Spirits of Generosity

A tradition of holiday love straight from Nana’s kitchen


In my book, Halloween marks the start of the thriving holiday season!  No matter if you are graciously hosting, or arriving as a generous guest, it’s your duty to deliver sweet and savory goodies that will make a delicious impression! Luckily, my world famous (via Stanton Heights) Apple Raisin Filled Jack-o-Lantern cookies, fits the bill for both! 

These rather impressive little packages are crisp and sweet on the outside, chewy and savory on the inside, oh, and they also happen to be downright adorable!

As a child, I grew up spending my days in the kitchen, by my Grandma Nana’s side.  I have many fond memories of her in a flour covered pinafore, hands wrist deep in a bowl of dough, and always smiling (the dough feels your emotions after all)! As fun as it was to bake with her, what was even more memorable was to observe her spirit of generosity, and the pride she took in sharing her goodies with others. 

As important as it is for me to get my kids in the kitchen to actually learn how to cook, it's even more meaningful  that they understand how to be persons of generosity and kindness.  These are the lessons, traditions, and images I hope my kids, and yours,  carry forward. 

So, get the littles moving! Grab your mixing cups, whisks, cookie sheets, and pinafores if you have them! 

Apple Raisin Filled Cookies


Makes 16ish

For The Filling

3 Cups of Raisins (I used golden seedless)

3 Apples (I used honey crisp)  diced. 

1 1/2 Cups of water

1Tsp Nutmeg

1Tbs Cinnamon

1 Tbs Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/2 Tsp salt

1/2 cup Dark Rum (I used Sailor Jerry’s, you can also omit and replace with more water)

1 1/2 Tsp Cornstarch

In a dutch oven combine all ingredients (with the exception of the corn starch), mix, and simmer on medium heat for abut 10-15 minutes.  You will want to mix every other minute or so to render all the water out of the fruit, until it reduces.  Towards the end of the simmer, add the cornstarch to thicken the mixture, and simmer for a minute more. 

Make your best pie crust recipe or buy flat pre-made crust at the grocery store. Lay it flat on a floured board or table, and let the kids use a toothpick to trace approximately 3” diameter jack-o-lantern faces freehand or with a stencil. Cut the shapes out with a knife. Create a solid bottom for the sandwich cookie by tracing the outlines onto another piece of pie crust and cut them out, too.  Spoon about a tablespoon of filling onto the bottom layer. Top with the face. Crimp the edges together with a fork. Sprinkle with cookie sugar.

Back according to pie crust directions until golden. Feel free to experiment with your kid’s favorite pie fillings.

Story by Kelly Kinsey // Photography by Adam Milliron // Styling by Ana Kelly