Apples of Uncommon Character

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Ball FreshTECH Automatic Jam & Jelly Maker


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Best Oatmeal Cookies

best-oatmeal-cookiesBest Oatmeal Cookies

1-cup brown sugar
1-cup granulated sugar
1 cup shortening
2-well beaten eggs
1-teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon baking soda
3 cups quick cooking oatmeal
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped

Thoroughly cream shortening and sugars; add eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Add sifted dry ingredients and then stir in oatmeal and walnuts; mix well. Shape into a roll; wrap in waxed paper and chill thoroughly or over night.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice chilled cookie rolls into 1/4″ thick slices. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 10 minutes.

Yield: 5 dozen cookies

Recipe comes from the kitchen of Susan Garrison, Mesa, California, which is a vintage recipe originally perfected by her mother.

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Ask Cynthia a Question – August 26, 2014

cynthia-briggs-newLisa asked:  How do I store soft cookies and crisp cookies appropriately so they’ll retain their original softness or crispness?

My answer:  Soft cookies should be stored in an airtight container. If they dry out, add a slice of apple to the container. Crisp cookies should be stored in a container with a loose lid, such as a cookie jar or leave the container’s lid ajar. Thanks, Lisa, for your question.

Do you have a cooking or baking question for Cynthia? Send it to her at

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Cookie Baking Tip

Use two cookie sheets when baking cookies. One is baking cookies in the oven while the other can be loaded with the next batch to go into the oven. This saves you time and is more energy efficient.

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Blueberry Almond Tart

Tart, Blueberry Almond Cream Cheese2 7-2014Blueberry Almond Tart

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
3/4 cup salted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Filling and Topping:

6 ounces low-fat (or regular) cream cheese (not the whipped type), room temperature
1-cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1-cup heavy cream
2-tablespoons granulated white sugar
1-21 ounce can blueberry pie filling
Blanched slivered almonds, if desired

Crust Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Add flour and confectioner’s sugar to a food processor and pulse to combine ingredients. Add butter and nuts; gently pulse to an oatmeal-size texture. Press dough evenly into the bottom and up sides of a greased 12″ tart pan or an equivalent-size shallow pan. If using a smaller pan, the crust will be thicker. Bake about 15 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Set aside to cool completely.

Filling and Topping Directions:

Combine cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar and almond extract in a large mixing bowl; mix until smooth. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks; whip in 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Fold the whipped cream, a little at a time, into the cream cheese mixture. Pour cheese filling into the prepared crust. Top with pie filling. Decorate with blanched almonds, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings

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Ask Cynthia a Question – July 29, 2014

Pie, Berry 7-2014Dorine asked: My homemade berry pies generally turn out runny even after leaving them in the refrigerator overnight. It’s very discouraging. What am I doing wrong?

My answer: Here are a few suggestions you might try. 1) For berry and cherry pies, use Minute Tapioca instead of flour. The conversion from flour to tapioca is on the box. 2) Vent the bottom crust with lots of fork pricks and cut large vents into the top crust so the liquid can evaporate. 3) Don’t cut the pie until it is completely cool, preferably refrigerated overnight. 4) Bake the pie longer, and 5) if you live at a high altitude, getting things to thicken properly might prove to be challenging. Good luck Dorine, and thanks for your question.

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