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85 posts categorized " 07) Cookies, Brownies, Bars, Fudge & Brittle"


~ Betty Crocker's 1950 Sour Cream Cookie Recipe ~

Sour cream cookies have been a favorite in households for decades -- mine included. They are the perfect little not-too-sweet cookie. They're soft, a bit chewy and need no adornment or intervention. They only require a few on-hand ingredients (unless you're out of sour cream) and take moments to mix. They're good hot, warm, at room temp, and, they keep for days in the cookie jar. I can't think of a better use for a cup of sour cream, shortening and two eggs. I have two recipes for sour cream cookies (see Cook's note below), and both or great. The...... View full recipe for "~ Betty Crocker's 1950 Sour Cream Cookie Recipe ~"


~ McCall's 1974 Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Cookies ~

Nineteen Seventy-Four. I was nineteen years young, a new bride, and, living in our first apartment here in downtown Happy Valley. I was the secretary to the Vice-President of Lending for our towns premier bank. I drove a hot, little lime-green Fiat, got my first miniature poodle and named him Caesar, and, I loved to cook. Life was good (and it still is). While times change and people change, a good recipe does not -- it just gets better and better with age. This is one such recipe, and, these cookies evoke these and more memories every time I bake...... View full recipe for "~ McCall's 1974 Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Cookies ~"


~ Melt-in-Your-Mouth Tangy Cream Cheese Cookies ~

While this is one of the easiest cookie recipes in my repertoire, it is also one of the most used cookie recipes in my repertoire. After the butter and cream cheese come to room temperature, start-to-finish, I can be done baking them in under an hour (including cleanup). The end result is a not-too-sweet, melt-in-your-mouth cookie that takes-the-edge-off any cravings for overly-indulgent sweets. For me, nibbling on one after breakfast in the morning, on the run in the middle of the day, or parked in front of the television in the evening, is a sweet spot during a busy day....... View full recipe for "~ Melt-in-Your-Mouth Tangy Cream Cheese Cookies ~"


~ Tart Cherry & Toasted-Pistachio Snowball Cookies ~

These sweet and savory shortbread-esque two-bite cookies called snowballs, or, depending on where you're from, also referred to as Mexican wedding cookies or Russian tea cakes, are the darlings of holiday cookie trays all across America. The base recipe varies very little from baker-to-baker, because the ratio of flour to butter and sugar is important to prevent them from flattening out, meaning: loosing their ball shape. Flavored with vanilla, lightly-toasted chopped pecans or walnuts get added to the mixture for additional flavor and texture. Nobody can eat just one. A recipe for cherry-pistachio snowballs came across my Facebook newsfeed about...... View full recipe for "~ Tart Cherry & Toasted-Pistachio Snowball Cookies ~"


~ Six Recipes for Fabulously-Flavored Holiday Fudge ~

Fudge is especially popular on the the boardwalks of the East coast in the Summertime. That said, it is also perfect for gift-giving during the holidays. Because it can be made several weeks in advance and stored (covered) in the the refrigerator, I like to make several flavors, then, assemble gift-boxes containing assorted flavors to share with family and friends. It's a fun, relaxing way to ease into the holiday spirit, and it's a great addition to a tray of assorted cookies too. This all-American confection dates back to the late 1880s. Fudge originated in America in the latter 19th...... View full recipe for "~ Six Recipes for Fabulously-Flavored Holiday Fudge ~"


~The Ultimate-Best Peanut-Butter Killer Fudge Recipe~

If it's full-throttle roasted-peanut flavor and crunch you crave, there's no need to look elsewhere for a peanut butter fudge recipe. Lightly-roasted peanuts, crunchy peanut butter, peanut-butter morsels, and, peanut butter flavoring team up in my version, and, trust me, nobody can eat just one piece of this peanutty fudge. There's more. This recipe (which has been tested, tasted and approved by many experienced cooking friends) is super-easy to make, not to mention foolproof, so, for those who've never tried making fudge before, or novice cooks, this recipe is ideal. Everyone remembers their first bite of fudge -- that creamy,...... View full recipe for "~The Ultimate-Best Peanut-Butter Killer Fudge Recipe~"


~Double-Cherry & Double-Vanilla Lover's Killer Fudge~

Cherry-vanilla is one of my favorite flavor combinations. Cherry-vanilla or black-cherry-vanilla cream soda, cherry-vanilla ice-cream, cherry-vanilla milkshakes, cherry-vanilla yogurt and cherry-vanilla biscotti are amongst my favorite things. While I didn't invent the idea for cherry-vanilla fudge, once I got my hands on a great base recipe for making fudge, cherry-vanilla was the first spin-off I made (for myself), and, after tasting it, I think you'll agree it's perhaps the best rendition in print or on internet, as, it uses a combination of dehydrated tart "sour" pie cherries and pure cherry extract, instead of neon-colored candied maraschinos (which taste nothing like...... View full recipe for "~Double-Cherry & Double-Vanilla Lover's Killer Fudge~"


~Cinnamon-Apple Maple-Walnut Lover's Killer Fudge~

Maple-walnut ice cream and maple-walnut fudge. While they're my only two encounters with this sublime combination, meaning I've not tasted a maple-walnut pie or a maple-walnut cake, I was driven to re-create both of them in my home kitchen. My experience with the first was in Vermont, and it was a slow-churned unforgettable experience. My experience with the second was on the boardwalks of New Jersey, and, it was a creamy-dreamy unforgettable experience. Everyone remembers their first bite of fudge -- that creamy, semi-soft confection made with corn syrup and/or sugar, butter, cream and flavoring. Hands-down, the most popular flavor...... View full recipe for "~Cinnamon-Apple Maple-Walnut Lover's Killer Fudge~"


~ Butterscotch & Bits-O-Toffee Brickle Lover's Fudge ~

Butterscotch, caramel, English toffee and American buttercrunch. These rich butter-and-sugar-based candies are all related, and, I have an affinity for them all. As a little kid, my hand gravitated to the bag of those little chewy squares of Kraft Caramels, and, when I got a little older, I always kept a few cellophane-wrapped Brach's Butterscotch hard-candies in my purse -- they were a way to enjoy an otherwise long and boring class at school or sermon at church. Everyone remembers their first bite of fudge -- that creamy, semi-soft confection made with corn syrup and/or sugar, butter, cream and flavoring....... View full recipe for "~ Butterscotch & Bits-O-Toffee Brickle Lover's Fudge ~"


~Milk-Chocolate and Toasted-Coconut Lover's Fudge~

As one who in all seriousness does not crave chocolate, when I do eat it it, my taste leans toward milk chocolate, with Swiss Lindt being my chocolate of choice. Even as a kid, I pretty much turned my prissy little nose up at chocolate, with one exception. Every year for Christmas, mom would put a few Russel Stover milk-chocolate toasted-coconut wreaths in my stocking. For Easter, milk-chocolate toasted-coconut bird's nests went in my basket. I love them to this day. While I didn't invent the idea for milk-chocolate toasted-coconut fudge, once I had a great base recipe for fudge,...... View full recipe for "~Milk-Chocolate and Toasted-Coconut Lover's Fudge~"


~Dark Chocolate Lover's Killer Dark-Chocolate Fudge~

Everyone remembers their first bite of fudge -- that creamy, semi-soft confection made with corn syrup and/or sugar, butter, cream and flavoring. Hands-down, the most popular flavor is dark chocolate, with milk chocolate in second. Peanut butter, butterscotch, maple and vanilla are all contenders for the third spot. When I was growing up, Agnes was our next-door neighbor. She loved to bake, and throughout the years her sweet treats made their way to our table often. Every year, on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve, Agnes joined our family for dinner and graced our dessert table with a plate of fudge...... View full recipe for "~Dark Chocolate Lover's Killer Dark-Chocolate Fudge~ "


~Humble & Homemade Oaty Hobnob Biscuit Cookies~

One thing I know about the Brits, they love their biscuits. Go into any shop that sells groceries and/or baked goods -- the one item you know with certainty you can find is a package of biscuits. Hobnobs is the brand name of one of the most popular British biscuits. Essentially a crunchy-crumbly oatmeal-shortbread cookie (as opposed to a fluffy, buttery American biscuit), McVitie's launched Hobnobs in 1985 and a chocolate coated version in 1987, which is not too long ago in terms of British biscuit history. While it's customary to enjoy 'em with tea, I love 'em with milk....... View full recipe for "~Humble & Homemade Oaty Hobnob Biscuit Cookies~"


~ Using Natural and Dutch-Process Cocoa Powders ~

It's not a matter of what's on-hand in the pantry, what mom or grandma used, brand recognition or cost. There is a difference between natural and Dutch-process cocoa powder, and, it is rocket science. The word is "acidity". Those of the mindset the two can be used interchangeably, babbling on about it being mostly a matter of preference (I have witnessed it said many times), are contributing to recipe failure -- which is the number one reason why some folks hate to bake. The cocoa bean is a dried, fatty seed found inside a 10"-12" cocoa pod, and, each pod...... View full recipe for "~ Using Natural and Dutch-Process Cocoa Powders ~"


~ Milk-Chocolate-Lovers Nestlé-Crunch-Bar Cookies ~

The Nestlé Crunch Bar -- creamy milk chocolate chocked full of crunchy-crisped rice. As one who has always preferred milk to dark chocolate, it, along with the Reese's peanut butter cup (milk chocolate and peanut butter) is at the top of my "favorite candy bars of my youth list". As with several other favorites, for an adult activity, I prefer to chop up said candy bars and bake cookies with their bits and pieces -- I prefer a cookie to a candy bar and I adore a candy bar in a cookie. "Candy-bar cookies" and sweet treats made with my...... View full recipe for "~ Milk-Chocolate-Lovers Nestlé-Crunch-Bar Cookies ~"


~Christmas Cookies 2018 with a Winter White Theme~

Because there are not enough days in the week preceding Christmas for me to bake as many varieties of cookies as I would like, every year my Christmas cookie trays are different. Each year I pick a theme and bake four kinds. For example: Last year I baked Four Kid-Friendly Candy-Bar Cookies of My Youth. Each cookie contained a different candy bar: Reeses's Cups, Snickers, Kit-Kat's and Whoppers. This year, for a small gathering of adults, I chose Winter White -- cookies that pair well with creamy rum-laced eggnog and cream-in-your-coffee or tea. Home for the Holiday Eggnog-Laced Snickerdoodles: Let...... View full recipe for "~Christmas Cookies 2018 with a Winter White Theme~"


~ Over-the-Moon Candied-Pecan & Toffee Crescents ~

This version of these buttery rich, melt-in-your-mouth, sweet and salty, crunchy-crumbly-munchie confections, which are loaded with honey-glazed candied pecans and English-style toffee bits, will, if you're not forewarned, glue you to the holiday dessert table. I call them confections because, while they are classified as a cookie, they have all the panache of a candy. During the holiday season, these cookies show up in the crescent shape, but, other times of the year, they're typically shaped into rounds and referred to as "tea cakes" or "English tea cakes". There are as many variations on this English recipe which dates back...... View full recipe for "~ Over-the-Moon Candied-Pecan & Toffee Crescents ~"


~ The Holly & the Ivy: Tart-Cherry & Pistachio Biscotti ~

Bold and beautiful, bright-red holly berries, clustered amongst shiny, deep-green, pointy-edged ivy leaves, are colors and symbols we associate with Christmas. Right from the first, meaning the first time my tart-cherry and toasted-pistachio biscotti revealed their sliced selves, I began calling them "holly and ivy biscotti", and, they're a great way to get into the spirit of holiday baking. One biscotto, three biscotti & my version pales to none: The word biscotti (three biscotti, one biscotto) originates form the Latin word "biscoctus", which means "twice cooked". Biscotti, as we know them, are oblong shaped, dry, crunchy biscuit-esque cookies that get...... View full recipe for "~ The Holly & the Ivy: Tart-Cherry & Pistachio Biscotti ~"


~ Let it Snow-Capped Ricotta and Coconut Cookies ~

Attend an Italian birthday or graduation party, bridal or baby shower, wedding or christening, etc. Name an occasion -- if it is being hosted in or by an Italian-American family, ricotta cookies will be on the dessert table, especially during the holidays. If ricotta cookies aren't served, you showed up at the wrong address. Every family has a favorite recipe, and, while no two recipes are exactly alike, aside from the choice of flavoring, color of the glaze and the decorative sugar crystals or jimmies that get sprinkled on top, all recipes for these beloved cookies are remarkably similar. I...... View full recipe for "~ Let it Snow-Capped Ricotta and Coconut Cookies ~"


~Home for the Holiday Eggnog-Laced Snickerdoodles~

The humble snickerdoodle is my all-time favorite sugar cookie. I've been told it was the first cookie I was ever allowed to taste, so, if my mind hasn't changed by now, it is not likely to happen. A traditional snickerdoodle is a flat, pale-to-golden, crispy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside cookie made with butter and/or shortening, and, cinnamon and/or nutmeg . It never (don't go there with this cookie) contains additions like chocolate chips, dried fruit or nuts. If flavoring is added, it is always a simple and subtle splash of vanilla. That said, snickerdoodles are the perfect foil for eggnog or eggnog flavoring,...... View full recipe for "~Home for the Holiday Eggnog-Laced Snickerdoodles~"


~ Triple Chocolate & Peanut Butter Frosted Brownies ~

In a nutshell, the problem with loving the combination of chocolate and peanut butter is you can't eat Reese's peanut butter cups with your morning coffee -- well, you can, you just can't admit to it. These brownies, inspired by a version my mom used to make using a Duncan Hines brownie mix, are a pitch-perfect reason to skip waffles and pancakes and start the day with a brownie. Back in the days when no one ever heard of a peanut allergy, they made great lunch box treats too. A rich triple-chocolate layer, &, a thin salty peanut-butter layer sandwiched...... View full recipe for "~ Triple Chocolate & Peanut Butter Frosted Brownies ~"


~ Peanut Butter-Banana-Oat & Tropical Trail Mix Bars ~

Hot fun in the Summertime. As a fan of peanut butter and banana sandwiches (no honey please, just smash a banana into some crunchy peanut butter and slather it between two slices of my Wonder bread or toast), when I decided to intervene in the world of recipes for peanut butter and banana bar cookies, I already knew my version was going to be loaded with one of my favorite snacks: sweet and savory tropical trail mix (my favorite brand is a mix of dried coconut, mango, papaya and pineapple, raisins, banana chips, brazil nuts, cashews and peanuts). Oh yum....... View full recipe for "~ Peanut Butter-Banana-Oat & Tropical Trail Mix Bars ~"


~Love is Blueberry Oatmeal-Crumble Cookie Squares~

Blueberries are a fruit best served cooked. Simmer down and read on. When it comes to eating fresh, perfectly-ripe, high-quality, locally-grown berries hand-to-mouth, there are three seedier-types I enjoy more -- blackberries, strawberries and raspberries (in that order). I love blueberries, but, it's my opinion that the blueberry is enhanced by cooking. Given a choice, I'll choose the blueberry jam, blueberry pie or blueberry bread pudding over the bowl of fresh blueberries any day of the week -- they even taste better after the little bit of cooking they get in pancakes. Dare to be a buttery-rich & delicately-crumbly kind...... View full recipe for "~Love is Blueberry Oatmeal-Crumble Cookie Squares~"


~ Buttery Candied-Pecan and Toffee Bit Shortbread ~

Shortbread. Melt-in-my-mouth, buttery-rich, slightly-salty and not-too-sweet, every bite of one of these humbly-crumbly understated cookies is akin to an extravagant indulgence -- the amuse bouche of the sweet treat kind. From one or two sitting atop a paper napkin next to a cup of caffeine, to hundreds piled high on shiny trays at a celebration, shortbread has earned its place on the table of any occasion. In my food world, every day and its accompanying problems has the potential to turn out ok, as long as there are a few shortbread to nibble on in the cookie jar. A day...... View full recipe for "~ Buttery Candied-Pecan and Toffee Bit Shortbread ~"


~Swiss Chocolate, Cherry & Almond Puff Pastry Braid~

Imagine eating a freshly-baked, still-warm chocolate croissant at your favorite coffee shop. Just thinking about one of those divinely decadent indulgences makes me happy. Now imagine it super-sized, more than enough to feed four, with sweet cherries and crunchy almonds added to it too. Need I say more? Valentine's Day will be here before we know it, and, if you're looking to surprise the chocolate lover in your life with something truly sweet, stash the ingredients on this list in your pantry and freezer, then, start counting the days to February 14th. Tick, tock. From appetizers to entrées to desserts......... View full recipe for "~Swiss Chocolate, Cherry & Almond Puff Pastry Braid~"


~ Four Kid-Friendly Candy-Bar Cookies of My Youth ~

I happily chose cookies-made-with-candy-bars as this year's 2017 theme for Christmas cookies on Kitchen Encounters, and, I gleefully baked all four. Reese's, Snickers, Kit Kat and Whoppers. Everyone is well-familiar with this cast of candy-bar characters. These particular four weren't just chosen at random. They were my favorite candy bars when I was a kid -- they're close to my heart, and, they're an all-star lineup too. I know, Whoppers aren't a bar -- whatever, move along. A bite out of any one of them would bring a smile to my face, and, if asked to make a choice, to...... View full recipe for "~ Four Kid-Friendly Candy-Bar Cookies of My Youth ~"


~ Whoppers Milk-Chocolate Malted-Milk-Ball Cookies ~

Back in the 1970's, a shopping trip with mom to Hazleton, Pennsylvania's indoor Laurel Mall, was not complete without picking up a carton of Whoppers -- conveniently located close to the checkouts in the K-Mart. I was almost a teenager. My brother, three years younger, required a stop at K-Mart to appease him -- and it was always our last stop at the mall. Whoppers were our treat for the thirty-minute car ride home, and, as mightily as we all tried, it was next to impossible for mom, David, and I, not to polish off the contents of that entire...... View full recipe for "~ Whoppers Milk-Chocolate Malted-Milk-Ball Cookies ~"


~ My Chewy Coconut & Crispy White-Kit-Kat Cookies ~

The first time my mom came home from the grocery store with a bag of white chocolate chips, I was fascinated by them. "What are you going to do with these?" It turns out she was going to bake white-chocolate macadamia-nut cookies that Nestlé had printed on their package. "Daddy loves macadamia nuts." I knew he was going to love mom's new all-white cookie invention -- I could barely wait for the butter to soften. Tick tock. As we two gathered together and measured the list of ingredients, it was mom who schooled me on the fact that white chocolate...... View full recipe for "~ My Chewy Coconut & Crispy White-Kit-Kat Cookies ~"


~Chocolate & Peanut-Butter-Snickers Cookie Squares~

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. Just when I thought Snickers couldn't be improved upon, I find out they make peanut-butter-Snickers bars. Yes, my love of milk chocolate and peanut butter struck again for the second time in two weeks -- this time in the form of bar cookies. By the time you read this post, I will have sliced these into small, three-four bite squares, individually wrapped them in plastic and stacked/stashed them in a corner of my freezer. Amongst the foodie cravings I get, believe it or not, chocolate isn't in my...... View full recipe for "~Chocolate & Peanut-Butter-Snickers Cookie Squares~"


~ Over-the-Top Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies ~

Amongst the foodie cravings I get, chocolate isn't in my top ten. That said, I confess to a weakness for Reese's peanut butter cups and Snickers bars. There's just something about the combination of mellow milk chocolate and salty peanuts or peanut butter that I find hard to resist. I love it enough to keep a bag of mini-Reese's cups and a bag of snack-sized peanut-butter Snickers bars in my freezer. A bite-sized nibble of either one and I am a happy woman. Two things transpired this week: I replenished my supply of mini-Reese's cups via Amazon. My candy delivery...... View full recipe for "~ Over-the-Top Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies ~"


~ Seriously Special K Crispy & Chewy Sugar Cookies ~

Sugar cookies traditionally fall into the category of "rolled cookies" which are cut into shapes to suit your fancy and the occasion, but, they can be treated as "drop cookies" too, meaning: they can be formed into uniform-sized balls and baked. They can be crisp and thin or soft and thick. They should melt-in-your mouth, taste rich and buttery and have a flaky, delicate texture. Perfectly baked sugar cookies have clean edges that hold shape when baked. They emerge from the oven just cooked through and puffy, with almost no signs of browning. Sugar cookies require patience and love --...... View full recipe for "~ Seriously Special K Crispy & Chewy Sugar Cookies ~"


~ Start Dunking: Double-Raisin Bran Cereal Cookies ~

If you're one of the few, the proud and the many who adore Kellogg's raisin bran, this cookie recipe is for you. I'm sure the recipe is a Kellogg's original too, because I remember sitting at my mother's kitchen counter the day she made them, for me, the first time. It's odd, but, as a child, when all the other kids were reaching for the Frosted Flakes and Sugar Pops, the only two cold cereals I would eat were: Kellogg's Raisin Bran and Special K exclusively. That 1960's Winter afternoon, which was a snow day off from school, we decided...... View full recipe for "~ Start Dunking: Double-Raisin Bran Cereal Cookies ~"


~ Butter-Rum Frosted Banana-Walnut Spice Cookies ~

Spice is nice, particularly in spice cakes and spice cookies, and, when Summer turns to Fall, I find myself gravitating to spiced sweet treats. I generically refer to them as the "apple pie spices" -- you know the ones -- spice rack essentials. They're exotic and aromatic, and, they play oh-so-well together: allspice, cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg. Sometimes I choose just one or two, other times I use three or four, occasionally I use all five. That said, I'm always reminding folks to use them judiciously, as, too much of any one, is overpoweringly wrong. These spice cookies are...... View full recipe for "~ Butter-Rum Frosted Banana-Walnut Spice Cookies ~"


~Oatmeal Peanut-Butter Milk-Chocolate-Chip Cookies~

At 6:30AM I took my poodles outside and turned the sprinklers in our vegetable gardens on. As the water droplets hit the leaves, I watched as the red tomatoes, green basil, purple eggplant and other prime produce started to glisten in the early morning sun. While walking my pooches back to the house, I decided to bake cookies today. A girl cannot live on tomato sandwiches and caprese salad forever. The eggplant will live to see another day too. It's cookies I crave. This is the paragraph where I am supposed to divulge where I got this recipe, share a...... View full recipe for "~Oatmeal Peanut-Butter Milk-Chocolate-Chip Cookies~"


~Dare to be Square: Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares~

Pan cookies. That's what I called this oldie-but-goodie recipe way back when my mom used to make them in the 1970's. She made Magic Cookie Squares and a Wacky Cake in that 9" x 13" aluminum pan too, but, when I asked for pan cookies, or, when she announced she was making pan cookies, it meant one thing: The Original Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Pan Cookie -- the one printed on the back of their bags of semi-sweet chocolate morsels (and currently on their website). It also meant that besides a few days of great after-school snacks, there'd be...... View full recipe for "~Dare to be Square: Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares~"


~ Five-Minute Food-Processor Cream-Cheese Glaze ~

Everyone loves cream cheese frosting sandwiched between the layers and slathered on the sides and top of an applesauce, banana, carrot, coconut or pumpkin cake -- meet my short list of layer-, sheet-, or cup- cakes that require cream cheese frosting. That said, certain quick breads and muffins (which traditionally don't get frosted), many bundt cakes, cinnamon rolls, pastries and even an occasional cookie, benefit from a smooth, drizzly, glaze, and, the tang that cream cheese adds to the classic confectioners'-sugar-and-milk mixture is: a perfect finishing touch. I've decided, in tandem with a few professionals, that making the ultimate smooth,...... View full recipe for "~ Five-Minute Food-Processor Cream-Cheese Glaze ~"


~ Lidia's Big, Golden, Crunch-a-licious, Sugar Cookie ~

Question. Have you ever been tempted to bake one giant cookie? The one you're looking at here is an oval, about 12" long and 10" wide. It's a thing of beauty. It's sugar cookie perfection. No need to chill or roll dough or cut cookies. No nothing. It eliminates all the nonsense involved with baking sugar cookies. Second question. How many times have you bought sugar cookies to process, or sugar cookie crumbs to use ready-made, to make a cookie crust for a pie or a cheesecake or sprinkle between the layers of a parfait? Admit it, we all do...... View full recipe for "~ Lidia's Big, Golden, Crunch-a-licious, Sugar Cookie ~"


~ Nana's Pennsylvania Deutsch Sand Tart Cookies ~

Over the weekend we took a quick trip to Eastern Pennsylvania (Hometown) to visit my parents. Mom and dad subscribe to The Morning Call newspaper, which publishes quite an impressive food section each Wednesday. My mother saves them for me, so whenever I visit, I have a short stack of "foodie reading" to peruse during our two hour ride back to Happy Valley. It's very enjoyable, and, on occasion, one inspires me to write a blog post. Today is such a day. On Wed., Dec. 7th, the foodie headline in The Morning Call read: "Macungie woman finds late Great-Aunt's recipe...... View full recipe for "~ Nana's Pennsylvania Deutsch Sand Tart Cookies ~"


~ Old-Fashioned Chocolate & Almond Buttercrunch ~

Caramel, butterscotch, English toffee and American buttercrunch. These rich butter-and-sugar-based candies are all related, and, I have an affinity for them all. As a little kid, my hand gravitated to the bag of those little chewy squares of Kraft Caramels, and, when I got a little older, I always kept a few cellophane-wrapped Brach's Butterscotch hard-candies in my purse -- they were a way to enjoy an otherwise long and boring class at school or sermon at church. I developed a crush for English toffee in London the 1990's. There was a Confectioner across the street from our hotel and...... View full recipe for "~ Old-Fashioned Chocolate & Almond Buttercrunch ~"


~ Boozy Confection: Coconut Rum & Walnut Balls ~

In my lifetime, I can't recall a holiday season without encountering these boozy little sweet treats somewhere. As a child, one of our neighbors, Agnes, always served rum balls at her Christmas party and we kids made a point of sneaking a few when the adults weren't looking. As an adult, I typically serve them alongside my rum-laced eggnog to ring in the New Year. If there is a person who doesn't like a chocolatey rum ball rolled in coconut, I've yet to meet him or her. Rum balls are on my top 5 list of "easiest holiday confections". Rum...... View full recipe for "~ Boozy Confection: Coconut Rum & Walnut Balls ~"


~ I'm in the Mood for: Plain-Jane Chocolate Cookies ~

Hold the chocolate chunks, hold the chopped nuts and hold everything you think you can put in a chocolate cookie to impress me. Don't bother sprinkling them with fancy sea salt, slathering them with caramel frosting or sandwiching them together with a layer of your best buttercream either. It won't work. As a well-seasoned foodie who lives in the blog world, where everyone strives to make each and every recipe unique in some way or another, in my kitchen, every once in a while, plain is the best flavor of all -- especially when it comes to these chocolate cookies....... View full recipe for "~ I'm in the Mood for: Plain-Jane Chocolate Cookies ~"


~ Tropical Fruit, Nut and Chocolate-Chip Congo Bars ~

In most circles, Congo squares or Congo bar-cookies are made by spreading a batch of Nestlé Toll House chocolate chip cookie batter into a square or rectangular pan, then cutting the big cookie into smaller, cookie-sized squares or bars after baking. They shouldn't be confused with layered or 'magic' cookie bars -- the kind with a graham cracker crust and held together with condensed milk. The Congo square is a WWII era pan-cookie marketed like this back in 1942: The Original NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip "Congo Square" Pan-Cookie is like a brownie with all the rich flavors of a...... View full recipe for "~ Tropical Fruit, Nut and Chocolate-Chip Congo Bars ~"


~ Chocolate & Crunchy-Peanut-Butter Brownie Bites~

Things I know: I know I will always choose a chocolate brownie over a slice of chocolate cake. I know I will always choose chunky over smooth peanut butter too. I like the informality of the pick-up-and-eat moist and cohesive user-friendly brownie over the refined use-a-fork-and-don't-get-any-crumbs-on-my-floor, moist and grainy cake. As for peanut butter, I choose Jiffy over Skippy, never was a fan of Peter Pan, and I adore the flavor and texture that roasted peanuts add to it. I know that chocolate and peanut butter is an irresistible combination. Put peanut butter frosting on a chocolate brownie and I'll...... View full recipe for "~ Chocolate & Crunchy-Peanut-Butter Brownie Bites~"


~ Chocolate-Glazed Chocolate-Raspberry Tart Bars ~

The purchase of a few rectangular- and square-shaped tart pans were some of the best baking investments I've ever made. When it comes to serving crumbly cookie-type crusted tarts with custardy-textured centers, I find portioning and slicing a tart into bars or squares, instead of wedges from a round-shaped pan, more "user friendly" -- it's a kind of unique presentation too. There's more: When I'm making tarts that require refrigeration, I find these shapes to be a more efficient use of refrigerator space -- which, in my kitchen, is valuable real estate. "Tarte au chocolat" -- no special skills required!...... View full recipe for "~ Chocolate-Glazed Chocolate-Raspberry Tart Bars ~"


~ Making Graham Cracker & Cookie Crumb Crusts ~

Cheesecakes, cream pies, many layered bar-type cookies, and, some refrigerated pudding and frozen ice-cream desserts call for using a graham cracker or cookie crumb crust as a buttery, crunchy base. While homemade graham crackers, sugar cookies, gingersnaps and chocolate wafers make exceptional crumb crusts, I won't lie, it would have to be one heck of an insanely over-the-top dessert for me to bake any of them for the sole purpose of starting with a real-deal scratch-made base. That said, I don't at all care for the quality of ready-made crumb crusts. Why? They taste bland to me, and that's primarily...... View full recipe for "~ Making Graham Cracker & Cookie Crumb Crusts ~"


~ Old-Fashioned Oatmeal-Raisin-Walnut Cookies ~

Oatmeal -- I've loved it since the first spoonful of Gerber's got fed to me (or so I am told). I like my oatmeal creamy and smooth, I like it thick and lumpy, and, I especially like it crispy on the outside and chewy in the center of a cookie. I prefer oatmeal cookies to chocolate chip cookies and I do not like chocolate chips in my oatmeal cookies. If you are an oatmeal cookie lover, you already have a favorite recipe. If you are in search of "the best" or "ultimate" oatmeal cookie recipe, you'll not find any claims...... View full recipe for "~ Old-Fashioned Oatmeal-Raisin-Walnut Cookies ~"


~ The Original Nestle's Toll House Cookie Recipe ~

When my mom asked me to bake the Toll House cookies for Christmas, I did it with more joy than all the fancy-schmancy stuff I have baked in a long while. When I was a kid, Toll House cookies reigned supreme. Besides store-bought Fig Newtons and Pecan Sandies, homemade gingersnaps and Toll House were one of the few cookies my dad would eat. The apple didn't fall far from the tree -- we both dislike Oreos too. So, every year, amongst an array of fancy confections, the basic Toll House cookie proudly takes its place on our holiday cookie tray....... View full recipe for "~ The Original Nestle's Toll House Cookie Recipe ~"


~ My Six-Ingredient Last-Minute Eggnog Shortbread ~

There are two kinds of people. Those who finished their holiday baking last week and those who haven't started. If your holiday is under control in a Martha Stewart-esque sort of way, the force is with you and you need no help from me today. If, however, you fall into the category of those who just got home from doing all of your gift shopping and find yourself panic stricken in the kitchen in need of a last-minute cookie recipe, preheat your oven to 325 degrees now. ~ Step 1. Cut parchment to fit the bottom of an 8" square...... View full recipe for "~ My Six-Ingredient Last-Minute Eggnog Shortbread ~ "


~Pumpkin Spice Cookies w/Cream Cheese Frosting~

My grandmother never made pumpkin cookies, my mother never made pumpkin cookies, and I never felt deprived. The first time I encountered pumpkin cookies was at an elementary-school Fall-Festival fundraising-bake-sale back in the 1980's. All of the teachers and staff baked Fall desserts which were served with coffee and tea to us parents as we watched our kids parade through the school in their costumes. At the end of the festivities, the desserts were sold, some by the piece, some by the dozen -- you get the picture. My son Jesse's first grade teacher, Mrs. Rhodes, made pumpkin cookies, from...... View full recipe for "~Pumpkin Spice Cookies w/Cream Cheese Frosting~"


~ Andrew's Favorite: His Mom's Cherry Cookie Bars ~

Cherries and cherry desserts -- more specifically sour cherries and sour cherry desserts -- I don't know anyone who doesn't love cherries. My husband picked 150 pounds of pie cherries from our backyard tree last week, and ever since, I've been "making hay while the sun shines" -- posting as many of my favorite cherry recipes as I am physically capable in order to use up all of these culinary jewels. Click on the Related Article links below to get the most recent ones. Andrew is the Production Manager for WHVL-TV here in State College, PA. He's the host of...... View full recipe for "~ Andrew's Favorite: His Mom's Cherry Cookie Bars ~"


~ Sweet Treats: Sour-Cherry-Pie Cookie Squares ~

When it comes to cherry desserts, these sweet little easy-to-make cherry treats hold their own amongst the heavy hitters. I can't lie either, this is not an original recipe of mine, it is my amped-up version of one that came straight from the pages of Taste of Home magazine, which, as most home cooks know, is one of a handful of reliable sources for good-tasting, easy-to-make, family-friendly, kitchen-tested recipes made from readily-available or on-hand ingredients. When it comes to baking fruit pies, tarts and galettes, with few exceptions, I never consider using pre-cooked, store-bought, canned pie filling (which is what...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Treats: Sour-Cherry-Pie Cookie Squares ~"