• 73°

Back To School Time

Schools are starting earlier every year – many will be in session next week. It's enough to make both kids and adults lose their cool!

One way to ease the transition – and prove that you're a pretty cool mom – is to bake some special treats for school lunches and after-school snacks. Today's column features homemade cookies and bars that supply that all-important ingredient: love.

Today's recipes include: Granola Breakfast Bars, Peanut Butter Rocky Road Bars. Hermit Bars, Chocolate Spice Crinkles, Cow Pies.

GRANOLA BREAKFAST BARS

2 c. old fashioned oats, 1 c. flour, 3/4 c. packed brown sugar, 1/2 c. wheat germ, 3/4 tsp. salt, 3/4 c. raisins, 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 c. vegetable oil, 1/2 c. honey, 2 tsp. vanilla, 1 lg. egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan. Line with foil; grease foil. In large bowl with wooden spoon mix oats, flour, brown sugar, raisins, wheat germ, salt and cinnamon until combined. Stir in vegetable oil and remaining ingredients until blended. With wet hand pat oat mixture into pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until pale golden around edges. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. When cool transfer with foil to cutting board. Cut lengthwise into 4 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 6 pieces. Makes 2 dozen bars.

PEANUT BUTTER ROCKY ROAD BARS

3/4 c. packed brown sugar, 2/3 c. creamy peanut butter, 1/2 c. sugar, 4 T. margarine, 1-1/4 c. flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. vanilla, 2 lg. eggs, 1 c. miniature marshmallows, 1/2 c. salted chopped peanuts, 1/2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13 x 9-9nch metal baking pan. Line pan with foil; grease foil. In large bowl with mixer at low beat brown sugar, peanut butter, sugar, and margarine or butter until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until creamy. At low speed, beat in flour, baking powder, vanilla, and eggs until well blended, constantly scraping bowl with rubber spatula. With hand, press dough onto bottom of pan. Bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle marshmallows, peanuts, and chocolate pieces over top; bake 5 minutes longer or until golden. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. When cool, transfer with foil to cutting board. Cut lengthwise into 4 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 6 pieces. Makes 2 dozen bars.

HERMIT BARS

2 c. flour, 2/3 c. packed brown sugar, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1-1/2 tsp. ginger, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2/3 c. molasses, 6 T. margarine, melted, 2 tsp. vanilla, 2 lg. eggs, lightly beaten, 3/4 c. raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan. Line pan with foil; grease foil. In large bowl with spoon, stir flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt until combined. Stir in molasses, melted margarine or butter, vanilla, and eggs just until blended. Stir in raisins. Spread mixture evenly in pan. Bake 18 to 22 minutes, until golden around edges. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. When cool transfer with foil to cutting board. Cut lengthwise into 6 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 4 pieces. Makes 2 dozen bars.

CHOCOLATE SPICE CRINKLES

1/2 c. margarine, softened, 1-1/2 c. sugar, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. salt, 3 lg. eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, 4 oz. baking chocolate, melted, 2 c. flour, 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar

In large bowl with mixer on medium speed, beat butter, granulated sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla and chocolate; beat until blended. With mixer on low speed, beat in flour just until blended. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease or coat cookie sheets with nonstick spray. Roll level measuring tablespoons of dough into 1-1/4 inch balls. Roll in confectioners' sugar and place 1-1/2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Bake 12 minutes or until tops are puffed and crackled. Remove to wire rack to cool completely. Makes 65 cookies.

COW PIES

2 c. milk chocolate chips, 1 T. shortening, 1/2 c. raisins, 1/2 c. slivered almonds

In double boiler over simmering water melt chocolate chips and shortening, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat; stir in raisins and almonds. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper. Chill until ready to serve. Makes 2 dozen.