Cinnamon and Piloncillo Cookies

by Renee on April 22, 2014

Cinnamon and Piloncillo Cookies | Magnolia Days

The dough transformed at every point in the process. It’s not unusual for this to happen with bread. On the other hand, cookie dough has expected qualities. Making cinnamon and piloncillo cookies brought forth surprise, doubt, and amazement. The journey started with a challenge of baking cookies to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It turned out to be quite an adventure.

Ingredients were a big part of recipe selection. I wanted to be as authentic as possible. The search began with two; ceylon cinnamon and piloncillo. I used both of them when making candied pumpkin (click on the link to that post to see a photo of them). The search turned up ones for traditional Mexican cookies and soon I was on my way to the Latin market to get the ingredients.

Cinnamon and Piloncillo Cookies | Magnolia Days

The surprise came with the method of these cookies. Normally cookies start with beating or creaming fat and sugar together. That is not the case with these. You boil sugar and water to make syrup. Then butter and honey are stirred in the hot syrup and melted. Pour the liquid into flour and stir it all together. Eggs are added at the end. This is where the transformation begins. It starts as wet, sticky, and rather gooey dough. It gets more difficult to stir with each passing moment.

Cinnamon and Piloncillo Cookies | Magnolia Days

Refrigeration brings the next transformation. The dough firms up to the firmest cookie dough I’ve ever made. Rolling it out took some serious elbow grease. It seemed to take on an almost rubbery quality. I really doubted these cookies at this point. The dough was so dense and tough to roll. There was even a little extra pressure needed to cut them.

Cinnamon and Piloncillo Cookies | Magnolia Days

Heat brought the last transformation. The cookies puffed up while baking. I was completely amazed. That incredibly tough dough produced these lovely soft cookies. How do they taste? There is a distinct molasses flavor and only a hint of cinnamon. They are not as sweet as typical American cookies; about a 3 or 4 on a sweetness scale of 1-10.

Do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Or simply enjoy baking cookies? Scroll down to find recipes by the Creative Cookie Exchange bakers. Also take a look at Shrimp and Avocado Ceviche, a recipe I shared in celebration last year.

Cinnamon and Piloncillo Cookies

1 hour, 15 minutes

Makes 3 dozen cookies

Cinnamon and Piloncillo Cookies

  • 12 ounces piloncillo, chopped or grated*
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 ceylon cinnamon stick, about 4-inches long
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, cold
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Confectioners sugar

Combine piloncillo, water, and cinnamon in a sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir occasionally.

Once the piloncillo dissolves, lower the heat to keep it at a medium-low simmer for 15 minutes (it will thicken to a light syrup consistency).

Remove pan from the heat. Remove and discard cinnamon stick. Add butter and honey into the hot liquid and stir until melted and combined.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the liquid mixture.

Stir until it is well incorporated. Beat 2 eggs and stir into the dough. The dough will be sticky and gooey.

Place plastic wrap in the bottom of a mixing bowl with extra hanging on the sides.

With a spoon or your hand, push the dough onto the plastic wrap and up the side of the bowl.

Wrap the dough with the plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment or non-stick liner.

Make an egg wash by beating remaining egg with about 1 teaspoon of water.

Lightly dust work surface and rolling pin with flour. Divide dough in half.

Roll out half the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cutout cookies with cutters pressing down on the dough and moving it slightly to make it easier to lift the cut dough.

Place cookies 1-inch apart on baking sheets. Gently brush tops of cookies with egg wash.

Bake cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, until cookies are just beginning to turn light brown around the edges.

Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 1 minute then transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.

Repeat steps with remaining dough. You can gather up excess dough after cutting the cookies, shape into another disk, and roll out for more cookies.

Cool baking sheets completely between batches.

Dust top of cookies with confectioners sugar.


*If you cannot find piloncillo you can substitute 1 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar. Amount of cookies vary depending on size and shape of cookie cutters. Time stated does not include chilling dough overnight.

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Recipe adapted from NBC Latino – Piggies: Cinnamon and Piloncillo Cookies

The Creative Cooke Exchange theme this month is Cinco de Mayo and what better way to celebrate than baking cookies! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura via email (thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com) and she will get you added to our Facebook group where we coordinate events.

You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Facebook page, our Pinterest Board, and our monthly posts. You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

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Lemon Coconut Bars for #SundaySupper

by Renee on April 20, 2014

Lemon Coconut Bars | Magnolia Days

It happened again. The same urge came about when Easter was near. It cannot go by without certain foods being involved. It started with a ham we enjoyed in a pre-celebration. Being a food blogger does make one celebrate holidays in advance. The leftovers became Ham, Turkey and Cheddar Turnovers. Moving on to the next food meant one thing, it was time to make lemon coconut bars.

Lemon Coconut Bars | Magnolia Days

Easter would not be the same without coconut. I’ve already eaten my way through a bag of chocolate coconut eggs. I thought about incorporating them into a recipe however they didn’t last long enough. Plus it was another excuse to buy coconut flakes and get baking. As usual, what to bake was the question. My friend Terry gave me inspiration for lemon bars and that was all it took.

Lemon Coconut Bars | Magnolia Days

How are the lemon coconut bars? They are lemon chess pie meets coconut over a buttery crust. There is the expected sweet/tart combination. Coconut gives an added chewy texture. Slivered almonds provide a crunch. The bars are baked in a 10×15 jelly roll pan. The ones from the middle of the pan are softer than those from the outside. It’s the same as with brownies – are you an inside or outside person? I’ll take the ones from the inside.

Lemon Coconut Bars | Magnolia Days

What food is always a part of your Easter celebration? The holiday won’t pass by without ham and coconut for me. There are lots of other favorites from Sunday Supper contributors below. Scroll down to see the list of recipes and links to each one. Big thanks to our host Alaiyo of Pescetarian Journal for hosting our Easter/Passover Feast event.

Lemon Coconut Bars

1 hour, 45 minutes

Makes 24 to 28 bars

Lemon Coconut Bars

    For the crust
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup lightly toasted slivered almonds
  • For the filling:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For the topping:
  • Confectioners sugar
For the crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 10- X 15-inch jelly roll pan. Line bottom with parchment paper for easier removal of bars from the pan.

Whisk together flour, confectioners sugar, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl.

Cut in butter with a pastry blender until crumbly. Stir in almonds.

Firmly press mixture into prepared pan.

Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden brown on the edges.

For the filling:

Whisk together all filling ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.

Pour filling over baked crust.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until set.

Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

For the topping:

Dust confectioners sugar on top.

Cut into bars or squares.

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Recipe adapted from Southern Living Our Best Recipes 2007 Volume 4

The Easter/Passover celebration continues. Check out these holiday recipes by Sunday Supper contributors:



Savory and Sweet Breads:

Sides and Salads:

Main Dishes:


Wine Pairing:

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Sunday Supper LogoWould you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? Click here: Sunday Supper Movement


Strawberry Poppy Seed Cake for #BundtBakers

by Renee on April 17, 2014

Strawberry Poppy Seed Cake | Magnolia Days

What do Easter, spring, lemons, flowers, seeds, a book, strawberries, and a salad have in common? They are all parts to the story behind this Strawberry Poppy Seed cake. It begins with a simple theme for the Bundt Bakers group; bake a cake for Easter or spring. Plowing through my cookbooks and cake recipes gave the first impulse of one to make. It would be lemon. Yep, that was it. Well, until I went out and saw the first signs of growth on my poppy plant. It would not be long before those lovely flowers would be blooming. It inspired me to add poppy seeds to the cake. Lemon poppy seed cake became the plan.

A little voice in the back of my head questioned using lemon. While it is a common pairing for poppy seeds, something else might be more adventurous. Once again I checked in the ultimate recipe development resource book, The Flavor Bible, and saw strawberries listed under poppy seeds. Immediately my thoughts went back to the early 90′s when a friend brought a strawberry poppy seed salad to a potluck. Oh how I enjoyed that salad. The flavors went so well together. The cake plan changed again, this time for good.

Strawberries and Poppy Seeds | Magnolia Days

How is the strawberry poppy seed cake? The strawberry part is very subtle. There is a hint of it in the background against a nutty seed flavor. The color of the cake is not the expected pink or red. Only the glaze gives a clue as to what is inside.

Strawberry Poppy Seed Cake | Magnolia Days

It is a moist cake with an airy texture. Poppy seeds give a touch of crunchiness to each bite. There should be enough glaze to save for serving or you can make extra. A drizzle over a slice adds a pop of color. Plus it is a bonus to those who love glaze and frosting.

Strawberry Poppy Seed Cake | Magnolia Days

What cakes do you enjoy for Easter or spring? The bundt bakers have some mighty tasty recipes to share for this month’s theme. Getting to them is only a click away. Scroll down to find details on how you can join in the monthly Bundt Bakers fun. And big thanks to Tara of Noshing with the Nolands for hosting this month. For more spring or Easter recipes look at Lemon Parsley Cocktail and Coconut Cupcakes.

Strawberry Poppy Seed Cake

1 hour, 15 minutes

Makes 12 to 16 servings

Strawberry Poppy Seed Cake

    For the cake:
  • 16 ounce container frozen sliced strawberries with sugar, thawed*
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • For the glaze:
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons strawberry purée
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Milk as needed
For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10- or 12-cup bundt pan.

Put the strawberries and juice into a blender. Blend until puréed.

Whisk together flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add vanilla and beat to combine.

Combine buttermilk and 3/4 cup strawberry purée.

Add flour mixture in three additions, alternatively with buttermilk/strawberry in two additions, mixing on low speed until just combined. Do not over mix.

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread batter evenly in the pan.

Bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick when inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out cake on to a wire rack. Cool completely.

Drizzle glaze over top of cake. Transfer cake to serving plate.

Keep cake refrigerated when not serving.

For the glaze:

Stir together confectioners sugar, strawberry puree, vanilla, and salt in a small bowl. Add milk, about a teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached (should be pour-able but not too thin).

Extra or leftover glaze can be used for serving.


*You can also use fresh hulled and chopped strawberries that have been macerated with sugar. Leftover strawberry puree should be refrigerated and used within 1 week.

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What is Bundt Bakers? It’s a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Bundt Bakers Pinterest board for incredible bundt cake recipes and inspiration. Stacy of Food Lust People Love heads up our group and has a #BundtBakers page where you can find information and links to the recipes for each month.

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How is the monthly theme determined? We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Would you like to join in the fun? If you are a food blogger, send an email to Stacy at or ask to join our private Facebook group.


Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

by Renee on April 15, 2014

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce | Magnolia Days

It all started with the pasta. Unusual shaped pasta caught my attention during a recent shopping trip. Any unique shape or color does it for me. This time it was long fusilli. I’ve only seen short ones until that moment. The bag went into my shopping cart in a split second. Then it sat in my pantry while I figured out what dish to make with it. Another short on time day provided the inspiration. It is so quick and easy to make pasta with tomato cream sauce.

Convenience and speed are keys with this dish. I used store-bought marinara in a jar. You could use homemade tomato sauce if you have it on hand or want to make it. It takes more time to get the water boiling and cook the pasta than to make the tomato-cream sauce. Warm up the marinara, add cream, and then parmesan at the last minute. Toss with cooked pasta and garnish with more parmesan and basil.

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce | Magnolia Days

Which pasta to use with this sauce? Just about any shape or size will do. Use ravioli or tortellini if you want it to be a heartier dish. Lobster or crab ravioli would be awesome. The sauce is a little decadent. Some heavy cream every now and then is okay. All is good in moderation. Besides, the lovely red-orange color of the sauce is enough to make you want to dig in right away.

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce | Magnolia Days

Do you enjoy unique shaped or colored pasta? It seems to add a little extra special something to an ordinary dish. It has a fun adventurous factor too. I also have another bag of pasta in my pantry waiting to be used. Stay tuned to see what happens with it.

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

30 minutes

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

  • 1 pound pasta
  • 3 cups marinara sauce
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • Fresh basil or parsley for garnish

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.

Heat marinara sauce in a large pan or skillet over medium heat until sauce is hot.

Stir in cream and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in parmesan cheese.

Add cooked pasta and toss to coat pasta with sauce. Use reserved pasta water, a little at a time, to thin sauce if too thick.

Transfer to a serving bowl, platter, or individual plates. Garnish with parmesan and chopped basil or parsley if desired.

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Ham, Turkey, and Cheddar Turnovers for #SundaySupper

April 13, 2014
Ham, Turkey and Cheddar Turnovers | Magnolia Days

Stuff it, roll it, or wrap it. That was the criteria behind the selection of a recipe. The possibilities seemed endless. Should there be an attempt at making homemade sushi for the first time? Or perhaps turn a favorite sandwich into a wrap? There are burritos, boliche (Cuban stuffed beef roast), Thai basil rolls, and […]

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Cuban Black Beans

April 10, 2014
Cuban Black Beans | Magnolia Days

Those are Cuban black beans in an Asian rice bowl. Yes, I had to put that out there at the beginning. The intention wasn’t to mix cultures. The beans do not have an Asian twist in any way. Color is the reason behind it. Red came to mind when I was determining the scheme of […]

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Creamy Lemon Tahini Dressing

April 8, 2014
Creamy Lemon Tahini Dressing | Magnolia Days

Creamy means comfort to many people. It evokes good feelings or treasured memories of simple pleasures. You warm your soul by relishing every spoonful of a hot and creamy soup on a cold winter day. Each sublime bite of pasta covered in a cream sauce is savored as if it is heaven on a fork. […]

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Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwich for #SundaySupper

April 6, 2014
Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwich | Magnolia Days

Pimento cheese is widely identified as being southern food. The interesting thing is that it did not start out that way. It was a delicacy for the rich because of expensive ingredients of cheese and imported Spanish peppers. Tea sandwiches made with it were served at high-class events across the nation. Once commercially made cheeses […]

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Slow-Cooker Cuban Pork

April 3, 2014
Slow-cooker Cuban Pork | Magnolia Days

An accumulation of citrus needed to be put to use. Extras were purchased to be included in photos. They do make great props and give a visual clue as to ingredients in the food. Letting the extras go to waste is not a good thing. The hunt for a recipe began. Flipping through a folder […]

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Orange Biscuits for #TwelveLoaves

April 1, 2014
Orange Biscuits | Magnolia Days

Flour, fat, and liquid are the only three things needed for a batch of fluffy biscuits. Well, that is when the flour is self-rising. Scoop out flour into a bowl, cut in the fat, and bind it together with liquid. Cut or shape then bake. It’s as easy as it sounds. The problem to share […]

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