by Paul Goetz

Mail Managing Editor

I know what you are thinking, “You are crazy turning on that 350-degree oven and baking a batch of cookies in this heat.” And I would say you are absolutely right.

However, cookies are a classic summertime treat as they are portable, go well in picnics or stuck in a pocket for a day of fishing.

The best cookies I know are the ones we all grew up on. Try these on for size and let me know if you have other recipes, maybe a no-bake recipe. We will share the recipes with our readers. Email pgoetz@themountainmail.com.

Lemon bars

Ingredients

For crust:

  • 1½ sticks butter, diced
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For filling:

  • 4 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest from the lemons
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

For crust: Position a rack in the middle of a 350-degree oven.

Prepare a 9-by-13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper, letting the paper overhang by a couple of inches on all sides. Coat the paper with nonstick spray.

In a food processor or with a pastry cutter pulse flour, sugars and salt until dough comes together.

Press dough into bottom and about ½ inch up the sides of the pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden.

For filling: Whisk eggs, yolks, sugar and flour into a bowl. Add lemon juice and zest and whisk together.

Remove crust from oven and turn oven down to 300 degrees. Pour filling over crust and return to oven.

Bake until filling is just set, about 30-35 minutes.

Set pan on a cooling rack to cool. When cool, refrigerate until firm then lift lemon bars out of the pan using the 2-inch overhang of parchment paper as a handle. Remove parchment paper and slice bars into 3-inch squares. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

Cowboy cookies

(Laura Bush’s recipe adapted from the Washington Post)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 sticks butter at room temperature
  • 1½ cups white sugar
  • 1½ cups brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut (we used shredded)
  • 2 cups chopped pecans

With a rack in center of oven preheat to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

Cream butter and sugars on medium speed in a large bowl or a standing mixer. Add half the eggs, beat, then the other half and continue beating. Add vanilla extract.

Add flour mixture a little at a time until just incorporated, then add chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans, mixing until just combined.

Drop ¼-cup lumps of dough onto prepared cookie sheets, 3 inches apart for big cookies. For smaller cookies scoop about 2 tablespoons of cookie dough per cookie.

Bake at 350 degrees for 14-18 minutes for large cookies or 13-16 minutes for small cookies.

Let cookies rest on pan for about 5 minutes then remove to a rack to cool.

This will make several batches so be prepared to rotate the pans in the oven, with pans resting.

Peanut butter

cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream sugar, butter and peanut butter in a bowl. Add egg and vanilla and continue beating until well mixed.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and beat at low speed until well mixed.

With a No. 24 or 30 scoop make 1½-inch balls and roll in sugar. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten balls with a fork one way then the other, creating a crisscross pattern. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

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