When I Can't Garden, I Cook

Dreary days in the winter don’t work for me.  I can tolerate the cold if the sun is shining, but when it’s not, it can be so depressing.  Usually when this happens, I head to the kitchen and cook.  It’s still January though and everyone is still trying to get their holiday indulgences corrected so, therefore, I have been banned from making my signature dessert.


I started making cookies when I was a little girl and like to feel I have become an accomplished cookie maker (if there is such a thing.)   So, when our Master Gardener group put out a call needing cookies for their upcoming training, I jumped on it.

After the meeting, I got a text saying several people wanted the recipe, so I thought the best way to share is to put it here.  I’m going to add a couple of more recipes as well.  Hope you don’t mind.

Making cookies is not hard and my grandkids love to help me when they are here.  But, there is a science to cooking and that’s why recipes have specific measurements.  I know some people do a pinch of this or that, but that never worked well for me. I like to follow directions.

We like our cookies soft and chewy so I always use a good quality, unsalted butter.  I get mine from the Amish store in my town.  It comes in a round, wheel shape, not sticks, so it has to be softened and then measured.  There are many reasons why you use unsalted vs. salted that I won’t go in to, but feel free to research the topic if you like.  I also make my own vanilla, which is super easy, and has a more vanilla-y taste to it.  You can find out how I made my own here and here.  If you don’t want to do that, then be sure and buy pure vanilla extract and not imitation.  It’s a bit more pricey, but worth it.

Sorry, I don’t have many pictures, I never thought about taking them while I was cooking.

I feel this first recipe needs a disclaimer.  IT IS PURE SUGAR and I am not responsible for any cavities you may incur during the eating of this cookie.  Please brush and floss and see your dentist and hygienist every six months.  Consider yourself warned and eat at your own risk.

2-1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups chopped pecans
2-1/2 cups grated coconut

1. Combine pecans, coconut, and vanilla and set aside.
2. Mix sugar, evaporated milk, corn syrup, and butter in a
large saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 3 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and add pecans, coconut, and vanilla.
4. Stir for about 4 minutes.
5. Take a spoonful of batter and place on wax paper. Let sit until hardened.

The next recipe calls for zucchini and is a different way to use the extra we always seem to have during garden season.  It also calls for granola cereal, but I have always made these with homemade granola so I will include that recipe as well.

3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 Tbs. grated orange peel OR 2 Tbs. orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3 c. granola cereal (or homemade granola*)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 c. shredded zucchini
1 pkg. (10-12 oz.) semisweet chocolate or butterscotch chips (I leave
this out most of the time and like them better but that is a personal

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Beat in egg, orange peel
(or juice), and vanilla. Combine flour, granola, baking soda and salt.
Add to creamed mixture alternately with zucchini. The batter will be very stiff.  Stir in chips.
Drop by tablespoons 2 in. apart on baking sheets lined with
parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 8-10 min. or until lightly browned.
Remove to wire racks to cool. Makes approx. 6 dozen.


4 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
2 c. coarsely chopped nuts
Mix together in a large bowl and set aside.

In a saucepan, melt 1/2 c. butter then add
3/4 c. honey
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
Bring to a boil and boil for 1 min.

Pour over the oat mixture and stir until well blended.
Spread on lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for 20 min. stirring every 5 min.
Cool and store in an airtight container.
For a different twist on granola see my Pumpkin Honey Granola recipe here.







About the blonde gardener

I'm an Arkansas girl born and raised. I garden in the beautiful Northwest part of the state (zone 6b or 7) surrounded by the Ozark Mountains. My favorite part about the area is we have 4 distinct seasons and are able to enjoy a variety of activities. My main passion is gardening but I also enjoy hiking, birding, 4-wheeling and motorcycle trips. Basically anything outside. Thanks for stopping by! Brenda
This entry was posted in Arkansas blogger, Cooking, Family, Garden, Home and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to When I Can't Garden, I Cook

  1. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Both recipes sound delicious. Thank goodness someone needed cookies so that you could do some baking!


  2. Tammy says:

    I love to cook too. They all look delicious. I am going to try all three recipes.
    Thank you for sharing


  3. Oh I’m the same way! I’ve been cooking a lot this month. Mostly soups. Your cookies sound delicious.


  4. ChgoJohn says:

    Don’t you just hate forgetting to photograph the day’s efforts? I usually remember just as I’m sitting down to enjoy whatever it was that I’ve made. Sometimes, I’ll decide to make it again within a few days. I must admit, though, that the decision is based more upon my love of the dish than the blog’s needs. If it’s a pasta, you can bet I’ll be making it again. As for these 2 cookies, I’m be saving the recipes. I’m still not ready to go back to the nut well but this, too, shall pass. Once my mouth is back in shape, look out world!


  5. Blondie — Are you SURE cookies with zucchini taste good? I won’t even grow or eat zucchini. Love squash but not zucchini.


  6. diningwithdebbie says:

    I bake and then get it out of the house as soon as I can! Winter soups and chilis are in plentiful supply at our house right now. What is your twitter handle?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. kelleysdiy says:

    Those look so yummy!!! Do you deliver???


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