I have a love affair going on. It's with Santoni's in Glyndon! If you want fresh, homemade food, this is your store. Really, the food is so good, creative and with an eye to decadent that you can't go wrong if you buy anything this little gem offers. My mom and sister went to a wedding catered by Santoni's and they raved about the food. Being a resident of Reisterstown, I was only a stone's throw from this little jewel. Everything I've gotten from them has been tasty and original. For Mother's Day, I decided a few baked treats would satisfy everyone. I got the seven-layer bars and some mousse cups, which were rich and satisfying. I started thinking how I could make a cookie bar treat that gives you a punch of sweet and a dash of decadence.

I went to my old tried-and-true recipes to find a bar recipe that could be customized to add any topping you might enjoy. I had a basic pecan bar recipe with a cookie base to which I decided to add semi-sweet chocolate chips. You can add whatever you like, such as coconut, M&Ms, white chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit — the sky is the limit on this. Of course, just plain pecan bars are pretty darn good, too!

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Cheese and leftovers can form a comforting casserole

When my mom was cleaning out cubby holes for some renovations, she boxed up old recipe books she had and asked if I wanted them. Absolutely! I found some real

Ingredients

½ cup softened butter

¼ cup shortening

1 cup confectioners sugar

1 ½ cups flour

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 Tbs. flour

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup chopped pecans

Optional: 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, coconut, candies, etc.

Directions

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, cream the butter, shortening and confectioners sugar, and add the flour to make a dough. Press into a 12 x 12-inch plain baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven. While it's baking, mix eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, baking powder, 2 tablespoons of flour and the pecans. As soon as you remove the cookie layer, spread the topping over the top and return to oven for 20 more minutes. If desired, sprinkle your additional topping as soon as you remove the bars from the oven. Let cool completely and cut into 1-inch bars.

Lori Edmonds is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached via email at silkypup@msn.com.



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