Here is one of my favorite cookie recipes; I should be honest and say any cookie recipe is my favorite!  No one will ever believe there is oatmeal in these, although the amount of butter and sugar sort of cancels out the nutritional benefits of the oatmeal.  Most people think they are made with lots of nuts.  You can keep this dough flattened out in a freezer bag in your freezer so last minute cookies are ready to bake anytime.  The recipe only has four basic ingredients besides salt and flavoring, and has a delicious delicate taste.  They can of course be baked ahead and frozen.

CRISP SUGAR COOKIES

2 sticks (1 cup) butter softened to room temperature, no substitutes!
1/2-cup granulated sugar
1-cup all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2-cups quick cooking oats (not instant)
1-teaspoon vanilla
1-teaspoon salt

Cream the room temperature butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla, salt, flour and the oats.  Roll teaspoons of the dough into balls and placed on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  Take a flat-bottomed glass dip it in sugar and flatten out the cookie balls.  Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes.  Cookies will be done when edges have turned a golden brown.  Let cool on the sheets for a few minutes and then transfer them to cooling racks.  Makes about 36 cookies depending on the size you make.
Try and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper or those Silpats, you’ll never have a sticking problem.




My girlfriend Louise Fribush and I were talking about food recently.  Louise is a fabulous cook and more often than not our topic settles on desserts!  We both love anything lemon or lime.  Louise had the perfect recipe she has been making for years for Key lime cheesecake.  It is a no-bake pie she serves in a graham cracker crust.  I did not have the ingredients on hand for the crust BUT I did have all the other ingredients for the filling so we made “Key Lime Cheesecake Pudding”.  It was delicious, nice and tart and oh so creamy.  We topped it with fresh raspberries and we were in heaven!   If you prefer the pie, the graham cracker crust recipes follows, or buy a pre made crust. 

KEY LIME CHEESECAKE PUDDING

8-ounces cream cheese (large package) softened to room temperature
1-can sweetened condensed milk
1/2-cup Key lime juice (found in the baking section in a bottle, Nellie & Joe’s suggested brand)
1-teaspoon real vanilla
Pint of fresh raspberries (optional)
Fresh sprigs of mint (optional)

Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature or it will not combine properly and you will have small lumps.  Place the cream cheese and the condensed milk in a bowl and beat until well combined.  A standing mixer works best.  Add the Key lime juice and the vanilla and beat for about 2 minutes until well combined and slightly fluffy.  Pour into tall stem glasses or pudding cups.  If you can wait, chill for about 2 hours.  Top with raspberries and mint.  Serves 4-6

GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST

1 1/2-cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3-cup sugar
6-Tablespoons melted butter
Mix graham cracker crumbs and sugar together, add melted butter and press evenly into an 8 or 9-inch pie plate.  I find using the bottom of a measuring cup presses the crumbs nicely into the pie plate.  Bake 375° for 5-7 minutes.  Cool and fill with Key lime mixture.  Chill pie and top with whipped cream.

Here is an easy recipe for Brownies that is nice to put together when you have to serve a crowd.  It mixes up really fast and freezes well.  Make up a batch, cut and wrap individually and freeze for school lunches.  The kids will love you!  I like to sprinkle a dense layer of chocolate chips on top as soon as it comes out of the oven, wait for them to melt and then spread with a spatula for an easy frosting.  With Brownies it is important not to overcook or the end product will be dry.  This recipe will make at least 36 Brownies or more if you make smaller pieces.

BROWNIES FOR A CROWD

3-cups sugar
1-1/2-cups butter, room temperature
1-Tablespoon real vanilla
5-eggs
1-1/2-cups flour
1-cup cocoa powder (Hershey’s)
1/2-teaspoon salt
1-1/2-cups chopped nuts
1-1/2-cups chocolate chips for frosting (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° Take an 11x17 inch pan and line the long side with parchment paper leaving the ends extending about an inch over the top of the pan.  This really helps take the finished Brownies out of the pan.  Just run a knife along the short side and lift the parchment side up.
Cream the butter until fluffy, add sugar, vanilla and mix well.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  In a separate bowl mix flour cocoa and salt together until combined, slowly add dry ingredients to the cream mixture, mix well and add nuts.  Pour into prepared 11x17 inch pan and bake for 25 minutes or until done.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the chocolate chips if you want icing but they are rich enough to serve on their own.




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I'm just writing to express my vote on your Key Lime Pudding recipe in Pat O'Keefe's food column. I give it a definite "10" out of 10! The taste is simply "FABULOUS," only to be superceded by its ease in making it. So few ingredients, and so many rewards! I call it my "Company coming up the driveway" recipe. As it only takes minutes to make, it can be ready when my company gets  to my door!
I'm not a cook, but the way Pat O'Keefe wrote the recipe, it looked so easy to do. So I thought I would give it a try. I have shared this recipe with all my friends at work.  I like the way she always give a short personal history on the  her recipes. It's that nice "Personal touch" that she gives that makes me keep coming back for more!
I used to live in Manhasset, and still get a chance to read the Manhasset Press from time to time. Great job Pat, keep the recipes coming!!!  Judy W. Plymouth, MA

Toby with his first rolling pin and
crisp sugar cookie

  • KEY LIME CHEESECAKE PUDDING
  • GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
  • BROWNIES FOR A CROWD
  • CRIPS SUGAR COOKIES

Dear Pat,
I just want to thank you for the easy key lime pie recipe.  It was similar to one I usually make but yours was even easier!  I also appreciate the extra hints you include with all your recipes. Thank you,
Edna S


Just a fan letter to say how much I enjoy your recipes in THE MANHASSET PRESS.  I've only tried the key lime pudding/pie so far.  It was so delicious for so little effort!  Next time I won't even make the crust, since I much prefer eating it with a spoon and whipped cream!
Can't wait to try the mozzarella cheese and the Kathleen's chocolate chip cookies, and all the others I've clipped and saved. Please keep up the great recipes. Thank you from Plandome Heights!
Camille D.