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Vol. 112 - Issue 1, Wednesday, September 15, 2010
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Cookbookin’ With Sandy
by Sandy Olson

Valentine’s Day is the occasion of love, relationships and living happily forever-after.  But, according to Erin Ergenbright and Thisbe Nissen, it doesn’t always work out that way. There are things to remember forever from past boyfriends, they say, and the best are recipes. The Ex-Boyfriend Cook Book: They Came, They Cooked, They Left  (2002, HarperCollins, NYC) gives readers the benefits of what remained from many of their ‘loved but lost’ experiences. The book is dedicated “To all the men we’ve loved before...”  The following recipes are adapted from the chapter on Sweet Things; what else for Valentine’s Day?

Rob Becker’s Mom’s Cream Cheese Brownies

Six ounces REAL (not lite) cream cheese, softened

Five tablespoons REAL butter, softened

One-third cup sugar

Two eggs

Two tablespoons flour

Three-quarters teaspoon vanilla extract, again REAL

One family-sized package fudge brownie mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat together the cream cheese and butter. Add eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Set aside. Prepare the brownie mix according to package directions for “cakelike” brownies. Spread half the batter into the bottom of a greased 9”x13” pan.  Pour the entire cream cheese mixture over it. Spoon the rest of the brownie batter in dollops over the cream cheese (don’t completely cover the cream cheese layer with brownie batter). Swirl the layers together by drawing squiggles through with the tip of a knife.  Bake for 36-39 minutes.

Brandon Fishbine’s Grandmother’s Oatmeal Cookies

One cup sifted flour

One-half teaspoon baking soda

One-half teaspoon salt

One teaspoon cinnamon

One-quarter teaspoon nutmeg

One-half cup butter, softened

One-half cup brown sugar

One-half cup white sugar

One egg

Two tablespoons milk

One-half cup raisins

Two cups uncooked oats

One cup chopped nuts

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Sift the dry ingredients together.  Mix together the softened butter, sugars, eggs and milk. Add to the dry mixture and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Fold in the raisins, oats and nuts.  Drop from a teaspoon onto a greased cookie sheet (dark ones work best) and bake for 10 minutes.

Liam’s Refrigerator Cookies

One cup brown sugar

One cup white sugar

One cup melted shortening (like Crisco)

Four cups flour

One cup chopped walnuts

Two teaspoons baking powder

Four eggs, well beaten

Two teaspoons cinnamon

One teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix the ingredients and form dough into two rolls.  Wrap in plastic wrap and put in the freezer overnight (or as long as you want). When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Unwrap, slice thinly and bake for 10 minutes.

Clarence’s Far-Out Frozen Peanut Butter Pie

Four ounces cream cheese (the real stuff, please)

One cup powdered sugar

One-third cup creamy peanut butter

One-half cup milk

Four regular-sized Reese’s® peanut butter cups, frozen then crushed

One cup heavy cream, whipped

One 9-inch baked graham cracker pie crust

Beat the cream cheese until soft and fluffy. Beat in the sugar and peanut butter. Add the milk, blending thoroughly. Fold in the crushed peanut butter cups and whipped cream. Pour into the crust and freeze until firm.

When a person’s heart is broken...or even just bent...there is nothing like a sweet treat to make things better, if only for a little while.

Valentine’s Day love can be love for anyone: partner, child, parent, friend. But the special day for lovers is always a chance to celebrate with good food.  

And....that’s all she wrote.

Sandy Olson can be reached via email at


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