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


~Hello Dolly: Beloved 5-6-7- Layer Magic Cookie Bars~

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, I've decided to share a few retro sweet treat recipes of my youth this week. If you are in your 50's or 60's, you know the ones: those quick and easy to make "back-of--the-box" recipes our moms made for us. It's always fun to take a trip back to kinder, gentler times and you can find my recipes for ~ 'Impossible' Coconut Custard Pie ~ and ~ Pucker Up for: Triple-Lemon Lemon Squares ~ by clicking on the Related Article links below. I was about 9, circa 1964, when my mom started making...... View full recipe for "~Hello Dolly: Beloved 5-6-7- Layer Magic Cookie Bars~"


~ Pucker Up for: Triple-Lemon Lemon Bars/Squares ~

Call me an eternal sourpuss. Lemonade, lemon sorbet, lemon meringue pie, lemon tart, lemon cheesecake, lemon pound cake, lemon shortbread, etc. Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, these are a few of my favorite things. I am a lover of all things tart and citrusy, and, I consider the lemon the diva of all citrus. I am never without lemons in my refrigerator and pure lemon oil in my pantry, because, like salt, their zest, juice and textureless, bold-flavored oil just makes everything taste better. I'm not a lemon snob either. I prefer the ordinary, tart, supermarket lemon to the "sweet"...... View full recipe for "~ Pucker Up for: Triple-Lemon Lemon Bars/Squares ~ "


~ "My" No-Fail, Easy-to-Make Sugar Cookie Recipe ~

Just in time for the premiere cookie baking holiday of the year, yesterday, I got an e-mail from a reader living in "sugar cookie purgatory": I'd like to say I was surprised, but, I wasn't. I'm quite adept at baking, and, I'm ok with stating: sugar cookies can be positively persnickity. Taking it one step further: The easiest cookie to screw up is the sugar cookie. While these cookies only contain a few simple ingredients, "things" can and will go wrong quickly, especially if details regarding mixing, refrigerating and rolling this delicate dough are left out of the recipe instructions....... View full recipe for "~ "My" No-Fail, Easy-to-Make Sugar Cookie Recipe ~"


~ Martin Yan's Wonderful Walnut Cookies a la Mel ~

It's time to get into the Christmas spirit, and, unless you're from a different planet, if you are the family cook, this means cookie baking. My recipe file is full of ethnic and heritage cookie recipes passed down to me from my Eastern European (Russian Orthodox) family, Joe's Italian (Catholic) family, my diverse group of friends, plus, some worldly ones that I've picked up over the years on our travels. Some are quick and easy-to-make, some are time consuming and difficult. Some are big, some are small, all of them are delicious, and: ever since I began this blog in...... View full recipe for "~ Martin Yan's Wonderful Walnut Cookies a la Mel ~"


~ Flour Facts: All-Purpose, Bread, Cake and Pastry ~

As the holiday season approaches, family bakers everywhere will be purchasing flour to make their signature breads and sweet treats: pies for Thanksiving, cookies for Christmas, cakes for New Years, etc. There are savory ethnic treats too. For example: My family's Eastern European noodles and pirogi, and, Joe's Italian family's pasta and pizza. Savvy bakers with heritage recipes will be purchasing more than one type of flour to accomplish all of these with ease! A well-written recipe will specify the type of flour required to produce the best results, and, I'd rather not bake something than substitute different flour. Why?...... View full recipe for "~ Flour Facts: All-Purpose, Bread, Cake and Pastry ~"


~ Let's Talk Chocolate: All about Baker's Chocolate ~

Baker's chocolate per se is an unsweetened dark chocolate intended for baking, not eating. On its own, it does not have a pleasant taste (truthfully, it tastes awful), but, when you combine it with ingredients like eggs, sugar, flour and milk, it adds lots of deep, rich chocolaty flavor to all sorts of sweet treats. That being said, when a recipe specifically calls for "Baker's Chocolate", with the "B" being capitalized, the recipe is telling you to use a brand of chocolate that has been used in our kitchens for over 200 years and was invented right here in America....... View full recipe for "~ Let's Talk Chocolate: All about Baker's Chocolate ~"


~ Culinary Jewels: Dehydrated Sour (Pie) Cherries ~

I am a fruit lover and I've been baking with dried fruits for as long as I've been baking, which is almost 40 years. I grew up watching my grandmother add dried apricots, dates and raisins to all sorts of Eastern European baked goods. I was a young mom of three small boys when the trail mix craze began. My kids liked the brand that included dried bananas, pineapple and papaya. Back in those pre-internet days, if I wanted to make homemade trail mix for our family, catalog shopping was my source for buying dried fruits and nuts, and, one...... View full recipe for "~ Culinary Jewels: Dehydrated Sour (Pie) Cherries ~"


~ Three Cookies of Mel's Youth Week -- In Review ~

I rarely write a retrospective blog post. In fact in almost three years of blogging, this is only my third one. If you've been following along this week, I shared three simple, straightforward and special-to-me recipes for "drop cookies": snickerdoodles, ginger snaps and peanut butter. All three of the recipes can be found in Category 7 or by clicking on the Related Article links below! A bit about drop cookies: They are one of the simplest types of cookies to make, and the term refers to cookies made from a relatively soft dough that gets dropped, in uniformly-sized spoonfuls, directly...... View full recipe for "~ Three Cookies of Mel's Youth Week -- In Review ~"


~My Favorite Salty Cookie is: Chunky Peanut Butter~

"Three cookies of my youth week" here on KE is coming to a close! Sigh. On Monday we made ~ My Favorite Sugar Cookie: The Snickerdoodle ~, then, on Wednesday we made ~ My Favorite Spice-y Cookie is: The Ginger Snap ~. Both recipes can be found in Category 7, and they are from my very 1st cookbook: a bridal shower gift to me 'way back when' in 1974! Snickerdoodles (pictured above) and gingersnaps (pictured here) are referred to as "drop cookies". They are made by dropping uniform sized pieces of dough onto a baking pan. They are not fancy...... View full recipe for "~My Favorite Salty Cookie is: Chunky Peanut Butter~"


~ My Favorite Spice-y Cookie is: The Ginger Snap ~

Today is part two of "three cookies of my youth" week here on KE. Here in Central PA we're experiencing some unseasonably cold weather, 30-40-degrees (which I dislike), with lots of rain (which I admit we need). I've decided to take advantage of the uncooperative weather, preheat my oven and bake some cookies. Not fancy gourmet cookies either. The kind your mom and grandmom had waiting on the kitchen table with a glass of milk for you and your friends after school. By next week at this time I'll probably be complaining about how hot it is -- there will...... View full recipe for "~ My Favorite Spice-y Cookie is: The Ginger Snap ~ "


~ My Favorite Sugar Cookie is: The Snickerdoodle ~

Today is a preheat the oven kinda day in my kitchen. We're having a cold snap here in Central PA: frost warnings and 30-40- degree temperatures in mid-May -- what's up with that? Don't ask me why, but while I was clutching my steaming hot cup of coffee this morning, snickerdoodles popped into my foodie head. I haven't posted a cookie recipe in quite a while, and, if the weather isn't going to cooperate, I'm declaring it "three cookies-of-my-youth week" on KE. Nothing's ever as good as it was when you were a kid: What in the wide world of...... View full recipe for "~ My Favorite Sugar Cookie is: The Snickerdoodle ~ "


~ My Caramel Corn vs. Cracker Jack? No Contest. ~

"Take me out to the ball game, Take me out with the crowd, Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks, I don't care if I never get back." NOT SO FAST. I don't like Cracker Jack. I never did. I never will. As a child, even the prize in the box wasn't enough inspiration for me to ask mom or dad to buy me a box. As an adult, I never bought Cracker Jack for my children. Come to think of it, in my lifetime I've never bought any Cracker Jack. Why? I grew up eating freshly made caramel corn...... View full recipe for "~ My Caramel Corn vs. Cracker Jack? No Contest. ~"


~ Confection Perfection: Teresa's Buckeye Candies ~

The clock is ticking down to Christmas Eve, and, if you find yourself in need of a last-minute, easy-to-prepare sweet-treat that everyone will love, this is the recipe for you. It doesn't require any special equipment, it doesn't have to be baked, and, you probably have the ingredients on-hand in your pantry. My first encounter with buckeye candy (which are little, round peanut butter balls dipped into chocolate) was in the first grade. Mrs. Gordon would make them and bring them into our classroom for birthday parties and holiday celebrations. Us kids loved them. Those were the good old days,...... View full recipe for "~ Confection Perfection: Teresa's Buckeye Candies ~"


~ Spicy Groundhog Cookies for Punxsutawney Phil ~

Tomorrow is Groundhog Day. Will Phil see his shadow? Tradition says: if he sees his shadow on a bright, sunlit day, we're going to have six more weeks of Winter, and, he goes back to his burrow and returns to sleep. If he doesn't see his shadow on a dark, gloomy day, it means Spring is right around the corner, and he stays above ground. If this seems odd, it is worth mentioning that the custom of predicting the weather based on animal behavior dates back at least a thousand years. In more recent American history, it is attributed to...... View full recipe for "~ Spicy Groundhog Cookies for Punxsutawney Phil ~"


~ Melanie's "Original" Secret Signature Macaroons ~

No folks, I am not the inventor of the macaroon, but, neither is anyone else. Food historians say they first appeared around 1533 in an Italian monastery. These crispy cookies were made without flour or yeast, contained egg whites and almonds, and, were flavored with amaretto. My original and authentic American recipe (right up until the moment I will reluctantly push publish on this post tonight) has remained a pretty well-guarded family secret and dates back to my grandmother and her sister. They were both superb bakers and they both loved coconut. My grandmother was known for her large coconut-almond...... View full recipe for "~ Melanie's "Original" Secret Signature Macaroons ~"


~ Decidedly Decadent Frozen-Hot-Chocolate Pops ~

In just a few days our grandson will be coming for a visit. Needless to say, JoePa and GrandMel are quite excited. Everytime DJ comes to visit we try to think up fun things for him to do with the both of us, singularly and together. For example: JoePa bought him a microscope and we'll spend a couple hours viewing things like, strands of hair, onion skin, and CHEEZ-IT crumbs (DJ loves his Cheese-y Crackers). Later in the day, David will try again to teach GrandMel how to play Angry Birds on his Kindle, after proclaiming, "you're not very good...... View full recipe for "~ Decidedly Decadent Frozen-Hot-Chocolate Pops ~"


~ Double-Lemon & Vanilla-Kissed Pizzelle Cookies ~

Pizzelle, which is plural for pizzella, (pronounced with a "ts" sound, like "pizza") are large, thin, embossed wafers that are formed using a special iron. They get their name from the Italian word "pizze", meaning "round and flat". It is said they were born in central Italy and were served to honor important government celebrations and family weddings because they are so beautiful to look at (not to mention delicious). Historically, each family's pizzelle iron was embossed in the center with the family crest or other symbols of specific meaning, which indicated that each cookie was made by hand, and,...... View full recipe for "~ Double-Lemon & Vanilla-Kissed Pizzelle Cookies ~"


~ Agnes Starosta's Creamy, Dreamy "Killer" Fudge ~

Everyone remembers their very first bite of fudge... that creamy, semi-soft confection made with corn syrup and/or sugar, butter, cream and various flavorings. The most popular fudge flavor, hands-down is chocolate, with peanut butter, maple, butterscotch and vanilla all being strong contenders in the top five. When I was growing up, Agnes Starosta was our next-door neighbor. She loved to bake, and all year long, her sweet treats would make their way over to our house. Every year on Christmas Eve, Agnes joined us for dinner and would grace our dessert table with a plate of her homemade fudge. No...... View full recipe for "~ Agnes Starosta's Creamy, Dreamy "Killer" Fudge ~"


~ Pucker-Up Lemon & Lavender Shortbread Hearts ~

If you've been following Kitchen Encounters for the past week and a half, you've been reading my favorite "the sun is setting on Summer" seafood recipes. I just couldn't end this series without posting what I happen to believe to be the PERFECT DESSERT for each and every one of these delicious meals, my: Pucker-Up Lemon & Lavender Shortbread Hearts! I am a lover of citrus in general, but I'm downright passionate about lemons. I like to add fresh lemon juice and zest to all sorts of sweet and savory dishes, condiments, and sauces. My own lemon-lovin' recipes for sweet...... View full recipe for "~ Pucker-Up Lemon & Lavender Shortbread Hearts ~"


~ Toasted Pistachio Pillows (Russian Tea Cakes) ~

The people of Russia have a passion for Russian tea, and the Russian tea-sharing ceremony. Tea in Russia is traditionally served after a meal (unlike the mid-afternoon "tea time" break in Britain or "high tea" in Britain if it gets served in place of the evening meal). Tea was introduced to Russia by the Chinese in the mid-1600's. The Russian people, who for the most part lived in a harsh environment, quickly embraced it because it was storable, soothing and warm, and like most Russian beverages (and foods), they created their own strong, hearty, dark brew, which they sweetened with...... View full recipe for "~ Toasted Pistachio Pillows (Russian Tea Cakes) ~"


~ Mexican Chocolate Cinnamon-Orange Brownies ~

If you love chocolate brownies but have never tasted Mexican chocolate or used pure Mexican vanilla extract, you are in for a treat! I won't lie to you, when my chocoholic son Jess was growing up, I did more than my part to keep the Duncan Hines company in business. A couple of boxes of their "chocolate lovers" brownie mix was always in my pantry. I even mastered the art of doctoring them up so they tasted really made-from-scratch, my favorite trick being to add some ground cinnamon and orange extract to the mix. So many people (kids and adults)...... View full recipe for "~ Mexican Chocolate Cinnamon-Orange Brownies ~"


~ Oatmeal & Savory Dried Sour Cherry Sensations ~

I was either born loving oatmeal cookies or all of the oatmeal cookies I was initially introduced to as a child were spectacular. Our neighbor Ruth Yacobenis always had small crunchy ones in the apothecary-shaped cookie jar in her kitchen. Our other neighbor Agnes Starosta made small chewy ones which she used to decoratively arrange on top of a pretty little dish containing one scoop of vanilla ice cream. My Tettie (my great Aunt Mary) made large flat ones that were crunchy on the outside, chewy in the middle and had dark raisins throughout them. All of the above were...... View full recipe for "~ Oatmeal & Savory Dried Sour Cherry Sensations ~"


~ Mrs. Prizzi's Cookies (Italian Celebration Cookies) ~

It was the Christmas of 1981. Joe and I were newlyweds and this was my first holiday with Joe's family. Joe's mother and her brother Stan, lived in Jessup, PA (very close to Scranton). "Aunt" Theresa (Uncle Stan's fiancee of 25+ years) served her mother's cookies for dessert. I can only describe these sublime 3"-round confections as: subtly vanilla-flavored, puffy, soft-centered "cookie-cakes", drizzled with a silky-smooth pink-colored vanilla-flavored sugar glaze and topped with a sprinkling of crunchy sugar crystals. I had never tasted anything like them, and after eating at least six, I was disappointed to learn that no formal...... View full recipe for "~ Mrs. Prizzi's Cookies (Italian Celebration Cookies) ~"