Nanisa's Recipes for Christmas and Easter

My Lithuanian-American grandmother (called Nanisa by the Indian side of our family) gave me these recipes this past Christmas. I'm afraid they're not to my taste (all her baking is very sweet!), so I'm passing them on in hopes that they'll find someone who can better appreciate them!
Nanisa has been making the tassies and carrot cake and sending them to my family for as long as I can remember. Even though they're too sweet for me, they're still nostalgic, and pleasantly sweet in a different way :)
If you make them, send in an email with a comment and/or photo for me to display at the end of the page, if you'd like! Also, feel free to share or arrange this recipe all you want. I'd appreciate a link back (and preferably a heads-up via email/comment) if you repost in full, but I'm not strict about it. Have fun!
Below is a mostly unedited copy of the document she gave me. It may be disorganized but I don't know enough about recipes (or her intentions) to revise it lol.

Pecan Tassies Dough12/21/2023 update

Single - 3 1/2 doz
1 c unsalted butter (8 oz)
6 oz cream cheese
2 c a/p flour (10 oz)
Double - 7 doz
2 c unsalted butter (16 oz)
12 oz cream cheese
4 c a/p flour (20 oz)
Triple - 11 doz
3 c unsalted butter (24 oz)
18 oz cream cheese
6 c a/p flour (30 oz)

Pecan Tassie Syrup – From Serious Eats Classic Pecan Pie Recipe

3 eggs, beaten (6 oz)
2 tblsp honey (1.48 oz)
1 c Aldi corn syrup (11.42 oz)
2/3 c light brown sugar
1/4 c melted butter (2 oz)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

3 c pecans, finely chopped
6 eggs, beaten (12 oz)
1/4 c honey (2.96 oz)
2 c Aldi corn syrup (22.84 oz)
1 1/3 c light brown sugar
1/2 c melted butter (4 oz)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla

6 c pecans, finely chopped
9 eggs, beaten (18 oz)
1/4 c + 2 T honey (4.44 oz)
3 c Aldi corn syrup (34.26 oz)
2 c light brown sugar
3/4 c melted butter (6 oz)
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp vanilla

9 c pecans, chopped

  1. Dough - With only the oven light on, place a mixing bowl containing the measured cold butter & cream cheese into the oven to soften to room temperature. Thoroughly combine w/a hand-held electric mixer. Add flour, mixing w/wooden spoon until thoroughly blended in. (Don't overmix.) Press the dough w/your hands into a solid mass. Chill in refrigerator for about an hr before dividing the dough into 0.56 oz portions. Form each portion into a ball, collecting them in a container. Refrigerate until ready to press them into the tassie pans.
  2. Filling - Whisk eggs w/electric hand mixer, adding the remaining filling ingredients (except for the chopped pecans). Refrigerate till ready to use.
  3. Lightly grease the tassie cups w/Crisco. Press each dough ball into a tassie cup. When the pan is completely filled w/dough shells, measure 1/8 tsp chopped pecans into the bottom of each dough cup & place it in the fridge or freezer (for approx 10 min) or until ready to add filling. Take a pan of formed dough from the fridge to add the syrup filling.
  4. Preheat oven 350F for dark pans (375F for light pans) w/oven rack in middle position. DON'T DOUBLE-PAN.
  5. When ready to dispense the prepared syrup, whisk it - to mix together the separated ingredients. Ladle some of the syrup into a 1-piece Kitchen Batter Dispenser filling each cup scantily 3/4 full. (Scantily - in order to prevent syrup from expanding over the top of dough while baking, making it difficult to remove the tassies after baking). Distribute syrup quickly to the tassie cups (in order to prevent the ingredients from separating). Top each filled tassie w/add'l rounded 1/4 tsp chopped pecans. Put back in the refrigerator to firm up the syrup until ready to bake.
  6. Bake for 20 min until filling is puffy & pastry is lightly browned. As soon as they're out of oven, IMMEDIATELY, use the tip of a toothpick or thin skewer tip to loosen each tassie (circling the tassie around the cup, loosening overflowed syrup before it has a chance to "set" hard, gluing the tassie shell to the pan). If a tassie had syrup overflow & anchored the tassie to the muffin cup, quickly loosen & remove the overflow, then lift & tilt the tassie slightly to the side (while it's still in the tassie cup). When slightly cool, use the toothpick tip to remove the tassies, place them on a paper toweled cooling rack, so some of the greasiness is removed before storing. When gifting, pack in grease-proof containers or line w/grease-proof tissue or plastic wrap to prevent grease-spots on paper gift boxes.
  7. The tassies can be stored in an airtight container at rm temp or frozen for later use.

Cream Cheese KolachkiJune 2023 update

Whole Recipe - 9 Dozen
6 c a/p flour (30 oz) & 2 tsp baking powder
2 extra-large eggs (approx 4 oz + or −)
1 lb (16 oz) butter, 1/2 c sugar, 1/8 tsp salt
16 oz (2 – 8 oz pkg) cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
Half Recipe - 4 1/2 Dozen
3 c a/p flour (15 oz) & 1 tsp baking powder
1 extra-large egg (approx 2 oz + or −)
1/2 lb (8 oz) butter, 1/4 c sugar, 1/16 tsp salt
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla
Quarter Recipe - 2 1/4 Dozen
1 1/2 c a/p flour (7.5 oz) & 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 extra-large egg (approx 1 oz)
1/4 lb (4 oz) butter, 1/8 c sugar, 1/32 tsp salt
1 (4 oz) pkg cream cheese
1/4 tsp vanilla

  1. For best results, it is important to weigh the ingredients where weighing is indicated.
  2. Weigh & sift together the total measure of flour & baking powder for the recipe. Set aside.
  3. In small bowl, whisk eggs. Set aside. (Ex-lrg egg is approx 2 oz, but it's ok if + or − a fraction.)
  4. With elec mixer, cream butter, sugar, & salt until light & fluffy.
  5. Add & mix in the cream cheese.
  6. Add & mix in the whisked eggs.
  7. Add & mix in part of flour mixture that was set aside. (1 c for Whole Recipe or 1/2 c for Half Recipe or 1/4 c for Quarter Recipe.)
  8. Again, add & mix in part of flour mixture that was set aside. (1 c for Whole Recipe or 1/2 c for Half Recipe or 1/4 c for Quarter Recipe.)
  9. Add & mix in the vanilla.
  10. Finally, add remaining flour mixture (1 c for Whole Recipe or 1/2 c for Half Recipe or 1/4 c for Quarter Recipe). Work in w/wooden spoon until dough doesn't seem too sticky & comes away from spoon.
  11. Knead slightly w/your hand in the bowl until it comes together & is smoothly textured. DON'T OVERWORK OR ADD ANY MORE OR LESS FLOUR THAN SPECIFIED IN THE RECIPE.
  12. Put dough on plate, cover & put in fridge several hours or overnight. Weigh & form balls of chilled dough (0.68 oz each), place balls in a container, & refrigerate an hour or longer.
  13. When ready to assemble, work w/batches of 10, 10, & 10 equaling 30 per cookie sheet.
  14. Lightly dust working surface w/sifted powdered sugar (a shaker cup works well). Roll out a ball once to 1/8" thickness. Flip over, give it a quarter turn & roll it again, creating a circular piece. Place about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp filling on each circle. Fold dough over the filling to enclose it, making a seal about 1/4" short of the opposite side. Fold in the side ends & continue to roll & mold the pastry like a little jelly roll. Set them in a flat container or plate & keep them in fridge until you complete the remaining two batches, chilling them all in fridge for a few min before panning them (w/sealed edge on bottom).
  15. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375F w/an empty cookie sheet on middle rack of oven. Place refrigerated kolachki (spaced 5 rows of 6 = 30) on another parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet of equal size as the one in the oven. (Frozen kolachki should be allowed to thaw a little before baking.) Carefully fit the cookie sheet of kolachki into the heated cookie sheet that's already in the oven (double-panning prevents over-browning the bottom of kolachki or other cookies being baked).
  16. Bake until golden (25-30 min). Remove the pans from oven, & carefully take the top pan of kolachki off the bottom pan and allow the kolachki to cool on the cookie sheet. Put the bottom pan back into the hot oven if more kolachki are to be baked.

My Mom's Nut Filling I (Not Cooked)

Mix: 1 stick soft butter, 1 1/2 to 2 c packed light brown sugar (desired sweetness), 2 ex-lrg eggs
Stir in: 1/4 c warm milk, 2 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp lemon flavoring
Fold in: 4 c finely ground walnuts (Check for shells or parts of shells before putting the nuts into a blender)
Refrigerate: before using. (Freeze left-over filling to use another time)
Sometimes when filling leaks out while baking, the reason may be that there was too much filling used in the pastry;
... or the pastry itself was not sufficiently sealed enough to hold it all in;
... then too, sparingly adding a pinch or two of chia seeds to the filling will create more thickening.)

My Mom's Date, Prune, or Apricot Filling (Cooked)

  1. Mix 1/2 1b (2 c) dried fruit (pitted & diced fine), 1 1/4 c water to cover fruit, & 1/4 c granulated sugar (OR 1/3 c packed brown sugar) & 1/4 tsp salt in saucepan.
  2. Cook gently until thick. Lower temp as filling becomes thicker. Watch that bottom doesn't scorch.
  3. Remove from heat & add 1 tblsp lemon juice. Cool. Chill before using.
(Sometimes when filling leaks out, the reason may be that there was too much filling used in the pastry;
... or the pastry itself was not sufficiently sealed well enough to hold it all in;
... then too, sparingly adding a pinch or two of chia seeds to the filling will create more thickening.)

Nut Filling II (Cooked)

Put 2 c milk in a pot, add 3/4 - 1 c sugar, 1/2 tblsp salted butter, 6 eggs (10.56 oz), 1 lb (3 3/4 c) ground walnuts. (Check for shells or parts of shells before putting in a blender.) Simmer about 15 to 20 min, stir frequently. Take off heat, stir in 2 tsp vanilla & 2 tsp lemon flavoring. Refrigerate or freeze.

Nut Filling III (Not Cooked)

1 1/4 c walnuts or pecans, chopped or ground very fine
1/3 c sugar
1/16 tsp salt
1 tblsp melted butter
2 tblsp water
1/16 tsp maple flavoring

Combine all ingred thoroughly.

Date-Nut Filling (Cooked)

1 c sugar
1 c water
1 c chopped dates
1 c finely chopped or ground nuts

Combine water, sugar, & dates in saucepan. Cook until thick. Cool. Add nuts. Blend.

Tassies (Southern Living) – 2 doz or more

1/2 c pecans
1/2 c unsalted butter, rm temp
4 oz cream cheese, rm temp
1 c a/p flour
1 lrg egg
2/3 c light brown sugar
2 tblsp maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp bourbon, opt
1/2 c chopped pecans, toasted

  1. Dough: Place 1/2 c pecans in food processor & blitz until finely ground. Set aside. In a bowl, beat together butter & cream cheese until fully incorporated. Add flour & pecans & mix until a shaggy dough forms. Press dough into a solid mass. Cover w/plastic wrap & refrigerate 1 hr.
  2. Oven 350F. Grease 24-c mini-muffin pan. Scoop 1 tblsp dough into each muffin cup. Evenly press dough into bottom & up sides of each muffin cup. Transfer muffin tin to freezer while making filling.
  3. Filling: Whisk together filling ingred (except nuts) until sugar is dissolved & mixture is homogenous. Remove muffin tray from freezer. Place 1 tsp chopped pecans in each muffin cup. Pour filling over pecans until it almost completely fills the pastry cups. Bake until filling has puffed & pastry has lightly browned, 20-24 min. Cool before removing from muffin pan w/an offset spatula.

Substitutes for Light Corn Syrup

  • Sugar and Water: For each cup of light corn syrup, substitute 1 c granulated sugar dissolved in 1/4 c warm water. Need dark corn syrup? Substitute 1 c packed brown sugar for the granulated sugar & dissolve it in 1/4 c water. This syrup makes a great stand-in for baked goods (like pecan pie), but because sugar crystallizes at high temp, it won't work for candy recipes that need to go past the soft-ball stage (235F).
  • Honey: Corn syrup and honey are equal replacements meaning you can substitute 1 cup honey for1 cup corn syrup). But similar to sugar, honey won't prevent crystallization, so it's not the best choice for making caramel or candy, but it can work well in other recipes as long as you don't mind its distinct flavor. Tip: As a general rule, the lighter the honey, the milder the flavor.
  • Agave Nectar: A one-to-one substitution, agave syrup (aka agave nectar) has a mild flavor that works great in most recipes that call for corn syrup. (But again, not candy.)
  • Brown Rice Syrup: For a substitute that'll work in candy recipes that need to go to the hard-ball stage, opt for brown rice syrup. This sticky mixture has the same chemical properties of corn syrup & will prevent crystallization. It does have a slightly nutty flavor which might not work for all recipes.
  • Golden Syrup: A pantry staple in the U.K., this buttery syrup can be substituted one-to-one for corn syrup and can also be used in candy making.
  • Cane Syrup: This tastes similar to molasses & can replace corn syrup in equal measurements. But again, this substitute won't work in candy recipes since it won't prevent crystallization.
  • Maple Svrup: Our favorite pancake topper can be used as a one-to-one substitute for corn syrup in most recipes (but not candy making). Keep in mind that maple syrup has quite a strong, earthy flavor.

Carrot Cake Cookies

1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c gran sugar
1/2 c packed dark brown sugar
1 lrg egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla, divided
2 c a/p flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c shredded carrots (3 med carrots)
3/4 c chopped toasted walnuts
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
3 tblsp whole milk

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F w/rack positioned in upper third of oven. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add egg and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla; beat on medium until combined, about 30 seconds.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating on low speed until just combined after each addition, about 20 seconds (dough will be slightly crumbly). Fold in carrots and walnuts until combined.
  3. Scoop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet, 2" apart. Bake cookies in batches until bottoms of cookies are golden brown, 12-14 min. Remove from oven; let cool on baking sheet 5 min. Transfer cookies to a wire rack, let cool completely, 20 min.
  4. Whisk powdered sugar, milk, & 1/2 tsp vanilla in sm bowl. Drizzle glaze over cooled cookies.

Eggnog Cookies

2 1/2 c (10 5/8 oz) a/p flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1c (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1 lrg egg
1 tblsp refrigerated eggnog
2 tsp vanilla
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 c (2 oz) unsalted butter, softened
2 c (8 oz) powdered sugar
1 tsp light rum (opt)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, + more for garnish
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp–2 tsp refrigerated eggnog, as needed

  1. Cookies: Oven 375°F. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, & nutmeg in lrg bowl; set aside. Beat butter & cream cheese on low speed until creamy, 1 min. Add granulated sugar & brown sugar; beat until combined, about 2 min. Add egg, eggnog, & vanilla, beating to incorporate. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating on low speed just until incorporated, 1 to 2 min. Remove mixing bowl from stand mixer; cover w/plastic wrap & chill 15 min.
  2. Line 2 lrg rimmed baking sheets w/parchment paper. Scoop chilled dough evenly into 24 balls (about 1 1/2 tblsp or 1 1/2 oz each). Arrange dough balls at least 2" apart on prepared baking sheets; flatten slightly w/fingers. Bake in preheated oven until tops are light golden & edges have set, 13-15 min. Remove from oven & let cookies cool on baking sheet about 5 min. Transfer cookies to a wire rack & let cool completely, 10-15 min.
  3. Frosting: Beat cream cheese & butter w/stand mixer fitted w/whisk attachment on med-high speed until fluffy, about 4 min. Add powdered sugar, rum (if using), nutmeg, & salt. W/mixer running on low speed, add eggnog 1 tsp at a time, beating until frosting reaches desired consistency. Increase mixer speed to high & beat until fluffy, about 1 min. Spread frosting evenly over cooled cookies; garnish w/add'l nutmeg. Serve.

2024/01/10 Posted