Black & Whites…..

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It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted a recipe and I sure miss it!

Ever had one of these?  It is believed they originated from New York.  The original cookie calls for a thin layer of icing then half vanilla fondant and half chocolate fondant. I am not particularly fond of fondant so I simply ice the cookie with half vanilla and half chocolate icing.  I use my go to sugar cookie cut out recipe.

Icing this cookie takes a little practice.  I recommend making the vanilla icing first, icing half of the cookie, and letting it set up at room temperature, uncovered for at least an hour.  You then add Hershey’s Cocoa to the vanilla icing with a little more milk and ice the other half.  Be careful not to add too much liquid as the icing will ooze off the cookie.  Allow it to set up for 3 or more hours.  Then they’re good to go!  Iced cookies such as these do not freeze well.  If you want to freeze them I suggest freezing them un-iced, then icing them upon thawing.

This cookie recipe is large.  If you’re not up to making 6 dozen cookies, freeze half of the dough.  Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then into a freezer bag.  Label and date.  Use it within 3 months or so, the sooner the better.  Thaw in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours before using.

Best Roll Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe  (makes about 6 dozen large round  5″cookies)

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

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 an hour or overnight.  It is easier to roll if you refrigerate it for the lesser amount of time.  If it’s chilled overnight, let it sit at room temperature for 45 minutes or so to warm up a bit.
5) 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 3/8” to 1/4″ thickness. Cut into large circles and place on prepared sheets, leaving at least 1” of space between cookies. Bake for 10-12  minutes. Cool for five minutes before removing from cookie sheet onto a rack. Cool completely before icing.

Vanilla Icing (this will be enough for half of the recipe, if you bake the entire batch of dough, double the icing recipe)

3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk, any kind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1)  Mix well, add more milk to make it spreadable but not so loose that it will run completely off the cookie.  Ice 1/2 of the cookie, starting at the center with an icing spatula and continue to the edge.  Again, this will take some practice.  (They will taste incredible even if the frosting isn’t perfect!) Allow the cookies to sit for an hour or so to set up before you start with the chocolate half.

2)  Add 2 tablespoons Hershey’s Cocoa to the bowl.  Begin to mix, you may notice that more milk is needed.  Add more milk a teaspoon at a time.  The cocoa will give it an even better texture than the plain vanilla.  Want it more chocolatey?  Add more cocoa, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Carefully ice the other half of the cookie, starting with the seam down the center then going to the outer edges.   Need more icing?  Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar to the bowl, a tablespoon cocoa and add enough milk to stir into a rich consistency again.  It is best to let them sit out overnight to completely set up.  Layer in a plastic container with parchment paper between layers.  Enjoy within 2-3 days if they last that long!


Interesting Variations:

*Ice the whole cookie with chocolate and immediately add chocolate shavings.
*Ice the whole cookie with vanilla icing and immediately add confetti sprinkles.
*Add a little instant coffee to the chocolate icing and ice the whole cookie chocolate & top with chocolate covered coffee beans.
*If you like orange and chocolate add a tablespoon or two of fresh orange zest to the white icing, YUM!




Zucchini & Banana Chocolate Chip Bread…..

My friend Kathleen mentioned that she used to make a very moist bread with these ingredients and could not find the recipe…wha-la…I did it.  OMG it is so incredibly moist!  Another “One Bowl” recipe.  You MUST try this one.

Banana Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread

2 cups shredded zucchini
2 cups mashed banana
3 eggs
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi sweet or milk chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350’. Coat 7 small loaf pans with cooking spray, set aside.
2) Into a large mixing bowl, add shredded zucchini, mashed banana, eggs, oil, and sugar, mix well.
3) Mix flour, soda, *chocolate chips, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Add all at once to wet mixture. Mix until just blended, do not over mix. Pour evenly into prepared loaf pans.
4) Bake for 30 minutes. Test with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven onto a cooling rack. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely.

*when you add chocolate chips to the flour, they won’t all settle to the bottom of the bread.
**If you buy bananas on a weekly basis, you will have a couple that get too ripe to eat.  Peel and put into a heavy zip bag, freeze.  They will be a bit watery when you thaw them out, but they work just fine in any recipe.
***I bake quick breads in small pans because it drastically cuts down on baking time.  The end result is much more moist as when the bread bakes over an hour in a large loaf pan it dries it out.

Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting…..

Last fall, I took a cake decorating class.  They actually called frosting made with shortening “buttercream.” Call me crazy, but don’t you think if it’s called buttercream it should contain butter?    Anyway, they used this fabulous Wilton Meringue Powder for stability.  It is especially needed in frosting where you are using actual “butter.”  You can buy it at Michael’s Craft Store.  I don’t give an exact liquid amount in frosting recipes because humidity can affect how much you need.  I recommend adding some liquid initially and then adding more, small amounts at a time to get it to the right spreading consistency.  You will get really good at this with practice, I promise!
Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed
3 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup canola oil

1) Preheat oven to 350’. You will need pans for 18 cupcakes. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners and spray papers with cooking spray. In medium size mixing bowl, mix flour through salt.
2) In small bowl, mash bananas very well, add oil and eggs.
3) Make a well in dry ingredients and all at once dump wet into dry. Mix until just blended and fill each prepared cup 2/3 full. Bake 15-18 minutes. Toothpick should come out clean.
4) Cool completely.


3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons meringue powder
¼ cup Hershey’s cocoa, or your favorite cocoa powder
¼ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons milk + more

1) In a medium size mixing bowl, beat softened butter with an electric mixer. Add the powdered sugar, meringue powder, cocoa, vanilla, and milk. Turn on mixer to the lowest speed and gently move around the bowl. If too thick add milk, a teaspoon at a time to get it to the best spreading consistency. Be careful not to add too much, it will run off your cupcakes. Stop between additions and test a bit with a knife. (good time to taste too)

2) Frost cupcakes. Store in airtight container if you have any left!

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.

Coconut Macaroon Cookies Dipped in Chocolate

I love this recipe, it’s beautiful and festive and doesn’t involve that much time for decorating.  Dipping them in chocolate is optional, I perefer them with chocolate, of course!  I also love that the ingredient list is so short, you just mix the first three ingredients together, top with a cherry, & bake. 

I also love to package my cookies in a small goodie bag, I usually put 1/2 dozen in each bag and tie with a pretty ribbon.  These make the most beautiful gifts, and I feel like I’m sharing a small piece of my heart!  Merry Christmas!


1 14 oz. package sweetened flaked coconut
3 tablespoons flour
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
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.
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 levening in this cookie, so you can place them pretty close together on your sheet.
5)  Top cookie with maraschino cherry, I cut them into pieces if they’re too large.
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 to set up.  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.


French Silk Parfaits

Bottom crumb layer:

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter


¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 ½ cups milk
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tub cool whip topping
1 large Hershey bar for garnish

In a small mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter, mix well to combine.  Divide evenly among 6-8 margarita or martini glasses. (depending on the size)  Set aside.

In a medium sized sauce pan, whisk sugar and cornstarch together, add milk and whisk until blended.  Stir constantly over medium-low heat until it thickens and comes to a boil.  Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, mix well.  Place pan into a large bowl with ice for quicker cooling.  When cooled completely, spoon into a medium size bowl and fold in half of the cool whip until nicely blended.  Divide evenly among prepared dishes.  Top with remaining cool whip.  Using a vegetable peeler, make chocolate curls to top your beautiful dessert.  Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.  Enjoy!

Festive Peppermint Brownies

I consider these “knee buckling”, be sure to be seated when you try this brownie.  They stay together very nicely when you cut them.  I recommend using York Peppermint Patties, they seem to bake up the best in my experience.

1 1/3 cup flour
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
1 1/3 cup sugar
½ cup butter
3 T. water
1 ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
15 York Peppermint Patties, quartered
1 ½ t. vanilla
3 large eggs

1)  Generously coat a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray, set aside.
2)  Preheat oven to 325’.
3)  In small bowl, mix flour, soda, & salt.
4)  In a small sauce pan, combine sugar, butter, & water, bring to a boil, remove immediately from heat.
5)  Stir in chocolate chips & vanilla until mixture is smooth and chocolate is melted.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl, cool completely.
6)  Stir in eggs one at a time, beat well after each addition.  Gradually add flour mixture, mix until smooth.
7)  Add enough brownie batter to just cover bottom of prepared pan, evenly place peppermint patties over batter, top with remaining batter.
8)  Bake for 28-30 minutes.  Cool completely, cut into bars.  Store in a tightly sealed plastic container.

Texas Sheet Cake

This cake is so moist and delicious! The recipe is very easy and will become a family favorite for years to come. There is just a hint of cinnamon in the recipe that gives it a very interesting twist.

RECIPE: For the cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 t. baking soda
½ t. ground cinnamon
½ t. salt
¾ cup water
½ cup butter
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 t. cider or white vinegar
1 t. vanilla; 2 large eggs

6 T. butter
1/3 cup milk
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
2 t. vanilla.

1) Preheat oven to 375’.
2) Coat a 15”x 10” jelly roll pan with cooking spray, dust with 2 teaspoons flour.
3) In measure out 1 cup milk, add vinegar & stir. (we are making a buttermilk substitute)
4) In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, soda, cinnamon, & salt; stir well with a whisk.
5) Into a small saucepan, combine ¾ cup water, ½ cup butter, and ¼ cup cocoa, bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Pour into flour mixture and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add milk, vinegar, 1 t. vanilla, and eggs; beat well. Pour into prepared pan; bake at 375’ for 17 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.
6) To prepare icing, combine 6 T. butter, milk & ¼ cup cocoa in medium saucepan; bring to a boil stirring constantly. Remove from heat, with your electric hand mixer, gradually in powdered sugar and 2 t. vanilla. Spread over hot cake. Cool completely. **if you do not have a 10” x 15” pan, you can use a 9” x 13” pan, bake at 375’ for 20-24 minutes.