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I am finally putting my tried and true family recipes here. Check out my old-time favorites as well as newly discovered ones.

I hope you'll find some recipes here that you enjoy cooking, and those you cook for will find them tasty and satisfying.
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One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating. ~Luciano Pavarotti

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Monday, February 28, 2011

Dream Bars

       I was feeling a need for something sweet for days.  The butter was softening, but no firm plan, until I pulled out Sunset's Cookbook Classics, a large volume that has 8 cookbooks in one. 
     These are delicious cookies.  I prefer baking bar cookies over individual cookies like drop cookies.  Stick these in a pan, spread to edges and bake in one batch; whereas you can spend a whole afternoon baking tray after tray of drop cookies.  I also like that many of them are two or more layers, mixing up the flavors.

  • 1/3  cup  butter, softened
  • 1/2  cup brown sugar, + 1 cup
  • 1  cup flour, + 2 Tbsp
  • 2  large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
*Orange Frosting
  • 4 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 ½ - 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1  teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice (optional)
 Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  With fork, blend in 1 cup flour until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Press firmly into a greased 13- x 9-inch baking pan forming an even layer.  Bake at 375° for 10; let cool in pan on a rack.

Meanwhile, whisk together eggs until light and lemon colored; gradually beat in remaining 1 cup sugar.   Add vanilla, 2 Tbsp flour, salt, and baking powder.  Stir in coconut, cranberries, and nuts until thoroughly combined.

Pour over baked crust spreading evenly.  Return to oven and bake for 20 minutes or until topping is golden; then let cool in pan on a rack for 10-15 minutes while preparing frosting.*

Cut partially cooled cookies into bars (1 ½” x 2-3”), but do not remove from pan.  Spread frosting over cookies and let cool completely in pan on rack.  (Don’t frost cookies before cutting them—if you do, frosting will crack when cookies are cut.)
Store covered.                                           Makes 2-3 dozen

*Orange Frosting:
            In a 2-qt bowl of an electric mixer, beat softened butter with powdered sugar until creamy.  Add vanilla, grated orange peel, and enough orange juice (and lemon juice) to make a good consistency.
Sunset Classics, Cookie Book  P. 749