2016 Holiday Cookbook: Desserts

Surprise Peanut Butter Brownies
Surprise Peanut Butter Brownies The Wichita Eagle

First Place: Surprise Peanut Butter Brownies

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 cup rolled oats (NOT instant)

1 1/3 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I prefer Reese’s)

1 boxed brownie mix

Preheat oven according to pan being used. Beat peanut butter, butter, and powdered sugar together until smooth. Fold in graham cracker crumbs and oats until just combined. Mixture will look very wet. Press into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake for 5 minutes to firm up peanut butter mixture. Mix brownies as instructed on the box. Pour over peanut butter mixture. Bake as indicated for brownies.

My husband wanted a layered peanut butter brownie, but not the standard run of the mill ones. I came up with this and it has been a huge hit with everyone that has had them!

Stacy Ruder, WaKeeney

Second place: Zucchini Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoon butter, melted or coconut oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup shredded zucchini

2 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 cup coconut

3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line baking sheet with parchment paper or use cooking spray.

Mix flour, soda and salt.

Combine butter or coconut oil and sugars, mix well, add egg and vanilla, then zucchini. Mix ingredients. Slowly stir in flour mixture until combined, add oats, coconut and chocolate chips. Drop by heaping tablespoons, 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until cookies are slightly golden around the edges and set, remove, cool on wire racks.

These will not disappoint, also makes a good breakfast bar.

Marilyn Brace, Moline


3 small Symphony Bars or Hershey Bars, melted in double broiler

4 eggs (add 1 egg at a time)

1/4 teaspoon soda

1 small can Hershey syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 sticks butter or oleo

2 cups sugar

1 cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 1/4 cups flour

1 cup chopped pecans

Mix in order given. Bake in bundt pan or angel food pan at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for 30 minutes longer. Cool. No icing needed.

Clara Barber Hess, Wichita

Honorable Mention: Pool Side Granita Pina Colada

Serves 8

2 tablespoons honey

Juice of 1/2 lime

20 ounces of crushed pineapple with the juice

15 ounces of light coconut milk

1/4 to 1/3 cup coconut flakes unsweetened

Pinch of salt

Rum, chilled to equal 8 shots

8 chilled old fashioned tumblers

In a blender, add pineapple with juice, coconut milk, honey, lime juice, pinch of salt and puree until smooth. Pour into a wide, shallow dish.

Freeze, stirring every 30 minutes with a fork to break up any frozen chunks, until frozen but easy to scoop, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325. Spread coconut flakes on a baking sheet, toast for 5 to 10 minutes, until golden brown, checking often as not to burn it.

Cool to room temperature.

In a chilled glass, use 1 large ice cream scoop of frozen mixture, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of coconut flakes, and a shot of rum.

If you plan to double or triple this recipe to use at one time, do each recipe individually. There is something about the mixture, it loses its flavor and it will take longer to freeze. For a non-alcohol drink, just use the ice and coconut flakes.

A friend had a barbecue one summer, and this was our end-of-the evening dessert.

Ginger Lawson, Wichita

Honorable Mention: White Cloud Coconut Pie

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Dash of salt

2 cups whole milk

1 teaspoon butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 egg whites, well beaten

1 cup coconut

1 prebaked pie shell

Mix dry ingredients thoroughly, add 1/2 cup cold milk. Heat the remaining milk to boiling point; add to mixture. Cook until thick. Cool to lukewarm; add butter and vanilla. Fold in the well-beaten egg whites. Pour into baked pie shell. Sprinkle top with coconut. Chill.

This recipe is over 100 years old and was handed down from my husband’s great-grandmother.

Lucille Dir, Wichita

Best Lemon Pie, Ever!

1 1/2 cups of sugar

3 tablespoons corn starch

Juice of 1 1/2 fresh lemons

3 beaten egg yolks

1 1/2 cups cold water

Grated lemon rind

Baked pie shell

Stir constantly until mixture comes to a full boil. Pour into baked pie shell (400 degrees for 10 minutes or brown)

Never Fail Meringue

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3 egg whites

2 tablespoons cold water

6 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup of boiling water

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

Blend cornstarch and cold water in a sauce pan. Add boiling water and cook, stirring until clear and thickened, let stand until completely cold. With electric beater, at high speed, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff, but not dry. Turn mixer to low speed, add salt and vanilla. Gradually beat in cold cornstarch mixture. Turn mixer again to high and beat well. Spread meringue over cooled pie filling. Bake 350 degrees for 10 minutes or lightly browned.

This was given to me by an old friend, who had perfected it over her many years of baking. She stated she didn’t know the calorie count, but this is a be-good-to-yourself treat.

Karen K. Lawless, Derby

Coconut Cream Cake

1/2 cup shortening

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup butter

5 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 2/3 cups flake coconut

1/4 teaspoon salt

Blend shortening and butter, add sugar gradually and beat until fluffy.

Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together flour, soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Add coconut and mix. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold into batter.

Pour into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes and cool on wire racks.

Frosting for Coconut Cream Cake

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 box (3 1/2 cups) of confectioners sugar

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened

Blend all ingredients well; spread between layers, top, and sides of cake.

I have been cooking for nearly 75 years, and while working at Cessna Aircraft in the electrical department I was always asked to bring this for special occasions.

Betty Parsons, Wichita

Pineapple Angel Food Cake

1 box Duncan Hines Angel Food Cake mix

1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks (or crushed) in its own juice

Powdered sugar (optional)

Non-fat dairy cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 11 x 13 pan by spraying with butter flavored spray.

In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, combine the dry Duncan Hines mix (do NOT add anything to it) and the pineapple with its juice. Pour the cake/pineapple mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes and then cover loosely with foil and bake an additional 5 minutes.

Serve with powdered sugar or dairy cream if desired.

Paula Richards, Wichita

Carol’s Cherry Chip Cookies

Makes about 6 dozen cookies

1/2 cup softened butter

3/4 cup shortening

1 1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon almond flavoring

2 3/4 cup of flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 tablespoon salt

6 ounces of white chocolate chips

10 to 12 ounces of maraschino cherries, drained and chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix butter, sugar, almond flavoring, shortening and eggs until smooth.

In separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Stir and add to the first bowl. Then add white chocolate chips and hand mix them in. Then add in maraschino cherries.

Form dough into balls the size of small walnuts. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8-12 minutes.

Carol A. Smith, Haysville

Melissa’s Fruit Cake Macaroons

Makes 24 cookies

4 cups egg whites

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple well drained

4 cups coconut

2 tablespoons of diced fresh peaches

2 tablespoons of diced apricot

2 tablespoons of maraschino cherries, halved

2 tablespoons crushed walnuts

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or grease and lightly flour. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.

Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. Fold in flour and salt. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop dough in table spoons 2 inches apart onto parchment-lined cookie sheets.

Bake at 325 degrees for 12 to 17 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Cool 1 minute; remove cookies from cookie sheets. Cool completely.

Melissa DeWinter, Wichita

Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake

2 1/2 cups regular flour, unsifted

1/2 cup cocoa

2 l/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup soft butter or margarine

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 teaspoons grated orange peel

2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini (unpeeled)

1/2 cup milk

1 cup chopped nuts

Combine: dry ingredients and set aside. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, orange peel and milk. Stir zucchini into butter/sugar mixture. Alternately stir in dry ingredients, adding nuts with last addition.

Pour batter into greased and floured bundt pan

Bake bundt cake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a wooden pick comes out clean. Cool in pan then turn out on rack until completely cool, drizzle with glaze.


2 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla

Beat till smooth.

I received this cake recipe from a nurse friend when we were living in Colorado Springs and stationed at the Air Force Academy in 1971. This is one of my favorite summertime recipes when zucchini is abundant.

Jeanne Kremer-Cleary, Andover

Sour Cream Apricot Pie

Serves 6 to 8

1 cup finely chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup water

3 large eggs

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 cup sour cream

2 teaspoon vanilla

1 unbaked deep-dish 9-inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine apricots and water in small bowl; let stand until water is absorbed. Beat eggs in bowl. Add sugar gradually, beating until thick. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. Stir in apricots. Spoon into pie shell with high rim. Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees then reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Bake 25 to 30 minutes longer or until set.

Lois Hofmeier, Harper

Luscious Apple Rolls

2 cups water

2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons butter

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup shortening

1/2 cup milk

2 1/2 cups tart apples, diced or shredded

Combine water, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves; stir in butter. Set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; cut shortening into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly 4 or 5 times.

Roll dough to a 12x9 rectangle. Spread apples evenly over dough; roll up jellyroll fashion, beginning with long side. Cut into 12 l-inch slices; place slices, cut side down, in a well-greased 13x9 pan. Pour sugar syrup around slices; bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Nancy Bettis, Wichita

Grandma’s Coconut Pound Cake


5 eggs (well beaten)

2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon coconut extract

1 8 oz. package of Angel Flake Coconut


1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon coconut extract

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup margarine or butter, melted

Instructions for Glaze:

Melt butter in saucepan or microwave, then mix with sugar until creamy, add in extract and water slowly for a smooth, pourable glaze.

Instructions for Cake:

Cream together the eggs, sugar and oil. Add flour, baking powder and salt plus the milk alternatively, then add the vanilla and coconut extract. Take 1/4 cup flour and coat the coconut so it will not sink to bottom of baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. After the cake is done, run a knife around the edges of the pan and pour 1/2 of the glaze on the cake while still in the pan. Take the cake out of the pan. Flip it. Poke holes with a meat fork and pour the remaining glaze over the cake. Use a tube pan, one with a center that lifts out.

Mary Ann Jones, Halstead

Coconut Joy Cream Puffs

Makes 16 medium-sized puffs

For the pastry:

1 1/2 cup butter

1 cup water

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 eggs

To make pastry: Place water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the butter. When it is melted stir in the flour all at once. Stir hard until the mixture holds together in a ball. Remove from the heat and let stand 5 minutes. Add one egg and beat hard until well mixed. Add the rest of the eggs one by one and beat as before. The mixture should be very firm. If not, let it stand 10 minutes before shaping.

Place tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on an unbuttered cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees until there are no beads of moisture on the puffs (40 minutes or a little more).

Cool. Remove the tops of each puff and fill with almond coconut ice cream or yogurt filling. Replace the tops and enjoy.

Almond coconut ice cream or yogurt filling

1 1/2 cups coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened)

1 cup vanilla yogurt or 1 cup vanilla ice cream

3/4 teaspoon almond extract

Combine all ingredients gently using a spoon.

This is a French-inspired recipe with a healthy dairy twist.

Paula Luteran, Hutchinson

Healthy Choco-Coco Brownies

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1/4 cup dark cocoa powder

3/4 of a large, very ripe avocado, mashed

1/2 cup (scant) of coconut palm sugar

1/2 cup (scant) coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup of chopped pecans

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 degree. Line an 8”x8” glass baking pan with parchment paper up the side so that there is enough to easily remove the brownies from the pan. Spray lightly with coconut or olive oil.

Melt coconut oil if not already melted. In a large bowl, mix coconut oil, cocoa, mashed avocado, coconut palm sugar, coconut flour, salt, and optional cinnamon with an electric mixer until combined. Stir in nuts and optional chocolate chips.

Spread into pan (batter will be thick) and bake for 25 minutes. Cool, cut into 16 servings. Store in an airtight container on the counter or in the fridge.

These brownies are healthy and as rich as their unhealthy counterparts. It’s finally a guilt-free brownie.

Katelyn Hageman, Towanda

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Serves 6-8

1-10 inch baked pie shell

1 quart of strawberries (Use whole or if really large, cut in half)

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons of cornstarch

1 cup water

3 drops red food coloring

Put 1 cup strawberries and 2/3 cup water in pan and stir, cooking for 3 minutes. Add mixture of sugar, cornstarch and remaining 1/3 cup water to cooked mixture. Cook hard for one minute. Cool and pour over rest of strawberries in baked shell. Chill before serving. May use whipped topping when serving.

Beverly Harshbarger, Wichita

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