Category Archives: 8. Cookies, Bars, Candy–YUM

Lavender (Or Not) Puffs


Lavender (or Not) Puffs

Makes 3 dozen cookies


(Puff in foreground of plate pictured above)

Here’s is cookie that everyone likes.  And—it’s so very easy to make.  It also freezes well.  So what more can you want———Furthermore, you can make them without the lavender.


  1. 1 ½ C. all purpose flour
  2. 1/2 C. Cornstarch
  3. 1/4 Tsp. salt
  4. 1 Tsp. culinary lavender buds
  5. 1/4 C. confectioners/powdered sugar
  6. 1 Tsp. vanilla extract (the real thing is sure better than the imitation kind)
  7. 1/4 to 1/2 C. powdered sugar for last minute dusting


  1. In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt and lavender buds.
  2. In another medium sized bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth (about 2 minutes).
  3. Beat in the vanilla extract and then add the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.
  4. Cover and put in the refrigerator for an hour until batter is firm. If it seems to firm when you have removed it from the refrigerator, let it sit out for a bit.
  5. Pre-heat oven to 350 and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  6.  Form 1-inch balls and place on your prepared cookie sheets about 1-inch apart.
  7. Bake for about 10-14 minutes (mine took 12 minutes here in Sun Valley) until the edges just start to brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and place on wire racks that have been placed above paper towels to cool for about 3-5 minutes.
  9. Put the extra powdered sugar in a fine strainer/sieve and sprinkle the tops of the cookies with the sugar.
  10. Place in an airtight container and they will keep for a couple of weeks.  I froze mine and they taste just fine out of the freezer.  You may want to refresh the powder sugar dusting before serving if they had been frozen.

Victorian Lavender Cookies with Rose Water Icing


Victorian Lavender Cookies with Rose Water Icing

Makes 4 dozen cookies

(In the left picture, shown in the foreground and not those with the jam)

 margot 244 (2) lavender

This is another cookie that I served at the Sept. 22, 2013 Sun Valley Harvest Festival’s Grand Tasting.  It was a big hit.  The combination of the lavender and rose water is so beautiful and tasty.  I have frozen these cookies with the icing and they taste just fine; however the rose water icing doesn’t seem to have as strong a smell as when first put on but it still tastes like rose water.

Ingredients for the cookies:

  1. 1/2 C. Sweet Butter
  2. 1 C. Bakers Sugar
  3. 2 Eggs
  4. 1 Tsp. Culinary Lavender, crushed
  5. 1 ½ C. flour
  6. 2 Tsp. Baking Powder
  7. 1/4 Tsp. Salt

Directions for the cookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and lavender.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together and add to the butter, etc. mixture.
  4. Drop by teaspoons onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.  I lined mine 3 across because they do spread out flat-about 2” or so.
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes.  Watch carefully to see that the bottoms don’t get too brown.  Mine here took about 8-9 minutes.
  6. Let cookies sit a minute on the cookie sheet and finishing cooling them on racks.

Ingredients for the Rose Water Icing: (I started with ½ of this recipe and that’s about all I used.  You may want more though.)

  1. 2 C. Powdered Sugar
  2. 5 ½ Tsp. water
  3. 6 ½ Tsp. Rose Water (can be procured at Atkinsons’-about $5)

Icing Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar with the water and rose water.

Finishing Directions:

  1. When the cookies have cooled, drizzle over them the icing.


Lavender Shortbread Bites



Lavender Shortbread Bites

Makes about 40 square 1 inch bites

 Here’s an easy and yummy recipe to make for all the little goblins that come visiting you on Halloween or anytime for that matter.  You don’t have to put in lavender, however I did and presented this as an appetizer course at my presentation at the Sun Valley Harvest Festival’s Grand Tasting last Sept. 22nd.  I thought that the lavender gave it a nice little tasty twist but use your imagination for another like ingredient if you wish such as cinnamon, rosemary, etc.


  1. 1 ¼ C all-purpose flour
  2. 3 Tblsp. sugar
  3. 1/2 C. butter at room temp is best (1 cube and I used salt-free)
  4. 2 Tsp. dried lavender
  5. 2-3 Tsp. Lemon zest (or grated lemon rind-finely or not is up to you.)
  6. Sifted powder sugar for final dusting when bites are done


  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, lavender and lemon till blended.
  3. Using a pasty cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the dry, lemon, lavender ingredients till the mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling.
  4. Form mixture with your hands into a ball and knead till smooth (this won’t take long).
  5. Roll or pat dough on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.  I patted the dough on the cookie sheet sized parchment paper on my counter top and placed some saran rap (or another piece of parchment paper would do) on top. I then rolled the dough to my desired thickness.  The recommended rolled size could be anywhere from 8 X 5 inches to 12 X 10 inches.  I do the 12 X 10 inches but if you want thicker cookies, your roll size should be smaller.  When you have finished rolling the dough, place the bottom parchment paper with the dough on your cookie sheet. Discard the top saran rap sheet. Then cut/score through the dough into the size cookies you wish.  I made 1” bites.
  6. Place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for about 18-20 minutes or till lightly browned on top.
  7. Remove from oven, let sit for just a bit and then break the bites apart gently and transfer them to a wire rack to cool.  If you place some paper towels or something similar under the wire rack, it’ll be a breeze to dust them with the powder sugar if you wish to do that.
  8. Store the bites in a tightly covered container for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months (thaw before serving).
  9. Try hard not to eat them all at once.

Marmalade Drop Cookies–Quick, Easy and Yummy


marmalade drops with almonds and powder sugarmarmalade drop cookies

Marmalade Drop Cookies

24 cookies

Here is an easy and yummy cookie to make for your family and friends.  They also look pretty.


  1. 1/2 C. unsalted butter (1 cube), softened
  2. 1/4 C. sugar
  3. 3 Tblsp. sugar on a plate for dipping the dough
  4. 1 egg yolk, beaten with the following:
    1. 1 Tblsp. lemon juice
    2. 1 Tsp. grated lemon peel
    3. 1 Tsp. vanilla extract
    4. 1/4 Tsp. almond extract
  5. 1 C. plus 1 Tblsp. flour


  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet
  3. Beat  softened butter and 1/4 C. sugar with electric beater and when smooth, add the egg yolk mixture.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, place the flour and then mix the butter mixture into it until a smooth dough forms.
  5. Form the dough into about 24 small balls and roll in the plated sugar before placing them on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Lastly, make an indentation in each ball with your finger or thumb.
  6. Place on middle oven rack and bake until tops are lightly golden, about 24 minutes.
  7. Cool on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before removing to a platter.
  8. Place some marmalade or jam of your choice in each indentation. If you wish, you can further decorate with some powdered sugar and sliced almonds.

Seven Layer Magic Cookie Bars


7 layer magic bar (2) 7 layer magic bar 

Seven Layer Magic Cookie Bars

Makes 24 to 36 bars

This is a wicked recipe so it’s perfect for your most precious Halloween goblins and yourself as well. Don’t bother counting the calories here; just enjoy these bars in small tasty, luscious, lingering bites.  But remember, it’s also good for Christmas gifts and for Valentines.  Enjoy no matter when————–


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1 1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs

1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT EVAPORATED MILK!)

1 C. (6 oz) Butterscotch Chips

1 C  (6 oz.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

1 1/3 C. Sweetened Coconut Flakes

1 C. chopped nuts (walnuts are always good but sometimes I use almonds)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 for a 13 X 9 inch glass dish and 350 for a 13 X 9 inch metal pan.
  2. Use either a 13 X 9 inch glass or a metal baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper and if the pan sides are not totally covered with the paper, pan spray them.
  3. Melt the cube of butter (micro is about 1 minute) and pour it evenly over the bottom of your lined pan.
  4. Top the butter evenly with the graham crumbs.
  5. With the remaining ingredients in the order listed above, top the graham cracker layer and when finished, press down firmly with a potato masher or fork.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes in either the 325 or 350 oven till the top is lightly brown.  That is always a bit hard to tell but usually 25 minutes is perfect.
  7. Cool in the dish on your counter top.  When cooled, score the top to mark out the size bars you wish.
  8. Then refrigerate before cutting totally for easier release.
  9. Store tightly covered or in a tin at room temperature.

For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog  Call Margot for personal cooking help @ 721-3551.

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.

Lavender Shortbread Cookies


lavenderLavender Shortbread Cookies

(Makes 24 cookies)

Yes, soothing lavender!!  Having lived in Paso Robles for a bit, I really enjoyed growing lavender in my yard.  Lavender and rosemary love the Paso climates and soils.  They are to be found in abundance everywhere in that location.  As you can imagine, the smells were divine.  Now in Paso, they even feature during the summer, a Lavender faire where you can taste some lavender ice cream among other goodies.  So, thinking about a little desert item for our Pavilion picnickers here’s a little unusual recipe I thought you’d all enjoy. Don’t overdo the amount of lavender because all you want is a little hint of taste; too much will cause an overpowering bitter taste.  So, if you feel like only adding 1 Tblsp. fresh or 1 Tsp. dried, that will probably be just fine.


1 ½ C. softened regular butter

2/3 C. white sugar

¼ C. sifted confectioners’ sugar

2 Tblsp. or less of finely chopped fresh lavender or 1 Tblsp. or less of dried culinary lavender ground with a pestle in a mortar

1 Tblsp. chopped fresh mint leaves

1 tsp. grated lemon zest

2 ½ C. all-purpose flour

1/2 C. cornstarch

1/4 Tsp. salt


1 .In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy.  Mix in the lavender, mint, and lemon zest.  Combine the flour, cornstarch and salt; mix into the batter until well blended.  Divide dough into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap and flatten to about 1 inch thick.  Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to ¼ inch thickness.  Cut into whatever shapes please you. Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

3. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, just until cookies begin to brown at the edges.  Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog  Call Margot for personal cooking help @ 721-3551.

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.

Chocolate-Peanut Frozen Cookies


Mom’s this is for the Dads and Kids-No Peeking!! But cut out and give to Dads

 Chocolate-Peanut Frozen Cookies

(Dad’s, this is easy enough for you and the kids to make for Mom. All you need extra to buy or make is a pretty gift bag and card and of course make sure that you have all of the necessary ingredients. Be sure to tell Mom and leave a note for her on the freezer door that the freezer is “off base” for several hours when they are “ cooking” there.)

Mother’s Day is coming up this Sunday so here is an easy special little something to make for her.  It’s so effortless to make and can be very low in calories as well, so I know that she’ll love it. Most of my life I was well within my weight limit and had no problem at all.  Gradually though, as I grew more mature (I hate the word “older”), I and my friends couldn’t believe what had happened to my figure.  Finally I hit a clothing size that shocked me so much, I knew I had to do something fast!  For me, it was Weight Watchers on-line.  It was easy and healthy, it worked, and within a year I was where I wanted to be. I lost 38 lbs. and that was 10 years ago. I still loosely abide by their point and food system.  Additionally, I love their recipes and here is one which I adjusted for those who don’t mind calories, but can also be easy on the belly at only 1 point each.  They are very, very good—at least I think so—and once again, so easy to make. Below in parenthesis is the Weight Watcher’s version.  By the way, Mother’s Day celebrations can supposedly be traced back to very ancient festivals like in Greece the cult to Cybele, in Rome the festival of Hilaria, or to the Christian Mothering Sunday celebration. So, here’s a cheer to continuing that tradition.

Chocolate-Peanut Frozen Cookies


¼ Cup Whole Milk (or fat-free skim milk)

2 Tbsp. cocoa powder–I use the best (or unsweetened cocoa powder)

2 Tbsp. sugar (no adjustment on the WW recipe)

¼ Cup Chunky Peanut Butter (WW called for the regular kind)

1 Cup Uncooked Old Fashioned Oats

2 Tsp. Butter (or 2 Tsp Canola Oil)


You can do all of the mixing in the saucepan

  1. Mix milk, cocoa powder, sugar and butter or oil in a medium saucepan over low heat.
  2. Bring to a slow boil; then remove from heat.  Add peanut butter and stir into mix until melted.
  3. Stir in oatmeal and mix well. (I use a wooden spoon to do all of this.)
  4. Drop 16 or more spoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. (I use my measuring tablespoon and a knife to do this. Then I actually pat them together with my CLEAN hands.)
  5.  Freeze for at least four hours; they are better the day after you make them. Then you can put them in a sealed baggie and keep in the frig.
  6. DON’t snitch until Mom gets them.

(You can also make this recipe with granola instead of oats. I buy different varieties of granola from local market bins.)

Are you a frustrated, overworked or timid cook? Call Margot for help @ 721-3551

& please feel free to email her @ for comments or ideas

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.


Mayflower Pumpkin Cookies & Raisin or Currant Sauce


Pumpkin Cookies straight from the Mayflower

Makes about 5 dozen cookies

 This recipe supposedly came over with the Pilgrims on the Mayflower.  Supposedly, they lasted so well because of the rum in them.

 ½ C. unsalted butter at room temp or slightly softened in micro

1 C. brown sugar

2 eggs (not necessary to pre-beat)

1 ¼ C. pumpkin puree

2 C. flour

1 TBLSP (yes that much) baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

¼ tsp. salt

2/3 C. currants or raisins

1 teaspoon vanilla and ½ teaspoon brandy and ½ teaspoon rum or any combination of the three to add up to 2 teaspoons full.

  1. Cream butter and sugar with electric beater.
  2. Add eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, brandy, rum, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Beat more with beater.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder into mixture and beat till well combined and smooth.
  4. Stir in the raisins or currants till evenly distributed.

Drop by spoonfuls on greased or parchment papered cookie sheet. (I love the parchment paper.)

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes (I baked at 375 for 10-12 minutes in our altitude). The bottoms should be SLIGHTLY brown. Even if they feel and look soft, take them out and let them rest on the cookie sheet for about 1 or 2 minutes.  Remove them to a rack or to laid out paper towels and let them cool.  You can freeze them. They taste great at any time, how ever, I find that they are even more flavorful the next day.

These are wonderful at anytime of the year because amazingly enough, the pumpkin is not overwhelming.  However, they definitely have a spicy taste.


Raisin or Currant Sauce

For a lovely desert, these cookies can be served with a very good vanilla ice cream with a bit of the following sauce to be placed on top of the ice cream.  The sauce recipe comes from my barely surviving 1953 edition of my beloved Rombauer’s Joy of Cooking cookbook. Oh my gosh, that book is almost 60 years old.  I received it as a wedding present.

Raisin or Currant Sauce

About 1 2/3 Cupfuls

Boil for 15 minutes:

1 ½ C. water

1/3 C. raisins or currants

¼ C. sugar

1/8 tsp. salt


2 Tablespoons butter

Stir into that until blended:

1 tsp. flour

Add the hot sauce slowly.  Stir and cook until it boils.


A ¼ tsp. or more of rum and a touch of ground or grated nutmeg or some grated lemon rind.


Ginger Biscotti


Ginger Biscotti


(Thanks to Mark Bittman’s “How To Cook Everything” cookbook)

There is NO COMPARISON between HOME MADE BISCOTTI & STORE BOUGHT BISCOTTI. Believe me if you haven’t already experienced this, try this recipe just once to experience the difference.

My good friend and past VSI guest, Ruth, recommended Mark’s book to me.  She said that is the only cook book that she takes with her when she sojourns for several months to Provence, France, with her husband, and wondrous Standard Poodle every year.  So, of course, I had to buy it.  I’ve well used mine however my other favorite cookbooks are: the older version of the Joy Of Cooking by Rambauer, Becker (I received mine for my wedding in 1958), The New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne (1961 is my version), Ann Seranne’s Good Food With a Blender (1974) book, and Soups & Stews (Better Homes and Gardens(1993).  The latter has a great recipe for “Mexican Chicken-Tortilla Soup” among other good ones. Cookbooks are so special and tell a history of your family.  I know my Mother used the Ritz Hotel and Good Settlement cookbooks a lot.  I still have them and what a hoot.

I do like these biscotti a lot, plus they are so simple to make.  I have altered Mark’s recipe a bit to make it easier. They really don’t take any time to make, except for the baking part. Who cares when they are so yummy and when your guests will throw compliments galore your way?

Ginger Biscotti

Makes about 30

Time: about 1 ¼ hour


4 Tblsp. (1/2 stick) salted butter, softened

¾ C. sugar

2 eggs

½ tsp vanilla or almond extract

2 ¼ C. all-purpose flour

2 Tsp. baking powder

¼ C. minced crystallized ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. On 2 baking sheets, place parchment paper.
  3. Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla or almond extracts.
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder in a bowl and add the ¼ C. minced crystallized ginger to the dry ingredients.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the batter a little at a time. I continued to use my beaters for this.    
  6. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a 2 inch-wide-log. Place each log onto one of the parchment lined baking sheets.
  7. Bake in 375 oven until the loaves are golden and beginning to crack on the top(about 30 minutes); remove the logs from the oven
  8. Lower oven temp. to 250 degrees
  9. When the loaves feel firm enough and cool enough to handle, (in about 5 minutes) remove them to a paper towel placed on a flat surface.
  10. Cut each on the diagonal into ½ inch thick slices, using a SERATED knife.
  11. Place the slices back on the baking sheets still lined with your parchment paper.
  12. Return the slices to the oven in the 250 degree oven to dry out.  Bake them on one side for 10 minutes, turn them over, and bake them another 10 minutes.
  13. Cool on wire racks
  14. These will keep in an airtight container for several days. 


Other ideas the Mark suggests to use are:

  1. 1 tsp. ground fennel or anise seeds; or one tsp. ground cinnamon to the dry ingredients.
  2. Stir one C. slivered blanched almonds; roasted and chopped hazelnuts; whole pine nuts; or other chopped nuts in prepared dough before baking.
  3. Mix 1 Tsp. minced lemon zest or orange zest in dry ingredients
  4. Melt 8 oz. semisweet chocolate with 3 Tblsp. unsalted butter.  Spread this mixture onto one side of the biscotti when done.  Cool on rack until chocolate coating is firm.
  5. Mix about ½ C. dried fruit into dough before baking
  6. Mix about ¾ C. chocolate chips into dough before baking.   


As usual, Bon Appetit.