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



Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake

Strawberry cheesecake

                                                                                              Real strawberries swirled in the top layer!

This strawberry swirl cheesecake is easier to make than it might look, but it does take some time. Be sure to follow the directions to let it refrigerate overnight so it will set well.  Ask me how I know about this!

If you’re wanting something light, not too sweet, and still fancy, this strawberry swirl cheesecake takes the cake. You’ll need to hang around the kitchen for a while as it is baking, so you can add your second layer. That’s okay. Just clean out some cabinets if you’re industrious or read a book if you’re feeling lazy.

You’ll need flour, sugar, butter, whipping cream, cream cheese, eggs, vanilla, and strawberries. You’ll need over 90 minutes of baking time in three stages. And, like I mentioned earlier, an overnight to let it set.  Other than that, it’s a great piece of cheesecake!

You mix your crust and bake it first – for 15-20 minutes.

Strawberry cheesecake

                                        The baked crust. Yes, that spring-foam pan has been in my kitchen for almost thirty-four years.

While that’s happening, mix up the rest of the cheesecake. You’ll need to divide the batter in two because you’ll add real strawberries to the bottom layer and then swirl them on the top layer (after you bake the bottom layer for thirty-five minutes).

Then you add half the batter to the crust and bake it for thirty-five minutes. Once that layer is baked, you add the remaining batter and put your pureed strawberries on top. Using a knife, swirl the strawberries through the top unbaked layer. I had a lot of fun making my swirls!

Back into the oven it goes for the last time – baking for forty-fifty-minutes longer – or until the center is set.

strawberry cheesecake

                                                                            The final product. Yummmmm!

One nice thing about this recipe is that you don’t have cool-down time between bakings. Just don’t forget the overnight set time. Did I mention that?  Oh yes, I did. That’s because you really want to remember you need that much time before you can serve it. That’s because I didn’t read that part the day I planned to serve it for dinner and I tried to let it cool for four hours instead of overnight as the recipe calls. It was not a good idea but my guests were pleasant about it. The following evening, I served the rest of this strawberry swirl cheesecake to a bunch of adults and kids who couldn’t praise it enough and kept coming back for seconds.

I found this recipe on Taste of Home, ( where you’ll be able to find many more delicious tried-and-true recipes.

strawberry cheesecake


Strawberry Cheesecake
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
This cheesecake takes a little more time and effort but is worth every bit of the energy you invest in making this dessert. Just remember to give enough time for it to chill overnight so it has time to set well.
  • Crust:
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • ½ cup cold butter, cubed
  • 32 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1⅓ cups sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 4 lightly beaten eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pureed fresh strawberries, divided
  • 8-10 drops food coloring (optional - I did not use)
  1. CRUST:
  2. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
  3. For the crust, combine flour, sugar and lemon peel, then cut in the butter until it is crumbly.
  4. Pat the dough onto the bottom and up about 1 inch on the sides of the springform pan.
  5. Using double layers of heavy-duty foil, wrap the foil around the pan and put it on a baking sheet.
  6. BAKE at 325 for 15-20 minutes or until it is done. Cool.
  8. Using a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and flour until smooth.
  9. Beat in the cream. Add eggs, beating on low speed just until combined.
  10. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla.
  11. Pour 2½ cups batter into a bowl and set it aside.
  12. Stir ¾ cup pureed strawberries (and optional food coloring) into the rest of the batter.
  13. Put this mixture into the crust.
  14. Put the springform pan on a large tray or baking pan and add 1 inch of hot water to the tray or pan.
  15. BAKE for 35 minutes.
  16. Remove from oven and carefully put the rest of the batter over the bottom layer.
  17. Spoon the remaining pureed strawberries over the batter in circles.
  18. Using a knife, carefully cut through the TOP layer and swirl the berries.
  19. BAKE 40-50 minutes longer or until the center is set.
  20. Remove the springform pan from over and the water/tray/pan.
  21. COOL on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  22. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen.
  23. COOL 1 hour longer.
  24. REFRIGERATE overnight

Pinterest Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake