Amazing Raspberry Bars!

These are the best raspberry bars I’ve ever had!  My Friend Ann M. brought me a sample at the end of the school year and I’ve been dreaming of them ever since.  She was kind enough to share the recipe with me.  This will be my “go to” raspberry bar recipe from now on. 

There are few ingredients, which I love.  Ann uses Soho raspberry filling,  I used seedless raspberry jam, it’s what I had on hand.  You could substitute any fruit filling you like. (apricot would be awesome too!)  The recipe called for ground walnuts, I only had pecans on hand so I used them.  They turned out amazing!  The bars cut beautifully and make for a very professional looking presentation. 

This is the sort of thing I love to share with friends.  If you’d like to package them, cut small squares of wax paper to layer between bars.  There is nothing like receiving a beautifully packaged homemade treat!


Raspberry Bars

1 lb. softened butter (4 sticks) 
1 1/2 cups ground walnuts or pecans
2 cups sugar
4 1/2 cups flour + 1/2 cup more
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 cups raspberry filling

1)  Preheat the oven to 350′.  Coat your pan (*see below) or pans well with cooking spray, set aside.
2)  In your stand mixer or large bowl with electric mixer, beat the butter and 1 cup of the ground nuts.  Add the sugar and beat well.  Add the eggs, beat well.  Add 4 1/2 cups of flour.  The dough will be a little sticky.
3)  Press a little over half of the dough evenly into the bottom of the baking pan.  You may have to put a little flour on your hands to prevent the dough from sticking.  Spread the filling over the dough keeping it 1/2″ from the outer edge.
4)  Add the additional 1/2 cup of flour and the remaining 1/2 cup of the ground nuts back to the mixing bowl and beat until blended.
5)  Add the remaining dough in clumps to the top of the filling. 
6)  Bake for 35 minutes or until nicely browned.  Cool completely before slicing.

*This recipe is quite large.  I made a half sheet pan which is 12″ x 18″.  You could use two 9″ x 13″ pans if you don’t have a half sheet pan.
*Reduce the baking time slightly if you’re using a dark pan.  Set the timer for 25 minutes and watch carefully.

World’s Best Sugar Cookies…..With Easter Colors

My Mom has been making these sugar cookies for years.  Buttery, light, and delicious.  Use any color sugar you like to top the cookies.  These make for very simple and festive cookies without a lot of fuss.  For these cookies, I simply used equal parts yellow and pink sugars.

World’s Best Sugar Cookies

 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup oil
5 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cream of tarter
½ cup sugar for pressing

 1)  Preheat oven to 375’.  Parchment line a cookie sheet, set aside.

2)  In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla, beat well.  While the mixer is going, stream the oil into the butter mixture.  Beat until well blended.

3)  In a medium size bowl, add the flour through cream of tarter, whisk to blend. 

4) Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mix well.  Add the rest of the flour and mix until well blended.

5)  Portion out the cookie dough (about 1 tablespoon) right onto the cookie sheet using a cookie scoop.  Lightly grease the bottom of a glass, dip into the sugar and lightly press the cookie down.

6)  Bake for 11-12 minutes.  Cool completely and store in air tight bag or container.  Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.

*use colored sugar for different occasions.


Make this cookie if for nothing else, the smell in your house!  This delightful chewy cookie is made with real ingredients, butter, flour, sugar, eggs…no preservatives, and no long crazy ingredient list.  Make them with your kids!  The recipe is really simple and they’ll really enjoy coating the dough balls with the cinnamon/sugar.

Be prepared for the kiddies to line up to taste!


1 stick + 7 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons cinnamon

1) Preheat oven to 375’. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
2) In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy and add sugar, beat until fluffy. Add eggs and beat until well combined.
3) Combine the flour through the salt in a small mixing bowl.
4) Add half of the flour to the butter mixture and beat until mixed. Add the rest and mix until well combined.
5)Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl until well combined.
6) Roll into 1” balls and coat evenly with the cinnamon sugar. Place on cookie sheet 1 ½” inches apart.
7) Bake for 10-12 minutes. Slide the parchment off the hot sheet right on to the cooling rack. Cool completely. Makes about 30 cookies.


Oatmeal Raisin Cookies….

I  love a good, old fashioned, chewy oatmeal raisin cookie.  It took my a very long time to perfect this recipe.  The measurements may be a little unusual, but believe me, they’re right on.  The key is to carefully measure the dry ingredients.  For the flour, gently spoon into the measuring cup and level off with a knife.  Most recipes call for large eggs, be sure to use them here.  Make this cookie dough a good base for most any kind of cookie you like.  Add chocolate chips, craisins, dried cherries, or any kind of chopped nuts.  For a really different twist, add chocolate covered raisins, now there’s an idea!
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1 ½ sticks softened butter
¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup finely chopped walnuts, optional
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ¼ cups +2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 ½ cups + 2 tablespoons old fashioned oatmeal, uncooked
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup raisins, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, drain well

1) Preheat oven to 375’. Parchment line a cookie sheet, set aside.
2) In a large mixing bowl, beat butter. Add brown sugar and white sugar, beat until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well. Add walnuts and give a quick mix.
3) In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.
4) Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat until incorporated. Add remaining flour and beat
until well blended. Add drained raisins and mix by hand with a large heavy spoon.

5) Drop by tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheet. I find a medium size cookie scoop the easiest for evenly shaped professional looking cookies. Space 2” apart. Bake for 11-12 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen. For smaller cookies, reduce baking time.

Snowman Cookies….

Here is yet another decorating variation.  They’re very simple to do.  Use the Butter Cut Out Cookie recipe below.  Make a simple icing with powdered sugar.  For the hat, melt 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 second increments and stir between until the chocolate is just melted.

1)  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Dip the snowman hats into the melted chocolate and place on the lined cookie sheet.  Allow the chocolate to set up. 
2)  Ice the cookies with a simple powdered sugar icing.  (if you scroll down on the post of this link you will find the icing recipe)
3)  Add mini chocolate chips for eyes and a smile and red and green M&Ms for buttons.
4)  It is best to let the cookies sit out overnight to set the icing.  This is helpful when packaging or transporting. 

Get the kids involved in this one, they’ll love it!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Butter Cut Out Cookies….

Isn’t this a pretty cookie?  What I love most about this cookie is that it isn’t overly sweet.   Because there is no leavening in the recipe, it is the perfect dough to make two layered cookies.  Fill with your favorite fruit preserves or try filling with melted chocolate.  Dust with powdered sugar for a lovely finishing touch.  If you don’t want to make a filled two layer cookie, try baking your favorite shape and half dip into chocolate with sprinkles or chopped nuts.

There is something about a pretty little package of goodies I find irresistible!  It’s the perfect small gift to say Merry Christmas in a very special way.  Great for your kid’s bus driver or crossing guard.

Butter Cut Out Sugar Cookies

¾ lb. softened unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
3 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

1) With an electric mixer, beat softened butter in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and vanilla. Beat mixture until fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl.
2) Add eggs and beat for 30 seconds, scrape down sides, beat another 30 seconds.
3) Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup and level off with a knife into a medium bowl and add salt. Mix to blend. Add flour about a cup at a time and mix on the lowest speed of your mixer until all flour is incorporated.
4) Dump cookie dough onto counter top and shape into two discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and put into a large zip bag. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
5) Preheat oven to 375’. Cut parchment paper to fit cookie sheets and set aside.  No need to use any cooking spray or fat on parchment, nothing will stick!
6) Lightly flour your counter top and roll out a softball size piece of dough to about 3/16”. Cut with cookie cutters and place on parchment lined sheet. Bake for 7-9 minutes. 

*To make the two layer cookie:
1)   You will need your favorite shape and a small round cutter to cut out the centers of the top cookie.  When assembling cookies, place the bottom of each cookie together (after you add fruit filling of course)
2)  Dust each cookie through a fine sieve or a sugar shaker with powdered sugar.  Allow to sit on the counter overnight for the cookies to set up.  Store in an air tight container.

To dip into chocolate:
1)  Simply melt semi sweet chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 second increments, stirring between.  Do not over heat, chocolate will burn.  Dip cookie into chocolate and allow to set on a piece of parchment or wax paper.  Add any sprinkles or nuts right after dipping.
**You can refrigerate the dough overnight if you wish. Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before you start shaping into cookies. You will need to knead the dough before you attempt to roll it out.
***Gather all of the dough scraps after cutting and knead that dough into some of the fresh dough. The dough will soften a bit and be easier to work with after the initial rolling.
****Be sure to watch the first batch while in the oven closely. Baking times can vary depending on your oven. Set your timer for 7 minutes and bake additionally as needed. Make a note on your recipe the exact baking time.

Iced Pumpkin Sugar Cookies…..

I don’t know anyone who can pass up an iced sugar cookie!  I have made these cookies for years.   In fact, Jack and Chris remind me the minute October comes around that I need to make my pumpkin cookies.  I have the boys plop the candies on while I ice.  It goes very quickly and they LOVE to help!  I love the fact that there is no “piping” involved, too time consuming.  Ice the cookie with the orange, add the candies, and at the very end, do the stems. 

If you’re feeling generous, why not share with others?  Isn’t this a pretty package?  I alternate which way the cookies face in the bag to make it stay upright.
Here are a few cookie baking tips:

As always, flour your board.  Use 1-2 tablespoons and be sure to get some flour on the top of the dough as well.

After the dough has been chilled, it’s a bit hard to manage.  Use a small amount at a time.  Your first batch will be the hardest, don’t worry, it gets much easier once you’ve worked the dough.  Once you’ve cut out your first batch, remove the scraps from the floured board and add another chunk of the cold dough, knead into a ball and continue.

Utilize as much of the rolled out dough as possible.  Do not place dough onto a hot cookie sheet, they will start to bake.  Always line with parchment paper.  The cookies will never stick and you can cool them on the parchment as well.

I have cookie sheets that do not have sides.  This is extremely convenient while baking.  I slide the hot cookies right off the sheet and onto the cooling rack. (above)

This recipe is larger than most.  It will make about 68 good sized cookies.  You can keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Best Roll Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe

2 cups sugar
4 sticks unsalted butter, one pound at room temperature
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
7 ½ cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Icing (recipe below)

Orange gel food coloring (You can find at a craft store)
Green gel food coloring
Candy Corn
Chocolate chips
Cellophane bags for packaging (optional)
Raffia ribbon for packaging (optional)

1) In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until fluffy and add one half of the sugar, beat, then add the rest. Add two eggs and beat. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Add the remaining three eggs and vanilla, beat until nicely incorporated.
2) Lightly measure out flour into a separate mixing bowl. Add baking powder and salt, whisk until blended.
3) Add half of the flour mixture to the egg/butter mixture and beat well. Add remaining flour and blend until all ingredients are incorporated.
4) Shape into a large ball and wrap in plastic wrap, then put into a large zip bag. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.
5) When ready to bake, allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 375’ and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Have cooling racks ready to receive hot cookies.
6) Cut off a chunk and begin working with your hands to make it pliable enough to roll out on a floured surface. Roll to 1/8” thickness. Cut out with your favorite shapes and place on prepared sheets, leaving at least 1” of space between cookies. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Cool for five minutes before removing from cookie sheet onto a rack. Cool completely before icing.

For icing:

6 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
5-7 tablespoons water
Orange gel coloring
Green gel coloring

1) Measure powdered sugar into a medium size mixing bowl. Add vanilla and 5 tablespoons of water. Mix well until there are no lumps. Add additional water by the teaspoon to get a smooth, spreadable consistency.
2) Remove a couple of tablespoons of icing and put into a very small bowl. Add a small amount of green food coloring and mix well. Add about ¼ teaspoon of the orange to the rest of the icing, mix well. Add more if you want a more vibrant orange.
3) Ice each cookie with the orange icing and add decorations to each cookie as you ice. Add the green icing to the stems at the very end, after you’ve completed icing with the orange.   Makes about 5 1/2 dozen cookies.

Icing tips:

*Cover the icing with a damp towel when you’re not using to keep it from drying out.
*If the icing is running off the cookie because it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar a tablespoon at a time, mixing between until the consistency is thicker.
*Have all decorations ready to go in small bowls so that when you ice the cookie, you can immediately put the eyes and smile on the cookie.
*Allow to air dry several hours or overnight. The icing will set up and you won’t have to worry about messing them up when packaging. These cookies travel very well but do not last long!

Simple Coconut Macaroons…..

Coconut Macaroons, French Macarons…know the difference?  A macaron is a delicate, beautiful sandwich confection made with beaten egg whites and filled with a decadent butter cream center or gnache.  I found it a bit confusing, when I googled French Macaroons I found recipes for Macarons.  It seems macaron and macaroon are used interchangably. 

This recipe is simple and delicious.  I think this cookie is very much like a rich piece of candy, yum!

1 14 oz. package sweetened flaked coconut
3 tablespoons flour
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 jar of maraschino cherries, halved
1 ½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 350’. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper-very important!
2) Empty bag of coconut into a large mixing bowl. Measure flour into coconut and toss to coat, break up any clumps of coconut.
3) Add vanilla and pour condensed milk over coconut mixture. Mix well.
4) Using a 1 ½ teaspoon cookie scoop, portion out onto parchment paper, being sure to level off when scooping to make for evenly sized cookies. There is no leavening in this cookie, so you can place them pretty close together on your sheet.
5) Top cookie with a halved maraschino cherry.
6) Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, slide entire sheet of cookies off of baking sheet onto cooling rack. Cool completely.
7) Pour chocolate chips in a microwaveable glass dish, shallow enough to dip the bottoms of your cookies into. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between, do not over heat chocolate, it will burn! You want to stir until smooth and all chips seem to be melted. It does not have to be hot.
8) Carefully dip each cookie bottom into the chocolate and place right back onto your parchment paper. Allow chocolate to set. To move the process along, you can place the entire sheet in your refrigerator. When they’re set you’re good! They can be packaged or put onto a tray without mess.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars….aahhhhh….hello!

What’s better than the smell of peanut butter whafting through the house?  Having Ryan, my aspiring baker by my side to help!  Truly, kids simply love to help in the kitchen.  It is so good for them and this recipe is a snap!  It goes together in about 10 minutes and baking time is only about 20 minutes.  The beauty of a bar cookie is that there is no chilling of the dough involved…instant gratification, yeah, that’s what I’m talkin’ about….

You MUST try these, good luck waiting until they’ve completely cooled!   Enjoy!!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon water
1 egg
1 ¼ cups unbleached flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup semi sweet or milk chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350’. Coat a 9x13x2 inch pan with cooking spray, set aside.
2) In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt, set aside.
3) In a medium mixing bowl, beat brown and white sugar, peanut butter, butter and vanilla. Beat in water and egg. Add flour mixture all at once and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
4) Bake until light brown, 20-23 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

This is a house favorite.  It’s very simple to put together, and the ingredients are very basic.  This recipe is one of the first cookies I mastered as a 12 year old.   I believe the recipe is out of one of my Grandma’s cookbooks, which did not have a cover it was so worn.  There is nothing like the smell of peanut butter cookies in the oven, enjoy!

1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup melted butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
2 eggs
2 ½ cups all purpose flour

1) Preheat oven to 375’. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2) In medium mixing bowl, combine flour, salt & soda. In a large mixing bowl combine melted butter, peanut butter, sugars and eggs, mix well.

3) Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture, mix well. Roll into 1” (or larger) balls and press with fork to make cross hatch marks in cookies.

4) Bake 10-12 minutes. Allow to set for 5 minutes before removing from parchment paper.