Category Archives: Cookies

Graham Bars

Graham Bars

When I was a kid sweets were not a frequent part of our household unless it was the holidays or a birthday. I spent a majority of my after school afternoons at my grandmother’s house waiting for my mom to get off work. The snacks Grandma kept for my afternoon stays were basic; cheese, nuts, fruit, and the occasional package of fig newtons. Needless to say I consumed a lot of fig newton’s given they were the only semi-sweet treat in the house.

Fast forward many years later. I still carried a love of fig newton’s but given our change in food habits, store bought fig newtons didn’t fit into our food lifestyle. Fig newtons were, in our minds, filled with over processed unknown not good for you ingredients. I didn’t think much of making my own fig newton’s until we moved to a property that had a fig tree. Upon having more figs than I knew what to do with (besides sharing with friends) my first attempt in cooking with figs was a pear and fig tart.Graham Bars

Graham Bars Although it was a tasty option I needed to find more recipes to use up the figs… fig jam seemed like the logical next step. The hubs did not approve. He was not a fan. The jam was not a flavor we were used to. It was a simple recipe of orange juice, sugar, pectin, and of course figs. Now here I sit with an abundance of fig jam and nothing to do with it. Then nostalgia set in and my memory of fig newton’s flooded back. Why couldn’t I try? I could use the fig jam as the filling!!

The crust or cookie outer layer of the newton was not as easy to figure out. Most of the recipes I came across were more like a shortbread than a soft cookie. I made a batch. They were OK but I gave up after one attempt. I like shortbread but as a healthy snack it didn’t fit; too much butter, sugar and not much else.

We eventually moved and said goodbye to the fig tree. I took with us several jars of fig jam that I had canned from the previous season. What was I going to do with this jam? I couldn’t waste it. I had to figure something out. Then it hit me; my graham cracker recipe! It was the perfect cookie consistency and something I felt good about making more than once a month. I got to work and made our first batch.

The result was fantastic! I finally did it… fig newtons, graham style… I made graham bars! The hubs and kiddo approved!Graham Bars

I was finally able to use up the last of the jars of fig jam by way of the graham bars but now what was I to do. I no longer had easy access to figs. The logical next step was to use different fillings. Why not get wild with our graham bars…Graham Bars

We made apple…Graham Bars

and blueberry…Graham Bars

Blueberry monster faces of my niece and kiddo… who says kids can’t enjoy a healthy snack and still have fun…Graham Bars

and my favorite… apricot graham bars… all from local organic fruits in our community.Graham Bars

The graham bars are now a go-to in my snack arsenal for the kiddo. You can use any preserve, store bought or homemade. I choose to thicken up my filling by adding in a couple tablespoons of grass-fed gelatin. The blueberry filling didn’t need it because of its already natural heavy pectin content but the apricot needed some thickening. For purposes of this recipe I will reference the apricot but you can use any fruit preserve of your liking, with or without the gelatin added (just skip this step in the recipe and go straight to spreading out on the graham dough).

So here’s to bringing back childhood memories… with a twist… fig newtons graham style… Graham Bars… enjoy!!


Graham Bars

350 (f) degrees for 25-30 minutes / 30+ graham bars depending on cut size

Graham Cracker Recipe

1 Pint Favorite Fruit Preserves (we’ll use apricot in this recipe)

2 tablespoons grass-fed gelatin (optional)


Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 (f) degrees

Step 2: Prepare a deep edge cookie sheet tray with parchment paper

Step 3: In a sauce pan whisk in 2 tablespoons of grass-fed gelatin with your favorite preserves (in this recipe we’re using my homemade apricot jam made with local organic apricots, spice, lemon juice and pectin). After well mixed, remove from heat and set aside to cool.Graham Bars

Step 4: Follow the instructions to make graham cracker dough here: Graham Cracker Recipe. Once you get to the rolling portion of this recipe move on to step 5 below.

Step 5: Cut your ball of chilled graham cracker dough in half. You’ll roll each half separately. Roll your dough in the shape of a rectangle, roughly a quarter inch thick. Transfer the rolled dough to your parchment paper lined cookie tray. The dough will be delicate so be prepared for breakage. It doesn’t have to be perfect… if it breaks, just press the dough back together! Now take your cooled preserves and spread a thin layer over the entire rectangle leaving a quarter inch space around all edges.Graham Bars

Step 6: Now carefully fold each side half way making sure the final fold overlaps the first fold. Press the ends together to keep the preserves from oosing out during cooking. Repeat step 5 and step 6 with your 2nd half of dough. I take a sheet of tin foil and crumple it up to create a barrier between the two halves as there will be spreading during the cooking process. This creates a barrier to avoid the two halves baking together into one.Graham Bars

Step 7: Place the cookie sheet on the center rack of a preheated 350 (f) degree oven for 25-30 minutes till edges are crisp and the graham is golden brown. Remove from oven and rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting. After cooled you may remove the tinfoil barrier and cut desired sized bars. I use a pizza cutter but any knife will do.Graham Bars

Step 8: ENJOY! Your graham bars will store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week… or the refrigerator for two plus weeks… if they last that long.Graham Bars

So there you have it… my take on the fig newton… only better! Graham bars. Use your favorite preserves of any kind and enjoy!



Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookie? Crisp or chewy, filled with gooey chocolate chips; I think the chocolate chip cookie is my favorite cookie of all time! I remember it most out of any cookie I made with my grandmother as a child. There didn’t have to be a special occasion to make chocolate chip cookies. I LOVE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES!

Then my world of chocolate chip cookies was turned upside down when I read a post from a fellow foodies, homesteading, blogging friend who made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. So now you’ve combined the moist sweet goodness of fresh sugar pumpkin to the chocolaty goodness of a chocolate chip cookie… I say WINNER WINNER Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies! My husband was a skeptic… 4 cookies later with a big glass of milk and he was a believer.

In my typical fashion I decided to change the original recipe, just a bit. Below is my version of the following Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies. I have what is called functional decorations. For the fall and winter holidays I had several sugar pumpkins as decor in & out of the house. Now that the holidays have come to an end, I’m in process of baking, roasting, pureeing, and freezing the sugar pumpkins for later use. What better way to use some of those sugar pumpkins than in Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Thanks to Unpaved Roads for bringing this to my attention… I’ve got a new cookie to add to my holiday cookie arsenal!

* = organic
^ = local

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
375 (f) degrees, 10-12 minutes, yield 2-3 dozen depending on scoop size…

2 1/2 cups flour *
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon aluminum free baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
2 tablespoons flax seed meal * (optional)
1 egg *^
1 cup fresh sugar pumpkin puree *^
1/2 cup butter *
1/2 cup tallow *^ (you can omit this & use all butter)
3/4 cup granulated white sugar *
3/4 cup brown sugar *
1 teaspoon vanilla *
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Step 1: In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients (i.e. flour, baking powder/soda, salt, flax seed, and spices) and set aside. In a mixer cream together butter and tallow. Next cream in sugars, vanilla, pumpkin, and egg. Once ingredients are incorporated – not over mixed, slowly add in the flour on your mixer’s slowest setting till all flour is incorporated. Lastly stir in the chocolate chips and you are ready to bake.

Step 2: Prepare a cookie tray with a sheet of parchment paper. The size of the cookie is up to you, but keep in mind the larger the scoop… the longer the cooking time otherwise the cookie will remain uncooked in the center. Place a heaping spoonful onto the tray keeping a 1 inch space between each cookie. Place the cookie tray in a pre-heated 375 (f) degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes depending on cookie size, elevation, and how your oven works.
pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

Step 3: Once cooking time has expired, immediately remove the cookies from the cookie sheet and place on a cooling rack. You can store them in an airtight container in a cool dry location. In our house, these cookies lasted three days so storage was not an issue… but I wouldn’t keep them longer than a week given fresh eggs, butter, tallow and pumpkin were used.

The pumpkin chocolate chip cookies have a ‘cake-like’ consistency because of the baking powder used. I was given the suggestion to use oatmeal to give the cookie a different texture, which I will try and share. Now it’s time to enjoy your Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Happy baking and more importantly happy eating!