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Apple-Cheddar Dog Treats

Apple-Cheddar Dog Treats

Want the recipe for Zoe’s dog treats? Voila.

Apple-Cheddar Dog Treats


2 cups wheat flour

1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal

1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce, and more as needed

2 Tbs. olive oil

3 Tbs. water


Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients to form a dough. If the mixture is too dry and crumbly, add applesauce until it comes together.

Roll out dough into a disc 1/4 inch thick. Use a bone-shaped cookie cutter to cut out treats.

Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 30 minutes, until firm and lightly browned. Turn out treats onto a wire rack.

Turn off oven and place wire rack of treats in the oven overnight. Treats will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Grandma Keizer’s Fruitcake

The holiday treat everyone loves to hate.

Grandma Keizer's Fruitcake / Especially Edible

Fruitcake gets a bad reputation. Even Edward Gorey can’t find anything nice to say about it.

Edward Gorey Fruitcake

And I can see why. Who wants to eat something packed with Day-Glo green glace cherries, something that’s dense as a brick, something that’s been marinating in alcohol in the dark for two weeks? Even Alton Brown’s fruitcake recipe for Food Network recommends letting it sit for fourteen days, preserved only by an occasional spritz of brandy. It all reminds me a bit too much of that third-grade science fair project where some of the pea plants are grown in the dark, some in the light, and some with strains of classical music in the background.

Grandma Keizer's Fruitcake / Especially Edible

Fruitcake has been reworked before. Harry & David, the company famous for its fruit baskets, has a “fruitcake confection” that was a hot seller during the two holiday seasons that I worked the phones in the order-entry department. But I have a recipe that tops anything I hawked to phone customers. My grandmother’s recipe, which was her mother’s recipe, isn’t so much a reworking as an original. It’s nothing like traditional fruitcake – in fact, with its notable lack of bright red and green candied fruit, it reminds me more of a yeastless, molasses-y panettone than a typical cake. It would never be the punchline of that Christmas joke about the cake that gets regifted every year for a decade.

Grandma Keizer's Fruitcake / Especially Edible

My grandmother mailed me the actual recipe card for “Old-Fashioned Dark Fruitcake,” filled with faded, spidery handwriting, that her mother had used. Like a lot of old recipes, it’s short on specifics: a list of ingredients, some with measurements and some without, and a notable lack of clear directions. “Walnuts, pecans, candied fruit, currants, walnut meats – some of each” is all that’s written about the mix-ins for the cake. On the back of the card, notes like “Put fruit with wine overnight” are scrawled in the margins.

Grandma Keizer's Fruitcake / Especially Edible

The original fruitcake, as made by my great-grandmother, was baked in empty tin cans lined with wax paper. I chose a mini bundt cake pan, because I wanted to halve the recipe, and I decided – pretty arbitrarily – that I’d toss in one cup of assorted nuts and one cup of dried fruit. (The candied fruit, however, would have to go altogether.) I also added a bourbon glaze, for no other reason than to add some visual interest to an otherwise dull-looking brown cake. (My mini bundt pan does not have the prettiest details, which doesn’t help.)

Grandma Keizer's Fruitcake / Especially Edible

The fruitcake that emerged from my oven may not have been an exact replica of my grandmother’s, but it turned out pretty well . . .  for a fruitcake. Even my official taste tasters/parents, who weren’t overly enthusiastic about the enterprise to begin with, liked this cake. My grandmother’s recipe is not getting dropped down any hole in the ice, thanks.

Grandma Keizer's Fruitcake / Especially Edible

Grandma Keizer's Fruitcake

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 1 cake


For the Cake

1 cup butter

2 cups brown sugar

4 large eggs

3 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cloves

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/3 cup molasses

1/3 cup bourbon

1 cup mixed dried fruit (I used raisins, cranberries, and apricots)

1 cup mixed nuts (I used pecans and walnuts)

For the Glaze

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2-3 Tbs. bourbon (add liquid until the glaze is thin enough to drizzle)


Place bourbon and dried fruit in a small bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Let soak for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 250.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cloves in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy and light. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in molasses.

Beat dry ingredients into wet. Drain remaining liquid from dried fruit and fold into the batter.

Pour the batter into a 10-cup bundt pan coated with cooking spray.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Let cool in pan for 30 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl and add the bourbon. Whisk until any lumps disappear. Drizzle glaze over the cake.

Chocolate Overdose Muffins

Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate

  Chocolate Overdose Muffins

Since we’re already on the subject of chocolate (check out these chocolate Bundt cakes), I thought it was perfect timing to dish out a recipe for the most chocolatey of chocolate muffins you’ll ever eat. These babies were pronounced “too sweet” by my official Taste Tester #2 (aka my father), but then again, he’s always been more of a salty, peanuts-and-potato-chips sort of guy. “Perfect” was the verdict of the crew at the Democratic Party of Lane County HQ, the muffins’ ultimate destination.

Chocolate Overdose Muffins

These muffins were my first amateurish attempt at food styling – and a pretty pitiful attempt at that. I simply stuck a few extra chocolate chips on top of the muffins before they went in the oven. No oil-spritzed shrimp or marbles at the bottom of the soup bowl here. Despite the low-tech nature of the trick, it performed quite a miracle – the little guys instantly looked more delectable and three-dimensional than the smooth, boring muffins that would otherwise have emerged. My photos came out looking a mile better than previous attempts at muffin photography; I’d even venture to say they could hold their own with the photos of the same recipe at Cooking Classy.

Chocolate Overdose Muffins

Chocolate Overdose Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Total Time: 33 minutes

Yield: 12 muffins


2 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate

3 Tbs. butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups flour

1 Tbs. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

3 Tbs. vegetable oil

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus more for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine bittersweet chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30 second increments until melted, about 1 minute and 30 seconds.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix sugar, buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Pour in chocolate mixture.

Stir in flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into a muffin tin coated with cooking spray, filling each cup nearly to the top. Sprinkle a few extra chocolate chips on the top of each.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Recipe from Cooking Classy , adapted from The Brown-Eyed Baker and Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours