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Bake a Batch of Yummy Cookies for After School Snacks

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As children start a new school year, plan to have a variety of after school snacks on hand. Welcome them home with freshly baked cookies and a tall glass of milk or a smoothie. The Rev. Steve Bass, pastor of Student Ministries at Trinity Methodist Church, and his wife, Natalie, a real estate agent with eXp Realty, are sharing a family-favorite recipe for Peanut Butter Blossoms. Pictured are Natalie with their two sons, Carson, center, and James.
PHOTO CONTRIBUTED TO THE OBSERVER


By Ann Cipperly

As  children  head back to school, plan on having plenty of after school snacks on hand. While we prefer to serve healthy choices, sometimes freshly baked cookies and a tall glass of milk or a smoothie are the most popular. Fill the house with the sweet aroma of cookies fresh from the oven to welcome hungry children after school.

Like many parents getting their children back in school, Natalie and the Rev. Steve Bass of Opelika are busy preparing their two sons, Carson, 13, and James, 8, for classes. With Steve being the pastor of Student Ministries at Trinity Methodist Church and Natalie, a successful real estate agent with eXp Realty, they share getting their sons home from school.

Carson will be in the eighth grade at Opelika Middle School, while James will be a student at Northside Intermediate. Carson plays percussion in the band and was among those selected to be in the high school band this year. He will be marching and performing in competitions with the high school and has already been in band camp for the last three weeks.

James’ favorite activity is KidStrong, which he does each week in Auburn. They have loved it for him as much as he enjoys going. The program teaches self-confidence, healthy activity, peer support and leadership — all while getting a workout.

Steve and Natalie met while he was youth pastor at Wesley Memorial Church, and Natalie was working in the nursery while they were both attending Auburn University. After they were engaged to be married, Steve began sending resumes to churches in search of a full-time ministry position and received a call from Trinity. He has served there since 2004.

Steve also leads the annual barbecue/bake sale and strawberry sale with proceeds benefiting the youth and children ministries. He also currently preaches the weekly chapel service.

“We are excited to push our kids to be their best and to look for others that need a friend,” Natalie said. “That’s really important to us. We’re working on manners and independence especially right now. The boys are involved in a number of activities that they each enjoy. As they get older, we will focus on their main interests as the time commitments increase and as they select their niche, such as with Carson and band.”

Natalie keeps a “daily task chart” for the boys in hopes of teaching responsibility, daily order and simply chipping in with household duties. The boys are both in charge of helping with their two dogs, laundry, dishes and more.

Steve takes the boys to school, and they share the responsibility of picking them up. Steve also does the majority of the cooking; their favorite family meal together is on Saturdays for “Bass Family Breakfast.” Steve learned a great deal about cooking while working at restaurants when he was attending Auburn University.

While Natalie is a busy working mom, she works to keep the family organized, the house clean and is a wonderful mother. Natalie and Steve make a great team.

They are sharing a recipe for Peanut Butter Blossoms. “The recipe is a combination of online recipes that my niece Emily Gibson put together,” Natalie said. “It has become a family favorite since she has been living with us for the last year and a half and is now about to head off to Auburn University.”

The Peanut Butter Blossoms are easy to prepare with the mixture shaped into balls and rolled in sugar before baking. They make a yummy treat for after school and are good served with fresh fruit.

If children help you make the Peanut Butter Blossoms or one of the other cookie recipes, remember some simple rules. Be sure they wash their hands first, and if they crack eggs, they need to wash their hands again. Don’t let children eat raw cookie dough with raw eggs, as it could make them sick.

When measuring flour, stir it in the canister first, then use a large spoon to fill the measuring cup. Use a table knife and scrape with the straight end to level.

When baking cookies, line cookie sheets with parchment paper. The cookies are easily removed without sticking, and it makes cleanup quicker.

If you are a busy mom like Natalie and don’t have much time for baking, try bar cookies or brownies. The batter will go together quickly, and they bake in a fairly short time.

When the kids come home from school this coming week, have plenty of cold milk on hand and a fresh batch of cookies waiting. Look over favorite cookie recipes from moms and grandmothers for offering delicious after school treats this coming week.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Natalie and the Rev. Steve Bass family

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 stick butter, room temperature

½ cup creamy peanut butter

½ cup light brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 Tbsp. milk

1 tsp. vanilla

11 oz pkg. Hersey’s Kisses

Extra granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

Cream butter and peanut butter; add brown sugar and granulated sugar, blending well. Add egg, milk and vanilla.

Gradually add flour mixture.

Roll dough mixture into balls no larger than a golf ball. Roll in extra sugar to coat exterior. Place on parchment paper in cookie sheet for baking.

Bake 7 to 9 minutes until barely brown. Unwrap the Hershey Kisses while cooking so you are ready to use. When the cookies are baked, immediately place kisses in the center of cookies, pressing firmly.

Energy Bites

Maggie Cooper

1 cup dry oatmeal

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/3 cup honey

1 Tbsp. chia seeds

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together and place in refrigerator for about half an hour. Roll into small balls about 1-inch in size. Store in air tight container in refrigerator.

Oatmeal Brickle Cookies

Payton Tatum

1 cup shortening

1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

2 eggs

2 Tbsp. milk

1½ tsp. vanilla

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

4 cups quick oats

1⅓ cups (8 oz.) Bit ‘O Brickle or English Toffee Bits

*Optional – May add 1 cup of chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, blend shortening with sugars, adding sugar gradually. Add eggs, milk and vanilla; beat well. Add flour, salt and baking soda; beat well. Stir in oats and brickle.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls, about 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes. Place cookies on a wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes about 42 cookies.

Oatmeal Toll House Cookies

Tamar Lisenby

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. salt

2 cups butter or margarine, room temperature

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ cups brown sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

4 eggs

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

4 cups uncooked old-fashioned oatmeal

1 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Sift together flour, soda and salt. Blend butter, sugars and vanilla. Add eggs alternately with flour mixture. Mix well. Stir in oatmeal, chocolate chips and pecans..

Cookies can be baked now or the dough refrigerated overnight and drop by scant teaspoons on unbaked cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes.  This is a double recipe and makes approximately 13 to 14 dozen cookies.

Chock Full of Good Stuff Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened

¾ cup brown sugar

¾ cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 ½ cups self-rising flour

1 ½ cups oatmeal

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup dried cranberries or cherries

1 pkg. (8 oz.) toffee chips

Cream butter and sugars; add egg and vanilla, mixing well. Blend in flour and oatmeal. Fold in remaining ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes or until lightly browned.

Toffee Chip Cookies

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

½ cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 large egg

½ tsp. vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cups toffee chips

1 cup chopped pecans, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter and sugars; beat until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, mix flours, baking soda and salt until combined. Stir in toffee chips and nuts.

Drop cookies onto greased cookie sheets. Bake until golden, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Peanut Butter and Jam Bars

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 large eggs, room temperature

2 cups (18 ounces) creamy peanut butter

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 1/2 cups (18 oz.) raspberry jam or jam of choice

2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees..

Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch cake pan. Line with parchment paper, then grease and flour pan.

In bowl of electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. With mixer on low speed, slowly add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.

Spread 2/3 of the dough into prepared cake pan and spread over the bottom with a knife. Spread jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. All of jam doesn’t have to be covered. Sprinkle chopped peanuts on top.

Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and cut into squares.

Graham Cracker Cookies

Kathy Hughes

1 box graham crackers

1 stick oleo

1 stick butter

½ cup sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a cookie sheet and line with whole graham crackers, filling the cookie sheet. Set aside.

Melt oleo, butter and sugar and let boil approximately 3 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Immediately pour over graham crackers and sprinkle chopped pecans on top. Bake about 15 minutes or until golden brown. After the pan cools a bit, cut crackers into size squares desired. Warning, one batch is NEVER enough.

Oatmeal Cookies

Starta Haynes

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or shortening

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla and 1 tsp. water

Sift together:

2 cups flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. soda, ¾ tsp. salt

Add:1½ cups nuts and/or 1½ cups raisins

2 cups rolled oats

Drop on ungreased (spray with Pam) cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Wipe spatula off after getting each cookie.

LU’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

AnnaLee Gardner

1 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup white sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. hot water

1/2 tsp. salt (I prefer sea salt)

2 cups milk chocolate chips

1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water and add to batter along with salt. Add flour 1 cup at a time but do not over mix.

Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop onto cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. These are better if pulled before they are completely brown. They tend to have a crispy outside and a gooey inside.

“Scotcheroos”

Jean Lenard

Base:

6 cups Rice Krispies

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup sugar

1 cup Karo syrup

Topping:

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup butterscotch chips

Base: Use “big” pot. Combine sugar and Karo syrup; heat until boiling.

Remove from stove and mix in peanut butter. After melted, stir in Rice Krispies. Put in 9 by13 inch greased pan and press down.

Topping: Melt chips together in microwave or pan. Spread on top of Rice Krispies mixture. Cut in 1-inch squares.

Easy Pecan Bars

Janet Bartlett

1 box of yellow cake mix

1 egg

1 stick of butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine and press into the bottom of a 9 by13 inch pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly brown.

Filling:

4 eggs

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 stick butter

1 tsp. vanilla

2 ½ cups chopped pecans

Make filling by beating 4 eggs in a bowl. Put sugar, syrup and butter in a saucepan and heat until bubbly hot. Reduce heat and cook until the mixture lightens in color. Remove from heat. Slowly add 1/3 of the hot mixture to the eggs stirring constantly. After egg mixture is well blended add to the saucepan. Stir in vanilla and add pecans.

 Pour over crust and bake for additional 30 to 35 minutes. Watch carefully. Bars are done when the top is set.

Seven Layer Bars

Karen Herring

(This is a great one for young children to get to “mostly” do.)

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

3 or 4 oz. can flake coconut

6 oz. pkg. chocolate morsels

6 oz. pkg. butterscotch morsels

15 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup chopped pecans (or nuts that you have)

Melt butter and pour in 9 by 13 inch pan. Add ingredients in layers in the order given. Bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes. Let cool then cut. Makes 15 to 20 bars.

Cranberry-White Chocolate Cookies

Melisa Love

½ cup butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

1 large egg, slightly beaten

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

1¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 1/3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup dried cranberries

½ cup white chocolate chips

In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar and egg until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix together cinnamon, flour, oatmeal and baking soda. Gradually add dry mixture to the butter mixture. Stir in the cranberries and chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoon onto a cookie sheet (use non-stick spray first). Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

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