Herald employees share some of their favorite recipes

  • By Andrea Brown Herald Writer
  • Thursday, November 6, 2014 5:40pm
  • Life

It’s not news that people who work in newsrooms love to eat.

Fortunately, some also love to cook. They come bearing plates of treats. In a matter of minutes, only a few crumbs remain on the plate.

Holiday events turn The Herald breakroom into a glorious gallery of gluttony, as was the scene of a recent staff fundraiser for United Way.

Herald culinary marvels not only brought dazzling platters of confections, they also shared their recipes for an in-house, hot-off-the-press cookbook, also to raise money for United Way.

Recipes ranged from simply delicious cookies made from boxed cake mix to out-of-the-box creations for the baking divas.

From our kitchen to yours, here are some of their recipes:

Lynn Jefferson, Herald creative services manager

“As a busy mom, I’m always looking for shortcuts. When my son was small, I came across a recipe for peanut butter cookies using a yellow cake mix, one egg and 1/2 cup of peanut butter. Tried it and it was a big hit. Then I started thinking about all the other combinations you could make with cake mixes. Changed the peanut butter out to butter … and presto! When I didn’t have butter I substituted 1/2 cup of oil and the cookies were even softer.”

Cake mix cookies

2 eggs

1 package white cake mix

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Mix together cake mix, eggs and oil in large bowl. Make little balls with the dough and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Just change out the cake mix flavor for many different kinds. Some of our family favorites are: Spice cake with cream cheese frosting. Chocolate cake with chocolate or peanut butter chips. Yellow cake mix with crumbled Heath Bar. Confetti Mix for kids events. Red Velvet with mini chocolate chips.

For gluten free version, I substitute the Betty Crocker Gluten Free cake mix.

Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Diane Giese, Herald admin assistant

“Oreo Bon Bons are a favorite family cookie … especially during the holidays. Our family gets together to do all of our holiday cookies Thanksgiving weekend and our grandchildren love to ‘assist’ … especially with these cookies. They are simple, fun and delicious. You definitely can’t eat just one of these.”

Oreo bon bons

20 ounce package Oreos (4 sleeves of Oreos)

8 ounces block cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 pound almond bark (I use the white/vanilla almond bark)

Prepare a cookie sheet by covering with wax paper or parchment paper. Crush Oreos by pulsing in the food processor or place in a re-sealable plastic bag and smash with a rolling pin.

Place the crushed cookies in a large bowl and mix in the cream cheese and powdered sugar. Roll the mixture into balls the size of small walnuts and place on cookie sheet. When all balls are rolled, place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill the dough. Meanwhile, melt the almond bark over medium low heat. It takes about 10 minutes.

Remove the cookie sheet from the freezer. Dip each ball in the almond bark. Drop a ball in the bark and roll it around to coat. Pick it up with a teaspoon and let it drip, then transfer to another teaspoon. Place on waxed paper to harden.

Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Serve chilled.

Makes approximately 50 balls.

Jacqui Campbell, Herald senior marketing manager

“The recipe was my grandma’s and she used to make it for my sisters and I when we came out to Sequim to visit for the summer from Chicago. She’d let us eat it for dessert and once in a while even breakfast, which was a treat as a kid. My mom received the recipe and now I have it and continue the tradition of making it for both dessert and even a breakfast once in a while.”

Apple crumb bars

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup salted butter, chilled and cut into cubes

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 cups diced apples

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter 8-by-8-inch baking dish, set aside. In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolk and vanilla until combine. Add egg mixture and cold butter cubes to flour mixture and using a fork or a pastry cutter (or even your fingertips), cut mixture together until it resembles coarse crumbs. Gently press 2/3 of the mixture evenly into dish.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 2 teaspoon cornstarch. Stir in lemon juice, then add apples. Toss mixture to evenly coat. Pour and spread coated apples evenly over crust in baking dish. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over apple layer.

Bake in preheated oven for 38 to 42 minutes until top is golden brown. Cool for 20 to 30 minutes before cutting into squares. Store bars in an airtight container in refrigerator.

Makes 9 to 12 bars.

Katy Gross, Herald single copy assistant

“I got this from my dad who got it from his mom. These peanut butter balls forgo the powdered sugar and butter, and instead use a few lighter ingredients using only a fraction of the sweetener compared to traditional recipes.”

Peanut butter balls

1 cup natural peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

3 1/2 to 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup, to taste (see note)

2 to 3 tablespoons coconut flour

6 tablespoons gluten-free rice crisp cereal

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, to taste

Stir the jar of peanut butter well before using. In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter and maple syrup vigorously, 30 to 60 seconds, until it thickens up. It will go from runny to thick during this time.

Stir in the coconut flour until combined (if your PB is dry, you might be able to skip this step or only use half). We’re looking for a texture that isn’t too sticky, but not too dry either. Let it sit for a couple minutes to firm up as the coconut flour will continue to absorb moisture with time. Add a touch more coconut flour if necessary. If it’s too dry, add a touch more syrup. Add salt to taste and stir in the cereal.

Shape into small balls.

In a small pot, add the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently. Once half the chips have melted, remove from heat and stir until completely smooth.

With a fork, dip the balls into the melted chocolate. Tap off excess chocolate on the side of the pot and place the ball on a plate or cutting board lined with parchment. Repeat for the rest. Save any leftover melted chocolate for later.

Place balls in the freezer for around 6 to 8 minutes until mostly firm.

Dip a fork into the leftover melted chocolate and drizzle it on top of the balls to create a “sophisticated” design like the baking diva you are.

Freeze the balls for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the chocolate is completely set.

It’s quick to throw together and will fill a platter for a holiday party. For mess-free finger food, place the balls in mini-cupcake liners.

Makes 16 to 20 balls.

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