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!

250 Cookbooks: Baker’s Chocolate and Coconut Favorites

Cookbook #76: Baker’s Chocolate and Coconut Favorites, General Foods Corp., 6th Edition, 1977.

Baker's Chocolate and Coconut FavoritesBaker’s Chocolate and Coconut Favorites is a booklet-cookbook given to my mother by my aunt in October 1977. That means it was a birthday present! As per the title, every recipe contains chocolate or coconut or both. This would be the go-to book for a coconut cake or macaroons, or the original recipe for German’s Sweet Chocolate Cake. My mother marked just a couple recipes as tried. Me? I haven’t ever used this cookbook, and not sure if I will keep it or not. Most of the recipes are for desserts, and I already have tons of dessert recipes.

I decided to try Coconut Refrigerator Cookies. Mother marked these as “Delicious”:

Coconut Refrigerator CookiesThese turned out great. I used butter in these, but next time I’ll use margarine, and that’s how I am writing my version of this recipe (below). Butter often makes cookies flatten out too much, and I’m pretty sure that my mother would have used margarine, since it’s cheaper.

Coconut Refrigerator Cookies
makes 6-8 dozen, depending on how thinly you slice the cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup flaked coconut

Beat the butter in a mixer until creamed, then add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, then add to the creamed mixture. Stir in the oats on low speed, then add the pecans and coconut.

Divide the dough into quarters, then roll each portion into a 2-inch diameter log. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, a couple hours. Slice into 1/8-inch thick cookies (mine were probably a bit bigger) and place on ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake at 375˚ for 8 minutes, or until just lightly brown.


Coconut Refrigerator Cookies


250 Cookbooks: Cookie Book #1

Cookbook #71: Cookie Book #1. Covina Woman’s Club, Covina, California, March 1980.

Cookie Book #1This community cookbook was a gift to my mother from Betty, a good friend of hers and of my aunt’s. My mother and father, both born in 1916,  grew up in Covina, California, and my Aunt Werdie still lives there. Both Betty and my aunt contributed a few recipes to this cookbook. Betty’s contribution of “Santa Claus Cookies” has this comment: “My favorite cookie in the whole-wide world!” Werdie’s contribution “Cookies” states “That’s the only name I have for them”.

Wow, all of these recipes are great! They are just the type of cookie that I grew up with. Werdie contributed her “Snowballs” recipe, those buttery-nutty-powdered-sugar-covered round cookies that she always made – and shared – at Christmas time. One of my favorites, Chocolate Chews, is in this book, contributed by Werdie.

I noted several recipes I’d like to try: Persimmon Oatmeal Cookies, Pumpkin Bars, Anna Banana Squares, Lemon Squares, Cornflake Peanut Butter Bars, Applesauce Bars, and Fresh Ginger Cookies (fresh ginger!). I consider some of the recipes classics of that era: Forgotten Cookies, Unbaked Cookies, Hermits, Brandy Balls.

I grew up on cookies. I love this little community cookbook!

My mother made notes on several recipes in this book. And inside the front cover she has written “from Betty Fletcher Christmas 1979”. See where I get my organizing genes? Those genes led me to do this crazy blog, going through and organizing 250 old cookbooks, some of which should have been thrown away years ago.

I decided to try Lemon Refrigerator Cookies for this blog. Refrigerator cookies are great: you mix them up, roll them into a log, chill them, then slice off individual cookies to bake. Not only are they convenient, but they bake up in a characteristically flat shape, browning nicely around the edges. Generally, these cookies are a bit more shortbread-y than drop cookies. A refrigerator cookie with lemon? Oooo, yum, sounds good.

Lemon Refrigerator Cookies recipeThe recipe calls for “candied lemon”. That’s a stumper: where can I find this ingredient?

I looked up “candied lemon” in my book, Food Lover’s Companion by Sharon Herbst (2001). Candied fruits, also called glacé fruits, are prepared by boiling the fruit in sugar and then drying it. In the case of citrus fruits, it is the rind that is used, not the fruit itself. So, I know I am on the right track if I ask for “candied lemon peel”. Candied fruits are generally used in cakes, breads and other sweets.

I googled “candied lemon peel” and came up with several sources. But, I wanted to make the cookies this week, rather than waiting for an ingredient to be shipped. So I took to the stores in Boulder.

First, Whole Foods. A worker at the store helped me search, first pointing out a jar of preserved lemons to which I shook my head “no”. We kept looking. He said they used to carry candied lemon peel, or perhaps “citron”, but could no longer find a source that did not have unacceptable ingredients. “Citron” is an ingredient I used to put in fruitcake. According to Food Lover’s Companion, citron is a semitropical citrus fruit with a lemon-perfumed peel. It is not a lemon, although “citron” is the French word for lemon. (No wonder we get confused.) I eventually gave up the search for candied lemon peel at Whole Foods.

I went downtown and asked for candied lemon peel at the Savory Spice Shop. Nope, they had none, although they do carry some candied items. But they did have a wonderful lemon extract and dried, minced lemon peel. I figured these ingredients would help give the lemon cookies the zip I wanted, so I bought them. Then I walked to Peppercorn.

Peppercorn is chock-full of unusual stuff, although I didn’t have a lot of hope by the time I got there. Perhaps candied lemon peel is an outdated item in 2014. But then – I found it! Yay!

Here are the three lemon products I bought that day:

lemon cookies ingredientsI think the candied lemon peel is important in these cookies because it will add the sensation of chewy bursts of lemon flavor. I will ramp up the lemon zing with the lemon extract and dried lemon peel. If you can’t find any of these ingredients, I suggest you just use lemon juice (2 tablespoons) and grated lemon peel (1 tablespoon). The cookies will still taste great!

Lemon Refrigerator Cookies
makes about 4 dozen

  • 1 cup vegetable shortening (7 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon minced, dried lemon peel
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied lemon peel (if you can find it)

Cream shortening and sugars. Add the egg and beat well, then mix in the lemon juice, extract, rind, and dried peel.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture and mix in. Add the nuts and candied lemon peel.

Form into 2 rolls, each about 2 inched in diameter. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

To bake, cut into 1/4-inch slices and bake on parchment-lined (or greased) baking sheets. Bake at 375˚ for about 10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies begin to brown.


I ended up making 45 cookies, as opposed to my mother’s 58 cookies. It all depends on how big you make the cookie rolls and how thick you slice them. I used a ruler and found my slices were about 3/8-inch.

slicing lemon cookie doughI like to use parchment-lined baking sheets:

lemon cookies ready to bakeHere the cookies are, nicely cooked and a little brown around the edges:

baked lemon cookiesAnd here they are in the pig!

lemon cookies in pigThese are excellent cookies. I broke one cookie in half the next morning to see how they tasted after sitting overnight, and I wanted more more more! They are that good.

Happy Cooky Baking!Happy Cooky Baking to all!

250 Cookbooks: The Ideals Cookie Cookbook

Cookbook #68: Ideals Cookie Cookbook. Darlene Kronschnabel. An Ideals Publication, Milwaukee, Wis, 1977.

Ideals Cookie CookbookLook at the cover of this cookbook: No author is listed. I only know that the author is “Darlene Kronschnabel” because her name is at the bottom of the brief introduction on the first page. A google search reveals that she authored quite a few cookbooks. She looks like a nice lady!

I had trouble finding the publication date too! It is not printed anywhere inside or on the cover. But the ISBN is, and by following this lead I found that it was published in 1977.

I am not quite sure how I came to own this cookbook, although on the back cover is printed “U. of C. Federal Credit Union”. But is that University of California, or University of Colorado? California would mean it came from my mother, Colorado would be my acquisition. Neither of us marked up this cookbook.

This is a pretty good cookie cookbook. If I didn’t already have oodles of cookie recipes, this book would be a useful addition to my bookshelves. I like the recipes – they are clear and include reasonable ingredients. I probably will keep this book as a general reference. One recipe I marked to try is the one for Chinese-style fortune cookies. Decades ago I had fun making fortune cookies from scratch and might want to do it again some day, and I have no idea where my original recipe is.

I had no trouble finding a recipe to try. I chose to make an oatmeal cookie. On page 24 is a recipe for the “Best Raisin Oatmeal Cookie” (in the section for flavorful fruit cookies) and on page 39 is a recipe for “Chewy Oatmeal Cookies” (in the section for old-fashioned cereal and grain cookies). The two recipes are almost identical. The chewy ones call for cinnamon and nutmeg, and that swayed my choice. Here is the original recipe:

Chewy Oatmeal CookiesThe recipe does not specify what type of oats to use. Old-fashioned? Quick? My guess is that in 1977 most Americans used quick oats. But to make them chewier, I used some quick oats and some whole rolled oats (the kind I use for granola). I like a lot of cinnamon and nutmeg, so if I make these again, I’ll use the amounts I list below.

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies
makes about 4 dozen

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup shortening (5 1/4 ounces)
  • 1 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups oatmeal (I used 1 1/2 cups minute-oatmeal and 1/2 cup thick rolled oats)
  • 1 cup raisins

Stir together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Cream the shortening with the brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in oatmeal and raisins.

Drop rounded teaspoons of dough onto baking sheets. (Used greased baking sheets, or use parchment-lined baking sheets.) Bake at 350˚ for 12-15 minutes.

Chewy Oatmeal CookiesThese are good! I used a mixture of sultans and raisins; my advice is to use only regular raisins because they show up better and look nice.

Would I make these again? Maybe. My go-to oatmeal cookie recipe is my very favorite Oatmeal Chip Cookies. That recipe has more sugar and flour, and uses margarine instead of shortening. Plus they have chocolate chips and nuts. Hard to beat, even with these good Chewy Oatmeal Cookies.



1990s blog: Oatmeal Chip Cookies

oatmeal chip cookies – more sugar/shortening/flour, adds nuts and chocolate chips

250 Cookbooks: A Treasury of Bake Off Favorites

Cookbook #54: A Treasury of Bake Off Favorites. The Pillsbury Company, 1969.

Treasury of Bake Off FavoritesThis is another of my mother’s Bake-Off Cookbooks. So far I’ve done three Bake-off years: 1964 (Cookbook #4), 1959 (Cookbook #10), and 1963 (Cookbook #27). I refer you to the 1964 blog post for a more thorough discussion of these cookbooks/pamphlets.

This pamphlet cost 98¢ (the 1959 one cost 25¢). Inside the front cover, “Ann Pillsbury” writes:

“In eighteen years of Pillsbury Bake Offs certain recipes have stood out as being all time “favorites”, as judged by our own staff and by the requests we get from homemakers everywhere. We have chosen ninety-five of these ‘favorites’ for this collection.”

So, some of these recipes are repeats from earlier Bake-Off collections. To me, the most famous cookie in this particular Bake-Off Cookbook is “Peanut Blossoms”. Yup, the peanut butter-sugar cookie topped with a chocolate kiss. My mother made these, I made these – and I already entered them into this blog. My mother also tried and liked the Jim Dandies, Hoosier Peanut Bars, Chocolate Macaroon Cake, and Dilly Casserole Bread. She liked the cookie recipes best! This cookbook also includes main dish recipes. They are “okay” but not my kind of cooking. Too “fifties”.

My choice to try is a cookie recipe called “Spicicles”. As usual, I am looking for something a little healthy. While this recipe includes a lot of butter, it is relatively low in sugar, and it includes raisins, walnuts, dates, and candied pineapple. The preface to this recipe suggests these as holiday cookies, and they are reminiscent of Snowballs, those buttery-nutty cookies baked in formed balls and then rolled in powdered sugar while warm. We always made them at Christmas. (The recipe that I have used for years for a snowball-cookie is Dainty Nut Balls, exactly like this online version.)

My thought for Spicicles is that I can use them like energy bars for mid-day boosts on exercise days.

Spicicles Recipe originalNow, candied pineapple: I think the recipe means the candied pineapple sold around Christmas time for fruit cakes. My idea is to use dried pineapple, one of our favorite ingredients in trail mix. It’s sold in most stores, with other dried fruits like raisins.

Then I hit the jackpot. I decided to check the bulk bins at Whole Foods. And I found these thick rings of pineapple, dried and coated with sugar, for only $3.99/pound. I filled a bag partway, then took a tiny taste while still in the store. Yum! I topped off the bag – this stuff is great. I can hardly wait to try this pineapple in the cookies. Heck, I can hardly wait to leave the store and munch on a few pineapple rings on the way to the car!

I made these pretty much as called for, except I used more pineapple, fewer raisins, and more spices (and fresher spices!). Below is my version.

Spicicles PLF
makes about 60 small cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (“confectioners’ sugar”)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup raisins (sultans might be nice)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped dried pineapple

In mixer, beat the butter with the egg until well blended. Add the flour, powdered sugar, salt and spices and blend well. Stir or mix in the raisins, nuts, dates and dried pineapple.

Form into balls, using a teaspoon to scoop up the dough. Bake on ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheets at 350˚ for 12-15 minutes. The bottoms will brown, but the tops of the cookies will remain kind of pale. Don’t worry, they will be done!

Transfer the cookies to a wire rack, and when they are just cool enough to handle, roll in powdered sugar.

Here is the wonderful dried pineapple alongside the walnuts, dates, and raisins:

Spicicles IngredientsI searched my spice cabinet for cardamom, and found an old jar of ground cardamom. Sniffed it – seems to be missing its punch. But I had a jar of cardamom seeds, so I ground some in the coffee grinder that I reserve for spices. Perfect! Below are the cardamom seeds and a half-grated nutmeg:

nutmeg and cardamomThe cookie dough is pretty thick and rather dry, but it does hold together. I ended up making 61 cookies – pretty close to 60!

Spicicles doughHere are the baked Spicicles PLF (PLF? that’s my “tag”):

SpiciclesThese were a hit! I took them for mid-day energy snacks and always . . . wanted another one! I didn’t think my husband would like them a lot, but when I suggested a frozen (lite) ice cream bar for dessert, he looked at me and said “I really like those cookies, I’ll have them instead!”

It was pretty easy to go through those 61 cookies. I will make them again!



250 Cookbooks: Cookies, Bars, Brownies

Cookbook #42: Cookies, Bars, Brownies (Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks). The Pillsbury Company, Minneapolis, MN, 1994.

Cookies, Bars, BrowniesI know why I stopped baking cookies: They just taste too good! I made the Hearty Apple Cookies from this cookbook and ate one and wanted MORE! Now, why can’t plain brown rice do that for me? Or carrots? Or tofu? Life’s not fair.

I have already discussed Pillsbury cookbooks/booklets in this blog, a few of the Bake-off Cookbooks and one of my favorites, Simply From Scratch. I have over 20 Pillsbury booklets. This particular one I am not going to keep. I had marked only one recipe in it, and this week as I paged through the booklet, only one other recipe stood out as one that I wanted to try: “Hearty Apple Cookies”. I like these because they include ingredients that have some nutritive value: whole wheat flour, raisins, nuts, apples, and oatmeal.

Hearty Apple CookiesI want to make some changes in this recipe. First, about the “whole wheat flour” called for in the recipe. I keep three types of whole wheat flour in my pantry:

  • whole wheat flour (traditional, sold my many manufacturers)
  • white whole wheat flour (King Arthur Flour; sometimes in supermarkets)
  • whole wheat pastry flour (in supermarkets, sometimes in the bulk section)

I decided to use whole wheat pastry flour in these cookies. Next, I have some great golden raisins or sultans that I bought for the Butterscotch Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, and I want to use these instead of dark raisins. Instead of apple juice, I’ll use boiled cider (from King Arthur Flour). This packs a lot more apple punch than mere apple juice. It’s great stuff:

boiled ciderFor the oatmeal, I’ll use rolled oats from Bob’s Red Mill. These are particularly good oats, big and fluffy:

rolled oatsI assembled my ingredients:

cookie ingredientsAnd prepared the cookies as per the above scanned-in recipe. I thought that they flattened out too much as they baked. They definitely looked a lot flatter and more spread out than the photo that is next to the scanned recipe. The reason for this is either (1) type of flour (2) amount of flour or (3) choice of butter over margarine. I tried adding some all-purpose flour to the remaining batter, and it worked. That batch baked up like the cookies in the photo. But both flat and tall cookies taste equally good!

In the recipe below, I include the additional flour so that the cookies look a little better when cooked. I photographed both kinds to let you know what I’m talking about.

Hearty Apple Cookies
makes 4 dozen cookies

  • 1 1/3 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup finely chopped, peeled apple
  • 1/4 cup apple juice or boiled cider
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raisins (regular or golden)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • Topping: 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 cup butter, melted

Beat the brown sugar with the butter until light and fluffy; add egg and blend well. Beat in apple and apple juice.

Combine flours, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, then add to the batter and mix until the flour is incorporated. Stir in raisins and nuts.

Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl. Drop cookie dough by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets (or greased cookie sheets). Top each with some of the topping and press gently into the cookie.

Bake at 375˚ for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Cool a minute on the pan before removing to wire racks.

The original recipe made excess topping so I cut down the amounts in my version of the recipe (above). These cookies are moist and get softer on storage. Next time I bake these I will decrease the brown sugar to 1 cup as suggested in the cookbook for bakers at high altitude (over 3500 feet).

ready to bakeIt was a little hard to get the topping to stick to the dough.

Here are the cookies from the first batch, before I added more flour to the recipe. They are pretty spread out and kind of floppy when you pick them up.

first batch of cookiesHere’s a comparison of cookies from the first batch and cookies baked after I added more flour to the batter. The more-flour cookies baked up taller and smaller and they held their shape when you picked them up. They also stored better: I was able to stack them up in a bowl and they didn’t stick together. Both batches tasted the same. Very apple-y and sweet and chewy and yummy!

flat and tall cookies

250 Cookbooks: 365 Great Cookies You Can Bake

Cookbook #39: 365 Great Cookies You Can Bake. Lois Hill, Weathervane Books, NY, 1990.

365 Cookies CBI must have bought this cookbook on a whim, because the last thing I need is more cookie recipes! It is, though, a good selection of cookies, and it would be fun to make a different kind of cookie every day for a year.

I don’t think this cookbook is in print any more. My edition is 1990, and by searching online, I find there was also a 1997 version. Both are available “new” from Amazon resellers.

“Nothing tastes quite as good as a homemade cookie fresh from the oven.” Thus begins the introduction, and I totally agree. This cookbook has recipes for “bars, brownies, drop cookies, macaroons, meringues, hand-rolled cookies, cookie cutter and pressed cookies, special one-of-a-kind cookies, and sugar-free cookies.” It really is a good selection, a one-stop book to search when I am looking for a particular type of cookie to bake. The layout and recipes are pleasing and straightforward.

I decided to try “Butterscotch Oatmeal Raisin Cookies”. The oatmeal, nuts, and raisins will lend a hint of fiber and nutrition to this treat.

Butterscotch Oatmeal Raisin Cookies RecipeI chose these for the oatmeal-raisins-nuts, and it wasn’t until I was mixing them up that I realized there is no added sugar in this recipe. I had to double-check to make sure. You add a beaten egg to the dry ingredients, a very unusual cookie-practice. Also, you don’t use a mixer. Hmm, are these really going to work?

I went ahead and followed the directions. My butter-butterscotch chip mixture separated into two layers, no matter how much I stirred it. After mixing it with the egg-dry ingredients and the nuts and raisins, the batter looked like this:

cookie doughIt’s wet and gooey. I went ahead and used the teaspoon to form cookies:

cookies ready to bakeAnd baked them 10 minutes:

baked cookiesThey were just nicely browned along the edges. I let them cool a couple minutes before removing from the pan, as suggested. And wow! These are great cookies! Warm from the oven, they are chewy and not too sweet. Perfect. Almost like a really good and fresh energy bar.

Butterscotch Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
-be sure to get golden raisins because they really make these cookies pretty
-made exactly 36 cookies

  • 1 cup quick oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (leave out if you use salted butter)
  • 7 1/2 ounces butterscotch chips (they are now sold in 12 ounce packages, sorry, you will have some left over)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Combine the oatmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Combine the butterscotch chips and the butter in a pan and melt on the stove top, stirring constantly. Don’t worry if it separates into two layers, but be sure to heat long enough so the melted chips are smooth. Stir in the almond extract.

Stir the beaten egg into the dry ingredients, then add the melted butter-butterscotch mixture, the raisins, and the walnuts. Mix together well.

Drop by a teaspoon onto baking sheets. I used a parchment-lined half sheet pan; the other option is a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 350˚, until the cookies are brown around the edges. Cool on the pan for 2-3 minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack. (At first, they are too soft to transfer without breaking the cookies.)

cookie ingredientsAbove are the ingredients. I was going to add the leftover butterscotch chips to the batter just before cooking, but decided not to.

Here are the cookies! They were wonderful.



250 Cookbooks: Simply from Scratch Recipes

Cookbook #33: Simply from Scratch Recipes. Pillsbury Kitchens, The Pillsbury Company, USA, 1977.

Simply From Scratch RecipesThis cookbook is from Pillsbury, the same company that produced the Bake-Off cookbooks/booklets (my entry for cookbook #4 discusses the bake-off concept). My mother was fond of these booklets. I actually have two copies of this small one: my own, and my mother’s. It’s entered twice in my database of 250 cookbooks, so I will cover it twice in this blog. I’ll start with hers.

My mother’s copy is about as beat up as my own – it’s been used a lot! This booklet does have great recipes. As I page through her copy, I note both my sister’s and my mother’s writing on many of the recipes.

Simply From Scratch has recipes for yeast and quick breads, pies and cakes, and cookies. My mother marked mostly cookie recipes: Candy Bar Squares, Touch-of-Lemon Sugar Cookies, Peanut Streusel Banana Bars, Salted Peanut Cookies, Crackly Topped Ginger Cookies, and Lemon-Go-Lightly Cookies. On “Blueberry Muffins”, she wrote “Delicious” and “Patty” in parentheses. That’s because I’m sure I told her to try this recipe, it’s one of my favorites. She tried and liked two of my other favorites: Cinnamon-Raisin English Muffins and Potato-Chive Rolls. My sister liked the Applescotch Crisp.

Both my sister and my mother liked “Rocky Road Fudge Bars”. My sister wrote “Excellent” and my mother wrote “delicious – very rich”. Rocky Road Fudge Bars, why is that so familiar? I didn’t mark this recipe in my copy of the cookbook. So, I checked my “cookie” document, and found the recipe there with this note to myself: “I don’t think I’ve made these, but the recipe was carried through several versions of my recipe collection, so I added them to this document.” Probably I got the recipe from my mother, not realizing it was in Simply From Scratch.

I’m going to try these cookies! We are having company to help us eat a rich dessert. I’m sure they will be excellent made exactly as written.
Rocky Road Fudge BarsRocky Road Fudge Bars


  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine (I used butter)
  • 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs


  • 8-oz. cream cheese, softened (reserve 2 oz. of this for the frosting, below)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces


  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • remaining 2 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar (3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Prepare bars: Combine butter and chocolate in saucepan over low heat until melted. Add remaining bar ingredients; mix well. Spread in a greased and floured 13×9-inch pan.

Prepare filling: In a small bowl, combine 6 ounces cream cheese with the next 5 filling ingredients (sugar through vanilla). Beat 1 minute at medium speed until smooth and fluffy; stir in nuts. Spread over chocolate mixture. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips.

Bake at 350˚ 25-35 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven; sprinkle with marshmallows. Bake 2 minutes longer.

While the bars are in the oven, prepare the frosting. In a saucepan over low heat, stir together the 1/4 cup butter, 1 ounce chocolate, remaining 2 ounces cream cheese and milk until the chocolate melts. Stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.

As soon as you take the bars with the melted miniature marshmallows out of the oven, pour the frosting on top and swirl together.

Cool before cutting into bars. Store in refrigerator.Rocky Road Fudge BarsYes, these are very, very good. Rich. If you have more than you can eat, put them in the freezer. As my mother notes, these freeze well and are good frozen.

I want to share another page from this book, a page with lots of food stains and notes from my mother. (This is purely sentimental!)

page 82


250 Cookbooks: Pillsbury’s Bake-Off Recipes 1963

Cookbook #27: Pillsbury’s 14th Grand National Bake-Off Cookbook. From Pillsbury, 1963.

Bake-Off CookbookThis is another of my mother’s Bake-Off Cookbooks. So far I’ve done two Bake-off years: 1964 (Cookbook #4) and 1959 (Cookbook #10). I refer you to the 1964 blog post for a more thorough discussion of these booklets and an explanation of Mother’s rating system for recipes.

In one of the bake-off cookbooks I found a favorite recipe that I had copied for myself after I left home: Angel Squares in the 1964 booklet. And in the odd Spry booklet I found (and scanned) the recipe for Tom Thumb Bars. So as I page through this booklet, I wonder if I will find another old favorite …

Here are the recipes Mother marked as tried: Lemon Luscious Pie, Caramel-Nut Surprise Pie (“kinda rich”), Treasure Chest Bars (with a note to check out the Jim Dandies in the 10th Bake-off), Bake and Slice Chocolate Swirls, Butterscotch Best Cake, Apple-Scotch Cake, English Toffee Cake, Cherry Streusel Special, Sunshine Dream Bars, … Fudge Nut Layer Bars … I know those! Mother called them “Fudge Nut Bars”, and they are one of my favorite cookies. I have the recipe on a card! Here is the original:

Fudge Nut BarsOne recipe is marked as double-underlined “delicious!” by none other than: me! The recipe is for “Chocolate Coated Macaroon Bars”. I seem to remember making a cookie that tastes just like a Mounds Bar, and I think this must be the recipe.

Chocolate Macaroon Bars

I wrote the “delicious!” on this recipe decades ago.

I’m tempted to try the recipe for “Cheeseburger Casserole”. In it a mixture of hamburger, tomato soup, peas, and onions is topped with chunky-cheese-filled homemade biscuits. What great comfort food! Maybe some day when I hanker for a guilty pleasure I’ll make it for dinner. But not this week. (Here’s an updated version of the recipe below.)

Cheeseburger Casserole

The biscuits on top have large chunks of cheese baked right in them!

I decide to try the “Bake and Slice Chocolate Swirls”. Cookies are a better idea because extras are easy to give away or freeze.

Chocolate SwirlsChocolate SwirlsBake and Slice Chocolate Swirls

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Combine the chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and shortening and heat in the microwave (or on the stove top) until the chips melt. Cool slightly.

Cream the butter with the salt, vanilla, and brown sugar. Blend in the flour and mix well. Add a little milk if the dough does not hold together (I added about a tablespoon of milk).

Divide the dough in thirds. Roll each third out on a floured surface to a 10×6-inch rectangle. Spread with filling and sprinkle with the walnuts. Roll up, starting with the 10-inch side. Place the three rolls on a cookie sheet.

Bake at 350˚ for 20-25 minutes until light golden brown. Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cool; wrap in plastic wrap.

To serve, cut into slices about 1/4-inch thick.

Chocolate SwirlsThese are indeed, “very good”. I’m not surprised: how can you go wrong with cookie dough and chocolate and nuts?

I just have to share one more page from this book. Below is a pie recipe that has a caramel layer topped with a cream layer. My mother says it’s “kinda rich”. Cracks me up. (I still wonder how she made so many pies and cakes and cookies and still kept her weight down.) Note that in spite of the fact that it’s kinda rich, she still put cool whip on top. Ah, those were the days.

Caramel-Nut Surprise Pie