A cookie recipe for all seasons, we love homemade lemon thins. Serve with fresh fruit for a light summer dessert. On a cold winter day, hot honey tea and lemon cookies will warm you heart and soul.

1/2 cup butter flavor vegetable shortening, room temperature
2 tablespoons sweet cream butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 lemon
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Confectioners’ sugar, optional

Wash and dry the lemon. Zest 1-1/2 tablespoons of the peel and set aside. Squeeze the lemon for 1/4 cup fresh juice and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, cream the shortening, butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the vanilla, lemon extract, lemon zest and juice, beat thoroughly until the mixture is smooth. Add the flour mixture to the shortening mixture and mix by hand until well incorporated. Place the dough on waxed paper and form a log 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the dough in the waxed paper and foil. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Using a sharp knife, cut the log into 1/8-inch slices. Place the slices 2″ apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, until the edges are just golden. Immediately transfer the cookies to racks and allow to cool. Sift confectioners’ sugar over the lemon thins if desired.

I like to make a double batch of this dough and freeze half for use at a later date. Divide the dough between 2 pieces of waxed paper to form the logs and wrap in foil. You can store this dough in the freezer for up to 90 days. Remove the log from the freezer to thaw in the refrigerator; proceed with cutting and baking as directed.

Yield: approximately 4 dozen

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This yummy no-bake cookie recipe travels beautifully. It’s a perfect choice for a brown bag lunch, barbecues, picnics and trips to the fishing hole.

3 cups sunflower seed kernels
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup crisp rice cereal
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter

Grease a 13″ x 9″ pan.

Combine the sunflower kernels, coconut flakes and rice cereal in a large bowl. Place the brown sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter until well blended. Pour the syrup over the sunflower mixture; stir until evenly coated.

Spoon the sunflower mixture into the prepared pan. Gently press the mixture to level the top and fill the edges and corners of the pan. Allow to cool completely, cut into bars.

Yield: 36 bars.

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An excellent treat to bake and take to picnics, barbecues and pot luck socials. This crowd pleaser is a triple layer of nuts, chocolate with nuts and luscious vanilla frosting.

Cake:
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (yes, tablespoon!)
2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped walnuts
2 squares (2 ounces) unsweetened chocolate, melted

Frosting:
5 tablespoons all-purpose unbleached flour
1 cup milk
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 13″ x 9″ baking pan.

Prepare the cake:
Cream the butter and sugar together; beat in the eggs and vanilla. Mix in the flour and salt until well blended; fold in the walnuts. Spread half of the batter into the prepared baking pan.

Add the melted chocolate to the remaining batter in the bowl and mix well. Carefully spread the chocolate batter over the batter in the pan. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes. When the cake is done it will spring back when touched in the center and a pick inserted in the center will come out clean. Place the pan on a rack and cool completely.

Prepare the frosting:
Mix the flour and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stirring constantly, cook for about 10 minutes until a thick paste forms. Cool completely. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly. Slowly add the milk mixture to the creamed butter mixture. Beat for approximately 5 minutes. Spread the frosting over the cake.

Tightly cover the cake with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

Yield: 20 – 24 servings.

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Black and Gold Banana Bars are a delight in every bite. This crowd favorite is easy to make and take, perfect for socials, picnics and brown bag lunches.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups ripe bananas, mashed (about 3 bananas)
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup baking cocoa

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 13″ x 9″ baking pan.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir to blend. In a mixing bowl thoroughly cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla; beat until well combined. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix well.

Divide the batter, placing 1/2 into the medium bowl. Add the baking cocoa to one of the bowls of batter and mix well. Spread the batter with the cocoa into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Spoon the remaining bowl of batter on top. Drag a knife through the batters to swirl the colors a bit.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes; until light golden brown and a pick comes out clean.

Yield: 30 – 36 bars

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Gingersnap cookies are marvelous to keep on hand. They travel well in a brown bag for school or office. Pack a few extra, this recipe is very popular!

3/4 cup butter flavored shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Additional sugar for dipping

Preheat oven to 350° and lightly grease cookie sheets.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg and molasses together. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt. In a large mixing bowl cream the shortening and sugar, beat in the egg and molasses mixture. Gradually add combined flour ingredients to the shortening mixture, beating by hand to combine thoroughly.

Roll teaspoonfuls of dough into balls. Dip one side of each ball into the additional sugar; place sugar side up on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until lightly browned and crinkled.

Yield: 40 – 50 cookies.

Store in tightly sealed tins.

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