After Hurricane Sandy devastated so much of the East Coast, help began to pour in immediately. But here in the farther inland parts of the U.S., we were left wondering what we could do, other than donate money?

In times of disaster, we all wish we were able to do more. Many people don’t want to give to a nebulous charity, fearing scams of all sorts.

One of my publishers, Rebecca Vickery, came up with the idea of a recipe book. The authors that write for her three imprints were asked if they wanted to contribute recipes to go in the book. The sales from the book would go, in part, to one of two charities, which we voted on. By a large margin, Save the Children was our choice.

The book was a work of love that we all participated in, some with more than one recipe. It’s filled with quite a variety, and even though on the cover it says, “Featuring favorite holiday recipes by various authors”, I promise there are several in this book that I will be making all through the year.  Who can wait for the holidays to have some of these scrumptious treats?

I’m sharing my contributions with you today, but there are plenty more where this came from in this little gem of a book—many of them easy and geared for our hectic lifestyles.

I can certainly vouch for the two below—Blonde Brownies has been a staple in our family since I was born. It was on a “Brownie” recipe sheet when both of my sisters belonged to a troop, and my mom was a leader. This recipe is one of those that doesn’t last long around our house—the ingredients are items you usually keep stocked, and it’s easy to make. Same with the Hello Dolly Bars.

I’m giving away a copy of our AUTHORS IN THE KITCHEN cookbook today—just leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. If you can’t wait to see if you won, here’s the link!


I hope you enjoy!


4 eggs

1 tsp. Vanilla

1½  cups flour

2 ½  cups brown sugar

½ tsp. salt

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

½  cup (OR MORE!) choc. Chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Beat eggs well. Add brown sugar gradually, beating until well mixed. Add vanilla, flour, salt and mix well. Add chopped nuts and mix. Pour into a greased, 9×13 pan and sprinkle chocolate chips over top of the batter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes (depending on your oven). This makes a 9×13 pan of brownies. You can half this recipe for an 8×8 pan, and reduce cooking time to 25 minutes.



½ cup butter

1 ½  cup graham cracker crumbs

1 six oz. package chocolate chips (I always add extra!)

1 can Eagle Brand milk (sweetened condensed milk)

1 1/3  cups shredded coconut

1 cup chopped nuts

Pour melted butter into a 9×13 pan. Cover evenly with the following: graham cracker crumbs (press down to soak up the butter), nuts, chocolate chips, coconut. Pour milk on top. Bake at 350 F. until lightly brown or chips have melted (about 25 minutes). Cool before cutting.

(You can also add some butterscotch chips along with the chocolate chips for variation.)

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson

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A native Oklahoman, I've been influenced by the west all my life. I love to write short stories and novels in the historical western and western romance genres, as well as contemporary romantic suspense! Check my Amazon author page to see my work: http://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson
I live in Oklahoma City with my husband of 40 years. I love to hear from readers and other authors--you can contact me here: fabkat_edit@yahoo.com
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  1. Cheryl, What a wonderful way to help out. Sometimes just giving money seems the lazy way out. This is a way to give of yourself.

    These recipies are very similar to some my mother often made. Our families loved them. Thanks for sharing them.

  2. Cheryl, thanks for letting us know about this great way to help others. And who doesn’t like a good recipe book.

    Your mention of Hello Dollys brings back some very fond, dare I say sweet, memories. My mom use to make these around the holidays and since I didn’t care for nuts she’d only sprinkle the pecans on half the pan. I haven’t had these in years but now I have a hankering for them – will have to make a batch soon!!

  3. What a great idea! I love to collect recipes. Such an easy way to help the Hurricane Sandy victims. My close friend Andi quit her job here in Florida to help her daughter Stephanie out, as their house was severely damaged by flood water. She’s going to help babysit and help with the cleanup and packing and unpacking when they can move back in again.

    We called your Hello Dolly Bars -Seven Layer Bars and used both mini-chocolate semisweet chips and the butterscotch chips. DELICIOUS! They are so rich!

  4. Wow, how neat! Someone had a great idea. And I love the two recipes you shared today. Both look amazingly easy to make. I’m going to try the Hello Dolly bars. Yummy!

    Wishing you and your fellow authors much success. I hope you make lots of money to donate to the Sandy victims.

  5. That’s such a great idea and an excellent way to help out. I love to collect cookbooks and every week I try making a new recipe. The Hello Dolly Bars sound so good, I will definitely be making some.

  6. Now you’ve done it, Cheryl–given me the urge to go in the kitchen and bake up one of these great recipes to snack on. But I’d better save them for when I need to take treats somewhere.
    What a great cause. So admirable that your group did something to help those in need.

  7. Wow, such a good idea. I really like finding new recipes and your recipe for the Hello Dolly Bars we call them Magic Squares (although we don’t the include nuts). Thanks for sharing.

  8. The bars are enticing and special. Wonderful idea and brownies are delectable. The cookbook is great. This is so creative and helpful.

  9. Connie, I love both of these, and they’re both very easy to make. This book has lots of different kinds of recipes in it–I should have said that better–it has casseroles, etc. “real food” as well as desserts. You’re right–my mom refused to give money for birthdays, Christmas, etc. all through they years because she said she felt it was being too lazy to go find something that the person might want. I was so glad to be able to contribute to this book and help that way. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Winnie, I learned to make those in “home ec” class when I was in the 8th grade. I can’t tell you how many of those batches of both of these I’ve made. My kids don’t like nuts either, so I do the same thing–half the pan gets them and the other side doesn’t! LOL I was mad at myself this year–I thought I had everything for them and had not bought the coconut. I didn’t get to make them for Christmas, but I owe myself a pan of them now and will make them SOON.

  11. Lauri, I’m not sure, but I think I must have gotten this recipe so long ago it might have been before butterscotch chips were invented. (Yeah…)LOL I’ve seen that recipe since with the butterscotch and made them both ways (they’re both wonderful.) LOL Wow, your friend is a great mom–but what can you do when it’s your child going through that? You have to drop what you’re doing and go. Hugs to her and her daughter. That’s gotta be so hard.

  12. Hi Linda!
    I think that once the distributors are paid, there’s a dollar or so left and that goes to the Save the Children organization–we’re not making any money on it, as it should be. I am glad to do a project like this and try to help. I bought a lot of them myself to just give as gifts.

    Yes, both those recipes are really easy to make and both are so scrumptious. Once you make them, well, just get ready. LOL I would rather have those blonde brownies than regular brownies. Now that is saying something.

  13. Hi Katie,
    That is a great idea–to try something new once a week. Boy, we get in such a rut here at my house, now that it’s just my husband and me. I hope you enjoy these. They’re both wonderful and very simple.

  14. LOL Elizabeth–yes, I know. I have to make a pan of those brownies every so often even though my kids are grown and gone, and my husband isn’t a “brownie” person. I LOVE THOSE THINGS. Well, don’t wait too long. Once you taste them you won’t want to wait until you have to take them somewhere…you’ll want to keep them all for yourself. LOL

  15. Cheryl, I got my copy. It’s a great idea. I’m glad to get involved.
    I know what you mean about wanting to help and not wanting to get involved in a scam.
    I have an acquaintance who works for PayPal in their charity organization fraud department (or some such words as those) They say whenever there is a disaster like Hurricane Sandy dozens if not hundreds of ‘charities’ spring up overnight. Many of them legit but most of them NOT. And some of them are created and vanish fast before they can be tracked. It’s like a handful of people are creating charity after charity to scam money.
    Thanks for hunting up a good group to support.

  16. Hi Bonnie Jean,
    When I saw your lovely name it reminded me of that song in Brigadoon, “I’ll Go Home With Bonnie Jean.” That’s one of my favorite musicals of all time.

    Thank you so much for stopping by. Seems there are a lot of people who don’t like nuts. I never knew this growing up, because everyone in my family loved them. My dad would buy a huge towsack of cracked pecans and we’d sit and shell them for mom to use in her cooking through the year. But my kids do not like pecans, though they will eat peanuts. Really, I think as long as you have the graham cracker crust, Eagle Brand milk, and chocolate chips, it’s all good. LOL

  17. Thank you, Diane. I agree with you–there’s a reason people want “comfort food.” My comfort food is…home fried potatoes. When I was growing up, my mom had a little pan that was just perfect to make hash browns in. When I got sick, she’d always want to make me scrambled eggs, or toast, etc. When I felt the least bit able to eat anything, I wanted those hash browns. LOL I still think about that. To this day, that would be my choice. But…if I had blonde brownies around, I might take those instead. LOL

  18. Thanks, Ellie. I’m just glad I could be a part of it, and hope that it helps in some small way. Living in Oklahoma, we see the devastation that tornadoes bring, but those can’t cause the widespread damage that something like Hurricane Sandy did.

  19. Mary, thank you! I know you’ll find some good stuff in there to make. I’m thinking that broccoli casserole looks really good–I hated broccoli growing up but can’t get enough of it now. Lots of good desserts and a really good recipe in there for Sweet Potato Casserole.

    You’re so right about those scammers. You know I do a lot of work through FB networking and so one for these different animal organizations. When I first started doing that, I watched for a long long time before I ever got involved. I met some of the people (online) that worked as volunteers, etc. before I ever committed to doing anything–especially giving money for surgeries, transportation, etc. There are a lot of scammers out there. When we have tornadoes through here, you can’t believe all the roofing companies that crop up overnight. There are tons of commercials that will state “We’ve been here for 26 years” and stuff like that to try to separate themselves from the scammers. It’s hard to believe that people are so greedy and dishonest.

  20. This is such a grat Idea! Im always trying to keep my cooking new and fresh. With family of little men running around its a must lol. What a neat idea too to tell them as we sit down to eat, where i got the recipe and how its helping other families!

  21. Oh, Cori, I bet! I remember when my kids were young and how I always kept something good made up for them. My mom did the same thing for us. Just something we do for our kids, and there are lots of times now, I think, “I’m going to go make ______” and I do it just for me! I hope you enjoy. There are a lot of good recipes in this book, for sure.

  22. I’ve made a truck load of Hello Dollies in the past–who wouldn’t like those? But honestly, I have never made nor eaten Blonde Brownies. But you can bet I will now–next time a dessert is called for. Thanks for telling about our cookbook!

  23. This is such a great idea, Cheryl, and so awesome for you all to help those affected by Sandy. She was my last hurricane, before getting the heck back home to Wyoming.

    I’ll have to pick up a copy of the recipe book (I’m always looking for something new to whip up), and thanks for the yummy looking recipes on the post.


  24. Celia, you don’t know what you’re missing with those Blonde Brownies. And once you make them…well, you’ll be making them again and again. They are wonderful. And Hello Dollies? Marvelous, and easy–well both of these are easy. I saw your recipe in there for Chocolate Bark…that really sounds good!

  25. I was so glad to contribute to this project. It feels good to do something to help others. I enjoyed reading the personal notes from each of the contributors, too.

  26. Kirsten,
    We were so lucky to have a publisher who thought to do this. It’s a big job to organize, create a cover, and get it formatted, not to mention collecting all the recipes and putting them in the right order/section, etc. All this work was donated by the people who did it, and I’m so glad to have been asked to contribute. I know you’re glad to be home in Wyoming!Especially after that! Thanks for stopping in, Kirsten!

  27. Sarah, those Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze just sound so amazing. I bet those are just heavenly, especially on a cold winter’s morning. Like you, I’m glad we had a chance to participate. Glad you popped in over here!

  28. There is still so much to do. I am a Disaster Volunteer with the Red Cross and was in the NYC area and Long Island for three weeks until Thanksgiving. They are still asking for volunteers for there is still such a great need. There are many good organizations doing a lot of good work up there. I am afraid with the way the weather is changing, we are going to see many more events both there and across the country. Since I came back we have dealt with local flooding, snow & ice storms, and house fires.

    Recipe books are always a good fund raiser. I hope you raise lots of money for a good organization and a good cause.

  29. Patricia,
    Let me just say a big THANK YOU for all you do with Red Cross. I think that it’s like so many other things in the news–it’s news for a few days and then it’s on to something else, but there are still people suffering from the effects of the storm. “Life goes on” people say–well, yes, and life goes on for those people too, except their lives are in shambles! I’m like you–I think we are going to see more of these weather catastrophes as our climate changes.

    After the Murrah Building was bombed in 1995 here in Oklahoma City, there was such a huge outpouring of healing wishes from the rest of the U.S.A. and even other countries, as well. I remember making more than one business call and upon the person finding out I was from Oklahoma City, making comments such as “We’re in Florida, but that is all we’ve talked about in the office for days. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” I remember one customer service rep. at our insurance company who said, “How are things, there, now?” (This was about 3 or 4 days after it happened.) I told her, “Still very very bad.” She said, “They will be for a long time, I’m sure. We are all thinking of you.”

    But when we think of the hurricane victims, they’re not localized as we were here in OKC. I think that’s what makes us feel so helpless, on top of everything else.

    Again, thanks so much for your work with the Red Cross!

  30. What a wonderful and gracious idea! I just visited Amazon and downloaded this awesome book. What a double gift…a win win situation! I’m thankful you were blessed with this idea.

    In Christian Joy,
    Barb Shelton

  31. Thanks so much Barb! I’m thrilled that our publisher gave us the opportunity to participate, and I know all my fellow “Authors in the Kitchen” are, as well. I hope you enjoy the recipes!

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