I just loved that whole post. I wish more people weren’t scared to use yeast b/c bread is so great to make and so rewarding. Can’t wait to see your pecan rolls!

      And yes, cookies…so popular. And will be made in greater quantity coming up :)

  2. I don’t even know where November went! It flew by! The best thing I made all month was a moose calzone – it was incredible.

  3. Very impressive! It’s crazy how much you get done! I also feel like I’m always in the kitchen, but feel like I don’t get much done…blah.

  4. What a great month!! I love everything you cooked and baked!! I still need to make the cranberry bliss bars, but boy would they be dangerous for me!!! :)

  5. I love your commitment to classic recipes. In fact I find myself falling more and more in love with your blog as I bookmark so many of these amazing recipes. That cinnamon roll cake looks better and better. I can’t believe you headed to the kitchen right after your trip. That’s true dedication!

    1. Duty calls re heading to the kitchen! And glad you’re falling more in love with my blog – that’s sweet to hear :)

  6. Seriously incredible round up-up this month. You amaze me; seriously. There are so many that I love, but my favorites are the cranberry bliss bars and the molasses chocolate chip. Holy moly, woman! I don’t know how you do it, but you DO!

    As for what I made this month, I made your chocolate ganache cake, twice! Well, technically, the first one was at the end of October and I made your honey dinner rolls on Thanksgiving. Such great recipes, Averie! Can’t wait to see December! :-)

  7. I love these recipe round-ups at the end of the month–they all look SO good and I am reminded of what I still want to make (namely those choc chip cookies!). I decided to make a full batch, bake off a few at a time in the toaster oven and freeze the rest. The parsnip fries and honey dinner rolls were big hits in this household! I tried poaching fish in a ziplock tonight and it worked well. I also think it really cut down on the fishy smell that can linger when I pan fry. I just put a batch of crackers in my dehydrator (they’ll be ready tomorrow-lol)! I also started another batch of vanilla and used the bourbon vanilla beans this time.

    1. Oh that is so awesome about the fish poaching method! I wouldn’t mind cooking fish for my family but the lingering smell is just…too much. For an hour or four, I can deal. But the next day…ugh, no. I will have to try it as well. He cooked it outdoors, so no smells to worry about :)

      And glad the honey dinner rolls and parsnip fries were made and wow – you are dedicated making choc chip cookies via the toaster oven! But if it works, that’s awesome. I’ve often thought of getting one for my kitchen in Aruba b/c I feel like it would be better than my super small, hot, unreliable and essentially worthless oven. If you love yours or have thoughts, LMK!

      And woot on your new vanilla – and I need to dust off my dehydrator!

  8. Averie, it does feel like you’ve been in the kitchen a lot indeed. Your simple classic recipes are a true blast, especially savory. :) You are the best, really! I wander sometimes if you day is longer than mine, as I could hardly fit in all the chores I have to do, forget the blog.
    Did I miss a post this week, Thursday-Friday-or-other-day Things?

    1. You didn’t miss anything….I have been replacing my midweek Thurs posts with recipes for the most part and saving the ‘Things’ for weekends, by and large.

  9. Averie, this is such an inspring post! You’re so easy to admire with all the love and hard work you put into this blog! Perfect Friday night read… but now I’m hungry!!!

  10. Good Grief so many recipes I missed this month I am so excited.. Parsnip fries, five minute artisan bread I am going to have a busy week this weekend..

  11. A very delicious month of recipes indeed! I have yet to try to make my own vanilla extra; however, I did just buy 10 vanilla beans at Costco! I think I’m going to give it a go :)

    The most memorable thing I made in November was Pickled Quince. Sounds strange, but they were SO delicious. I’m actually a little sad that quince season is coming to a close :/

    1. You are the infusions king and this is just another one to add to the list. Give it a solid 8 weeks so your vanilla doesnt taste like vodka (or rum or bourbon knowing you!) and you’ll be in love with the ease and cost-savings overall!

      And got your other comment re West Elm. Next time I see things online, I need to go asap and buy it – the stuff sells out in like days I think!

  12. I’m making your molasses cookies today! (for the hubs on his first weekend back home after being forced to eat crap all week, I’m sure) Told you I couldn’t resist them. Paleo be damned this weekend ;)

    1. No way – of all things for you to make after a hiatus from Paleo…my cookies. Ok, I’m flattered! LMK how they go!

  13. I agree w/Ellen, where do you find the time? Love all your recipes and this is a great recap. I also have a list of your recipes that I want to make; Outback Steakhouse Wheat Bread, Vanilla Extract, Molasses Triple Chocolate Cookies and the chips and cheese chili casserole.

    My favorite recipe I made this month was my Cranberry Chocolate Oatmeal cookies!

    1. I happen to have a cranberry cookie recipe coming…I made some of those too, but didn’t post about them yet :) Your cookies sound incredible!

  14. Great round up! I love your commitment to classic recipes. Those are the ones we want to make over and over again anyway! Planning on making the apple crumble pie for a dinner party I’m hosting on Sunday. Hope it turns out beautiful like yours!

    1. It’s super easy and just make sure to buy some jarred caramel sauce that’s thick – I use TJs or any will work…because if all else fails, a healthy drizzle of that solves everything :) But seriously so easy. LMK how it goes. And glad you like the classics and the can make over-and-over recipes!

  15. Wow, I think you should maybe do a time-management post, I don’t know how you manage to consistently make sooooo much stuff all of which I want to bookmark and make! I’ve made a few of your recipes and wish I had time to make almost all of them.
    Best thing I made on my own this month was this pomegranate lime cake:
    Although my biggest food accomplishment was selling some of my pies-to a local wine bar and to a friend who was inept in the kitchen and wanted impressive Thanksgiving desserts…

    1. The flavors on your cake sound like such a perfect pairing!

      And selling your pies to a local establishment…wow, that’s pretty amazing! Congrats!

      Time mgmt is very tricky. I sleep very little, I’ll be honest :)