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Recipe Review: Summer Sweets Edition

I think it's about time for another recipe review. These posts are always such a treat to put together. Whenever a recipe turns out really well, I feel compelled to share it, so please humor me and take a look at these summer favorites. :)

Addictive Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies

No-bake cookies are terrific for summer, when we don't want to heat up the house with the oven. The following is based on a Watkin's recipe from the late 80's. (Thanks, Mom!)


  • 1 1/2 C. sugar

  • 1/4 C. vanilla pudding mix

  • 1/2 C. milk

  • 1/2 C. (1 stick) butter or margarine

  • 1/2 C. peanut butter

  • 1/4 C. unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 3 1/2 C. quick oats

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1/2 tsp. coconut extract


Combine sugar, pudding mix, milk and butter in a microwave-safe mixing bowl. Microwave, uncovered, for 4-5 minutes or until mixture thickens and boils, stirring twice. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well combined. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto wax paper and let stand until set.

Yield - about 30 cookies

A number of other no-bake cookies out there don't include coconut extract, but I consider this to be the most important ingredient. Once you add that splash of coconut, the aroma will make you start salivating like one of Pavlov's dogs. It takes some real self control to portion out all the cookies, rather than devouring the chocolate mixture straight from the bowl.

Strawberry Charlotte

Strawberry picking season is fast approaching! I so enjoy getting out in the field and returning home with gallons and gallons of strawberries. Then, I daydream about all kinds of new, unique desserts that I can create using those strawberries. Of course strawberry shortcake is wonderful, but why not try something more interesting? Enter strawberry charlotte.

A traditional Charlotte is a complex dessert of Bavarian cream and fruit, surrounded by ladyfingers. I find the dessert a bit intimidating because it requires gelatin, a mysterious, disappearing substance, to set the cream. Like my hangup with meringue, I'm too scared to work with it. Plus, if you know what gelatin is made from, you may agree that it's kinda gross. :P

I was so overjoyed to find this recipe from Pastry Affair, which provides the impressive look of a charlotte, but is really just a simple vanilla cake. The filling is a light, airy strawberry mousse, and the ladyfingers are attached with a generous application of whipped cream. If you decorate the top with strawberry slices, as I did, make sure to thoroughly dry them on sheets of paper towel. Speaking from experience, strawberries have a lot of water in them, which will mess with the frosting on your cake. Don't risk it - dry your strawberries! And lastly, you can tie it all up with a bow for the perfect finishing touch.

Rose Petal Jelly

A couple weeks back, I shared my adventures in making violet jelly. Here's another gorgeous floral jelly, with a hint of spice! This recipe is from Epicurious, a go-to source for your more avant-garde/cutting edge flavor ideas. The rose petals and a couple of whole cloves are steeped in boiling water. You strain the resulting rosewater, add pectin, lemon juice and sugar. Boil for a few minutes and ladle into jars. Voila - a vibrant and summery floral jelly! I recommend enjoying this on a lightly toasted white bread, as wheat tends to overwhelm the delicate rose flavor.

Hope you enjoy these sweet summer recipes as much as I do!

'Til next time,



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