2013 Advent Calendar

Welcome About Favorite Links PROGRAMS Guest Book Recipe Archive Cooking Herbs Catalog

As posted Advent Calendar 2013

You stopped here to see the "As Posted" list of Herbal Recipes so far placed on our Advent Calendar for 2013.  Each day we posted the calendar item on Facebook and then add the post to this page.  The last date is here at the top.  Previous days postings will be in reverse order back to December 1, the start of Advent for 2013.

 Return to the Website

Please enjoy these recipes.

And if you wish to see the Advent Calendars from previous years which featured other recipes and crafts including teas, bath items and yummy tasty things, here are the links:

2014 Advent Calendar

2012 Advent Calendar

2011 Advent Calendar 

Return to Website

These are posted in reverse order, the last recipe at the top.

Dec. 25 -  Cranberry Struedel Corn Muffins

Cranberry Struedel Corn Muffins  Yield 18 muffins

Great way to use up that cranberry sauce left over from the Holidays!

Streusel topping

6 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour

1/2 cup  Light-Brown Sugar 

1/4 teaspoons Allspice

1/2 sticks Cold Butter


1 cup Cornmeal

1 cup All-Purpose Flour

1/2 cup Sugar 

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Salt

3 Eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup Sour Cream

3 tablespoons Melted Butter

2 teaspoons Vanilla

1 tsp. lemon peel

2 tsp. lemon balm or lemon verbena , crumbled (optional)

1 can Whole-Berry Cranberry Sauce


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line three 6-cup muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.

For streusel topping: In a bowl, mix flour, light-brown sugar, and allspice. Cut in butter, then keep chilled until ready to use. For Batter: In a separate bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in eggs, sour cream, butter, and vanilla until just combined.

In each muffin cup, place 2 tablespoons batter, top with 2 teaspoons canned whole-berry cranberry sauce, and sprinkle with streusel topping. Bake about 15 minutes.


Dec. 24 -  Holiday Eggnog


24 eggs, separated

2 cups granulated sugar (or lavender sugar)

2 quarts whole milk

1 Tbls. lavender buds

2 cups Bourbon

1 cup cognac

2 quarts heavy cream

Freshly grated nutmeg


Soak the lavender in the milk for 15 minutes, or while you beat the eggs.  Beat the egg yolks together with the sugar until the mixture is thick and creamy. Strain the milk, then add milk, the Bourbon, and the cognac. Stir well. (This mixture is the eggnog base and can be made a day or two in advance.)  Just before serving, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Whip the egg whites to a similar consistency and fold both the cream and the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Pour the eggnog into a very large bowl, sprinkle a grating of fresh nutmeg on top, and serve.


Dec. 23 - 24-Hour Fruit Salad



24-Hour Fruit Salad (perfect for Christmas Brunch) 

  •  1 pint sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups fine coconut
  • 5 large slices well drained pineapple, cut in bite-size pieces
  • 1 8 oz. can mandarine oranges
  • 1 cup green grapes, halved
  • 1 cup red grapes, halved
  • 48 small marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped fine
  • Sweet Basil, fresh, cut in ribbons
  • Mint leaves for garnish 

Directions: Roll the basil leaves and cut in thin strips with a knife to produce ribbons of basil.  Mix well into sour cream, then blend in fruits and marshmallows. Place in a round mold 24 hours in refrigerator. Do not freeze. When you unmold, dot the top with Mint leaves.


Dec 22 - Chocolate Shortbread


Chocolate Shortbread

1 cup flour

½ cup powdered sugar

1 ½ Tbls. Cocoa powder 

½ cup butter, at room temp.

½ tsp. vanilla

Cream the butter and vanilla.  Then add in the flour mixture (entire package of Chocolate Shortbread mix.)  Knead the dough on an unfloured surface until it is nice and smooth and no longer crumbly.

Spray a shortbread pan with non-stick vegetable spray.  Working from the center, press the dough into the pan.  Prick the entire surface with a form, back the shortbread right in the pan at 325 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.    Allow shortbread to cool in pan for 10 minutes before loosening the edges with a fork.  Then flip onto a cutting board and tap firmly.  Cut into serving pieces while still warm.


Dec 21 - Rose Geranium Cookies

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

½ cup milk

1 tsp. rose water

2 tsp. rose geranium leaves, finely chopped

1 ½ cups flour

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

4 doz. Small rose geranium leaves

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg, milk, and rose water. Sift together dry ingredients and add them together with the chopped leaves to the creamed mixture, stirring until well mixed. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto lightly greased cookie sheet and press a single rose geranium leaf deep into each cookie. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Serve with a gentle companion tea with light lemon or floral flavors.


Dec. 21 -- Roasted Squash


Roasted Squash with Maple Syrup and Sage Cream - serves 8 

  • 2 acorn squashes, about 2 ½ lb total weight
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil1
  • ½ teaspoons sea salt1
  • ½ teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 large fresh sage sprigs, plus 2 teaspoons minced sage
  • Pure maple syrup for drizzling 


Preheat the oven to 350°F (i8o°C). Cut the squashes crosswise into rounds 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds and discard them. Brush the rounds on both sides with

the olive oil, place on a baking sheet, and sprinkle them with the salt and pepper. Roast, turning once, until tender, 45-60 minutes. Meanwhile, in a saucepan over low heat, combine the cream and sage sprigs and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cream has thickened and is infused with the sage, about 30 minutes. Remove the sprigs and discard them. Add the minced sage, bring the cream to a boil, and cook until reduced to about 2/3 cup. Transfer the squash to a platter. Drizzle with the maple syrup and a small amount of the sage cream and serve at once. Pass any remaining cream in a small pitcher at the table.

 NOTE: you can add a crispy dimension byroasting the seeds from the squashand sprinkling on top of the finished dish just before serving 


December 20 -- Lemon Shortbread Bars

For the Bars:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup Lemon Verbena Super Fine sugar (made by blending dried lemon verbena leaves with ½ cup granulated sugar whirled in a blender until fine. ) – or you can use  plain confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

3/4 cup cold butter or margarine

 For the Filling:

4 eggs 

2 cups sugar

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

2 teaspoons grated orange peel

2 teaspoons lemon balm, crumbled fine

1 teaspoon baking powder 

For the Topping:

2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream

1/3 cup sugar (vanilla sugar is even better)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a food processor, combine flour, confectioners' sugar, and lemon and orange peel. Cut in butter until crumbly; process until mixture forms a ball. Pat into a greased 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-14 minutes or until set and the edges are lightly browned. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine the filling ingredients; mix well. Pour over hot crust. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until set and lightly browned. In a bowl, combine topping ingredients. Spread over filling. Bake 7-9 minutes longer or minutes longer or until topping is set. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate overnight. Cut into bars just before serving.


December 19 -- Herbal Tea for Immunity

Ginger, Thyme, Cayenne and Lemon Booster

Combine 1 teaspoon dried ginger and 1 teaspoon thyme in a small pot. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and steep for 5 minutes, covered. Strain the tea into a mug and add a pinch of cayenne powder and a dash of fresh lemon juice. This brew will help boost immunity in cold and flu season.



December  18 -- Cheddar Dill Gougères
1/2 cup water

1/2 cup skim milk

½ cup unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons

Large pinch of kosher salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 large eggs

1 cup cheddar cheese, plus more for sprinkling

1 tsp. dill, plus more for sprinkling

Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a small saucepan, bring the water, milk, butter and salt to a boil. Add the flour and stir until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan, and dries out a bit. Roughly two minutes. Turn the dough out into a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each one. Add the cheddar cheese, dill and pepper. Transfer the dough to a pastry bag with a half inch tip (or a disposable bag with the tip cut off) and pipe tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets at least two inches apart. Sprinkle with cheese and additional dill. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm or room temperature.

The gougers can be frozen or refrigerated. To reheat, cook in a 350 degree oven for at least five minutes, or until piping hot and crisped. 


December 17 -- Herb Cheese Dip

From Barbara Steele Alloway Creek 

8 oz cottage cheese

3 oz pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 T chopped fresh parsley (1 tsp. dried)

1 1/2 T chopped fresh chives (1 tsp. Dried)

2 tsp fresh thyme or lemon thyme (2/3 tsp. dried)

2 tsp chopped fresh basil (2/3 tsp. dried)


Press cottage cheese through a large strainer.  Add cream cheese and heat until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients, cover and refrigerate several hours. Serve with crackers or fresh vegetables.


Backyard Patch Herbs aslo has a blend called Herb Cheese Dip which is made differently and can be crafted with grated cheddar cheese!


December 16 -- Hot Cocoa Mix
5 cups powdered milk
2 cups powdered coffee creamer
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder (Special Dark is amazingly rich!)
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
miniature marshmallows, optional

With a wire whisk, thoroughly mix dry ingredients together. Stir in marshmallows. Divide mix into storage containers, or gift bags.
Attach instructions to container: To use, fill mug one third full of cocoa mix and then stir in hot water.

If you don't want to to make your own hot chocolate mix, try ours - Hot Cocoa Blends

December 15 -- Savory Herb & Spice Quick Bread


This simple loaf is especially good with soups and stews, but slices are also tasty alongside fresh, green salads. The herbs make it a flavorful treat any time of the year. 

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 egg

1 cup fat-free milk

1/3 cup canola oil



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, milk and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Transfer to a 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 1 loaf (14 slices).


December 14 -- Homemade Stuffing Mix 

3 to 3-1/2 cups of bread cubes (to fit a quart jar with space for seasoning package)


  • ¼ tsp celery seed
    1 tablespoon parsley flakes
    1 tablespoon dried minced onion
    2 envelopes chicken bouillon granules or equivalent
    ¼ teaspoon Backyard Patch Poultry Seasoning

          ½ tsp sage
          ¼ tsp garlic powder or minced garlic

  • To Assemble this Gift in a Jar:

    Put bread cubes in a one quart jar, allowing room to add the seasoning bag on the top of the jar.

    In a small plastic bag, combine all seasonings and mix well. Seal bag with twist tie or ziplock and place on top of the bread cubes.


    In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water with 2 Tbls. Butter to a boil.  Lower heat and add contents of seasoning package.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and mix in bread cubes, stirring enough to moisten.  Cover and let stand for five minutes.  Fluff with fork before serving. 
  • Place these instructions on a handwritten or printed label and attach to the jar.


December 13 -- Krafted Kahlua

5 1/4 cups sugar
3 3/4 cups boiling water
2 vanilla beans, sliced lengthwise
4 oz. Instant Coffee – NOT freeze dried!
1 Fifth of Brandy (750ml) - the cheaper the better!

Put sugar, coffee & water in a large bowl and stir until well blended and there's no sugar crystals left over.  Let cool.  Add Brandy and stir again. Put into a dark gallon jar with cut vanilla beans.  Let sit for 30 days.  If you don't have a dark gallon jar, put jar in paper sack and put in closet.
After 30 days (or however long you can stand to not touch it), divide into jars or bottles for gift giving, removing the vanilla beans as you pour.  Remember to keep some for yourself.


December 12 -- Spicy Tea

  • 2 whole star anise
  • 2 dried organic orange peels
  • 5 allspice berries.

Combine spices and add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and steep for 5 minutes, covered. Strain and drink.


December 11 -- Maple-Thyme Biscuits

The key to these biscuits is to use a light touch mixing only until the ingredients are all mixed. The recipe can make just over 1 dozen.  These make as good a breakfast biscuit as they do a dinner biscuit. 

  •  2 cups (10 oz/315 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbls. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh thyme (you can use 1 tsp dried in a pinch although I recommend lemon thyme if it is dry)
  • 1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 Tbls. pure maple syrup 

Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and thyme. Add the butter chunks and, using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture is the size of peas. In a small bowl, stir together the milk and maple syrup and pour into the dough. Using a fork, mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Using your hands, gather the dough into a rough ball and knead a few times in the bowl. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out into a circle about 1/2 inch thick. Using a floured 2-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out as many rounds as you can and place on the baking sheet. You can gather the dough scraps and roll again, to cut more rounds. Bake until the tops are pale gold and the biscuits have puffed slightly, about 10 minutes. Serve at once. 


December 10 -- Hot Spiced Nuts

I’ve shown cinnamon nuts made with Cinnful Dessert Blend before, but these are hot and spicy and perfect if you are serving beer or wine.  If possible, use hot Hungarian paprika. Don't feel limited to using only pecans, any nut works well. Organized gift givers pack them in fancy old mason or candy jars with a ribbon around the lid and present them as holiday gifts.

  • 1 Tbls. melted unsalted butter
  • 2 cups pecans
  • ½ tsp. ground red pepper
  • ¼ tsp. paprika, preferably Hungarian
  • ½ tsp. salt

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the pecans. Sprinkle with the ground red pepper, paprika, and salt, tossing to coat evenly. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pecans to paper towels to drain. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Makes 2 cups.

December 9 -- Lavender Candy

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup dried lavender flowers

1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

6 egg whites at room temperature

Cool whip or whipped cream

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Combine the granulated sugar and the lavender in a food processor until pulverized.  Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, then gradually add the sugar mixture beating until stiff peaks form.  Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the cookie sheet and drop the mixture by spoonfuls (about 1 inch in diameter) onto the sheet an inch apart.  Flatten out a bit and bake 2 hours.  Candy should be crisp but still pastel blue.  Cool.  Eat as is or sandwich 2 together with cool whip or whipped cream.  Makes 3 dozen.


 December 8 -- Polenta Quick Bread

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan

1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus sprigs for garnish

1 cup fine yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted, half coarsely chopped and half whole

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Dust with flour, and tap out excess; set aside. Cream butter and sugar  with a mixer or whisk.  Mix (on medium-high speed) until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add lemon zest; mix 1 minute. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in lemon juice and thyme. Add flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt, and mix until just combined. Stir in chopped pine nuts. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Garnish with thyme.


December 7 -- Herbal Tea Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons finely ground herbal or floral tea (can be herb and black tea blend also)  

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

Paper towel tubes (for the freezing process)



Whisk flour, tea and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Put butter, sugar and orange zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture until just combined. Divide dough in half. Transfer each half to a piece of parchment paper; shape into logs. Roll in parchment to 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Transfer in parchment to paper towel tubes; freeze until firm, 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.


December 6 -- Butternut Squash Soup
This one is worth the work and great for a simple meal with savory bread. (Wait for an upcoming recipe for this!)

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 3 pounds (about 2 small) butternut squash
  • 3  Tbls. unsalted butter
  • 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 small carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 small celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ tsp. salt, or more  to taste
  • 3  3/4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2  Tbls. thinly slivered fresh sage  or 2 tsp. dried
  • ¼ tsp.freshly ground pepper 

 In a Dutch oven or large heavy pot. cook the bacon over medium-low heat. stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp. Using a slotted spoon. transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. then crumble and set aside. Pour off and discard the fat from the pot and set the pot aside . Meanwhile, cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Cut each half lengthwise in half again and, using a sharp paring knife. peel the squash. Cut the squash into 3/4-inch chunks.  Melt the butter in the pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring until the onions are translucent. 10 to 12 minutes. Add the squash and stock and bring to a simmer. Partially cover and simmer. stirring occasionally, until the squash is very tender, about 15 minutes.  In batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth and return to the pot. Stir in the sage, and season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Reheat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until hot. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle

some of the crumbled bacon in the center of each serving .


 Return to Website

December 5 -- Candied Ginger 

1 3-inch knob fresh ginger

1 cup sugar, plus more for rolling

1 cup water

Peel ginger and cut into paper thin slices, using a vegetable peeler.  Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.  Add ginger slices; simmer over low heat until translucent, 15 to 20 minutes.  Drain candied ginger slices on a colander, roll each piece in sugar.  Ginger can be candied several days ahead and stored in an airtight container.


December 4 -- Mulled Cranberry Sauce

2 cups water

2 T. Backyard Patch Mulled Cider or Spiced Cider Blend

1 T. whole green cardamom pods, crushed to open pads

1 cup granulated sugar

1 12-oz. pkg. fresh cranberries

Combine water and mulling spices and cardamom pods in medium sauce pan and simmer uncovered over med-high heat until reduced to give just over a cup of liquid. Strain into clean saucepan (discard spices).  Add sugar and cranberries.  Bring to a boil stirring to dissolve the sugar and cook stirring occasionally, until the sauce begins to thicken, about 7 minutes.  Transfer to a serving bowl, let cool, cover and refrigerate until cold.  Serve cold.


December 3 -- Spiced Chamomile Apple Punch

This punch features the delicate apple flavors of chamomile tea and apple juice flavored with a hint of cinnamon and citrus.

• 6 chamomile tea bags (we recomend Afternoon Lift Herb Tea from Backyard Patch Herbs)
• 3 cinnamon sticks
• 6 cups hot water
• 4 cups apple juice
• 1 orange, sliced thin
• 1 lemon, sliced thin
• Lemon or orange sorbet

In a large container, steep chamomile tea bags and cinnamon sticks in hot water for 10 minutes.  Remove tea bags. Add apple juice, orange slices, and lemon slices. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours so all the flavors can combine. Serve in pretty glasses with a small scoop of sorbet as a garnish. 


December 2 -- Lavender Tea Bread

3/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp. dried lavender flowers, finely chopped, or 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped flowers
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs


Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat milk with lavender almost to a boil, then steep until cool. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in bowl. In another bowl cream butter and gradually add sugar, then eggs, one at a time, beating until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture alternately with lavender milk, in three parts. Mix until batter is just blended, do not overbeat. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool. When completely cool, drizzle with a simple sugar glaze or sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Garnish with sprigs of fresh lavender.




December 1 - Cinnamon Pretzels

It’s a recipe from Pinterest.   They were a hit, so I thought you might like the recipe.  They are so easy–if I can make them, you can make them! 

  • 16 oz. pretzels
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon (or Backyard Patch Cinnful Dessert Blend)

Preheat oven to 300; Put pretzels in roasting pan (I used a reusable aluminum one and it worked great).  Mix oil, sugar, and cinnamon.  Pour oil mixture over pretzels.  Stir to coat. Bake 30 minutes–stirring twice.  To make each batch special use an herbal sugar, one seasoned with peppermint geranium or cinnamon basil would be perfect.

Return to Website