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Cookies/Bars

Bars/ Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Nutty Toffee Peanut Butter Bars

Leftover candy put to use.

I have to admit that my first thought for a name of this bar was “leftovers” or “trash” but they are too good to be called leftover anything. I had candy left over from Christmas baking projects, Valentine’s Day projects and a ton off bags of candy I bought at “after Christmas” sale at the grocery. “Trash” because I should have thrown my candy away so I wouldn’t eat it; but who does that?

So with bags some Heath Chocolate bits, some mixed salted nuts and dark chocolate chips I just had to improve upon a basic Blondie Bar recipe. I thought i would start with a bag of mini Reeces Peanut Butter cups but they disappeared from my pantry, so I substituted 1/4 cup of peanut butter for part of the butter.

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Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Toasted Coconut and Lime Shortbread Cookie

 🎶She put the lime in the coconut and “baked” ’em all up…

I’ve never heard of the guy that sang “Coconut”; (Harry Nilsson); but it’s one of those “worm” songs that after it gets in your head it is hard to rid yourself of those lyrics. So, when I first saw this cookie and made and tasted this cookie that song popped in my head and I knew I was going to make it again, and again, and again.

Baking is one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen and I have made thousands, maybe even trillions of cookies over the years. I’ve done several coconut varieties too; so check out the “dessert/cookie” archives if you’re wanting to try something new.

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Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Sable Cookies with Flowers

A beautiful floral tasting cookie.

These should have been handed out at “the wedding” last weekend as favors.

Don’t these cookies look like I robbed the little flower girls’ baskets at the royal wedding last weekend? Well I didn’t; they came from my yard.

My alarm was not set for 4:00 a.m. but my recorder was and once I was awake I turned it on and did a pretty quick catch up to the main event.

All of these flowers came from my yard except for the little in bachelor button flowers which were actually from some Bachelor Button tea I had bought at Central Market in Austin a couple of years ago.

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Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Tropical Key Lime Cheesecake Sticks

Cute as cute can be!

How do I describe these little cookies — crunchy, cheesecakey, coconutty, crispy, citrusy, and creamy. Hey, those are all “c” words; and to top it off they are “cute”. Buy the cookie then whip up this cheesecake filling and you have a great add-on dessert to serve with some coconut ice cream or lime sorbet.

I love the flavor of key lime and you know when you make key lime desserts you are not suppose to add green food coloring. If you ever get key lime pie in a restaurant you do not want it to be green — that’s a big no-no in using key limes. I’m adding a lot of lime zest to add little specks of green through the filling.

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Cookies/ Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Crunchy, coconuty, delicious, what more can I say.

I don’t talk about failures very often because I don’t have a lot of them. When I do make a mistake, I never make it again. Let me tell you what recently happened.

When we went to Austin back in February for our grandson, Frankie’s, first birthday celebration I took along some beautiful little caterpillar sugar cookies all decorated with green royal frosting, yellow polka dots along with eyes and even little mustaches. Four of our six grandsons were at the party and they loved the cookies (not sure if Frankie got to eat one or not) and I promised Milo and Donovan that when we picked them up the next weekend to see a local production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame that I would have some some more cookies made — Fish and Dolphins.

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Candy/ Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Coconut Date Skillet Candy

You don’t have to wait until next Christmas!

Who says you can’t make candy any time of the year? I usually think of my candy making days as something I do in the fall between Thanksgiving and Christmas; but don’t we all have a “sweet tooth” all year.

This was one of my mother’s favorite candy recipes and I remember her stirring the date mixture and after adding the Rice Krispies; my favorite part was to scrape out the leftovers from the skillet and eat it before it was even rolled in coconut.

I decided to make these for my February bunco group to see what people thought. I have a few friends who remember their moms making something very similar. What’s not to love about these little spheres of dates, sugar, butter, coconut, pecans and Rice Krispies? And since I have so many dates, coconut, and pecans left from my holiday baking, I might as well make some to take to craft circle. My grandmother would have said “they have cereal, that makes them healthy”.

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Bars/ Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Breckenridge Bars

In the beginning…. there were those who could ski… & and then some not meant for that sport.

Many, many, manyyyy years ago we went on our first ski trip with our neighbors Mary Jo and Randy (Overland Park, KS) to Steamboat Springs, CO. Of course the kids did well first trip out and by end of trip, the Isler’s were taking them on blue (maybe even black) slopes. Me, on the other hand, had my leg wrapped around a tree the first day and being stubborn like I was (am), refused help down the mountain by the ski patrol — now that would have been a little too embarrassing. And to make matters worse, I couldn’t ruin my first day, so the rest of the day I spend on the bunny slope being pulled up by a rope and making my way down the tiny little hill.

Needless to say, by the end of the trip I couldn’t put my leg on the ground because a piece of the cartilage was caught between the joint. So, did I ever ski again? Once? And after that I stuck to snow mobiles and shopping and now with two fairly new knees I would never attempt those slopes again.

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Cookies/ Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thanks David for this recipe.

I love David Lebovitz blog Living The Sweet Life In Paris. We were in Paris and southern France back in 2012. Paris was kind of a blur with two bad knees that didn’t know then that in 3 months they would be replaced. So many restaurants, good food, stops in the afternoon for frites and wine or macarons that it’s hard to remember that trip unless I go back and read my journal about all the great food we had and all the interesting things we saw.

Through David’s blog I can see Paris through his eyes. He has authored seven cookbooks and his blog is full of information about cooking classes, vacationing in Paris and much much more. I’m always excited to get an email with his newest post to his blog.

So, when this Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie popped up one day I knew exactly who I was going to make it for. We have a friend, Gordon, who is a chocolateholic and these are his favorite cookies that he usually buys at Randall’s grocery and then hides them from his wife so he can have them all to himself. I do not blame him on these cookies, they are that good you will be hiding them too.

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Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Pumpkin Biscotti with Chocolate and Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin and Chocolate were made for each other.

Don’t you just love Thanksgiving and all the special dishes that you, your mother, or even your grandmother make each year.

We all have our favorites. Just give me turkey, dressing, giblet gravy, and cranberry sauce (even the canned variety will satisfy me) and I’m good.

My friend Peggy has to make her husbands favorite cranberry salad every year or he would be boycotting dinner. My friend Linda has to do turkey whether they are at home or at a campsite and they spent Thanksgiving one year camping in freezing temperatures. And, my friend Janet reminded me of one of my favorites which I always forget — pimento cheese stuffed celery.

I’m not a fan of pumpkin pie but I love my Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins or my Pumpkin Bread Pudding and if you are looking for a breakfast treat over the Thanksgiving holidays, please try my pumpkin biscotti.

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Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Chocolate Espresso Pizzelles

Out with the old, in with the new.

A person who likes to bake and cook can never have too many pans or utensils, can they? Maybe I don’t need three pans to make chocolate bouchons which are chocolate “cork” shaped cakes made by Thomas Keller; at the time I bought these molds I worked at Williams Sonoma and was catering and if I were to make these 12 would not have been enough, I needed at least 36 at a time. So is the story behind most of my pans like my 24 tiny 1″ x 2″ bread pans; and they are the cutest little loaves of bread you have ever eaten.

So, what is one to do when they are faced with a lifetime of cooking equipment when trying to clean out a kitchen to have it painted. Well, you go through one thing at a time and say “do I really need that” and 98% of the time my answer was yes and “this is so cute, I will use it sometime”.

I bought my first krumkake iron (or pizzelle) over 25 years ago and it was the kind that you put on top of burner, added the batter, shut the lid, cooked a few seconds, flipped and hoped that it did not burn before making a crisp delicious disk that you could form into a cone or cannoli shell.

Well, when I put my hands on my old krumkake iron I decided that it was time to replace and update the gadget/pan because perhaps I might want to make sone cones or pizzelles. I had bought my daughter-in-law, Missy, an electric pizzelle maker while we were in Chicago as few months ago and we made the Chocolate Tacos.

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Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Coconut Chocolate Raspberry Squares

Nestles makes the very best choco-late.

For about 20 years after moving to Texas I catered; I had my first job about a month after moving here for our realtor, then our builder and then for a corporation and after that things picked up and I was most doing corporate work except at Christmas time where I was booked mostly for cocktail parties and I also did showers, weddings, and graduation parties. My favorite party to cater, by far, was a cocktail party because I love little food. It’s a lot more work doing all those little pieces of food but I have always loved to watch people try a lot of different items which you get with that type of party vs a dinner party.

When catering corporate luncheons I had to come up with different recipes for cookies/bars/finger desserts. I could whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies or brownies without even looking at a recipe because I did them so often. I can no longer do that since it has been about 6 years since I have catered anything. That part of my life is in the rear view mirror and was the reason I started food blogging; I missed cooking the food and sharing with others.

When my kids were younger, chocolate chip cookies were their most requested cookie for me to make. One year at one of the school book sales I bought this Nestles book and over the next few years of catering (like 20) I made several favorites from that book.

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Cookies/Bars/ Dessert

Crisp Lavender Cookies

What does lemon verbena have to do with bike riding and Lavender Cookies? Let me tell you…

It all started with my husband’s bike riding and running (he is so addicted to it). A couple of years ago after his bike rides or runs he would come in and tell me about a beautifully landscaped yard just one block from our house. He would stop look and sometimes take pictures. Not too long afterwards I became friends with Susan, the homeowner and person responsible for this beautiful yard. She’s a Master Gardener so that explains what is going on in her front and back yard. Susan joined our bunco group then garden club and I always look to her for advice on plants.

I have always said my husband is the one who should be in our garden club because he does ALL our yard work. Sure, I buy plants, tend my herbs and fairy garden but he’s the one responsible for any green thumb activity going on in our yard.

So, on a recent garden club field trip, Susan brought along these wonderful, crunchy Lemon Verbena cookies, which taste somewhere between a pecan sandy and a shortbread cookie and a buttery flavor (they have 2 cups butter) that had you wanting a second and third cookie (I was good that day and had 1/2 a cookie.). If my husband didn’t exercise so much, I might not have ever met Susan who gave me this recipe. Susan got the recipe from Henry Flowers who is the Garden Director at the Round Top Festival Institute and coordinator of the Herbal Forum.

I planned on making these with grandsons Oliver and Charlie while we were visiting in Chicago a couple of weeks ago. The recipe called for lemon verbena leaves and I knew I wouldn’t find on our visit to the windy city and I wasn’t home to go bum some off Susan.

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