Monday, February 28, 2011


Yummy, yummy, you have to try these bar cookies.

A bar-none wonderful cookie.  There are two churches that I like to go to during the holidays for their cookie walks.  A cookie walk is a long table filled with different kinds of cookies made by the church members. You walk down one side of the table and tell the person on the other side of the table how many you want of each kind of cookie.  The final box or bag of cookies is then priced by the pound.  My two favorite churches have very good cookie bakers and I always get new ideas.  This year I purchased this bar cookie done with apricot jam.  As soon as I bite into it, I knew I had to find a recipe and mail it to Nelda. 

Nelda and I have a zillion recipes for cookies between us.  Unfortunately, this is not an exaggeration.  However, the fun and thrill is in the hunt, not the possession.

Filled with raspberry or apricot jam, these bars are fantastic.

When Nelda received the recipe she immediately made two batches because she thought the bars were so good.  Nelda puts her cookies in boxes in the freezer.  At a moment's notice, she can have a plate of all kinds of varieties of cookies ready for whoever needs a treat.  I tried putting cookies in the freezer.  When I went to take them out, they weren't in the freezer.  They were in Tommy.  When I asked him where my cookies were, he got that "deer in the headlights look" and said the dog ate them.  These bar cookies freezer very well. 

When I was researching these bar cookies, I found that many had trouble cutting them and getting them out of the pan.  I tried an old technique with a new product and I am so happy with the results.  I am going to make a pan of these lime bars and see if the technique works as well for them.:



So many times bar cookies or brownies are hard to get out of the smaller square pans.  The technique I tried makes taking the cookies out of the pan and cutting them so easy!!!

The cookies go together very quickly, but the directions as lengthily as I tried to make them as clear as possible.  There are three different steps plus my technique for slicing them.

I found the baking time for these bars was not correct.  They need to bake longer than original time.  I put in a time to check the oven and then approximately how long I think they need to bake.  When the bars are done, the top will be golden brown and the center will not jiggle when you give the pan a little shake.

The recipe can be doubled for a 9x13-inch pan.  I would use the same technique for cutting the cookies as I did for the smaller pan.  The white vanilla chips are sweet so you want a jam that has a little tang to it.   

2 c vanilla or white chips, divided
½ c butter, softened
½ c sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla or ½ t almond extract
1 c flour
¾ c apricot jam or seedless raspberry jam
½ c sliced almonds
1 T milk, optional

Ingredients:  Vanilla chips, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, jam and almonds.  Milk is optional.

Almond is a good substitute for the vanilla extract.  Apricot preserves instead of raspberry jam is delightful.

Non-stick aluminum foil makes these cookies easy to cut and the pan easy to clean.

Put one cup of white chips into a glass bowl. Put in microwave to melt. Be very careful as white chips burn quickly. Microwave on a lower temperature than HIGH and do it in short bursts. The chips will still hold their shape when melted. Stir well. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs, one at time, beating well after each egg. Beat in melted chips and vanilla or almond extract. Gradually beat in flour.

Tear off a sheet of non-stick aluminum foil large enough to cover the bottom of an 8-inch square pan plus extra length to make handles on each side of the pan. Carefully line the pan with the foil with the non-stick surface facing up. Spread half the batter onto the non-stick foil. Bake in preheated 325° oven 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Microwave the jam for a minute or so to make it easier to spread. Spread on hot crust. Do not spread the jam to the edges as it will burn. Stir the second cup of chips into remaining batter. Then drop batter by tablespoonfuls over the jam. Carefully spread batter to cover jam. Sprinkle with almonds. Brush almonds with milk, if desired. Return to oven and bake 35 to 50 minutes or until center is set and doesn’t jiggle. Top should be golden brown when done. Cool on wire rack.

Refrigerate or freeze. I refrigerated the pan overnight. To cut the bars: Lift the aluminum foil handles to remove the baked product or the “cookie” from the pan. Tear off foil. Place the “cookie” on a cutting board. With a sharp knife cut the “cookie” into squares. Then cut squares on diagonal, if desired to form triangles.

Rip off a length of foil big enough to put in the pan with extra for handles on each sides.

Carefully form foil into the pan with non-stick side up.

Put one cup of chips in a microwave safe container.

Put butter into a mixing bowl.

Very carefully melt chips.  White chips burn very easily.  When they are melted they will still hold their shape until stirred.

Stir melted chips.  Set aside.

Add sugar to butter and beat until fluffy.

Add one egg and beat well.

Add second egg and beat well.

Add melted chips and vanilla or almond extract.  Beat well.

Gradually add flour, a little at a time.  Beat well.
Batter ready for the pan.  Divide batter in half.

Put half in foil lined pan.

Spread out into pan.  Bake in preheated 325 degree F. oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

Add second half of chips to the second half of batter.  Stir to combine.

Measure jam, seedless is better but I couldn't find it at my store.  Microwave jam for a minutes or so to make it easier to spread.

Put jam on hot crust.  Do not put the jam all the way to the edges.

Spread jam on crust.

Put second half of batter on top of jam.  Carefully spread to cover jam.

It doesn't have to be perfect.

Top with almonds.

If desired, brush almonds with milk.

Ready to bake.  Put back into the 325 degree oven and bake until the center no longer jiggles when pan is shaken lightly.  Top will be golden brown.

Baked and beautiful.  Refrigerate or freeze.  I refrigerated overnight.

Using "foil handles"  remove from pan.

Remove foil.

Put bars on a cutting board and cut with a sharp knife into squares.

Cut squares on diagonal if desired.

Store and serve at room temperature. 

So delicious with delightful texture.


Here have one.

A couple for me.

Bet you can't eat just two.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


February has been a very difficult month for us.  I find I want comfort food for my body and soul.  However, I don't want the heavy foods usually associated with comfort like rich stews, macaroni and cheese or meatloaf.  I want light, happy foods.  Foods I would serve for a family breakfast in the summer out on the deck with the Lake splashing up on the beach.  

When I first started the blog, I put on my incredible pancake recipe.  I thought I would bring it back as the older recipes can be lost in the shuffle.  These pancakes are the lightest and fluffiest and have a secret ingredient to make them extra wonderful.



My Daughter-in-law's, Cindy, coffeecake is to-die-for.  If you haven't tried it, you really must.  It is so easy and has a choice of three different fillings.

This is the first recipe that was posted on Michigan Cottage Cook.

If you haven't tried baking bacon instead of frying it, you will love these directions.  You will never fry bacon again as baking it is so much easier and not as messy.


To me it isn't breakfast without eggs.  Here are two different fun ways to serve eggs, one Italian and the other Mexican.



Monday, February 21, 2011


Winter has come back with a vengence so we are thinking warm comfort foods. This chili won 1st place at Jeff and Mo’s yearly chili cook off in the non-traditional category 3 years in a row.  Most people have a white chili recipe; however, this one is so good, so easy and only takes a few ingredients.  This recipe is easier to make than it is to write about it.

Lusicous chili served plain.

For the meat, I usually roast a turkey breast.  Dede uses chicken breats or strips.  She puts them into boiling water.  Reduces the heat and simmers the chicken until it is 160 degrees internal temperature.  She cuts the chicken into bite-sized pieces.  She puts the chicken pieces and cooking liquid into the chili.

This chili can be changed to suit your taste or mood.  I use a medium Pace salsa while Dede likes a mango salsa.  The beans can be either white great northern beans or pinto beans.

Dede's Chili garnished with chips and cheese.  Insanely delicious.

The cheese can be Monterey Jack with jalapeno peppers or without peppers.  I like to use Mexican melting cheese.  You can use a combination of cheeses such as Cheddar or Coby and Jack cheese. 

This chili is good with spicy taco chips put in the bottom of the bowl before adding the chili to the bowl.   Dede likes to eat this chili with the Scoops Corn Chips.  If you have a crowd to please, add more water.  To make a thicker chili, puree a can of white beans and add to the chili. I don't add any water as it is just the two of us.


1 lb. chicken breast or strips cut into bite-sized pieces (Dede uses more)
1 large jar (48oz) Randal White Great Northern beans
1 (16oz) jar salsa
1 (4oz) can chopped green chilies
2 (10oz) bricks Monterey jack cheese with jalapeno peppers (Dede uses more)*, I cube the cheese to put in the chili but Dede shredds it.  We both shredd the second block of cheese for garnishing the bowls. 

Ingredients:  Turkey or chicken, Great Northern beans, salsa, green chilies, cheese, small can of beans, if desired.

Cook chicken in a skillet with a little water. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Put chicken pieces and cooking liquid into a saucepan or crockpot.  Add the beans with their liquid.  Add more water if desired, salsa, green chilies, and one brick of the cheese. Simmer until ready to serve. *NOTE: Dede likes to add more cheese just before serving.

Put all the ingredients in a pan or crockpot, except the cheese.

Stir everything together.


When chili is heated, it is ready for the cheese.

I cube the Mexican melting cheese for the chili.

Stir into chili.

Heat to melt cheese.

Bean dishes sparkle with a couple of dashes of vinegar added to them.  I use the liquid from a jar of Jalapenos.

Plain chili good just as it is or ready to be garnished.

Spicy is good, plain are good, scoops are good.  It is your choice.

Instead of a second block of cheese, I like to use the shredded Mexican cheese.

Put some chips in a bowl.

Add chili.

Top with cheese.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!!