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Food is meant to be enjoyed and nourish your body and soul, and no one knows that better than Marley DeFelice in GOOD LUCK WITH THAT. As a chef, she's got the right balance between nutrition, yumminess and the occasional indulgence. So go ahead. This one is ready in a jiffy.


1 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup sugar

1 ¼ cups buttermilk

1 tablespoon grated orange zest (zest the whole thing and save some for garnish)

½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (same orange! you should get enough juice for half a cup)

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ cups cornmeal

2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks


Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9 or 10 inch springform pan with butter.


Whisk together the ricotta cheese, sugar, buttermilk, orange juice, vanilla and orange zest until smooth. Stir in the cornmeal and mix well. Pour mixture into a 9 or 10 inch springform pan and first five ingredients until smooth. Stir in cornmeal and mix until well-combined. Pour mixture the springform pan. Scatter the chunks of butter evenly over the top.  The mixture is thin; don’t worry about it!


Bake 60-70 minutes until the cake is golden brown on the edges and firm in the center and the house smells like heaven. Let cool for 15 minutes, then release the spring. Serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice  sprinkled with the remaining orange zest. A sprig of mint would look pretty, too. Enjoy! What is life without dessert?


To be honest, I don’t think I’ve used this recipe in a book (not yet, anyway), but I make these for the kids on the first day of school every year.

(Note: I stand corrected! A reader pointed out that Harper bakes Nick oatmeal cookies when he comes to visit her in their early years…aw! Kinda sweet, huh?)
Preheat oven to 350; grease two cookie sheets.

12 tablespoons butter (1½ sticks) at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar

Cream together in mixer. Blend in

1 egg
2 tablespoons + ½ teaspoon warm water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In separate bowl, combine

2/3 cup of flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ tsp baking soda

Add to butter mixture and blend well. Then mix in with wooden spoon
3 ¼ cups quick cooking oats
1 cup golden raisins, softened in warm water, then drained
Using ice cream scoop and packing batter firmly, drop onto greased cookie sheet, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Bake for 15 minutes in 350 degree oven. Big, buttery, sweet and even vaguely nutritious!


In My One & Only, Nick and Harper stop at a little restaurant in Montana, where Nick orders pie (just to irritate Harper, who’s itching to get to the airport).

1 recipe for a 9 inch double crust pie

4 ½ cups huckleberries
2 ½ tablespoons tapioca
2/3 cup white sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon butter


Mix huckleberries, tapioca, sugar, salt, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar.
Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Dot top with butter. Add top pastry and pinch edges (my neighbor smooshes them down with a fork, which looks nice, too).
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Then turn oven down to 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes. You almost can’t overbake a pie, unless you burn the crust.

Best served warm, about an hour out of the oven.


Callie baked these regularly for her dear old grandfather, Noah, in All I Ever Wanted. Takes about ten minutes to whip up the batter. Time well spent, gang.

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 sticks butter

Cream the above ingredients till fluffy. Add1 ½ teaspoons vanilla (Mexican is really best)
2 eggs
Beat till smooth.

2 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Mix till smooth.

2 cups chocolate chips (Ghiradelli are the bomb, but generic work well, too)
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips, or 1 cup toffee bits
Drop from teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet; bake in 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes per batch.

Short on time? Add ¼ cup of warm water to the batter, an additional ¼ cup of flour, and instead of baking soda, use baking powder. Spread out in cookie sheet, bake 20-25 minutes at 375, and voila. You have blondies instead of cookies.


(Reprinted with permission from Kids Cooking by the editors of Klutz Books)

Have you accidentally whacked your new neighbor with a field hockey stick? If so, I heartily recommend working your way back into his good graces with these. Worked for Grace after she accidentally assaulted Callahan in Too Good To Be True.

BEWARE! These are addictive!But if you have to have an addiction, I recommend these bad boys…

2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup of butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9 inch baking pan.

Melt butter over low heat. In mixing bowl, combine cocoa and sugar, then stir in the melted butter. Add eggs and vanilla. Stir. Add flour and salt. Mix until just smooth. Add walnuts. Bake in greased pan for 40-50 minutes, until brownies just begin to pull away from sides of pan. And then, enjoy. I know you will!


Lucy tries to woo Ethan up to her apartment using this dish in The Next Best Thing. She does love to bake for that guy!

1 pound of cinnamon raisin bread (homemade is best for you overachievers, but Pepperidge Farms isn’t bad, either…thick sliced works best)
3 ¼ cups milk
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup golden raisins
1 eight ounce can of crushed or sliced pineapple. If you used sliced, cut into small chunks.

Oven: 350 degrees

Tear bread into 1/2-inch square pieces. Don’t smoosh the bread…you want it to be nice and airy. Place bread chunks in bowl. Add milk and stir occasionally until bread absorbs milk…takes about 20 minutes.
In another bowl, beat eggs, then add sugar, vanilla, raisins and pineapple. Mix well. Add to bread mixture and stir gently with rubber spatula.
Pour into 13-by-9 inch baking pan and cover loosely with foil. Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown and puffy. Be gentle when opening the oven door to check…the pudding may fall if you’re not.

Jack Daniels Sauce
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
¾ cup butter
Dash of cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. Jack Daniels whiskey

In saucepan, brown the butter (be careful…it turns fast). Add water and sugar, mixing until sugar dissolves. Don’t boil! Turn off heat, add a dash of cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon of vanilla and the whiskey. Mix lightly, then pour over warm pudding. A little whipped cream isn’t going to kill anyone, so go ahead and add that. Taste. Smile. Life is good!


This is a great recipe in that it’s easy and makes the house smell like heaven. It’s also fairly healthy (by my standards, anyway…). My next heroine will have to make this, methinks.

2 quarts + 1 cup milk
2/3 cup of sugar
2/3 cup white rice
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Scald the milk in a large pot (that is, bring it almost to a boil). In oven safe, large bowl, combine other ingredients. Add milk, stir. Put in a 350-degree oven and bake for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Best eaten warm.


My BFF makes this cake. I thought my chocolate cake was pretty good…until I tasted hers. Perfect, not too difficult to make, and suitably for royalty.

4 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
(sift the above four ingredients together)
1 cup hot coffee

Mix coffee, 1/2 cup of sour cream and 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in separate bowl. In mixer, add the coffee mixture to the dry ingredients and mix till just blended. Add 2 eggs, one at a time. Add the melted chocolate and mix. Bake for 25-30 minutes for cake; 20 minutes for cupcakes.

2 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon hot coffee

In a medium bowl, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa, and set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar mixture alternately with evaporated milk and coffee Blend in vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy.


2 sticks softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar

(beat the above ingredients well).

Beat in

1 egg
½ teaspoon almond extract

In separate bowl, combine 2 ¼ cups flour, ½ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda. Add to other ingredients and beat well.
Mix in 1 cup of chocolate chips and 1 cup of toffee bits.
Bake on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheets for 11 minutes.

Best with a big glass of milk. BEWARE: It is not at all out of the realm of possibility that you will fall into a trance and eat about a dozen of these at once, especially if they're still warm. It's worth it!


Are they heart-healthy? Er…no. But they’re delicious! My father’s German grandmother used to make something like this, and when I was a kid, I found a recipe that was pretty close to what dear old Dad remembered. Traditionally baked at Christmas, but good any old time! Especially with a glass of milk!

1 lb butter
2 cups sugar
¼ cup cinnamon
3 cups ground almonds (or 2 ½ cups ground almonds, ½ cup ground walnuts or pecans)
4 eggs, room temperature
6 cups flour

Directions: Cream butter, sugar and cinnamon. Add almonds and eggs (one at a time, beating well). Add flour, beating slowly until dough forms. Divide, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Break off and form into crescent shapes on greased cookie sheets. Brush tops with egg yolk and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees.

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