I set out to make Cherry Chocolate Chip cookies but discovered a cache of dried blueberries in my pantry–temptation. Yes, I bypassed the dried cherries, which turned out to be a good move. Another good move was cutting back on the flour so I could toss in a bit of oatmeal (love oatmeal cookies). The result: one of those rare cookies that tastes terrific hot, warm, or cold. To wit, had I not foreseen their popularity and stashed half in the fridge for lunches this week, there might not be any left. Score!

3/4  cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1-1/4 cup granulated white sugar

2 eggs

2 tbsp milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1-1/4 cups old-fashioned oats

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole dried blueberries

3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees

2) In large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy; on medium-low speed, add eggs, milk, vanilla extract, baking soda, and salt; mix until combined

3) On low speed, add oats; gradually add flour and mix until just combined

4) Stir blueberries and chocolate chips into cookie dough

5) Drop cookie dough by overly generous tablespoonfuls onto non-stick cookie sheet; bake 14-16 minutes until cookies begin to go gold; remove from oven and cool 5 minutes on cookie sheets; transfer to wire racks; enjoy hot, warm, or cold

Makes: 36 palm-sized cookies (that would be my girlie palm, not senior’s)


Gelatin is not among my weaknesses, but blackberries…oh my. And an occasional glass of red wine…quite nice. Here, I combined the two for a beautiful, elegant, and delicious side dish that was all the dessert anyone could want. But that’s just my opinion 🙂

Blackberry and Red Wine Gelatin

1 cup sweet red wine

2/3 cup granulated white sugar

12 oz fresh blackberries, divided (frozen work well too, but thaw first)

1 cup water

2 envelopes Knox unflavored Gelatine

1) To a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, add wine and sugar; stirring continuously to dissolve sugar, bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, add 8 oz blackberries (reserving 4 oz for garnish), and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally

2) Meanwhile, add water to large bowl, sprinkle gelatin over surface; let sit 5 minutes

3) Slowly stir blackberry-wine mixture into gelatin mixture, then pour into a loaf pan; cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate 3-4 hours until set

4) To more easily unmold gelatin, set loaf pan in a shallow pan of hot water a few seconds to loosen gelatin from bottom and sides, then invert pan onto serving plate; garnish gelatin with reserved blackberries and serve immediately


Servings: 6-8


When I posted a recipe for Lemon-Berry Sorbet Cake a while back, it struck me it would be fabulous in cupcake form. so, here’s to revisiting our family’s favorite dessert. Portions and preparation times have been altered to make 12 cupcakes. Note: You can use silicone cupcake liners for a somewhat taller cupcake and easy removal, or bypass liners altogether and make directly in cupcake pan for an even prettier presentation.

Lemon-Raspberry Sorbet Cakes 2Lemon-Raspberry Sorbet Cakes 320 gingersnap cookies, crumbled (put cookies in large zip top bag, pound a bit, and “crumb” with rolling pin)

2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1 pint raspberry sorbet

1 pint lemon sorbet

2 cups frozen raspberries (or mixed berries)

1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate mini-morsels

mint sprigs, optional (but do consider, ’cause that bit of green is oh-so-pretty!)

1) Remove raspberry sorbet from freezer and set out to thaw while you: combine cookie crumbs and melted butter, stir well, and press into bottoms of a dozen cupcake liners; freeze 10 minutes

2) Remove lemon sorbet from freezer and set out to thaw while you: spread softened raspberry sorbet over cookie crumb crusts; freeze 15 minutes

3) Spread softened lemon sorbet over raspberry sorbet; freeze 5-10 minutes until slightly firm, then gently press frozen raspberries into lemon sorbet

4) Melt chocolate morsels (I microwave 20-30 seconds, spoon into a sandwich bag, and snip a small hole in bottom corner of bag); squeeze melted chocolate over berries (a lattice pattern is lovely); freeze a minimum of one hour

5) To serve, place a sprig of mint atop each cupcake; if you used silicone liners, simply pop out of pan and have at it; if you didn’t use a liner, run a warm knife around sorbet cupcake and gently lift out, careful to keep gingersnap crust intact; place on plate and enjoy immediately

Servings: 12

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 04/19/12


Well, yum! When I decided to concoct something (the warming weather made me do it), little did I know these cookies would be such a hit. Since it’s hard to go wrong with oatmeal cookies, especially those that have both a soft and crispy side, that’s where I started. And ended. Why try to improve on perfect, hmm? The addition of Craisins added a lovely “pop” to the cookies, but I imagine they would be delicious without.

Lime-Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated white sugar

1 egg

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

zest of 1 lime, divided (save a large pinch for cookie tops after baking)

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1-1/4 cups shredded sweetened coconut, divided

1 cup Craisins + 2 tbsp for cookie tops (Craisins are optional, but oh-so-good and talk about pretty!)

1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (not quick-cooking)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) In large bowl, cream butter and both sugars with mixer on high speed until light and fluffy

3) On medium speed, beat in egg, vanilla, lime zest, lime juice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt

4) Beat in 1 cup coconut (reserving 1/4 cup for cookie tops), Craisins, and oats; stir in flour (dough will be on the moist side)

5) Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet, press a pinch of reserved coconut and 2 Craisins into tops; bake 10-12 minutes until cookies are golden but still soft

6) Remove from oven, scatter tiny pinches of reserved lime zest on each cookie; transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool

Makes: 2 dozen

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 04/23/12


This is a variation on Pistachio-Craisin-Orange Chocolate ‘N Chocolate Bark . It’s delicious (though I do lean more toward the pistachio version), and just as easy to make. Add or subtract toppings to your heart’s desire and you’ll have a beautifully sweet treat to share.

Pecan-Craisin-Lemon Chocolate Bark

12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

12 oz white chocolate chips

zest of one lemon (I used a Meyer lemon), divided

1/3 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries (Craisins)

1) Line a large  (12×17″) cookie sheet with parchment paper

2) Pour semi-sweet chocolate chips in microwave-safe bowl; microwave, pausing and stirring every 30 seconds until chocolate melts; remove from microwave and stir in half the lemon zest (reserving half for topping); pour melted chocolate onto prepared baking sheet and smooth into a rectangle

3) Pour white chocolate chips in microwave-safe bowl; microwave, pausing and stirring every 30 seconds until chocolate melts; remove from microwave and drop by spoonfuls on semi-sweet chocolate; using a knife or wooden spoon, swirl chocolates together until your swirl is just right

4) Sprinkle pecans, Craisins, and remaining zest over top and lightly press into chocolate; if you have the space, cool in fridge 30-40 minutes until chocolate is hard; if you don’t have the fridge space, cool on counter to room temperature; break into pieces of whatever size you think you can limit yourself to and serve (we like it cold, but it’s wonderfully tasty at room temperature)


Last night’s dinner was good but not worth writing home–er, blog–about. So…cookies that feature crumbed, chopped, AND whole vanilla wafers, not to mention bananas. If you like classic Vanilla Wafer Banana Pudding, you’re bound to love these marvelous mouthfuls that are made by mounding cookie dough on top of a vanilla wafer and letting all that deliciousness bake down over it. All thumbs up! I did good 🙂

Vanilla Wafer Banana Pudding Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup granulated white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 pkg instant banana pudding mix

2 eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs (crush in zip top bag with rolling pin)

2 small medium-firm bananas, diced

1 cup vanilla wafers, coarsely chopped

4 dozen vanilla wafers, whole

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) In large bowl, beat butter, both sugars, and banana pudding mix 3-5 minutes until creamy

3) Add eggs, vanilla, baking soda, and salt; beat 1 minute

4) Add flour and vanilla wafer crumbs; beat 1 minute

5) Gently stir in banana and chopped vanilla wafers

6) On cookie sheet, space whole vanilla wafers 1″ apart; place 1 tbsp cookie dough on top of each vanilla wafer and gently pat down

7) Bake 9-10 minutes until golden; cool on wire rack and STAND BACK!

Makes: about 4 dozen cookies

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 05/04/12.


Three out of our four enjoy salads as a meal. Since Junior prefers heartier meals, I made up for his calorie deficit by whipping up this easy Blackberry and Wine Crumble. Of course, I couldn’t make it for Junior without making it for all of us. And, yes, I had to increase my morning work out 😦

Blackberry and Wine Crumble

2/3 cup sweet red wine

2 tsp cornstarch

5 cups frozen blackberries (or mixed berries)

1/4 cup granulated white sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup 5-minute oatmeal

1/2 tsp cinnamon

4 tbsp butter, softened

Optional: 4 tbsp heavy whipping cream

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees; lightly oil 4 individual casserole dishes (about 1-3/4 cup capacity each)

2) In medium-sized saucepan, whisk wine and cornstarch until well combined; add blackberries and white sugar and, stirring often, cook over medium-high heat 7-8 minutes until blackberry mixture thickens; remove from heat and divide between 4 individual casserole dishes

3) In small bowl mix flour, brown sugar, oatmeal, cinnamon, and butter until well combined and crumbly; sprinkle over blackberry-wine mixture; place casserole dishes on a baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes until blackberries are bubbly and crumb topping is golden and lightly crisp; remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving; serve with or without drizzled whipping cream

Servings: 4