Homemade S’mores


I thought everybody knew how to make them. The other week I found out that there are some folks who have never made S’mores and really don’t know how.

As a kid, hot dog roasts were the bomb. Occasionally we had S’mores. Yummmmm! What a way to top off an evening!

I think there are a few secrets to S’mores.


The Ingredients

  1. A good graham cracker. One of our prenuptial agreements was that Honey Maid Graham crackers are the only ones allowed in our house. [Too bad I don’t get compensation for promoting this brand, eh?] There are graham crackers, and there are Honey Maid graham crackers. A generic brand does not a good S’more make. So go ahead and spend the extra dollar for that box and have yourself a good S’more.
  2. Marshmallows. Don’t get the ones that are too big. I use whatever I find in the store that isn’t too expensive, and I don’t get sucked into buying the bag with a photo of S’mores on the package. I’ve found that a regular sized marshmallow works the best or else you’ll have an ooey-gooey sticky mess dripping down your fingers.
  3. Chocolate. Hershey’s if you please. [Too bad I don’t get compensation for promoting this brand either, eh?]. You need something that’s rich and sweet if you’re going to have the calories anyhow. Don’t cheapen your dessert by purchasing something cheap. Have at it, for goodness sake!

S'moresThe Fire

You’ll need a good hot fire that simmers down to coals and embers. Put the marshmallow on a stick or roasting rack and hold it over the coals, turning it from time to time. Of course, if your kids want to help, be sure to caution them not to get the marshmallows in the coals. Good luck on that one. Just let them eat the ones they roasted, and fix your own.

Some folks like their marshmallows blackened. If you’re one of those folks, put it right into the fire, let it light up, then blow the fire out. If that’s your style, go ahead. I’ve seen folks do this and I just shake my head.

I prefer the slowly browned version, just brown enough to give that white baby a good tan on all sides. To get that nice tan, you have to hold it over the embers and let the heat do its work slowly.

. . . Or the Microwave

If you don’t have a fire, you can use your microwave. You won’t get the browned marshmallow, but you’ll get the heat and the heat from the marshmallow will still melt the chocolate. You’ll miss the fun of the fire, but you’ll still get the gooey sweetness of chocolate with marshmallow. Put the marshmallow on the graham cracker and put it in for FIVE SECONDS.

The Assembly

Lay your graham crackers out flat and place two sections (or three) of chocolate on the cracker. Put the marshmallow on top of the chocolate and place the second cracker on top, then gently push the crackers together. As the heat from the marshmallow seeps through the chocolate, it will soften and begin to melt.


Don’t ask me what that stem is – I think it belongs to a leaf. The table was under a tree in the yard and I failed to notice it.

The Finale

This is an easy dessert or treat when you have a crowd of people. In the summer, add some watermelon or cantaloupe, and you’re all set for a crowd. Kids will love it, and the adults will enjoy not having to fix anything extra on a hot evening. If they’re honest, the adults will have to admit that it’s a pretty good ending to a day.


Best (Made From Scratch) Brownies


Brownies – and all things chocolate make me happy. Especially this recipe. I’ve made my share of boxed brownies, but when I want a treat, this recipe is what I go for. My daughter Rebekah found this recipe in The Reader’s Digest years ago and we’ve used the recipe ever since. It’s been so many years that the clipped copy is gone and I have no idea who (if there is someone) to credit for the recipe.

You’ll need the regular ingredients: cocoa, butter, flour, sugar, eggs, salt, and vanilla. I use real butter and skimp on the sugar.

Let me tell you one secret: the batter* is as good as the baked product!  These brownies are soft and tasty without an excess of chocolate flavor. They are sweet but not too sweet. Just sweet enough!

The recipe has a frosting, but I rarely make the frosting. We like th

em just the way they are.

So mix up a double batch and put one in the freezer. You’ll be so glad you did!

*Yes, I know this batter has raw eggs. I know what folks say about eating raw eggs. Yes, I still lick the batter off the spatula.

Best Ever Brownies Made From Scratch
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
An easy and simple recipe for the best ever brownies. Add the frosting or leave it off. They're good enough without the added sugar.
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup cocoa
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1⅔ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ⅓ cup evaporated milk
  • ⅓ cup cocoa
  2. Mix butter, sugar, and cocoa together.
  3. Stir int he eggs.
  4. Add the flour, salt, and vanilla
  5. Stir together.
  6. Pour into greased 9 x 13-inch pan
  7. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until done
  9. Mix ingredients together and put on top of brownies when slightly cooled

pinterest brownies

Raisin Cookies


When you have a husband or child who doesn’t like chocolate, you’re happy for an alternative to chocolate chip cookies. I knew Dave’s favorite cookies were raisin cookies before I married him. He likes oatmeal raisin cookies and he likes this recipe, which does not have oatmeal. The problem with this recipe is that you have to get the batter just right for the cookies to be their best. He doesn’t complain if they’re too runny, which is when I should have added a little more flour. Other times they get too stiff, which of course comes from adding too much flour.  I always feel accomplished when the results of my labor turn out just right.

The cookies in this photo were from a batch that turned out just right. You start with cooked raisins and then add the dough ingredients, including cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. This recipe comes from the Mennonite Community Cookbook.


These cookies are moist and tender, so be careful not to overbake. They freeze well, but you’ll want to put waxed paper between the layers or they will stick to each other. Because they take a little more effort (cooking the raisins and getting the batter just right), I tend not to make them as often. But then, practice makes perfect – and in the thirty-plus years I’ve been making this recipe, I hit more than I miss.

Raisin Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 dozen
I don't add nuts to this recipe. These cookies are tricky to get done right. Too much flour makes them stiff. Too little flour makes them flat and runny. After a few tries, you'll figure out how thick to have the batter. I always do a test bake on one or two cookies. Be careful not to overbake!
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon (I use a little more)
  • ¼ tsp. cloves
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • Add boiling water to raisins and cook for 5 minutes. Cool.
  • Cream shortening and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy.
  • Add cooled raisins to creamed mixture and mix thoroughly.
  • Stir dry ingredients together and blend into creamed mixture.
  • Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheet, spread 2-e inches apart.
  • Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. Makes 6 dozen.
  1. Add boiling water to raisins and cook for 5 minutes. Cool.
  2. Cream shortening and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy.
  3. Add cooled raisins to creamed mixture and mix thoroughly.
  4. Stir dry ingredients together and blend into creamed mixture.
  5. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheet, spread 2-e inches apart.
  6. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. Makes 6 dozen.


pinterest raisin

No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake


This strawberry cheesecake is a fun recipe to make during the strawberry season with plenty of fresh strawberries at hand!  This cheesecake will be a cool, refreshing hit and does not need to be baked.  It is light and airy as well.

You’ll need to chill a can of evaporated milk so you can whip it until it is stiff.  Be sure to put it in the refrigerator for several hours ahead of when you want to mix up this strawberry cheesecake. I used sugar-free jello in this recipe, but you can use regular jello if you’d like.

Slice fresh strawberries and fold into the mixture before putting it in the pan, or just put them on top as a garnish – or do both. I got this recipe from my Aunt Iva, who liked to make it for her husband (my uncle), and I adapted it for strawberry season.

Refrigerate this strawberry cheesecake until ready to serve. It freezes well also.

strawberry cheesecake

No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
A simple, easy and refreshing dessert with a flavor of strawberries. It's a non-bake dessert as well.
  • 1½ Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 box strawberry jello (3 oz) - sugar-free or regular
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 can evaporated milk (chilled)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ - 1 cup sliced strawberries
  1. Dissolve jello in water; chill, but do not jell
  2. Mix graham cracker crumbs, butter, and powdered sugar together
  3. Save ½ cup crumb mixture for topping
  4. Spread remaining crumb mixture in the bottom of a 13 x 9 in pan (or 9 x 9 Tupperware)
  5. Mix sugar and cream cheese together
  6. Whip chilled milk until STIFF.
  7. Fold milk into jello and cream cheese mixture
  8. Beat for 2 minutes
  9. Fold sliced strawberries into the mixture
  10. Pour into pan on top of the graham cracker crumbs
  11. Sprinkle with topping (optional)
  12. Chill.
  13. Freezes well also

Pinterest strawberry cheesecake