Speculaas Cookies

Speculaas cookies, originating from the Netherlands and Belgium, are the classic Christmas you knew you loved but never had a name from. They’ve made appearances on your grandmother’s tray of homemade cookies, the dessert bar at an office holiday potluck, or in a festive unlabeled treat tin gifted to you by a friend. Wonderfully spiced, slightly crunchy, and lightly flavored by roasted almonds, they are easier to make than you might have thought. I hope this recipe is exactly what you were looking for this holiday season. 


½ cup blanched and slivered almonds

1 ½ cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground cardamom

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cloves

A pinch of ground black pepper

A pinch of sea salt

½ cup of butter, softened

½ cup brown sugar

1 egg




Preheat your oven to 450°F.

Set your butter on the countertop to soften.

Put your blanched and slivered almonds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. When your oven is done preheating, pop them in and toast them for 7 to 8 minutes, or until they are golden brown and fragrant. Set them aside to cool. 

In a large mixing bowl, add your flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together to combine. 

Using a blender or food processor, grind your almonds with 2 tablespoons of your flour mixture.

Add the almond blend to your dry ingredients and whisk together until incorporated. 

In another large mixing bowl, cream together your butter and sugar using a hand mixer. Blend until it’s nice and fluffy and the sugar is well incorporated. 

Add your egg to the butter mixture and blend until fully combined. 

Pour your wet ingredients into your dry and mix until a dough forms. 

Form your dough into a solid ball and wrap it well in plastic wrap or bees wrap. Make sure no air can get in.

Set your dough in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or overnight if you can. 

After your dough has rested, its’ time to roll it out and bake your cookies. 

Preheat your oven to 350°F. 

Line 2 baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

On a large, well-floured surface, roll out your dough to about 1/8th inches thick. Flour your cookie cutter and cut out your shapes. When you run out of room for shapes, re-form the dough and repeat. Set your cut-out cookies on your baking sheets.

Once you’ve filled a sheet, set it in the oven and bake for 12-12 minutes. Bake until your cookies are fragrant and just barely golden brown on the edges. The spices and brown sugar make it harder to tell when these cookies are ready, so keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn. This recipe makes a little over 3 dozen cookies, so you’ll repeat this a few times.

Set your cookies out to cool when they’re done. Once cooled, set them in an airtight container and they’ll keep for at least a week. Enjoy!


Sage Bird Ciderworks Apple Pie Sangria

Apple Pie Sangria:
This week is Virginia Cider Week, which makes it a great time to try out this delicious cocktail recipe from Sage Bird Ciderworks! Indulge in the essence of autumn with this tantalizing Cider Symphony! Immerse your senses in the crisp crunch of your favorite apples bathed in the golden glow of Long Light. A whisper  of cinnamon and nutmeg adds a symphony of flavors. Let this soak (preferably) overnight, then blend with the harmony of Sweet Shenandoah or your preferred Sage Bird cider. Chill to perfection, and garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon for a cider cocktail that’ll leave your taste buds singing! This is the perfect cocktail for all of your holiday gatherings.
  • 2-3 of your favorite apples, chopped – try some local ones from the 99¢ table!
  • One bottle of Sage Bird Ciderworks Long Light – find this in our fortified wine section
  • One bottle of your favorite Sage Bird Cider
  • A dash of cinnamon
  • A dash of nutmeg
  • Chop 2-3 of your favorite apples and place in a seal-able container/jar.
  • Cover the apples with Long Light.
  • Add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Let soak for a few hours minimum, but preferably overnight.
  • Add the apples to a pitcher or carafe of  your favorite Sage Bird cider choice.
  • Serve chilled and with a sprinkle of cinnamon!

You can find Long Light and other Sage Bird Ciders in the Co-op’s Beer & Wine section!

Green Bean Casserole

Nothing says “Thanksgiving” like a green bean casserole, and we’ve whipped up a classic version for you to make this holiday season. There are some regional variations of this dish, plus a dozen ways you can dress it up. Whether you put bacon, cheese, or vegan butter in your green bean casserole, you’re sure to enjoy every spoonful. 


1 lbs. fresh green beans

2 T butter

1 can cream of mushroom soup

½ tsp ground black pepper

1 T salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 T all-purpose flour

1 container french fried onions




Wash your green beans and cut off the ends. Chop them into medium sized pieces and set aside. 


Preheat your oven to 400°F. 


Bring one gallon of water to a boil in a large pot. Add one tablespoon of salt. 


Add your green beans and blanch them for 5 minutes. 


Drain the green beans and rinse them with cool water. 


Add your green beans to an 8”x8” or 9”x9” oven safe dish and set aside. 


In a saucepan on medium heat, melt your butter. Add your garlic and sauté until fragrant. 


Pour your cream of mushroom soup into the pan and stir until heated through. 


Add your flour and black pepper and stir until combined. Simmer for 3 minutes and stir occasionally, or until it begins to thicken. 


Pour the cream of mushroom soup mixture into the pan with your green beans. Smooth it out to make an even layer. 


Sprinkle the entire container of french fried onions on top, making sure to cover completely. 


Bake for 15 minutes. 


Allow it to cool before serving and enjoy. 

Sage Bird Ciderworks Hot Mulled Cider Recipe

Embrace the cozy embrace of autumn with Hot Mulled Cider! Crafted with the magic of Sage Bird Ciderworks and a blend of mulling spices, this warm elixir will wrap you in a comforting hug. Heat gently on the stove or let it simmer in a crockpot for an aromatic hour, infusing it with the zesty allure of sliced orange rounds, vibrant cranberries, and rustic cinnamon sticks. Pour this liquid warmth into your cherished mugs and savor the heartwarming essence of the season


1 Bottle of Your Favorite Sage Bird Cider – we recommend Winesap or Wickson!

Mulling Spices

1 Orange, sliced into rounds

1/2 Cup of Cranberries

1-2 Cinnamon Sticks



Follow directions on mulling spices and add to your favorite Sage Bird Ciderworks cider.

Heat on the stove on medium for ~5-7 minutes, or in a crock pot for an hour.

Add sliced orange rounds, cranberries, and cinnamon sticks to the pot.

Serve in your favorite mugs!

Vegan Cheese Ball

Making an appetizer that pleases everyone can be quite the feat, but this vegan cheese ball is up for the challenge. This creamy and savory recipe can be paired with crackers or vegetables to fend off your hungry guests until dinner is ready. This cheese ball is vegan and packed with flavor so everyone can enjoy every bite. We hope you enjoy this retro recipe.


8 oz vegan cream cheese
1 cup vegan cheddar cheese, shredded
1 green onion
2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp dried parsley flakes
½ tsp dried garlic powder
½ tsp dried oregano
⅙ tsp black pepper (a pinch)


½ cup vegan cheddar cheese, shredded


Take your vegan cream cheese out of the refrigerator to soften 5 to 10 minutes before you begin making your cheese ball.

In a large bowl, add your vegan cream cheese and beat it with a hand mixer until smooth. You can also smooth it with a heavy wooden or metal spoon, which will take a little longer. Set aside.

Chop your green onions and add them to the cream cheese.

Add your shredded vegan cheddar to the bowl along with your vegan Worcestershire sauce, parsley flakes, garlic powder, oregano and black pepper. Stir until the ingredients are evenly combined and there are no clumps of unincorporated vegan cream cheese.

With clean hands, form the cream cheese into a ball.

Using either beeswax wrap, a cheesecloth, or plastic cling film, tightly wrap the cheese ball to help it keep its shape. Set it in the refrigerator for at least one hour to chill.

After it’s chilled and set in its shape, remove the wrapping and pat on the remaining vegan cheddar shreds to coat the cheeseball.

Serve immediately with crackers or celery sticks or save it in the refrigerator for up to one week. Enjoy!

Flourless Chocolate Torte

This torte is a true showstopper, making it a perfect treat to serve during holiday festivities. Inspired by one of my favorite bakeries, this torte is deliciously decadent and is easily the best chocolate dessert I’ve ever made. Inspired by the French dessert, la bête noire, it’s an instant favorite for chocolate lovers and those who enjoy rich flavors. I hope you enjoy this festive treat.

This recipe is naturally gluten-free, but it cannot be made vegan. I have not attempted to make this recipe dairy-free, but it could be done using vegan butter and coconut cream.


For the torte:

1 Cup water
¾ Cup sugar
10 T butter (a stick and two tablespoons extra)
18 ounces 60% dark chocolate
6 large eggs


For the chocolate ganache:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces milk chocolate (or dark if you prefer)



Preheat your oven to 350°.

Prepare a 10-inch springform pan or an 8×8 square pan by greasing it on all sides and on the bottom. Wrap the outside of the pan in 2 layers of aluminum foil. Locate a large baking pan with tall sides that you can fill with water during the baking process. Set these items aside.

In a small pot, bring your water to a boil. Add your sugar and simmer it over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Allow it to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove it from heat and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt your butter over medium heat. Add your 18 ounces of dark chocolate and whisk the mixture until it is smooth. Whisk in your sugar syrup and remove it from heat.

Allow the chocolate mixture to cool, until you could touch the chocolate without hurting your finger. It may take 10 to 20 minutes. This step is important, as it will ensure that you don’t scramble your eggs in the next step.

After your chocolate mixture has cooled, whisk in your eggs. I recommend adding 2 eggs at a time. Whisk the batter until it is smooth.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Place the torte pan into the large baking pan and fill it with water. Fill it until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the torte pan.

Bake the torte for 45 to 50 minutes. The torte is ready when it does not wiggle when gently shaken.

Allow the torte to cool in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour before adding your ganache topping.

While your torte is cooling, you can make the ganache.

Add your heavy whipping cream to a small saucepan. Heat it over medium-high heat until it is very hot, but not boiling. Add your 8 ounces of chocolate and whisk to combine.

Pour the ganache on top of the torte and tap it gently on the table to make the coating even.

Allow the torte to cool in the refrigerator for another 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!


Eggnog Pancakes

This eggnog pancake recipe dresses up a well-loved dish for the holiday season. The spices and sweetness from the eggnog infuse the pancakes and make them absolutely delicious and wonderfully fluffy. Serve them at breakfast or even as a festive breakfast-for-dinner along with your favorite breakfast sides. Top them with your favorite pancake dressings like maple syrup and honey or enjoy them plain. These pancakes are sure to please and I hope you enjoy!

For this recipe, we used local dairy eggnog. If you’d like to make these pancakes dairy free, you can use whatever eggnog you prefer for an exact substitute. If you’re vegan, you can substitute the eggs in this recipe with your favorite egg replacement. 



1 Cup all purpose flour
2 Tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp salt
1 Cup eggnog
2 T water
1 Egg
¼ Tsp vanilla extract



In a large mixing bowl, add your flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix to combine.

Add your eggnog, water, egg, and vanilla extract to the bowl and mix to combine. Be careful not to over mix, but make sure that few lumps are visible in the batter. 

If the batter is still very thick and not pourable, add another tablespoon of water.

In a large pan on medium heat, pour the batter to make your pancakes. You can make them whatever size you would like. We recommend using about ¼ cup for each pancake to make about 8 servings of 4×4 inch pancakes. 

Wait until air bubbles have formed at the top of each pancake and the edges appear set before flipping for the first time. Cook the pancakes to your desired crispiness on each side. Repeat until no batter is left.

Serve with your favorite toppings such as honey, maple syrup, butter and whipped cream or alongside your favorite breakfast sides. Enjoy!


Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts with Cranberry Dipping Sauce

Looking for a way to use up leftover holiday ingredients? Searching for a quick and easy recipe to throw together for a holiday gathering? Look no further. This quick and easy appetizer is sure to please and put everyone in the spirit!


  • 20 Brussels sprouts
  • 20 bacon slices
  • 1 cup jarred (or homemade) cranberry sauce
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 3 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and chopped



  1. Preheat oven to 400 ℉
  2. Wash and dry Brussels sprouts
  3. Wrap each Brussels sprout with one piece of bacon and secure with toothpick
  4. Place Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 40 minutes
  5. In a small bowl, add the cranberry sauce, orange zest, thyme, and stir
  6. Place the cooked Brussels sprouts on a serving dish alongside of the cranberry sauce and enjoy!


Guest Bloggers: James Madison Dietetics
Alexandra Balbontin, Taylor Coleman, Julia Danisewicz, Emily Salvaggio, and Taylor Singleton