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Beth's Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Reviewed: Aug. 23, 2000
This is the cookie that comes to mind when you think of oatmeal cookies. Sweet and mildly spicy, chewy and tender, with lots of raisins. The perfect comfort food. Why bother with any other oatmeal cookie recipe? Look no further - this is the real deal. Edited to add: It's true that this is not an original recipe. It's the old Quaker Oats recipe with only the addition of cloves. It's still arguably the best. It's certainly the best I've tried in over 46 years of baking, many of those years spent professionally! Perfect texture with the requisite chewiness and flavor. The addition of cloves kicks up the spiciness that is usually associated with a hearty, home made oatmeal raisin cookie. For those whose cookies came out too flat, adding 1-2 Tb flour will usually alleviate that problem. Just be aware that the cookie might be a tad denser as a result. For those who had trouble removing from the cookie sheet, use either parchment or foil (shiny side DOWN, and scoop the dough onto the dull side.) They will release after they are cool easily.
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16 users found this review helpful

Mom's Zucchini Bread

Reviewed: Nov. 2, 2007
Delicious, dependable recipe. Made as written, except I substituted 1 cup of whole wheat flour for one of the cups of all purpose flour in order to increase fiber content. No discernible difference in texture or taste. The loaves remained moist for the 5 days it took to eat them. Since you can't have too much of a great thing, I added a crumble topping, made with 1C brown sugar, 3/4C flour, 2 tsp cinnamon, mixed together, then 3 Tb soft butter cut in. Sprinkle on top before baking.
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Super Lemon Ice Cream

Reviewed: Oct. 1, 2014
Fan flippin TASTIC! I have made this several different ways, beside just as written. It's great like it is, but we prefer to reverse the proportions of heavy cream and half-and-half, meaning one cup heavy cream and two cups of half-and-half. It's a bit less unctuous that way, with less cholesterol and fewer calories, allowing that fresh, clean taste to shine. It's still wonderfully creamy this way, and quite rich enough. I especially like to use Meyer lemons from our back yard, harvested just before making the base. Subbing 1/4 cup limoncello for 1/4 cup of the lemon juice keeps it scoopable right from the freezer. I have also steeped 1 cup of roughly torn basil leaves in the heated cream/sugar mix for an hour, straining the leaves out before proceeding with the custard. SPECTACULAR, as well as quite chic. We love it topped with fresh strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries. Any which way you make this, however, you're going to love it even more than you think you will. It's the type of thing that sneaks up on you. After it's all gone, you'll be pining for more.
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3 users found this review helpful
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Asparagus Lasagna

Reviewed: Apr. 3, 2008
Wonderful, imaginative recipe. A few minor tweaks, however, improved it. Used butter in place of margarine for flavor, then sauteed the garlic a little longer, until golden. Since some other reviewers thought the sauce too bland, I made a simple change which helped a lot in the flavor department. I used only half the milk, and replaced the other half with concentrated chicken stock and a couple of tablespoons of dry white wine. Simmered the sauce until the vapors from the wine ceased to tingle the nose, in order to be sure all the alcohol was burned off. When sauce was finished, I stirred in some freshly grated Asiago and Parmesan. Used fresh, peeled asparagus, lightly pre-cooked by boiling 2 minutes then shocking, cut into bite-sized pieces. Layered with a mixture of cheeses, including Jarlsberg, Parmesan and Gruyere in addition to some mozzarella. The type of cheese isn't so much of consequence as getting in some more flavorful types - mozzarella used alone doesn't have a high degree of discernible taste. You could combine it with Swiss, Gouda, Laughing Cow, Monterey Jack, or Brie, as well, or anything else that happened to be in your fridge. So spread your wings and try some combinations. Sumptuous!!! It received rave reviews. Be sure to allow sufficient time for all the various steps. This isn't a quick, easy recipe, but can be assembled up to 3 days before, then finished in the microwave when you want it. Some preparation at your convenience yields stellar results later
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126 users found this review helpful

Gramma Bertha's Banana Cake

Reviewed: Jun. 16, 2008
5 stars made with the following alterations: an extra banana, 2 mashed and 2 diced, 1 tsp of vanilla, 1/2 tsp baking powder (to lighten) and 1 tsp cinnamon. The texture is dense and intensely moist. The sliced/diced bananas make for a nice burst of banana flavor, and set this cake apart from the norm. Be aware that this recipe does not rise very much. Essentially what you see when you turn the batter into your pan is what you'll get. But the flavor is satisfyingly homey and it will keep for at least 3 days. Be sure to cover with an inverted bowl to keep it airtight.
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2 users found this review helpful

Glazed Apple Cream Pie

Reviewed: Jun. 27, 2008
Another 5 stars for this incredible recipe! I was a little apprehensive about making it, since we're apple pie purists in this house. But I really wanted to try it after reading the reviews, and I'm so glad I did; everyone loved it. Refrigeration is the key to keeping the creamy layer separate from the apples. The presentation is just lovely when cut and the taste is a knock-out! My son especially loved the glazed crust and said I should do that with every pie I make from now on. I used 3 very large Granny Smith apples and it baked up impressively high, although I wanted more in the apple layer and will add another apple (for a total of 4) the next time I make it. This will be a holiday tradition from now on. Thank you!
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Greek Chicken

Reviewed: Jun. 28, 2008
Make this another FIVE STAR review! I had to make a few subs because we don't like olives, so subbed mushrooms, chopped and cooked before adding to the stuffing spread. I used mostly feta, but also some Asiago and about 2 oz of Port du Salut cheese that needed to be used up immediately. Also used lemon juice in place of the balsamic vinegar, as lemon is almost synonymous with Greek cuisine. Used dry white wine and a splash of chicken stock, as well. The flavors meld and marry in the oven and the result is an explosion of taste. I spooned the cooking juices over the chicken and served with Greek pilaf on the side. The only change I would make the next time is to drop the temperature to 325 degrees - not that the chicken meat was dry, but I believe that this small change will result in a more moist texture still. Thank you for an outstanding recipe that one can serve with pride. Get ready for all the praise when you make this one!
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23 users found this review helpful

Easy Lemon Cookies

Reviewed: Aug. 20, 2008
VERY good! I added the finely grated zest of one lemon to bump up the lemon flavor, but I'm sure they'd stand just as is. I baked for 10 minutes, actually, because after the first batch at 8 minutes came out with doughy middles. The last batch got left in the oven by accident for 15 minutes, and they were quite brown. The middles were baked through all the way, and they were somewhat hard. But by the next day, all that had changed to a respectable chewiness, and you couldn't tell that they weren't intended to have been baked that way. Now that's what I like - a recipe with a lot of "wiggle room" that's forgiving, no matter what!
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3 users found this review helpful

Baby Food Cake Bars

Reviewed: Oct. 5, 2008
I've been making this recipe for years, given to me by my husband's favorite aunt when I was a new bride. Her recipe calls for using a 17" X 11" jelly roll pan, which makes them more "bar-like." I have found that cutting back on the oil helps the texture to be less heavy. I use only 1-1/4 cup, and the rest is never missed. Also have varied the type of baby food, sometimes using sweet potatoes in place of the carrots, and peaches in place of the apricots, pears in place of applesauce, or even plums. They all make only subtle differences in flavor. Virtually any fruit or root vegetable baby food can be used successfully. You can even use plums for all 3 jars and make a delicious autumn plum cake, baked in a bundt pan (usually takes around 45-55 minutes at 350 degrees) and then glaze it. The variations are quite endless. I always frost with a cream cheese frosting, which makes a good thing even better. In fact, to us, the cream cheese frosting is a must-do. Any way you make them and serve them, they never fail to draw rave reviews. Have copies of this recipe handy, because you're going to get lots of requests!
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17 users found this review helpful

Bran Flax Muffins

Reviewed: Oct. 17, 2008
Simply put, SPECTACULAR! You could easily dust these with powdered sugar or ice with cream cheese frosting and call them cupcakes. The texture is so moist with the carrots and apples. For those who found them to be lacking in flavor, try increasing the cinnamon by 50%, then add liberal shakes of nutmeg, cloves, allspice and ginger. I didn't have oat bran on hand, so substituted All Bran cereal and softened it in the milk for 10 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. Also used Splenda in place of the brown sugar to make them more diabetic-friendly. I'm trying several of the highest-ranked bran muffin recipes on this website and although I've found 2 others that I loved, this one is my favorite. It's packed with fiber and antioxidants, so just about as healthy as you can imagine. Say goodbye to empty calorie breakfasts! You can even eliminate the oil to save some calories and it will never be missed. What more can I say, but WOW!! Edited to add: In an incredible bonehead move, I forgot to add the flax! The texture is a little different, but I'm happy to report they still taste fabulous. It's the mark of a great recipe, to be that forgiving. Have now made 3 times, and have subbed sweet potato for carrot, added mashed banana, all with superb results.
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11 users found this review helpful
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Black Cat Cookies

Reviewed: Oct. 23, 2008
Because of previous reviews stating the flavor was lacking or not chocolate enough, I added 1 oz melted semisweet chocolate, and they came out perfectly! Dough is a dream to work with when forming the ears - no problem with its being too sticky. These come out soft and yummy, with a full chocolate flavor. I followed Muffinmom's advice to par-bake, remove and decorate, then finish for another 5 minutes. Could not have turned out better! And when Halloween's over, these are excellent cookies all on their own. They're not just another pretty face! No rolling out and cutting. Just scoop, flatten with the glass dipped in sugar, and bake. (It's best to use an actual scoop or "disher" if you're aiming for uniformity.) A buttery, tender chocolate fix any time of the year. Thank you for the great recipe!
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30 users found this review helpful

Grandma's Polish Perogies

Reviewed: Oct. 24, 2008
YUM! These are the real deal. The best way to keep them from sticking together when frozen is to freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bag them only when fully frozen. They will stay individual and you can take out as many (or as few) as you want from the freezer. This is what my mom called "stick-to-your-ribs" comfort food.
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2 users found this review helpful
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Holiday Pumpkin Cake with Rum-Cream Cheese Glaze

Reviewed: Nov. 25, 2008
Wonderful, fabulous, superb, and every other splendiferous adjective you can come up with! I used cooked, mashed sweet potatoes in place of the pumpkin because they were $.25 a pound today. Laced the cake with 2 Tb of rum and added 2 tsp ginger. Note about self rising flour: measure 2 cups all purpose flour, and remove 1 tablespoon (either discard that Tb or return it back to the flour bag.) To the remaining scant 2 cups of flour, add 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt. Voila! Your own self rising flour. Baking took 70 minutes in my recently calibrated oven to get a clean toothpick with only a few, tiny crumbs clinging. Made the glaze with 1 Tb Tortuga Gold rum and replaced the milk with orange juice, adding a half tsp freshly grated orange zest. The orange imparted subtle counterpoint to the spices and gave a fresh, bright taste. This cake bakes up nice and high for a stunning presentation. It's an impressive cake for important events, like big holiday parties or family gatherings. Your baking skills will be impossible to deny if you make this one. It's a show-stopper for sure, and as super moist and delectable as it was beautiful to look at. Thank you for an outstanding holiday recipe!
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36 users found this review helpful
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Rosenmunnar

Reviewed: Dec. 9, 2008
Proof positive that the simplest recipes are almost always the best. How can four ingredients come together to taste so darned lovely? Easiest way to mix is to pulse in your food processor. Like almost everyone else, I found the number of cookies promised to be almost double the number it actually made. 31 exactly. Keep a tiny bit of confectioners sugar around for dipping whatever implement you use to make the indentations (handle of a wooden spoon, your thumb, measuring tsp, etc) so that it doesn't stick to the dough. Remember that the key to making them look picture perfect is to avoid the temptation to put more than a small dab of jam in the indentation. This avoids "oven boil over" and the consequent mess. A+ for a superb recipe that is not only simple to make, it bakes up looking like it belongs on the cover of Bon Appetit and tastes so wonderful, it's the stuff dreams are made of! Note: for ehuber and others who had trouble with the dough spreading when baked and tasting inedibly greasy, that's indicative of an inadequate measure of flour. Knead in more flour, 1-2 Tb at a time, until incorporated. When the dough stays together and doesn't cling to your hands, but is not crumbly, you've added enough. If it's sticky, add another Tb of flour. Allow to rest 20 minutes or more after you finish kneading in the flour to relax the gluten so that the finished product will not be tough. It just takes a little practice to develop the feel for dough with the proper consistency.
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100 users found this review helpful

Bread Machine Cardamom Bread

Reviewed: Dec. 11, 2008
Excellent, light, moist texture. I made 12 rolls. On the advice of several reviewers here I doubled the cardamom, and I feel it was a mistake to do so. That much cardamom gave it a medicinal taste. Perhaps it was because the bottle of cardamom was brand new, so it was more potent - don't know for sure. Shame on me - I should have followed the recipe as written the first time, since I believe that subtlety works so much better in bread products than in-your-face spice does. As written, this recipe is most likely just about perfect.
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17 users found this review helpful
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Scottish Shortbread IV

Reviewed: Dec. 20, 2008
This is the real deal! My grandmother hailed from Glasgow, and she would have been proud. These have the perfect sable texture. Not crumbly, soft, but with a hint of gentle crunch, with a light, tender, delicate crumb. Everything shortbread should be. Just the right degree of sweetness. I made the dough by pulsing the 3 ingredients (used 4 cups flour) in my new 14-cup Cuisinart, which made easy, fast work of it. They came out perfect in 21 minutes. The edges were just starting to turn a barely light brown, thank heaven! My mom's recipe that I grew up with had less sugar (always brown) and more flour. The dough was always very crumbly and hard to work with. This dough is a dream. My mom's recipe was handed down from my grandmother, direct from Scotland, and this one is actually better. If you have no rolling pin, you can either use a wine bottle, or just pat it to 1/2" thick. Cutting can be accomplished quickly with a pizza cutter. Don't forget to prick the dough with a fork, or the cookies will swell and blister in the oven. Walker's, move over! These are much better than those big bucks numbers in the fancy tin! Makes me want to crack out the haggis and single malt! UPDATE: I substituted 3/4 cup rice flour for 3/4 cup of the flour. The difference was subtle, but lent just a bit more "crisp" without compromising the tenderness. Will do this in the future everytime I make this.
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34 users found this review helpful
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Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Reviewed: Dec. 21, 2008
This is the same recipe as the Peanut Blossoms I've been making for at least 25 years every Christmas. It's my kids' favorite. The cookie is just fabulous - tender and incredibly tasty. The only difference is that this recipe uses peanut butter cups in place of Hershey Kisses. The upside of that is that this version is WAY easier to store in a cookie canister! The tops of the kisses always used to break off when they were stacked, even in off-set rows somehow, in the container. These stay nice and flat and look smashing. I roll the dough in coarse sugar (which you can buy anyplace that sells cake decorating supplies) for added sparkle. After putting the peanut butter cup/Hershey Kiss into the cookie, I always return it to the oven for 2 minutes more, which sets the candy in place so that it doesn't come off the cookie when jostled accidentally on a tray or in the container, and the very slight melting that takes place makes for an attractive sheen - get your cameras ready. A+ for an outstanding new twist on an old favorite!!
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4 users found this review helpful
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Butter Crunch Cookies

Reviewed: Jan. 4, 2009
Oh my word!! These are absolutely irresistible! Use unsalted butter for depth of flavor. I toasted the pecans (spread in a single layer on a baking sheet, bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 5 minutes, flip the nuts over using a pancake turner, and bake 5 minutes more, or until they become fragrant. Watch so they don't burn.) Also added a slight dash of real almond extract. Both these measures really make the flavor pop! I've made both with all white sugar as written and with half brown sugar, and the consensus here is that the brown sugar flavor is richer. The ingredients might not sound like much, but believe me, the flavor really is all that. They're nice and crunchy, making for an extremely satisfying cookie experience. NOTE: To the reviewer who found her product too salty, I'd guess it's because she used salted butter. I've never had a problem with excess saltiness with this recipe, and I've made it many times. I do, however, always use unsalted butter (as is recommended with any baked product.) If you only have salted butter, I'd recommend cutting the additional salt back to 1/4 tsp (or even 1/8 tsp if you're salt-sensitive.) NOTE: To correct the review dated 12/28/10, baking powder is NOT just baking soda and cornstarch. It's 1) baking soda, 2)acid (like cream of tartar, which she notes she used, but failed to note in the ingredients) and 3) starch to absorb any moisture and prevent it from activating before it's used. Ratio is 1:2:1 in the order given above.
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23 users found this review helpful
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Date Nut Pinwheel Cookies I

Reviewed: Jan. 8, 2009
Wow, wow, and WOW!!!! These manage to be deicate and chewy at the same time. Luscious filling. The lemon offsets the sweetness of the dates to perfection. The only change I made is to add a tsp of cinnamon to the dough, because that's how my mom made them and I knew from experience that the subtle spice showcases the date flavor and lets it shine. Toasted pecans make a tasty substitute for walnuts. A hint to keep the round shape of your rolls. Wrap the rolls tightly in plastic wrap,then put each end into a tall glass (mine are 16 oz) and lay the glasses (with the dough in them) on their sides in the freezer. The rolls will stay perfectly round. Yes, of course it's true that these are a little labor-intensive, but that was pretty clear to me before I even started making them, just from reading the recipe. If I wanted fast and easy, I'd make a drop cookie. These are well worth the time. Besides, the filling can be made one day, the dough made, filled and frozen the next, and then they can be baked anytime afterward, up to a month or even longer if tightly wrapped airtight. Take it in steps if you don't want to make a career out of them. Once you bake them, you'll want to do it again.
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28 users found this review helpful
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Secret Kiss Cupcakes

Reviewed: Feb. 8, 2009
5 stars for a fabulous idea! I did not make the recipe for the cupcakes because I wanted yellow cupcakes. So I made the Golden Rum Cake recipe on this site. The kisses were the caramel filled ones. I frosted with a creamy chocolate buttercream, an wow! What a treat! A couple of recommendations. Fill the paper liners no more than a little over half full, since when the kisses displace some of the batter, you don't want an overflow mess. Secondly, I didn't push them into the batter, but halfway through baking, gave them just a hint of a push downward. The cake rose up to cover them completely, with just a hint of a dimple at the top of the kiss. And the kiss remained fully suspended midway through the middle of the cupcake, which makes for the perfect presentation. I baked them for only 18 minutes, which was perfect. Only the barest hint of an indentation should remain when you touch them lightly. This way, they won't be dry. A+ idea - thank you!
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