home cooking recipes                                            home cooking recipes

The sweet spot

By Angie Sutton


A good friend and I were having coffee this past week and talking about recipes and what we’ve recently eaten that is comment worthy. Somehow our conversation soon ventured into our favorite desserts and what we’d make if that ever elusive resource called time would allow for.

We both agreed that whipping up a batch of chocolate chip cookies or simply getting a boxed cake mix into the oven and then slathering it with canned frosting once cooled was very doable. We chuckled at the thought of creating some of the cake masterpieces found on the Internet which would likely go unnoticed to a posse of teenage boys hungrily devouring pieces that didn’t even make it onto a plate.

It was decided that we would find the sweet spot and test recipes that landed somewhere in between.

Blond Brownies

I have an 11- by 7-inch pan that produces a thick, chewy-type brownie. If you go with a larger pan, be sure to adjust your timing or your outcome will be crispier.

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped pecans

In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Beat in vanilla. In an another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips. Spread into an 11- by 7-inch greased baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool on a wire rack.

Chocolate Cherry Bars

2 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. quick cooking oats
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling
1 tsp. almond extract
1/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 tsp. shortening

In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar and butter until crumbly. Reserve 1 1/2 cup for topping. Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or until edges begin to brown. In a small bowl, stir together the pie filling and almond extract. Gently spread the filling over the still warm crust. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture evenly over the top and return to the oven to bake for 25 more minutes. Edges and topping will be lightly browned. Melt the chocolate chips and shortening in the microwave and stir until smooth. Drizzle over the warm bars. Cool on a wire rack.

Aunt June’s Zucchini Brownies

Source: Janet Connell, Marshall County, Kansas.

1/2 c. margarine, softened
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 1/2 c. grated zucchini


2 tsp. granulated sugar
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together margarine, sugar and eggs. Add the next 6 ingredients into the egg mixture. Mix well. Place batter in a greased and floured 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Topping: Mix together sugar, chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. Sprinkle over the top of the brownie batter. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Simple Berry Custard Pie

3 large eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Purchased graham cracker crust
Blueberries or raspberries

Mix eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla. Evenly space berries on the bottom of the pie crust. Slowly pour the custard mixture over the top of the berries. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.

Cherry Brownies

For a thicker brownie, use a 9- by 13-inch pan and bake for 30 minutes.

1 box Devils Food cake mix
2 large eggs
1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling
1 c. granulated sugar
5 Tbsp. margarine
6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

Put pie filling in a blender and pulse for a couple of minutes. You only want to break up the cherries, not liquefy them. Pour cherries, cake mix and eggs into a bowl and mix well. Bake in a greased 10- by 15-inch pan at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. To make the frosting: Mix together sugar, margarine and milk and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips; stirring until smooth. Spread frosting over cooled cake.

Simple Strawberry Pie

1 c. granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
6 Tbsp. strawberry gelatin mix, dry
1 c. water
10 c. fresh strawberries, cut
1 prepared pie crust
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar

Combine sugar, cornstarch and gelatin powder. In a saucepan over medium heat, mix gelatin mixture with water and boil for three minutes. Mixture will be clear. Cool until the mixture begins to set. Stir in strawberries. Pour into the pie crust and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Whip the cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Top the pie with the whipped topping before serving.

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