Archive for ‘Sweets’

September 21, 2015

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies


I recently posted a picture of these cookies on Instagram and received many requests for the recipe. I have to say, not only are they easy to throw together, I think they are fairly healthy. They only use 1/4 cup of butter, which sounds even better when you say 4 tablespoons… and they are full of healthy oats.

I found the original recipe online through the “myrecipes” website, but as usual I’ve changed things up a little. Don’t we all find ourselves with a couple of overripe bananas every week? You can peel and freeze them to use in smoothies or bake a banana bread. These cookies are a nice change from the usual.

You could definitely add nuts to this or other dried fried. They perfectly mimic the tops of muffins, so I guess they’re a bit like banana muffin cookies.



  • 2 mashed overripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup raisins

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2. Combine the mashed bananas with the brown sugar, butter, sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of a mixer. Mix until well combined, then add the egg. Mix again until properly incorporated.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour. oats, baking soda and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the banana mixture in thirds, mixing to combine after each addition. Next add in the chocolate chips and raisins and stir by hand.

4. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and drop heaping tablespoons of the batter a couple of inches apart. Bake in the preheated oven until golden, about 16 minutes. I use the convection setting on my oven and they were done in 12 minutes.

5. Allow them to cool for a couple of minutes on the cookie sheets and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Do you have a favorite ingredient that you would never substitute? This vanilla extract is mine. I have used it forever and wouldn’t dream of using any other brand. Since I’m no expert baker I can’t give you any technical reason for my obsession, just that it tastes fantastic! It adds awesome flavor to smoothies, too. Most important, its REAL vanilla extract. Many of the extracts available in the grocery store are artificial. Make sure you read the label before you make your purchase.

June 8, 2015

Fresh Strawberry, Ricotta & Mascarpone Individual Trifles


I always feel when the strawberries are ready at our local farms it signifies summer is here. The strawberries are sweet & delicious at both Manoff Farms and None Such Farms. We ate the first two quarts I brought home in less than 24 hours. Most just popped in our mouths naked of anything but their juicy goodness. The rest were strategically smashed up in bowls and topped with our favorite vanilla yogurt from Siggi’s. Holy Cow! That’s a good breakfast!

I brought home the next two quarts and decided that I needed to do something more constructive with them. Something that I could share with everyone that would feel like summer. These individual strawberry trifles scream summer to me. So easy to make with so few ingredients, they’re perfect if you’re entertaining or just because they’re awesome!

Bucks County locals run to None Such or Manoff’s and pick up some of their strawberries. It’s a short season. Before we know it they’ll be gone. Supporting local farms is a great way to give back to our community and their strawberries are amazing! Look at these beauties…



  • 1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 8oz mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 cup part-skim ricotta
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 3oz package soft ladyfingers

* Mascarpone cream was adapted from Giada


In a medium bowl, place one cup of whole strawberries and mash them with the back of a fork. Slice remaining strawberries and add to the bowl. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of sugar over the strawberries, stir and set aside for about 20-30 minutes. The strawberries will macerate in the sugar and release all their juices.


In another bowl, stir together the mascarpone, ricotta, vanilla and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Stir until well combined and set aside.


Select a pretty glass to make your trifles and just begin layering the ingredients starting with a couple of ladyfingers in the bottom of the glass, top with the strawberries, then a dollop of the mascarpone cream and repeat. Once the glass is full, top with a very small dollop of the cream and place a sliced strawberry on top – or not… I just did that because it looked so pretty.


Place the trifles in the refrigerator so they chill completely. An hour or so would do just fine but the longer they sit, the more the flavors will meld together. They were delicious the next day. Enjoy!


* The size dessert dish or in this case, glass you use will decide how many trifles the recipe will make. The glasses I used here are 8 ounces and I made three trifles. The portions are definitely too large but I wasn’t turning back, therefore the recipe would easily make 4 generous servings in a smaller glass. They would be really cute if you made them in those small glass dessert cups for a party. So pretty!


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