Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Best-Ever Cookies" Review and GIVEAWAY!

It's another Gooseberry Patch Early Bird Review and Giveaway! As you may recall, my first review was for "Homestyle in a Hurry," and that was lots of fun! I was so excited to receive this one last week...
This will be available at the end of March. Want to pre-order? Click here!

What a great excuse to bake! Not that I really need one, I love to bake. Growing up my sisters and I were always in charge of birthday cakes and Christmas cookies. So over the weekend I chose a few recipes...it was hard to narrow down my list, there are so many yummy ones in this cookbook! The book is divided into chapters, which include "Cookie Jar Classics," "All-American Cookies," and "Holiday Cookies," to name a few. The first recipe that jumped out at me was from the chapter "Best-Ever Brownies and Bars," called Nebraska Brownies. My family loves brownies...and truth be told, they're more than happy with a boxed mix. But taking the time to make them from scratch is worth it. Are you ready? Here's the recipe for Nebraska Brownies.
You will need: 1/2 C. boiling water; 1/2 C. baking cocoa; 1/2 C. butter, softened; 1/2 C. shortening; 2 C. sugar; 3 eggs, beaten; 2 C. all-purpose flour; 1/2 C. milk; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract; and Optional, 1 Cup chopped nuts.

In a small bowl, stir together boiling water and cocoa.
In a separate bowl, blend together butter, shortening and sugar.
Beat in eggs;
Add cocoa mixture. Stir in flour and milk alternately; beat well.
Stir in vanilla.
Fold in nuts, if using. My kids are "anti-nut" in their brownies, so I left them out.

Spread in a greased 18" x 12" jelly-roll pan. Now, I don't know about you, but I have no idea what kind of pan they're talking about. So I just used a good ol' 13" x 9". Thick brownies are better, I figure! Oh, and do yourself a favor, try this trick. Instead of greasing the pan, get some non-stick foil with which to line the pan.
Tear off a sheet, turn the pan over, and press over the pan. Then flip the pan back to the right side, and it will fit right in. Just make sure the non-stick side of the foil is up.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Even though I used a smaller pan, they were ready at 30 minutes as well. See the toothpick holes? I didn't believe it either. LOL
See? You just lift the edge of the foil out of the pan (when the brownies have cooled a bit) and it comes right out!
Cool slightly before topping with FROSTING.
You will need: 1 C. powdered sugar; 2 Tablespoons baking cocoa; 1/4 C. water; 1/2 C. butter, softened: 1/2 C. all-purpose flour; 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; and 1/2 teaspoon vinegar.

Stir together all ingredients until smooth. Does yours look like this?
If you're using a stand mixer, switch to your whisk attachment...Aah! Much better! No lumps.
Frost your brownies. Makes 2 dozen.
 A tip from me to you: Cut your brownies with a plastic knife. No sticking!

I wanted a yummy beverage to go with these, so my next recipe to try was Hot Vanilla Nightcap.
You will need: 1 C. low-fat milk; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract; 1 teaspoon sugar; 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, divided; and whipped topping, for garnish.

Pour milk into a microwave-safe mug; stir in sugar, vanilla and 1/8 tsp. cinnamon. Microwave on high for about 70-80 seconds, until hot but not boiling. Top with a generous dollop of whipped topping and remaining cinnamon. Makes one serving.

RECIPES REVIEW:
I am very, very pleased with these recipes! The brownies are rich and lightly chocolately, with a wonderful brownie texture. I was a little nervous about the frosting ingredients....flour in frosting? Vinegar? But I had to stop myself from licking the bowl. Really really delicious. The sweetness from the frosting definitely compliments the flavor of the brownies.
The Hot Vanilla Nightcap is fabulous. Warm and comforting, the vanilla and sugar go just right with the cinnamon and milk. It's a great accompaniment to the brownies. I didn't have any whipped topping when I made this, but it was still yummy.

OK, I have one more recipe to review, and it's another good one! This one is called Lemon Crinkles.
You will need: 18-1/4 oz. pkg. lemon cake mix; 1/2 C. frozen whipped topping, thawed; 2 eggs, beaten; 2 Tablespoons lemon zest; 1/2 C. powdered sugar; and extra powdered sugar for garnish.

In a bowl, combine dry cake mix and remaining ingredients except garnish. I used French Vanilla Cool Whip, oh boy that's good stuff! Next time I make a Hot Vanilla Nightcap, this is going on top!
 Mix well. Roll into one-inch balls; roll in powdered sugar.
Place on lightly greased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. I use parchment paper to line my baking sheets...no need to grease the pans. Also you can have some ready to go for the next batch!
 Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until centers start to crack.
 Remove while warm to a wire rack; cool. Makes 2 to 3 dozen.
RECIPE REVIEW:
Seriously Scrumptious! Both the flavor and texture of these cookies are excellent. They're chewy in the center and a little crunchier on the outside. The lemon combined with the powdered sugar makes a great sweet-tart cookie! I think this is my favorite recipe of the bunch!

GIVEAWAY:
To win your very own brand-spankin' new copy of this cookbook, just leave me a comment on this post. Please make sure to leave me your email address! Any entries without a way to contact you will unfortunately be disqualified. I will randomly select a winner on Wednesday, February 16th! Thanks for stopping by and GOOD LUCK!

♥ Jen

48 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing the recipies. I think I'll try the lemon cookies, they look so good. I'd love the book too! denaa@comcast.net

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  2. You have made me hungry! These recipes look delicious :) Thanks or sharing.
    I would love to win the cookbook!
    Hugs,
    Donna

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  3. Yay! We're so glad you enjoyed the book, Jen! Thanks so much for your kind words and for giving some recipes a test-drive. Everything looks delicious! Best of luck to everyone entering. :)

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  4. Sounds like a really good book to have. I'd love to win a copy.

    jlpegram@vcu.edu

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  5. The recipes all look so delicious! Three ingredients I can't live without...chocolate, cinnamon and lemon! We have some warm weather coming this weekend, so the Lemon Crinkles will be a perfect treat!
    Wanted to let you know that a jelly roll pan is a cookie sheet with an edge that comes up around the sides about 1 inch.
    Please enter me in your contest!
    tinasblogemail@yahoo.com

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  6. The lemon crinkles look good!! I would love to win the book.

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  7. The brownies look fabulous and I'd love to try the other recipes too. Please enter me in your contest.

    Reddie10 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  8. All of these recipes look really good. I would love to win this cookbook.

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  9. Oooo everything looks so yummy!! I used to make Chocolate Crinkles, but LEMON!! woo-hoo, what a treat. Thanks for the great giveaway :-)

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  10. My husband only eats homebaked cookies, so new recipes would be fun.
    slmartin at vtc dot net

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  11. Yummy in my tummy . Everything looks so good. Thanks jenniferbowden7atgmaildotcom

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  12. I want! I want! I want! Those lemon cookies look DELICIOUS and so "spring-y"! But you know what? I'm a total boxed brownie mix girl. I LOVE fudgy, gooey brownies and I have yet to find (with the exception of ONE recipe which takes over an hour to prep so they are "special occasion only") a recipe that gives me the end result I'm looking for. And I'm "naked" brownie girl too. No frosting for me. so tell me, are these fudgy brownies???

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  13. Oh yumm...my mouth is watering now! Especially for chocolate. Looks like an awesome book.

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  14. Just looking at the lemon cookies is making my mouth water. I will have to do some baking very soon. As always I enjoyed my visit with you today.

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  15. Love GBP. Please enter me.

    Erin
    eparker@arkwest.com

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  16. Ohhhhh!!!! I have just got to make those lemon ones for sure!!!!!!!!!!

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  17. Oh they look wonderful! And I love Gooseberry Patch books! I received a letter last month that I will have a memory published in the fall book that will be coming out and I am sooo excited!! Please enter me in your drawing to win! Thanks! Lynne at vwmazlady@yahoo.com

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  18. brownies look wonderful!! thanks for the tips. rkl_thomas@yahoo.com

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  19. I love the idea of the lemon crinkles. I have used this recipe in the past only with Strawberry cake mix- imagine making the strawberry and lemon cookies both for Easter! What a great idea. I look forward to this cookbook and would love to be entered into the drawing!

    Jessica B
    jessica6797@att.net

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  20. Love Lemon!!!!! I've made cookies out of cake mixes but never anything like this, they sound so yummy........

    patedsch1@comcast.net

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  21. Thanks for sharing those recipes. I will have to try them sometime. Please enter me into the giveaway, I'd love to have that cookbook.
    lcdubbelman@telus.net

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  22. My sister's birthday is Feb. 16. This would be a wonderful gift for her. And as a chocoholic (so am I) she is going to love the Nebraska Brownies I'll make for her, whether or not we win the book! Thanks for the opportunity to enter.

    laurabun136@inbox.com

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  23. Every Gooseberry Patch book is fabulous! I wonder if you could make any flavor of "crinkle" by just changing the cake mix flavor? Why not.
    Thanks for the darling site!
    jmolsen70@gmail.com

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  24. They all sound good to me. Bet you could also substitute orange zest for lemon zest and see how that works.

    shoshanna 1776 at g mail dot com (leave out the spaces)

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  25. This recipe sounds wonderful and i plan to make them on my daughters birthday next month.

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  26. will make a batch of the lemon crinkles this week and let you know....my email address is

    alohapattirose@yahoo.com

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  27. Thanks for sharing the recipes, the lemon crinkles are a must try!

    Nancy (wolffpac@vermontel.net)

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  28. Great reviews -- I can't wait to try the Lemon Crinkles!

    Kim
    leapoffaithfarm@att.net

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  29. GREAT review Jen!! Since I live in Nebraska, I wonder what makes these brownies - Nebraksa Brownies. They look extra yummy and those Lemon Crinkles look right up my alley! Thank you for these great recipes and I cannot wait to get my hands on this fabulous book :)

    Blessings!
    Gail

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  30. My first GBP cookbook was a cookie book and I would love to add this to my collection. Please enter me in your contest.

    drburfield@comcast.net

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  31. looking at the pictures made me hungry. can't wait til this book comes out to try the recipes. i would love also to win the book. i love gooseberry patch.

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  32. I love to read your reviews! These three look especially good. The Hot Vanilla Nightcap sounds like just the thing for these cold Central NY evenings! I love Gooseberry Patch!

    Jonni
    SDOMBROSKE@twcny.rr.com

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  34. These look great. I can't wait to try them!
    Jenny
    weborders@pjsteward.com

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  35. Each of these sounds sooo yummy; and you made them even more tempting with your beautiful photo props!

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  36. Thank you for the opportunity to win Best Ever Cookies!! I absolutely love to bake and I love Gooseberry Patch cookbooks!!
    Nicole
    luv2teech71@hotmail.com

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  37. Enter me in the giveaway. The brownie recipe looked so wonderful.

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  38. The chocolate brownies looked so wonderful.Enter me to win.


    purple27@mail.com

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  39. The lemon crinkles made my mouth water just reading the recipe. I love lemon! Chocolate is not bad either. Would love to get a copy of your cookbook. I'm cookie monster at heart! sheilabelveal@yahoo.com

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  40. These recipes look yummy! I am always trying to find new cookie recipes to make to take to work! Gotta keep your co-workers happy! And being a chocolate (or any cookie) addict - well this book would be greatly used! Thanks so much for your postings.

    sewingmom42@yahoo.com

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  41. You posted two of my most favorite kinds of cookies, Brownies and Lemon. Those are my weaknesses. I would love to win this cookbook as everyone else would love it also. My email is beth91253@yahoo.com

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  42. I love the nebraska brownies.I need this cookbook.




    purple27@mail.com

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  43. Hi, Who does not like cookies, yum. Please enter me in your giveaway. Thanks.

    colleengb@hotmail.com

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  44. Cant wait to make the lemon crinkles. I love anything Lemon. Everything in your cookbooks are amazing to eat.

    audkoen@yahoo.com

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  45. The Nebraska brownies look yummy!!!

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  46. Wow! This looks like a great cookbook. I'd love to be the winner!!!

    mjhorn@hornware.com

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  47. I love chocolate, so the brownies are a winner!! THANKS.
    kim.kenty@ars.usda.gov

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