I’ve been going through my files looking for cookie recipes that I want to share with my Canadian penpals–and there are loads of files – five boxes of cookie recipes in recipe boxes alone; about 15 3-ring binders of cookie recipes going back to 1958 when I got married; I didn’t have cookbooks except for one Betty Crocker cookbook that was a wedding present–I began that year cutting out the Christmas recipes that were in the 1958 women’s magazines. Plus a lot of cookie cookbooks! So, I am trying to share–starting with some oatmeal cookie recipes; there may be as many oatmeal cookie recipes as there are brownie recipes!

To make Outstanding Oatmeal cookies, you will need:

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup margarine or butter, softened (make sure its a solid stick margarine, like Imperial – those spreads have a high water content)
1 egg
2 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup M&Ms plain chocolate candies
3/4 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup flaked or shredded coconut, if desired
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix brown sugar, margarine or butter. vanilla an egg in a large bowl until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonsfull about 2″ apart onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Press 3 or 4 more dandies into each cookie, if desired. Bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool slightly; remove to wire rack. Makes about 4 dozen cookies **

OLD FASHTIONED OATMEAL COOKIES – to make these cookies you will need:
2 1/2 cups uncooked old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup shortening (shortening is something like Crisco, a solid type of shortening)
1/2 cup butter or margarine (1/2 cup = 1 stick butter, softened, or 1 stick solid margarine, such as Imperial)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (or else lightly grease two cookie sheets)
In a bowl combine oats, flour, walnuts, baking soda, salt & cinnamon. set aside.
In mixer bowl cream shortening, butter or margarine and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. gradually beat in dry ingredients just until combined. Drop by level tablespoons 2″ apart on prepared cookie sheets. bake 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely. Makes about 6 dozen.

Just a couple suggestions–if you are serious about making cookies and you don’t want to spend all that money on oats, nuts, eggs, etc and not have really nice cookies to show for it, buy parchment paper – I see it every where now. Stock up on it. Also invest in a set of measuring spoons–get a nice stainless set of spoons; they’ll last forever. I bought the long handled type which makes it easier to measure baking soda, vanilla, cinnamon.

When you buy walnuts or pecans (or any kind of nuts for that matter) – take them out of the bags they came in as soon as you get home with them and pour each kind of nuts into glass quart jars–or Tupperware containers–but the main thing is–refrigerate them until you are ready to bake something. Refrigerated walnuts or pecans–or any other kind of nut–have a much longer “shelf” life if kept in the frig. Where I live there is a Trader Joes that always stocks fresh nuts. We also have a store called Smart & Final which carries large quantities of baking ingredients. I like buying molasses in a gallon container (and transfer a pint or so into a glass container) and large quantities of real vanilla extract. Costco and Sam’s Club also carry large sizes of baking ingredients. It’s a good investment .

Another thing I really like are new baking sheets–I like to replace them about once a year but I do a lot of baking. Around Christmas time, a lot of stores–even Penney’s and Kohl’s carry nice new baking sheets and other baking equipment like muffin pans. (and watch for the sales at all of these stores–a few years ago I bought a Wilton chocolate melting pot–and got it for 40% off. My daughter in law was so impressed that she and her sister also bought chocolate pots on sale at Michael’s. Watch for their sale coupons in the mail! They also carry parchment paper.

If you use just parchment paper on your cookie sheets, the cookie sheets will last for a much longer time. And shiny cookie sheets bake much nicer cookies. You can re-use the parchment paper–maybe about half a dozen times or more.

I apologize if this is too much information but these are tips that I learned the hard way by myself over many years. We were pretty poor most of the years my sons were growing up and I didn’t always have the money to invest in new baking sheets. Just saying….

if you are serious about baking, be serious about your equipment. And electric mixers? Get a good one! – I bought a bright red Sunbeam mixer when I retired; I also have a bright blue Kitchen Aid mixer that I get out when I start the heavy duty baking but its too big and bulky for my every day kitchen. I am also serious about sturdy different sized spatulas–I think I have half a dozen in different sizes.

Just one more suggestion—when you buy oatmeal, flour, chocolate chips, various ingredients–I store them in other containers–mostly Tupperware from decades ago–and when you are stocking flour–put a bay leaf into the container. It’s a trick I learned from my mother; flour, cornmeal–any pantry item that can get buggy–WON’T if you have a bay leaf or two in the container with it. A few years ago I bought several large tubs from Walmart after Christmas one year when they are on sale—I keep a lot of pantry supplies in those tubs–particularly cake mixes–and pantry items that won’t fit in my small pantry.

Feel free to write to me if you have any questions–I began working on these cookie recipes because I have a lot of nieces (and some nephews)–as well as friends– who are serious about baking.

–Sandra Lee Smith



  1. Dear Sandy: I love your blog, which I only found recently. I’m English, living in Uruguay, so many things aren’t available phyllo dough, but I make do, and your recipes are fantastic. Do you have any savoury scone recipes? Or Diabetic specials?
    Stay well and happy, and thank you, thank you fir gage stories and recipes, joyce

    • Hello Joyce; I sense there is a story here, a Brit living in Uruguay….. meantime, though–I will go through some of my files to look for a savoury scone recipe and/or some diabetic recipes. I have a brother in law who is diabetic so I try to look for recipes that would suit him. Tell me, do you make phyllo dough? My paternal grandmother made it from scratch when I was a child–one of her specialties was a pumpkin strudel recipe that I have never been able to duplicate. She made apple and cherry strudels – and a cheese one that I think I might be able to duplicate. Will see what I can find for you – Sandy

      • Joyce Kastel

        Dear Sandy:  No, I definitely DON’T make my own phyllo!  Ive seen it made, and loved it, but Ive neither the strength, nor the inclination.  What a rotten shame you can’t duplicate your grandmother’s recipe.  Was she Greek by any chance?  I have over a thousand cookbooks, but now most of them are in storage, in Chicago.  Those here, are still in boxes, as the assault on  my condo continues!  Im going to keep my eye out for a recipe for that.  It’s not my favorite vegetable, so Ive never made it myself.  I used to use phyllo a lot, and am lost without it. Yes, there’s a long story behind my life…….just like yours.  No one comes with an empty past. Take care, blessings, joyce

      • Thanks, Joyce – I have never attempted to make phyllo dough from scratch either – I can clearly see in my mind’s eye, my grandmother stretching the dough over the table which was covered with a cotton tablecloth–when it was stretched and over the edges, then came the filling – after which she would lift the ends of the tablecloth and lift, gently, so it began to roll. we all took her skill for granter – btw, she was German, my grandfather Hungarian. I think I remember her telling me that she grew up somewhere around the Black Forest– I have to dig through my blog post history to find whatever I have written about her in the past.
        the Gabor sisters & their mother were all from Hungary, I think – I have their family cookbook–
        some years back when I first became familiar with phyllo dough, I made baklava one Easter – and then spanokapito (sp – its a spinach mixture inside the phyllo dough before baking.)

        You will have to share with me how you came about having a thousand cookbooks in storage in Chicago !


  2. Hey, Sandy … re nuts (I usually keep most of mine in freezer); however, when I lived in NJ, discovered an Indian shop near me .. and their prices on nuts were a LOT less than in supermarkets… and, usually, they were very fresh. Around, here I check Indian shops, Middle Eastern etc… and usually they are great buys for nuts — and sometimes fresher than the bins at supermarkets, etc. Most of these stores also are good for some dried herbs, dry beans, lentils, etc… as they DO have a big turnover .. so most are not sitting around THAT long.

    I’m still going through a lot of recipes .. and know what you mean about cookie recipes. Last week I think I found 2 thick (about 2 inches each) folders marked’cookies’…. and also have another pile I’ve been pulling out as I go through miscellaneous stuff. Sort of piling them in ‘types’ .. and tossing many many duplicates. Takes so much time.

  3. Thanks for the suggestion, Shirley!! I am jazzed by your information about Indian/Middle Eastern shops–I knew where one was when I lived down in the valley but am willing to bet there are some in Palmdale or Lancaster. If I don’t finally any locally, it might be worth a trip down to the valley and find the Indian stores threre. I confess my heart skipped a beat reading you are tossing out too many duplicates. (sigh) – I cant bring myself to tossing duplicates – but don’t have a problem with giving them away. I am setting aside meringue cookie recipes to send to one of my nieces. actually she is a great-niece and interested in cooking/baking. Another niece (not a great niece but her seven children are great-nieces and great-nephews 🙂 and THAT niece does a lot of baking – cupcakes more than anything else, I think. I have exchanged cakes recipes with that niece. I had a happy feeling that …. the apple didn’t fall far. Thanks much, Shirley. I will let you know what this reaps. xo Sandy

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