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Something about the approach of spring prompts readers to email requests and comments, and I really appreciate all of the emailed kind comments sent over the past few weeks. A common theme in three of the emails were requests for cookie recipes. I have written before that very few people make genuine homemade cookies any more. Some folks choose the packaged mixes that just call for addition of water and maybe oil. That does require some measurement, stirring, scooping and perhaps some rolling into balls and flattening out. But the vast majority of people I have corresponded with prefer the cookie dough that is in a tubular shaped package or comes in a plastic tub. That requires slicing and placing on a cookie sheet or scooping spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. But the easiest and most popular method is the kind of cookies that come pre-sectioned in a square package – the place and bake kind. Each cookie is kind of “squarish-round,” so if you ever eat a square cookie at someone’s home, you know that person did not have time to reshape the section of cookie. Mind you, Toll House and Nestles both make these “instant” varieties of cookies, and I am sure they are good, or the companies would not put their name on them.

But, there is something about getting out a large bowl or two, setting out some butter and eggs – perhaps some cream cheese -- to bring to room temperature … there is something about pulling some stools or chairs up to a table or counter and allowing your children and/or grandchildren, perhaps even nieces and nephews help measure, sift, stir and create wonderful baked cookies and other goodies that are true creations of everyone’s efforts and wonderful treats that bring smiles and laughter. No matter the mess … think of the memorable moments you share with those you love! That said, I am including a few easy, delicious recipes from the Toll House line of treats that are perfect for the upcoming spring bridal and baby showers and graduation parties. And always remember, “Every good recipe includes a little love.”

Crazy dipped pretzel rods

1 cup Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Milk Chocolate or Premier White Morsels

1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

16 pretzel rods

Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels and/or sprinkles (optional) Additional Nestle Toll House Morsels for drizzling (optional)

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. In a large, uncovered bowl, microwave one cup of your flavor of morsels and vegetable shortening on medium power for 1 minute. Stir the mixture well. If the morsels are not fully melted, microwave for additional 15-second intervals, stirring just until the morsels are melted. Dip pretzel rods about three inches into the melted morsels, tilting the bowl for easier dipping. Use the side of the bowl to remove the excess. If you want to decorate them, you may sprinkle them with morsels or sprinkles. Place the rods on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate them for 20 minutes or until they are “set.” Store these yummy rods in an airtight container at room temperature. For a fancy drizzle, microwave three tablespoons of the opposite color of morsels in a heavy-duty plastic bag on medium power for 30 seconds. Clip a tiny corner from the bag and drizzle the melted chips over the dipped pretzels on the baking sheet. Refrigerate them until firm and store them as directed above.

Chocolate chip cheesecake


1-1/2 cups crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (about 15)

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

2 cups Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels, divided Filling

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature

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1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 cup Nestle Carnation Evaporated Milk

1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the cookie crumbs with the butter until they are well moistened. Press them into the bottom of an ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Sprinkle the crust evenly with 1 cup of mini morsels. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth. Beat in the eggs and flour. Gradually beat in the evaporated milk and sour cream. Pour this mixture over the crust. Sprinkle the top evenly with the remaining mini morsels. Bake the cheesecake for 25 minutes. Cover it loosely with foil. Bake for an additional 30 to 40 minutes or until the edge is set, but the center still moves slightly. Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator immediately and let it set for 2 hours.

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