James’ Favorite Lemon Raspberry Crunch Thumbprints

lemon raspberry crunch cookies
My son requested these cookies for Christmas. I created this recipe when he was in 4th grade. Now he’s getting ready to graduate from college. Where did the time go…I’m serious, WHERE? Anyway, we just finished a batch and I thought I’d post our results. James is a great baking partner, he jumps right in and does whatever’s needed. We had a great day baking cookies. It’s one of the best parts of getting ready for Christmas. I hope you enjoy this recipe and that it becomes one of your favorites as well!

LEMON RASPBERRY CRUNCH THUMBPRINTS

1 (18.25) package yellow cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 egg
3 cups crisp rice cereal
6 Tbsp. seedless red raspberry jam

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 375°

2. Combine cake mix, oil, lemon zest*, lemon juice, and egg. Beat on low speed until well blended. Add cereal and mix until combined.

3. Drop by heaping teaspoons 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Using a round teaspoon, dip back of teaspoon in flour; press in middle of dropped cookies to make an indentation. Fill with approximately 1/2 teaspoon of jam in center of each cookie.

4. Bake 9-11 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool cookies 1 minute on baking sheet then remove to wire rack and cool completely.

Makes 3 dozen cookies

*Remember to zest the lemon before you squeeze it for its juice. This is an important step that really boosts the lemon flavor.

Starbuck’s Cranberry Bliss Copycat Recipe

Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Copycat Recipe

I know it’s not Christmas, but I’ve been hungry for Starbuck’s Cranberry Bliss bars, so I decided to make some now. I found this recipe last year and it’s awesome. Honestly, be sure to remember these for your Christmas cookie tray…and I’ll enjoy some now!
Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Copycat Recipe

Cranberry Bliss Bar Clone Recipe
(From Todd Wilbur, Top Secret Recipes)

Ingredients
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. minced crystallized ginger
3/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
4 oz. white chocolate, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Frosting
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. lemon juice

Drizzled Icing
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vegetable shortening

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Make cake by beating the butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs, ginger, vanilla, and salt and beat well. Gradually mix in the flour and baking powder until smooth. Mix the chopped dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks into the batter by hand. Pour the batter into a buttered 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly across the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake is lightly browned on top. Allow the cake to cool.

Make the frosting by combining the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. When the cake has cooled, use a spatula to spread the frosting over the top of the cake.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of chopped dried cranberries over the frosting on the cake.

Make the drizzled icing by whisking together powdered sugar, milk, and shortening. Drizzle this icing over the cranberries in a sweeping motion with a squirt bottle or fill a small plastic storage bag with the icing and cut off the tip of one corner.

Cover the cake and let it chill out in the fridge for a couple hours, then slice the cake lengthwise (the long way) through the middle. Slice the cake across the width three times, making a total of eight rectangular slices. Slice each of those rectangles diagonally creating 16 triangular slices.