Category Archives: Cookies & Bars

Shortbread Cookies with Lemon Glaze

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Homemade shortbread cookies are already a favorite of mine- buttery, flaky, delicious, and… dangerous!

But then top them with this pretty lemony glaze that gives a pleasant little tartness, and my oh my! They become ‘to-die-for’!

 

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Made-from-Scratch Fudge Brownies (boxed mix copycat)

P1050531I miss boxed brownie mixes. I admit it.

I really do love eating and preparing real foods, and I almost never even have the desire to go back to the foods I used to prepare, but….I do miss those boxed brownie mixes. Maybe it’s just me. But, usually,I am just not overly thrilled with homemade brownies- they’re missing something.

P1050539My ol’ stand-by brownie is this one, A Good Brownie, and I do like it. It’s good. However, it still doesn’t seem to quite match up to the texture and taste of those packaged mixes.

So, being a little disappointed, I just didn’t make brownies very often. But, I was re-inspired to try again to recreate those mixes when my husband was dreaming of hot, fudgey brownies the other evening. My kids chimed in, too….”Oh, yes! Brownies!!”  You see- these are important matters to chocolate lovers. I needed to come up with a brownie that was just as tasty as a boxed mix brownie.

And I think this recipe just might be it!!  These are soft and moist- fudgey, but not too dense. They are the perfect texture, and even get that kinda flaky top. 

Try ’em out and see if you agree!

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Tips for Making the Perfect “Preacher Cookie”

P1040047Yes, the cookie with the most names. Many know it as the Preacher Cookie, we called them Fudgies  when I was growing up, some people call them No-Bake cookies, and my husband always called them Chocolate Oats– which is the name that has stuck with my family.

These are probably one of his very favorite things to eat ever- and my kids are right behind him. In fact, they “Chocolate-Oat” me to death! How about some variety, people? Nope- these are what they want.

So, seeing as I make these so frequently, I have discovered some tips that make these no-bake treats absolutely perfect.

Now, I know there are many different preferences when it comes to this popular cookie. But, I have found many versions end up sticky, or dry, or do not set properly.

In my world, the perfect Preacher Cookie will be:

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  • soft
  • fudgey
  • moist
  • glossy
  • set up in 10 minutes
  • still taste good the next day

So- here are some tips.

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Chocolate Chip Pie Bars

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What do you get when you cross chocolate chip cookies with Pie? Did I hear  someone say ‘Bliss’? ‘Perfection’?

Well, let me tell you- you’ll get flaky pie crust, gooey chocolate and a golden ‘cookie-like’ top that begs to be topped with vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate Chip pies are somewhat of a classic. Many people might associate them with the Kentucky Derby under the name of “Derby Pie“, which usually adds nuts. My first introduction to the pie was through my in-laws, using a Toll House version.

But, get ready…we’re switching it up again. My version is not a pie- We’ re making Bars! (and now we have a cookie turned pie turned bar!)

I actually prefer this bar version because it makes them easy to cut up into smaller pieces, they’re easier to pack up for lunches or snacks, and I could easily make a bigger batch for parties or family get-togethers and bake it all in a big baking dish, instead of needing multiple pie plates to shuffle around.

We liked them a lot! And so- here is my own version of this wonderful sweet treat!

Pie Crust: (this is my very favorite pie crust. I will have to post it separately sometime!)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 3 tbs. milk

Filling:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Start with the crust. 

In a 9 in square baking pan, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.

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In a small bowl, combine the oil and milk and mix it really well with a fork.

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Pour the oil/milk into the flour mixture.

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Using the fork, work to combine it. I usually end up getting my hands in there to finish working the flour into the wet mixture.

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Now press all of this into the pan bottom and just a little bit up the sides (not even half-way)

That’s all for the crust.

For the filling:

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Beat the eggs in a mixer until they begin to become foamy. (I would say about 2 minutes on a high speed)

Add the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, and salt. Mix well

Add the softened butter. Beat until all combined and the butter is incorporated pretty well. (but don’t be surprised if you still see some little small chunks of butter)

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And finally, dump in the chocolate chips and give a little stir.

Bake at 325 for 1 hour. A knife inserted in the center should come out clean. (some chocolate will probably stick to the knife and the knife might seem kind of ‘oily’, but that is fine)

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Allow this to cool a bit before slicing into it. (I would give it a half hour)

You can serve this warm with vanilla ice cream on top. But I think it is also equally as good at room temperature.

I’ll let you decide which is better!

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Oatmeal-Raisin-Chocolate Chip-Almond Cookies

P1020868I love a good oatmeal cookie! And yesterday after lunch, I found myself really craving a good oatmeal cookie.

You know- one that is just taken from the oven… all warm and soft, with the chocolate chips still oozing and the raisins still plump. That is dangerous, let me tell you!

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The Classic Snickerdoodle

P1020662Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice~ that could describe the classic Snickerdoodle cookie! They’re rolled in ‘sugar and spice’ (cinnamon sugar), they have a delicate flavor, they’re soft, and they have been baking into cute little round cookies in people’s kitchens for years now. I would say that is a pretty  nice cookie!

I’ve seen many recent versions of this cookie that have been dressed up, adding this and that in an effort, I guess, to make an old recipe new again. But I like old recipes!!

So, in an effort to keep the simple and basic alive and well, I share with you my go-to version for Snickerdoodles.

  • 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cup unbleached, white flour (I did only 1 cup white and 1 3/4 cup white-wheat…you could adjust this as desired)
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Coating:

  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

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In a mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and eggs  until fluffy.

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Add in the dry ingredients. Mix well.

In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar.

Roll the dough into balls- (approx. a heaping Tbs of dough at a time is what I do)

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Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 400 for 8-9 minutes. They should be puffy and still look a little soft. (over-baking will make these dry)

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for a minute to set.

Remove to a wire rack.

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A Good Brownie

P1020448There are a lot of opinions about what makes a good brownie. Some like it dense, some like it chewy, some like a cake-like version.

Personally, I like a chewy brownie that is somewhere in between dense and cakey.

I also usually prefer a no-frills brownie..you know, without all the new twists and turns that you see for brownies today that include fillings and layers and toppings. I guess there are times that some of those tempt my palette, but there is something to be said for an old-fashioned, plain, chocolatey, moist brownie all by itself. And that is what this is. Just a Good Brownie.

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or your choice of chocolate)

Mix together white and brown sugar and melted butter. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix just until it is all incorporated. You don’t want to overmix- this will cause a drier brownie.

Finally, Add the chocolate chips and give it a light stir.

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Spread all that wonderful chocolate into a greased, 9×13 pan.

Bake at 350 (or 325 if you have a dark pan) for 25-30 minutes. (Mine took 30 minutes)

I think one of the most important tips for good brownies is that you only want to bake just until a knife inserted near the middle does not come out gooey. Don’t over-bake or you will have a dry and cakey brownie!! So, I suggest checking it at 25 minutes, and then if needed, add additional time. The less you bake, the more gooey and gummy it will be, and the longer, the more cakey it will become.

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Shortbread Cookies with Chocolate Buttercream

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Two excellent recipes-  shortbread and buttercream- combine to make a very special cookie!

Forget the store-bought, processed shortbread cookies. You can easily make your own. These cookies are buttery, flaky, crispy- perfect shortbread!  Really, they are delicious all alone, but, to dress ’em up a bit, I added my favorite Chocolate Buttercream icing (which could be eaten by the spoonful instead of on a cookie!) I also think they turn out beautiful, and the recipe makes a lot of cookies, too!

  • 3 sticks of butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Beat the butter and and sugar in a mixer until fully combined. Add vanilla.

Add the flour and salt to the butter mixture and mix until a crumbly dough is formed.

P1020164 Divide into two balls and flatten each slightly on plastic-wrap. Wrap up and refrigerate for 25 minutes.

Take the dough out and starting with one of the sections of dough, gently roll out to about 1/4in thickness.

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Using a round biscuit cutter, cut out the dough. Use a metal spatula to transfer to an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake @ 325 for about 18 minutes- just until starting to brown.

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Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Once the cookies are completely cool, we’ll add the chocolate buttercream!

CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM

  • 1 stick butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 6-8 T. cocoa
  • 2 T. margarine, softened
  • Dash of salt
  • Milk

Place 1 stick margarine, 1/4 c. milk, 1/4 tsp.salt, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.

Cover with about 2 cups of confectioners sugar. Begin mixing slowly.

Add the other 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, and slowly mix until sugar is moistened. Increase mixing speed and mix until blended and fluffy. If the icing still looks too soft, you can add up to another 1/2 cup of sugar.

In a separate small bowl, mix the cocoa, 2 T. margarine, and dash of salt- it will just be crumbly.

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Add this to the prepared butter cream mixture and mix well.

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Add milk a Tablespoon at a time until frosting reaches spreading consistency (approx. 2 Tbs.)

Ice the cookies however you like.

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Grandma’s Soft Molasses Crinkles

P1020123How do I love these cookies? Let me count the ways! Last week I mentioned my favorite cookie recipe, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, but these have to be next in line. Here’s why:

1. This was one of my Grandma Laury’s recipes. I love making recipes that were written out in her own hand. I find it special that I can enjoy something that she took the time to write down and keep and make.

2. They have a slight crunch on the outside, but are soft and chewy on the inside.

3. The flavor is just delicious- a warm and spicy taste- the stars being the molasses and ginger.

4. I think these cookies are just really pretty,too. The balls bake into the perfect little circles with ‘crinkles’ and sugar on top.

I have a very hard time stopping at 2 or 3 (or 4 or 5, actually- but don’t tell!!)

  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp. soda
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp.nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • Sugar (for coating the cookies)

 

Mix together the dry ingredients;
Add shortening-mix well.
Add egg and vanilla.
Add molasses.
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Chill for several hours or overnight;
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Form into small balls. Put some sugar in a small bowl. Roll the balls in sugar.
Place on cookie sheet (i get about 20 on a sheet)
Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.
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Take out of the oven and allow to set up for about a minute- then remove from the pan onto a wire rack.
I get around 40 cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Cookies and milk is one of those wonderful, classic American combos. Who can resist a warm chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven? But not all cookies are equal! How many cookies recipes have I tried, I wonder, never to make them again? I bet you’re in that same camp.  A good cookie is a cookie you will make over and over again and love it every time.

This chocolate chip cookie is complemented with Peanut Butter, and it is one of my very favorite cookie recipes, if not #1! The bottoms turn just slightly crispy, but the middles are soft. I L.O.V.E. them! I usually add some wheat flour along with the all-purpose flour, to add a little nutrition, but also I actually like the texture better in these cookies with the addition of the wheat flour. That’s not something that works well with every cookie without making them dense or dry. But the peanut butter in these keep them nice and moist. Some cookies also don’t keep well, but I have found that these keep well for several days without losing their fresh taste. So, you see, you just can’t go wrong with this one! Go make a batch and see what I mean!

  • 1/2 c. butter (or margarine)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/4 c. flour (or use 3/4 c. white flour & 1/2 c. wheat)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8 oz. chocolate chips

Cream together the P1010809margarine, sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter. Add egg and vanilla Mix well. Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix thoroughly. Gently stir in the chocolate chips. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheets. (I don’t do small cookies! I don’t use anything to measure them by- but just kind of ‘eye’ it. I would say approx: a little bigger than a heaping Tbs.) Bake at 350 for 9-10 minutes or until lightly brown. Do NOT over-bake. What makes these cookies so good is their softness- you lose that if you bake too long. So, only bake until they are slightly brown and don’t look overly gooey. Once you remove the cookies from the oven, allow them to sit for 1 minute before removing from pan. This will help them to set-up a little more. Remove to wire racks.

Expect to get about 18-24 cookies

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