250 Cookbooks: Best You Can Bake Chocolate Desserts

Cookbook #141: Best You Can Bake Chocolate Desserts, Better Homes and Gardens, The Nestle Co., Inc., 1983.

Best You Can Bake Chocolate Desserts cookbook

“Free with purchase of one 12-oz. bag of Nestlé® Toll House® Morsels” reads the text in a white burst on the front of this booklet. Another manufacturer’s advertising booklet. Who needs one more book of recipes for cookies, cakes, pies, desserts and candy? Not I. But it’s in my hands, and it was my mother’s . . . so I’ll find something to bake from it.

I am surprised to find the original recipe for Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies as the first recipe of this booklet. These are my “signature” cookies, and I wrote about them three years ago in December 2012. I wondered back then where I clipped the recipe – now I know that it might have been from the back of a bag of Nestlé chocolate chips! My recipe for these cookies has evolved from the original – I use more frosting to make them totally decadent.

It’s kind of cute how the chapters in this booklet are named: Celebrated Cookies, Classy Cakes and Pies, Festive Desserts, Cookies Especially for Kids, Sweet and Fancy Candy. I’ll keep this cookbook, heck, it doesn’t take up much space.

I decide to make “Oatmeal Chippers” for this blog. This recipe has a lot of oatmeal in it – twice as much oatmeal than flour. It has peanuts in it, different from my usual choice of walnuts for chocolate chip cookies. I can see a need for these cookies in my repertoire!

Oatmeal Chippers recipe

Oatmeal Chippers

  • 1/2 cup butter (salted is okay)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups oatmeal (the quick kind)
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped salted peanuts (not dry roasted)

Beat the butter and shortening for 30 seconds. Add the sugar and brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well. Stir together the flour and baking soda and then add this mixture to the beaten mixture. Beat until well blended. Stir in the oatmeal, chocolate chips, and peanuts.

Drop by teaspoonfuls on ungreased baking pans. (I always line my pans with parchment.) Bake at 375˚ for 8-10 minutes.

Oatmeal Chippers

These are delicious! The oatmeal gives these a light and crisp texture. And the peanuts and chocolate? Yum. A good change-of-pace chocolate chip cookie.

250 Cookbooks: 101 Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookbook #137: 101 Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies, Gwen Steege, Storey Communications, Inc., Pownal, Vermont, 2000.

101 Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies cookbookI must have purchased this cookbook in a weak moment! The recipes are great, all of them. But calorie-laden. If you like chocolate chip cookies but are in a cookie-rut, it’s time to open this book and make a slightly different batch of these delights. Me? I love chocolate chip cookies, but I’ve only tried one so far from this cookbook: “Joyous Chocolate Chip Cookies”.

Who contributed the cookie recipes to this book? Well, they are the best recipes from entries to a contest in 1987 sponsored by The Orchards, an inn in western Massachusetts. Entries came from “almost every state, as well as from Italy, Canada, and Mexico”. So, the recipes were contributed by people like you and me. Each recipe has a note written by the person who sent it in. It’s a very friendly book.

And how can there be so many chocolate chip cookie variations? The chips can be chunks and can be of differents sizes or different chocolates (milk, semi-sweet, or bittersweet), or non-chocolate chips can be added to the mix. Flour can be white or whole wheat; a grain like oatmeal can be added. Butter, margarine, vegetable shortening or oil can be used. Different sweeteners are employed: brown or white sugar, honey, corn syrup, molasses. Peanut butter and nuts, fruits and vegetables are nutritious additions.

The first chapter of this book is a great reference for the effects of different oils and sugars on the texture of cookies. For beginners, it’s also a great reference for basic cookie mixing and baking techniques.

Gwen Steege published this and one other cookie book, and a book on gardening. She’s published lots of stuff on knitting.

I decide to make Apple Orchard Chocolate Chippers.

Apple Orchard Chocolate ChippersI used the maximum amount of flour and I did add nuts, and I changed the cooking temperature. I had my own apple butter to use in this recipe. Below is my version.

Apple Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 3 dozen

  • 1/2 cup butter (preferrably unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup apple butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (use less if your butter is salted)
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
  • 1 medium apple, cored and grated
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Cream the butter and sugars, then add the egg and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Add the apple butter and mix well.

Stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add this mixture to the creamed mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips, apple, and walnuts.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 375˚ for about 12 minutes, or until they are beginning to brown.

Apple Nut Chocolate Chip CookiesThese are great! They are kind of cake-like, some said they even are like “muffin tops”. They definitely satisfy (or encourage) my sweet tooth.

250 Cookbooks: Forrest Gump™ My Favorite Chocolate Recipes

Cookbook #132: Forrest Gump™ My Favorite Chocolate Recipes, Oxmoor House, Inc., Birmingham, AL, 1995.

My Favorite Chocolate Recipes cookbool“Forrest Gump” was a cultural phenomenon in the 1990s. Probably most Americans of a certain age have seen the 1994 film, starred in by Tom Hanks as the slow but wise and likeable character Forrest Gump who bumbled through life with a Southern accent and a good attitude and lots of amazing adventures. I admit that it isn’t among my favorite flicks, so I am sort of surprised that I own this book. Maybe it was on sale? Dunno.

The book does not credit an author, but the copyright page credits Winston Groom as the author of the Southern-accented introductions to the recipes. Who is Winston Groom? Aha, the author of the novel, Forrest Gump. He also authored several other novels as well as history books.

The recipes are all chocolate and rich. I did use this book – chocolate stains on the pages! Chocolate, cream, butter, candy bars, nuts, sugar, ice cream, cream cheese . . . it’s hard not to make a good tasting dessert. But as I’ve stated before, these lovelies rarely fit into my diet plan. (Moderation, yes, is the answer, but it’s hard to adhere to.)

For this blog? I decide to make Triple-Decker Brownies. With a slight hint of nutrition from oatmeal and pecans, these will be a sweet treat for Halloween festivities, shared with my daughter’s family to spread the calories around. I am already looking forward to my first taste of these brownies!

Triple Decker Brownies
Triple Decker Brownies

Triple Decker Brownies, Forrest Gump™
makes 2 8×8-inch pans


  • 1 1/2 cups toasted oatmeal (quick type; toast in dry pan on stovetop until fragrant)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted


  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped


  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (sifted if it is clumpy)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup hot water

Crust: Combine oatmeal, 1 cup flour, brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Add the 3/4 cup melted butter and stir well. Press into two greased 8-inch square pans. Bake at 350˚ for 10 minutes.

Filling: Melt 2 ounces chocolate and 1/2 cup butter in a pan. Off heat, add sugar and eggs and mix well. Combine the 1 1/3 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and add to the chocolate mixture alternately with milk. Stir in vanilla and pecans. Spread over the baked crust. Bake at 350˚ for 20-25 minutes. Cool.

Frosting: Melt 2 ounces chocolate and 1/4 cup butter in a pan. Off heat, stir in powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water. Stir in an additional 3 to 3 tablespoons water until frosting is desired spreading consistency. Spread on cooled brownies.

Triple Decker BrownieThese are sinfully good. I ate one and wanted more more more! Will I make them again? Only if I have help eating them!

250 Cookbooks: Cookies

Cookbook #127: Cookies, Natalie Hartanov Haughton, HPBooks, Inc., Tucson, AZ, 1983.

Cookies CookbookCookies. One of my favorite foods in the world. Homemade, of course!

Cookies was a birthday gift from my mother to me in 1987. My mother was a master cookie baker, as I’ve probably mentioned quite a few times in this blog. Looking through this cookbook today, I realize she put a lot of thought into the choice of this particular book. The recipes are definitely her type of cookie, and the collection reflects her entire repertoire – especially the drop, bar, and rolled cookies.

Cookies birthday noteI have totally under-used this cookbook. There is a coffee-cup stain on one page and I see a couple wrinkled pages here and there, but I didn’t mark any recipes as “tried”. I guess there are huge swaths of my life when I just didn’t make cookies because of the calories. Or, I just baked a handful of same-old-recipes when we all needed a cookie fix.

This will change: today I well reshelve this cookbook with my very-favorites! There are lots of recipes I want to try in this book and all are from-scratch. The photos are great too.

Cookies begins with a few pages of cookie basics. “Successful Cookie Baking” reiterates  the way my mother taught me to bake cookies – and the way I continue to bake them to this day. I actually wrote down some important cookie-baking points in 1993 when I made a bound “Cookie Book” as a present for a friend:

“I always measure flour by dipping a measuring cup into a large canister of flour; I almost never sift before (or after) measuring. I always use unbleached flour. I use margarine (the cheap, stick kind) but you are welcome to substitute butter – I’m sure it would make everything better. Do use real chocolate chips and real vanilla.

“I always beat the shortening, sugar, and egg mixture extremely well, until quite fluffy. Then, add the combined dry ingredients and mix only until they are all mixed in.”

I have switched to butter rather than margarine in most of my cooking. It used to be that we were told margarine was healthier (and cheaper) than butter, so I used margarine a lot. Health advisories have changed, so it’s butter for me these days whenever I try a new recipe. But: many cookie recipes bake up differently with butter than margarine. I remember an Alton Brown episode of Good Eats wherein he made chocolate chip cookies three ways – with butter, with margarine, and with shortening – and each turned out different. And that is my experience too. (When I was still living at home, a girlfriend came over and we made chocolate chip cookies. She pulled butter out of the refrigerator instead of the margarine the recipe called for, and those cookies spread way out on baking. Wow! A first experience with experiments in baking. (Mother always – always! – followed a recipe to a “T”. I hardly ever do that these days.)

Anyway. I am only gradually changing my older margarine-based recipes to butter-based, making sure each time that adjustments do not need to be made to have them turn out the way I like.

I pick up this cookbook on a morning when my day’s plans include something very special: I am going to spend the afternoon with my 20 month old grandson. Thought I: “Ah, I know what I’ll do! I’ll whip up a cookie batter at home and take some to bake with him!”

Grandmothers and cookies, YES!

Which recipe to bake? I choose “Zucchini Drops”. I think they will pass the strict codes of “natural and healthy” foods that my daughter wants for her child. Except the sugar: I’ll have to play that down. “Just a little sugar in these, honest! A ton of zucchini and walnuts – good foods!”

Zucchini Drops recipeZucchini Drops
makes about 6 dozen small cookies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup grated unpeeled raw zucchini
  • 2 – 2 1/4 cups flour (use some whole wheat flour if you want to)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • some salt – only if you are using unsalted butter
  • 1 cup flaked cocout
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Using a mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stir in the zucchini. Add 2 cups of the flour along with the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, (and salt), and beat just until thoroughly blended. If the batter is pretty wet, add up to 1/4 cup more flour. Stir in the coconut and walnuts.

(The wetness of zucchini varies. Basically, you want the batter to be stiff enough to drop onto baking pan – my batter needed the extra 1/4 cup flour. If your first batch of cookies flattens out too much, add a bit more flour.)

Drop by teaspoonfulls onto a baking sheet. Bake at 375˚ for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned. (I first tried these at 350˚ for 15 minutes, but I like them a little better baked at the higher temperature.)

Zucchini DropsThese were a big success! They are very soft and moist and flavorful. And a little healthy. They don’t taste real sweet, actually, my husband calls them “muffin tops” instead of cookies. (Go ahead and eat them for breakfast!)

Cookie EaterMy little cookie eater takes his cookies very seriously! He ate two and wanted more. They put him in a very good mood!

250 Cookbooks: Baker’s Best Chocolate Recipes

Cookbook #118: Baker’s Best Chocolate Recipes, General Foods Corporation, 1932.

Baker'a Chocolate CookbookThis small cook book had me totally fooled. Piled in a messy stack of booklets, I thought it was just another manufacturer’s cookbook from the sixties or seventies. The cover is missing. The recipes read “modern”, not dated. I find my mother’s notes on a few of the cake recipes, so it wasn’t mine. Finally I think to ask: “when was this published?” OMG, it’s from 1932! It should have been shelved with the vintage cookbooks.

I have found another treasure, albeit a little one.

Here is a photo of the cover that I got on the internet:

cover of bakers 1932 CBIn a previous on the Mexican Cookbook, I wrote about the South American origins of chocolate. “The Spaniard ships that returned to Europe were laden with seeds and cuttings, which flourished in various climates.” By 1932, chocolate had been a part of American cuisine for four hundred years. Here’s a quote from the introduction of Baker’s Best Chocolate Recipes:

“Four hundred years of popularity. Few flavors have ever had the widespread popularity of chocolate. Rich . . . smooth . . . fragrant . . .  its delightful flavor has appealed to everyone wherever and however it has been served.”

And about chocolate milk:

“Foamy, creamy-rich cocoa is a wonderful food with which to woo finicky child-appetites – an easy and delicious way of helping to include the daily quart of milk in their meals. Grown-ups welcome cocoa, too, as a way of building up run-down systems. And in this day of slimmer waists, cocoa is popular because it provides nourishment that is satisfying but not fattening.”

According to this book, the first chocolate mill in the US was built on the banks of the Neponset river in Dorchester, Massachusetts. In 1780 it became the establishment of Walter Baker and Company. We can still buy Baker’s chocolate today, although it is currently owned by Kraft Foods.

This excerpt from the book gives the story behind the logo:

chocolate storychocolate storyI will definitely keep this cookbook. Not only because it is old, but because it has good basic chocolate recipes, like for a cocoa syrup if I run out of the bottled kind, and cakes and chiffon pie and eclairs and on and on. I decide to make the brownies for this blog. Sure, I have dozens of recipes for brownies, but this one is from 1932! I think one of my older cookbooks has the original brownie recipe, but that will be the subject of a later blog post.

Here is a scan of the brownies page and the facing page, just to show you the condition of this book:

brownies recipeHere is a larger version of the recipe:

brownies recipeThat’s my mother’s “good” on the recipe. The photo of these brownies is on another page:

browniesI made these just like the recipe, except I cooked them a little less. I even used Baker’s chocolate:

Baker's baking chocolateBrownies, 1932 Baker’s version

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 ounces Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Stir together the flour and baking powder.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan and let cool a bit.

Beat the eggs, then add the sugar and beat it in. Add the chocolate mixture, beating thoroughly, then add the flour mixture, the vanilla, and the nuts.

Bake in a greased 8-inch square pan for 30-35 minutes, until they test done with a toothpick.

browniesPerfect brownies!

250 Cookbooks: Vive La Machine

Cookbook #114: Vive La Machine, Moulinex Products, Inc., editor Sue Spitler, published by Marketing Communications International, USA, 1977.

Vive La Machine CB“A superb collection of international recipes and menu suggestions prepared especially for the new breed of electric kitchen appliances.”

And what is the “new breed” of kitchen appliances? Food processors: counter-top machines that shred, slice, chop, and puree foods. They became available for home cooks in the US sometime in the 1970s. I got my first one in the 80s. It was a “La Machine”. Hence I own this cookbook!

But alas, that old La Machine bit the dust. It did a pretty good job of shredding: I used it a lot to grate cheese, zucchini and carrots. The slicer worked okay but it was often easier to slice small amounts of vegetables with just a knife. You had to hold a bowl under the spitter-shute because the shredded/sliced foods came flying out. I liked the nice small bowl with a spinning blade for dicing vegetables and grinding meats. A drawback of the  La Machine was that it was hard to clean, since the dirty parts were not immersible.

But the big issue with my La Machine was the funky connection of the top to the bottom.  I had to buy new parts at least once. I eventually replaced it with a Cuisinart brand food processor.

I kind of like this Vive La Machine cookbook. The recipes rely on freshly grated and chopped foods, thus recipes are from-scratch and up my alley.

For this blog, I choose to make “Fudge Brownies”.

Fudge Brownies RecipeI am going to re-name these “Chocolate Zucchini Brownies”. They are chocolaty, but not really fudgy.

My version is below: I halved the recipe and made a couple small changes.

Chocolate Zucchini Brownies
makes an 8×8-inch pan of brownies

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons butter (3/8 cup)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini, lightly packed (about 1 medium zucchini, whatever that is)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a mixer, blend well the butter, eggs, vanilla, and sugar. Add the milk and mix in. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until smooth. Add the zucchini and nuts.

Pour into a greased (I used non-stick spray) 8-inch square baking pan. Bake at 350˚ for 35-45 minutes, or until it tests done with a toothpick.

Chocolate Zucchini BrowniesThis recipe is a keeper! Yes I already have about a dozen great brownie recipes, but this one needs to be put in my repertoire. These are kind of light and fluffy and are especially moist. If no one told you zucchini was in them, I doubt you would guess. And the cinnamon – the cinnamon! It adds a . . . je ne sais quoi touch . . . never leave out the cinnamon.

These brownies fell just a little bit in the center of the pan. Since we live at 5400 feet, next time I will apply my high-altitude baking suggestions to see if it helps. Doesn’t matter a lot, these taste yummy!


250 Cookbooks: Cookies, Brownies and Bars

Cookbook #111: Cookies, Brownies and Bars, Classic Cookbooks, The Pillsbury Company, Minneapolis, MN, 1991.

Cookies Brownies Bars CBIf you have a great memory, you will recognize the photo above. I have already covered this cookbook on this blog. But, that was my copy, and this is a copy that I sent my mother. Since I had entered both into my cookbook database when I stopped at 250 cookbooks, I have to cover it again! My obsessive-compulsive rules, my blog.

I sent this copy of Cookies, Brownies, and Bars to my mother. On the first page, she wrote “from Patty Christmas 1991”. Before I mailed it, I hand-wrote “good” and “great” on many of the recipes, and Mother added her own notes. I’m going to hold onto this cookbook just for that. It makes me smile, a little sadly perhaps, and it brings back memories.

For this blog, I decide to make a very chocolate-y brownie: “German Chocolate Saucepan Brownies”. I used to make these a lot when the kids were around to eat them. I wrote on the recipe: “DELICIOUS”. For me to write in all caps is unusual – it’s like shouting – and means these are stupendous brownies!

German Chocolate Saucepan BrowniesI make these just like the recipe.

German Chocolate Brownies


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 4-ounce bar of German’s Sweet Baking Chocolate
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Heat the oven to 350˚ and butter an 8×8-inch baking pan (I use a glass pan).

Melt the butter and chocolate over low heat. Take off the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla, then add the eggs and mix in well. Mix the flour with the baking powder and salt, then add to the chocolate mixture. Spread into the prepared pan.

Bake at 350˚ for 18-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Take out of the oven and turn the oven to high broil (you can leave the oven rack in the middle of the oven).

While the brownies bake, prepare the topping. Mix the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and milk, blending well. Then, add the coconut and pecans.

Use a small spoon to drop dollops of the topping on the brownies until the brownies are just about covered evenly. Gently spread the topping until the brownies are covered.

Place the brownies under the broiler. Broil for about a minute: WATCH CAREFULLY! The topping can brown pretty quickly, so don’t leave the area!

Remove the brownies from the oven and cool. It’s best if they are completely cool before you cut them.

German Chocolate BrowniesDELICIOUS!

250 Cookbooks: Cookies, Brownies and Bars

Cookbook #95: Cookies, Brownies and Bars, Classic Cookbooks, The Pillsbury Company, Minneapolis, MN, 1991.

Cookies, Brownies and BarsI have covered several Pillsbury Bake-Off cookbooks in this blog, and three Pillsbury cookbooks that are not Bake-Off associated: Simply From Scratch Recipes (1977), Healthy Home-Style Cooking (1989), and Cookies, Bars and Brownies (1994). I recall a time when these small cookbooks became available monthly, either at the supermarket’s check-out stand or by subscription. I did a little web research and found this to be true:

“Pillsbury Publications launched the concept of digest-sized, full color food magazines in 1979. By 1989, the concept had developed into a monthly series of Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks that were available at supermarket checkouts and later by subscription. The recipes all use Pillsbury name brand products. The wonderful photos are guaranteed to get you in the mood to cook! Advertising Cookbooks is pleased to carry many of the back issues of this popular recipe magazine.” —Advertising Cookbooks, accessed 12/2014.

These “advertising” cookbooks can have some great recipes. The Advertising Cookbooks website even offers some of the back issues for sale. They sell my Healthy Home-Style Cooking for $6 USD. Pillsbury, Better Homes and Gardens, Betty Crocker, Women’s Circle, Land O Lakes and many other companies produced/produce this type of cookbook. (If interested, do visit the Food Company Cookbook blog associated with the Advertising Cookbooks website.)

My copy of Zestful Recipes for Every Meal – published in 1931 – is the oldest digest-sized, in-color advertising cookbook that I own. It’s pretty cool.

Cookies, Brownies and Bars is one of my favorite Pillsbury Classics Cookbooks. It was published in 1991, at a time when I was baking a lot of cookies for my young family or for friends at work or for Christmas packages. I tried and liked a lot of recipes in this cookbook: Peanut and Candy Jumbles, Almond Kiss Cookies, Ranger Crispies, Oatmeal Coconut Fun Chippers, Chocolate Chip Cookies Supreme, Chocolate Raisin Smile Cookies, Almond Fudge Brownies, Fruitcake Fantasy Brownies, German Chocolate Saucepan Brownies (these are fantastic! I’ve made them a lot), Chocolaty Caramel Pecan Bars, Mocha Almond Fudge Bars, and Applesauce Granola Bars. And the recipe for Chocolate Pixies is quite similar similar to one of my Favorites: Chocolate Chews.

Now that is a record amount of cookie recipes for me to have tried from one book!

Another thing I like about this cookbook are the “Cook’s Notes” on many of the pages. Next to a recipe for gingerbread bars that calls for molasses, a Cook’s Note explains the difference between light, dark, and blackstrap molasses. Another note helps the cook decide between butter and margarine. The Chocolate Raisin Smile Cookies have a Cook’s Note about dark and golden raisins.

And another good thing! A lot of the recipes call for what we generally consider “healthy” ingredients, such as fruits and vegetables (e.g. apples, raisins, zucchini) and whole grains (whole wheat flour, oatmeal). Most of the recipes are from-scratch. They even give directions for baking at high altitude.

I decide to make “Oatmeal Coconut Fun Chippers”. I made them before and marked them as “good”. This drop cookie recipe has brown sugar, a lot of vanilla, oatmeal, coconut, and M&Ms®. I am sure these are better than just “good”!

Oatmeal Coconut Fun Chippers original recipeNote the note next to the recipe in Cookies, Brownies and Bars. It explains the difference between old-fashioned rolled oats, quick-cooking rolled oats, and instant oats. For this recipe, I have the option of either old-fashioned or quick-cooking oatmeal. I chose old-fashioned, which I am advised will result in a firmer textured cookie. I can also choose between butter and margarine: I chose butter. And, I can choose between M&Ms® or chocolate chips: I chose M&Ms®! Also, since we live at high altitude, I added an extra 2 tablespoons flour.

Getting the M&Ms® required a trip to my small town of Lyons, since I don’t keep them in my pantry. It was a frigid, snowy, icy drive, but I did it – anything for this blog! I was lucky to find them at the gas station store, since the two markets in Lyons carry mostly natural foods. Aah, Colorado.

My version is below.

Oatmeal Coconut M&M® Cookies
makes about 4 1/2 dozen

  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter (I used salted butter)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/8 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups oatmeal (I used old-fashioned, quick-cooking might give a more tender cookie)
  • 1 cup coconut
  • M&Ms®, about 1 1/2 cups (10 oz.)

Beat the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add milk, vanilla and eggs and blend well.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, then add to the beaten mixture and blend until mixed in. Stir in the oatmeal, coconut, and chocolate chips.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets (I lined my cookie sheet with parchment). Bake at 375˚ for 10 minutes.

OatCocoMM cookiesComments

These are not just good, they are very good, and chewy and hearty and sweet! These cookies would be a great energy food on a hike, because they hold together well (like a granola bar).

Here is a batch of cookies waiting to be baked. See the M&Ms®?

ready to bakeI baked the first batch 12 minutes and I think they got a little too browned:

12 minutes bakingI baked the rest of the batches 10 minutes and liked them better. It’s my opinion that they keep better if they are a little bit under-baked.

baked 10 minutes I’ll make these again!

250 Cookbooks: Holiday Cook Book

Cookbook #94: Holiday Cook Book, by the editors of Sunset Books and Sunset Magazine, Lane Publishing Co., Menlo Park, CA, 1988.

Sunset Holiday Cook BookChristmas is coming! A good time to look through Holiday Cook Book. I enjoyed turning the pages of recipes and looking at the photos of gorgeous holiday meals. This cook book has ideas for entertaining on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Decorating ideas abound. (I’m kind of lame at decorating.)

This was a fun book to look through, but I really don’t need any more holiday recipes. This cookbook was my mother’s and even she didn’t mark any of the recipes. I will recycle this book. But not before making Black and White Squares! These chocolate and vanilla refrigerator cookies have just a touch of flare, perfect for the holiday season.

Black and White SquaresBlack and White Cookies
makes about 2 1/2 -3 dozen

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate

Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer, then mix in the egg yolk. Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the vanilla and milk. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture alternately with the milk mixture.

Melt the chocolate (I microwaved it). Divide the dough in half and add the melted chocolate to one half. I kind of kneaded the chocolate in by hand.

Form each half of the dough into a log about 1 1/2-inch in diameter.

cookie logsWrap each in plastic and refrigerate at least two hours.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, cut each log in half lengthwise. Stack a white layer, then a chocolate layer, and repeat. Press together and square up the sides a bit. Slice 1/8-inch cookies.

slicing cookiesPlace on parchment-lined or lightly greased cookie sheets.

cookies before bakingBake at 350˚ for 10 minutes.


We liked these a lot!
Black and White CookiesA couple cookies got a little brown; these were ones that I had sliced a bit thinner. I only baked one batch and put the rest of the dough back in the refrigerator – that’s what I like about refrigerator cookies, you can bake up just a few at a time and always have fresh cookies.

Note added in proof: These cookies are really really great. Subtly rich, subtly chocolate, we kept going back for more. I want to make them again already!

250 Cookbooks: Mrs. Fields Cookie Book

Cookbook #80: Mrs. Fields Cookie Book, Debbi Fields, Time-Life Books Inc., Alexandria, Virginia, 1992.

Mrs. Fields Cookie BookI went through a Mrs. Fields® cookie phase, like many Americans! I got this cookbook for myself, and have often drooled over the recipes.

Debbi Fields opened her first cookie store in Palo Alto in 1977. A store just for cookies was a new concept at the time. And it took off, as today there are many Mrs. Fields® franchises, and you can purchase them online.

The recipes are all excellent, the photos and layout great, and Debbi Fields presents a friendly introduction. I tried several of the recipes over the years, but kept the cookbook nice and clean.

I had no trouble finding a recipe to try. I note that most of the drop cookies are baked at 300˚ for about 20 minutes. Most of my personal cookie recipes call for a 375˚ oven for about 10 minutes. Mrs. Fields® recipes call for butter (not margarine) and are all from-scratch. In the introduction, Debbi states that the recipes call for “ingredients you have on hand.” Yeah, if you keep lots of different kinds of chocolate and vanilla chips on hand!

I decided to try “Sweetie Pies”.

Sweetie Pies RecipeI made them pretty much like the above recipe, just changing the ratios of the different types of chocolate chips and adding a bit more flour.

Sweetie Pies, a Mrs. Fields® cookie recipe, with slight variations

  • 2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (plus 2 tablespoons if necessary)
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Melt the unsweetened chocolate with 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, either in a double boiler or in the microwave.

Beat the butter with the melted chocolate, then add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat until well blended.

Add the flour and the three types of chocolate chips. Mix at low speed just until combined.

At this point, the original recipe says to “roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a ball, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.” Well, my dough was wet and sticky, so I added another 2 tablespoons flour and tried again. Still too sticky. So, I just dropped the dough onto parchment-lined half-sheet pans, then slightly flattened each cookie.

Bake at 375˚ for 10 minutes.

Sweetie PiesThese were delicious! It made almost exactly 2 1/2 dozen, as stated in the original recipe. But if I had made them using 1 1/2 inch balls of dough, my guess is that it would have made a lot less.

The reason I used more milk chocolate chips than called for is because I wanted more of a milk chocolate taste. I had to purchase these (and the white chocolate chips) specifically for this recipe and now I am left with partial bags of all three types of chips. Guess I’ll have to make these cookies again!