Vanilla Bean Cookies

These cookies are special to me because of their family history that has spread to friends’ holiday traditions. Learn more at
To kick off the December holiday season, I shared a favorite family cookie recipe this week in my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon. Vanilla Bean Cookies are an appropriate way to start a month that emphasizes baking not only for their flavor but also because of how you create them: by making the cookies and letting them sit for several weeks. They’re the first cookies I make each holiday season, quickly followed by Chocolate Rum Balls, and they’re some of the first to be devoured when I crack open the cookie tins.

These cookies are special to me because of their history in my family and because friends continue to adopt them and include them in their own holiday traditions. My grandmother’s original recipe seemed untouchable, but I recently improved on it by switching to organic ingredients, especially a tapioca-based powdered sugar instead of one laced with cornstarch to prevent caking. After years of making this recipe, the flavor and texture were better than ever, making the extra cost well worth it.
Learn to make Vanilla Bean Cookies


Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Pie

Here’s my favorite pumpkin pie recipe and all of the homemade components I put in it. Learn to make Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Pie. Learn more at
This week, I share my favorite pumpkin pie recipe in my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon. It seems fitting not just for the season but also because the introduction to my first column a year ago began with Mike Kordenbrock’s story and Hunter D’Antuono’s photos of another family favorite: Crumble-Top Deep-Dish Apple Pie.

I almost always make one or both of these pies for Thanksgiving gatherings, and they’re delicious for other winter holiday feasts, birthday parties, family meals, and more. If you’re just now stumbling on this recipe, don’t worry: read it completely, decide how many of the components you want to make from scratch, and then remember it for a future holiday.
Learn to make Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Pie

Cinnamon-and-Sugar Pie Crust

To master the technique of making any type of pie or quiche, start with a simple homemade pie crust recipe. Learn more at
My family has a long history of homemade pie fillings and crusts, as I’ve shared in the past and this week in my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon. I can’t remember when I ate or even exactly when I helped to make my first pie, but in my mother’s and grandmother’s kitchen, the crust was always mixed from scratch and the extra dough was always rerolled, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, and baked as a treasured snack.

These homemade pie crusts tended to consist of the same simple ingredients—the ideal setup for mastering the technique of making them. Once you find a pie dough recipe you like, whether it’s the one I share in my column this week or from another source, I recommend sticking with it and using it for everything from fruit and cream pies to quiche. When it becomes your go-to recipe, you’ll never worry about making a mistake, and you’ll never need to buy a premade shell.
Learn to make Cinnamon-and-Sugar Pie Crust

Roasted Winter Squash Puree

This month, I’m breaking down my favorite pumpkin pie recipe by its homemade components. Learn more at
When I planned my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon this month, I knew I wanted to share my favorite recipe for pumpkin pie. But I quickly realized I didn’t have enough space to print the full scratch-made version. Instead, I’m breaking down the pie recipe by its homemade components: spice mix, pumpkin puree, pie crust, and the final filling and baking.

There are several advantages to this—beyond staying within my word-count limit. Each component is presented as a standalone recipe, showing you how it can be made in advance and put to other uses. You can also choose how homemade you really want your finished pie to be. You could make your own spice mix but buy canned puree. Or you could mix and roll your own crust but use a store-bought spice blend that’s already in your cupboard.

If you do decide to go entirely homemade, spreading out these recipes over a few weeks will hopefully make the project seem less daunting. You’ll also get to enjoy bonus goodies, like roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin cookies, and pie crust snacks, along the way.
Learn to make Roasted Winter Squash Puree