December 12, 2010 8:30 pm

Louellen Coker

Family Favorite cookies
Family Favorites

It’s the holiday season. Themed parties abound, and one of my favorites is the cookie swap party one of my friends has every year or so. The hardest aspect of getting ready for the party is deciding which cookie to take. If I’m not making my usual chocolate chip and M&M cookies or chocolate chip and mini Reese’s peanut butter cup cookies, I’m at loss. And rather than scouring the obvious sites such as,, or, I decided to ask some of my friends for their favorite easy cookie recipe. And I got not one, but two scrumptious recipes.

The result was a couple of winners. They were so good, in fact, that I won the cookie taste-off for the Turtle Bars. Here are the recipes. You should try them when you get a chance.

Friend Favorites

Turtle Bars

This recipe was given to me by one of my neighbors. It came from her well-loved cookbook Cookies and Brownies by Alice Medrich (amazon affiliate link). If you’d like to make these delectable little gems, here’s how. You’ll need a 13 x 9 inch pan. Because of the quantity I needed, I added another half to the ingredients and used  a cookie sheet.



12 T unsalted butter
1/3 c granulated sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t salt
2 c all-purpose flour
2 c pecan halves


8 T unsalted butter
3/4 c (packed) light brown sugar, lump free
1 c milk chocolate chips or 6 oz milk chocolate, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Position rack in the lower third of the oven.

Crust: Cut butter into chunks and melt in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the flour and mix just until incorporated. Press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan. Scatter the pecans over the dough.

Bake until the pecans are lightlly toasted, 10-12 minutes. Set the pan aside but leave the oven on while making the topping.

Topping: Combine the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture ot a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Boil for 1 minute (mixture may look curdled). Pour the hot butter mixture over the pecans on the crust. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the topping is dark and bubbling vigorously. Remove the pan from the oven and scatter the chocolate over the top. Cool the bars in the pan on a rack. Run a slim knife along the unlined sides of the pan. Lift the ends of the foil liner and transfer to a cutting board. Use a long sharp knife to cut into bars. Store airtight for one week.

Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies

This recipe came from a dear friend of mine. She has three children under the age of 7, 2 of whom are twins, so I know she understands easy when it comes to baking cookies. After she text messaged me the recipe, I realized that this was in my old Campfire Girls Cookbook and was excited to revisit a child-hood favorite. Here’s how you make these sinfully simple and delicious cookies.


2 c sugar
1/2 c cocoa
1 stick butter
1/2 c milk
1 t vanilla
3 c quick-cooking oatmeal
1/2 c peanut butter


Combine sugar, cocoa, butter and milk in a saucepan. On medium heat, bring to a boil for one full minute. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter (optional), vanilla and oatmeal. Drop by spoonful on wax paper. Let cool for at least 30 minutes.

Hope  you enjoy the cookies as much as everyone at the party did! Know of any good and easy cookie recipes? I’ve got a title to defend! 🙂

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