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“Argh!” (Plus Photos)

by on July 2, 2008 · 22 comments

I am in a HUGE recipe rut right now and can’t think of anything to make. A Fourth of July dessert seems logical, but I’m a bit overhwelmed by all the blueberry/strawberry/whipped cream creations and can’t commit to one. And to be honest, I’d rather just serve really good pound cake with fresh whipped cream and blue & red fruit on top.

So I think I might make peanut butter cookies today. There’s a recipe I’ve been meaning to re-visit for quite some time.

For now, here’s a link to some Flickr photos from yesterday. I’m not done labeling them yet, but you get the idea. It’s basically a bunch of girls running around at Sea World. Rachel took the bulk of the Shamu pix, so I’ll link to hers when and if she posts them.

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Published on July 2, 2008

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Katrina July 2, 2008 at 8:43 am

I’ve got the triple play pb cookies up next to make today. Great minds think alike, huh.
Looks like the girls had a fun day yesterday!

Dana July 2, 2008 at 8:49 am

I’ll be curious to see which recipe you use. I was planning on making PB cookies today, too! We’re going camping and my daughter has asked to make a special camping treat that involves PB cookies.

VeggieGirl July 2, 2008 at 8:51 am

I know how you feel, Anna – I was in a MAJOR baking-rut a month or so ago, and I just didn’t have a CLUE as to what I should bake. Hang in there!!

In the meantime, go with those peanut butter cookies!! Peanut butter cookies never disappoint :0)

Meredith July 2, 2008 at 9:18 am

Have you seen the Millionaire’s Pie recipe in the latest issue of Cook’s Country magazine? I kinda want to try that — though I haven’t even ever had Millionaire’s Pie and have no basis to compare with their “best ever”.

giz July 2, 2008 at 9:32 am

We all get creative block – just ask any good writer – I think they should all make pb cookies when they don’t know what to do – these cookies are always a hit at least for me.

Rachel B. July 2, 2008 at 9:43 am

Baking rut remedies: Marcy Goldman’s cookbooks offer a lot of fun and creative ideas for baking–also the under-used Rosie’s Bakery cookie & baking books. There are no pictures in the latter, but I know there must be some treasures hidden in there somewhere!

Meanwhile, I wonder if they make 4th of July M&M’s that you could put in your peanut butter cookies? :)

Anna July 2, 2008 at 9:50 am

Katrina, I can’t wait to hear what you think! If they aren’t your favorite, my feelings won’t be hurt ;). KA’s might. LOL.

Dana, I made something called “Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies”. I emailed you the recipe and will probably post it later. They are very no-frills.

Veggiegrl, I wonder what causes baking ruts?

Meredith, I scanned through the issue in the bookstore. I should have bought the issue.

Giz, my creative block has been going on for a while now. I’m getting worried.

Rachel, Southern Living has a 5 star red, white & blue peanut butter cookie. It sounds like a variation on monster cookies (no flour). Here’s the link.

Erin July 2, 2008 at 9:59 am

The recipe below is not baking per say but it is excellent and addicting- plus you can add whatever ingredients you want!

Party Sweet Mix
microwave 1.5 cups butter, 1.5 cups corn syrup and 3 cups brown sugar until dissolved. Pour and toss over combination of cheerios, shreddies, any other cereal you have, assortment of nuts and pretzels Put on baking sheet and bake at 250 F until slighly browned
Take out of oven and let cool- toss as it cools to prevent sticking
add chocolates if wanted

so worth making- could help get you out of your rut…

Jilly July 2, 2008 at 10:30 am

Anna, your post this morning prompted this note. I am searching for a basic “go to” pound cake recipe. I want a rich, buttery basic that I can depend on and make for any occasion. If you have a fave or a link to a good source, I’d appreciate it. BTW, I’ve made 2 batches of the Rocky Road Brownie Muffins…they are wonderful. They’re easy and consistent!

p.s. I worried about Lizzie at home all day…by herself. :(

Sarah July 2, 2008 at 10:31 am

I just made the ‘cupcake balls’ that were so popular awhile ago…I guess I somehow missed the buzz at the time! If you haven’t tried them and don’t mind using a cake mix, they’re really fun and people really do go crazy for them. My husband actually sent me two separate emails in one day to describe their greatness:)

HoneyB July 2, 2008 at 10:42 am

I hate it when I get in a rut like that! Poundcake with berries sounds good to me though!

Have you ever heard of Red, White & Blueberry Pie from Pampered Chef? My family loves it – and its simple! Here is the link:

Pat July 2, 2008 at 11:00 am

I have a recipe for a strawberry dessert which is very light, refreshing and delicious. It’s called “Strawberry Scrumptious”. It’s a layer of baked vanilla wafer crumbs, with sugar and butter, baked meringue, whipped cream and sliced, sweetened strawberries. You could also use some blueberries to give it a 4th of July twist. The only thing I do differently is to put the whipped cream and strawberries on just before serving so that the strawberry juice doesn’t dillute the cream. Here is a website which has the recipe…I only regret that there is no picture. You can also double it and use a 9 x 13 pan.,1913,148161-248193,00.html

Janice July 2, 2008 at 11:03 am

If you must make a pound cake this recipe is spectacular!
I make it in mini pans for individual shortcakes and trifles

HeartofGlass July 2, 2008 at 11:08 am
Karen July 2, 2008 at 11:46 am

Sorry you are in a baking rut!
For the 4th, I’ll be doing pies, probably a peach & raspberry pie and a blueberry pie.

There’s a nice looking brownie today over at, with some grand marnier and orange peel.

Also in my “queue” is the s’more pie over at smittenkitchen.

I’m sure you’ll come up with something fabulous!

Sue July 2, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Hi Anna!

As you know, I’ve purposely not been baking for awhile. I’m sorry to hear about your baking rut.
Bake something “retro”.

You know how there are fads that come and go? I think in the late seventies Fruit Pizza was all the rage. I believe it had a cookie crust, a cream cheese topping and fruit with a glaze on it. You could do strawberries and blueberries and it would be red white and blue, or you could do a tropical theme for something more exotic.

Sue July 2, 2008 at 12:45 pm

Whew! Had to run away from the computer. If you want a fruit pizza recipe I have an “old” one. Let’s think of it as retro, since I’m pretty sure this came from a friend’s Mom when I was in high school. So, that wouldn’t be “old”, right!? Retro is much more appealing way to look at it. :-)

Jennifer July 2, 2008 at 2:21 pm

I have been in a recipe rut lately, too, and have been having the hardest time planning a 4th of July menu. We will be watching the fireworks from my husband’s work parking deck, so I need an easy to transport (and cook on a tiny grill) menu. Everything I think of seems too messy, too perishable, too blah.

Cindy in Tempe July 2, 2008 at 2:36 pm

I feel creative but I’m not heating up our condo to bake!
Here’s a different red, white and blue cookie –
Or our local grocery had red, white and blue marshmallows, that’d be a neat topping for some kind of pizza cookie, or maybe 7layer cookies with white chocolate and craisins and the marshmallows?

Katy July 2, 2008 at 2:58 pm


Mary Jo Bowen’s Pound Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cool room temp (European Style preferred)
3 cups (600g) superfine sugar, divided use
6 large eggs, separated, cool room temp
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract *
1 cup (8 1/2 oz) sour cream, cool room temp
3 cups (300g) cake flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt


1: Preheat oven to 325’.

2: Butter and flour a 12 cup tube pan.

3: Sift together dry ingredients. Reserve.

4: Beat butter and 2 1/2 cups (500g) of sugar until light and creamy.

5: Beat in egg yolks one at a time. Beat in extracts.

6: Add flour mixture and sour cream in alternating portions, beginning and ending with flour.

7: In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until they just begin to hold up.

8: Gradually beat in the remaining 1/2 cup (100g) of sugar until shiny, soft, billowy peaks. Do not overbeat.

9: Fold into batter. Bake for 50-75 minutes, until cake tests done.

Charley July 3, 2008 at 7:07 am

Although it’s not red, white or blue, one of my current favorite recipes is for Margarita Cupcakes:

If that’s not to your liking, an old favorite that always gets rave reviews are Paula Dean’s Gooey Butter Cakes:,,FOOD_9936_20677,00.html.

That link is for the pumpkin version, but there are many other variations, including double chocolate, peanut butter and toffee. I’ve only tried the pumpkin and peanut butter and both were excellent.

Good luck and thanks for all the inspiration. I made the honey cookies a few weeks ago with local buckwheat honey and they were excellent.

Kerry Burt July 3, 2008 at 10:46 pm

I love your website!
Next time you’re baking PB cookies try this suggestion: Add a tablespoon or two of frozen orange juice concentrate. The flavor doesn’t really say “oranges” but it kind of brightens the flavor and improves the texture. I hope you like it!

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