I happen to love shortbread cookies. Love, love, love ‘em. I also really love lemon, it’s one of my favorite ingredients. Therefore, quite naturally, I love the combination of lemon and shortbread together.

The base for these lemon bars is an excellent shortbread recipe just on its own: plus, it’s as easy as it is tasty. Though the original recipe suggests that you use your hands and a fork to make the base, using the wonderful modern invention of a food processor makes the process even quicker.

The filling is equally as easy. All you need do is measure the ingredients in a bowl, whisk, pour over the semi-baked crust and bake till firm. How simple is that?

Though the original recipe used little lemon and lots of sugar for the filling, I found that the end result was much too sugary; the lemon was lost in the sweetness. In my updated version, I added a lot more lemon, a couple more eggs and decreased the sugar by, well, by a lot. I think that the end result is much more balanced and Collin Murray must agree because he’s eaten just about the whole pan.

Lemon Shortbread Bars (adapted from Sherman Service League Celebrates)

Makes one 9-inch square pan

1 cup cold unsalted butter cut into 1-inch chunks

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup icing sugar

2 cups all purpose flour

1 ¾ cup granulated sugar

6 eggs

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

¾ cup fresh lemon juice (from 4-5 lemons)

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, combine cubed butter, salt, icing sugar and flour and pulse about 15 to 20 times to combine. Mixture is ready when it holds together when squeezed. Press crust mixture into a nine-inch square pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325˚F.

While crust is baking, in a medium bowl, combine sugar, eggs, and the additional flour; whisk till the sugar has dissolved, about one minute. Whisk in lemon juice and zest. Pour the lemon mixture over the crust and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is set. Allow to cool before cutting into bars. Sprinkle with icing sugar and enjoy.

I got a little carried away with ALL the possibilities of making cookies out of boxed cake mix. Poor Collin Murray had cookies coming out of his eyes for over a week after I discovered all the ways that I could vary the original recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake Cookies. In this variation, I used a spice cake mix and added milk chocolate chips and grated carrots to the batter and go figure kids, these additions make the cookie taste just like carrot cake!

In all of my testing, I have found that the one ingredient that needs to remain constant in the cookies is the oatmeal. Without it, the cookies become flat and while the taste remains the same, the texture isn’t as great. If you wanted to add walnuts, coconut — go for it — if you wanted to omit the chocolate — not a problem; these cookies are made for modifications.

Oatmeal Carrot Cake Cookies (adapted from the 1954 Purity Flour Mills cookbook)

Makes 2 dozen cookies

1 box spice cake mix (or carrot cake mix)

2 eggs

⅓ cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ cups old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)

1 cup chocolate chips

½ cup grated carrots (about half a carrot)

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

In the bowl of an electric mix fitted with a paddle attachment, combine cake mix and eggs. Beat about one minute to combine. Add water and vanilla and continue beating till smooth, one to two minutes.

Add oats, chocolate chips and grated carrots and beat on low until mixture is thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds.

Using a medium-sized cookie scoop or a tablespoon measure, scoop the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets about two inches apart. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until the cookies are just slightly browned on top. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

I’ve become obsessed lately with boxed cake mix but not for making cake, no, for making cookies. It all started with a recipe I found at the back the 1954 edition of the Purity Flour Mill cookbook…

I don’t know why but the recipe really excited me:  I mean, come on, cookies made from cake mix, how could that be bad?! Naturally I had to give the recipe a try and as it turns out, the recipe yielded some of the tastiest cookies I’ve had in a while.

 

It should come as no surprise that a cookie made with cake mix is soft, chewy and well, cakey. The cake mix acts as the base of the cookie — it replaces the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and soda that normally are apart of cookie batter. The additional ingredients in the recipe, eggs, water, vanilla, chocolate chips and oatmeal, add moisture, flavor and texture to the cookies.

I will warn that the batter is a touch sticky and easier to scoop onto baking sheets if you use a cookie scoop but other then that, this recipe is beautifully simple and will take you literally 20 minutes to bake perfectly delicious cookies.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake Cookies (adapted from the 1954 Purity Flour Mills cookbook)

Makes 2 dozen cookies

1 box white cake mix

2 eggs

⅓ cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)

1 ½ cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

In the bowl of an electric mix fitted with a paddle attachment, combine cake mix and eggs. Beat about one minute to combine. Add water and vanilla and continue beating till smooth, one to two minutes.

Add oats and chocolate chips and beat on low until mixture is thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds.

Using a medium-sized cookie scoop or a tablespoon measure, scoop the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets about two inches apart. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until the cookies are just slightly browned on top. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

By now it might be becoming obvious that I have a small obsession with marshmallows. I told my mother recently that some people have world peace as their life’s work but for me, it just might all come down to marshmallows, I just love them. So yet again I present a marshmallow recipes: Tutti Frutti Butterscotch Squares.

Some people may know this recipe, an old favorite of church socials and family reunions as Marshmallow Slice but to me, when the type of marshmallows that are used in this recipe are called “tutti frutti”, it’s time to rename a classic.

The Tutti Frutti Butterscotch Square are a quick recipe, especially given how festive and tasty they are. Collin Murray certainly enjoyed them, though I might add that even though this recipe only makes enough to fill a nine by nine square pan, it makes at least 30 small cut squares because of it’s rich and delectable tutti frutti-ish flavor.

Tutti Frutti Butterscotch Squares (adapted from the Calgary Highland Dance Association Cooking Favorites)

Makes 1 9-inch square pan

2 ½ cups tutti frutti mini marshmallows

2 packages butterscotch chips (300g or 10.5 ounces)

½ cup unsalted butter

½ cup creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of kosher salt

Before you begin, place the marshmallows in the freezer and allow for them to firmly freeze, about one hour.

In a large bowl set over a pan of slowly simmering water, combine the butterscotch chips, peanut butter, and butter. Allow to mixture to slowly melt, stirring occasionally. When melted, stir in the salt and vanilla. The mixture will be quite stiff, so you will need to work quickly. Take the bowl off of the pan and swiftly mix in frozen marshmallows using a wooden spoon or your hands. Press into pan and allow to cool in the refrigerator for at least one hour; cut into squares and Enjoy.

Store squares in a container tightly wrapped with plastic wrap.