Category Archives: Cookies/Bars

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

I was inspired to make these bars by a photo I saw of Ina Garten’s recipe for peanut butter and jelly bars. In her recipe, she uses a peanut butter shortbread and strawberry jam, but I instead, simply decided to use my own favorite peanut butter cookie dough, and concord grape jelly. These ooey, gooey, chewy bars do not disappoint, bringing back all of the flavors and the nostalgia of a childhood favorite. Here I pressed a layer of peanut butter cookie dough into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan, topped it with a generous layer of grape jelly, and then crumbled another layer of cookie dough over the top, and finished it all off (as Ina does) with a sprinkling of chopped salted peanuts. I baked it for forty five minutes in a 350° oven, and once they were cooled, sliced them into squares. These would be perfect for a picnic or potluck, and they are certain to be a hit with children, or  even just the child in you. Enjoy!

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Oatmeal Raisin Pecan Cookies

Although oatmeal raisin cookies are perhaps one of my very favorites,  they have always remained the forgotten step child of my baking repertoire. Let’s face it, most recipes either lack flavor, or are too crisp or dry or cakey. So, for a long time, I simply regarded them as something I would just not make myself. These cookies, however, (inspired by another Ina recipe) have a really nice round flavor. They are crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, and with cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch of allspice counterbalancing the raisins and dark brown sugar, these cookies are nutty, spicy and sweet. I myself, being allergic to pecans, usually omit them, and substitute almonds, or leave the nuts out entirely. But the toasted nuttiness of the pecans add a lovely, distinctive warmth that really cannot be denied or duplicated. Who out there wouldn’t love coming home to a big plate full of these cookies?

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

Is there anything more universally comforting than freshly baked chocolate chip cookies? Probably not. I have been making these particular cookies (a variation of the traditional Toll House recipe) ever since I was twelve years old. They are exactly what a chocolate chip cookie should be:  crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, and oozing with little pockets of warm semi-sweet chocolate. When I have them on hand, which I usually do, I like to also add chocolate chunks to bump up the chocolate flavor. These are the perfect thing to bake  to welcome someone to the neighborhood, for a bake sale, potluck, or as just a decadent after school snack. No matter where I bring these cookies, they are always the very first thing to go.

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Palmiers

There has always been something so luxurious to me about palmiers. As a child they seemed so fancy, as I gazed longingly at them through the display case: all shiny, and swirled, and mysterious.  In reality there is nothing terribly complicated about them. They are made simply with puff pastry and sugar. And that’s it. Well, maybe a pinch of salt. I for one am never going to be the person to spend my time making my own puff pastry. If you are, well, God bless you. But for me, life is just too short. I typically always have at least one package of frozen puff pastry in my freezer at all times, so these are the perfect last minute little delicious nibbley thing to whip up to serve with coffee after dinner, when I am otherwise out of time and ideas. They are delicate, crisp, buttery, and sweet. They always feel like a treat, and no one need know that they are one of the easiest things in the world to make.

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Please Sir, can I have S’more???

A friend was drooling over a picture of these s’more brownies, and forwarded it to me while strongly suggesting that I make them sometime very soon. The concept is simple enough: a graham cracker crust topped with a fudgey brownie center, topped with toasted marshmallows.  Needless to say, I didn’t need that much convincing. So, with the picture as my inspiration, I simply used my favorite brownie recipe (though a boxed mix would work equally well), and a simple graham cracker crust (graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, and a pinch of salt), and threw it in the oven. The verdict: They are sinfully rich, and delightfully sticky. A little hard to cut, but worth the extra effort. And best of all, they really do taste like s’mores! Enjoy!

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