James’ Favorite Lemon Raspberry Crunch Thumbprints

lemon raspberry crunch cookies
My son requested these cookies for Christmas. I created this recipe when he was in 4th grade. Now he’s getting ready to graduate from college. Where did the time go…I’m serious, WHERE? Anyway, we just finished a batch and I thought I’d post our results. James is a great baking partner, he jumps right in and does whatever’s needed. We had a great day baking cookies. It’s one of the best parts of getting ready for Christmas. I hope you enjoy this recipe and that it becomes one of your favorites as well!


1 (18.25) package yellow cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 egg
3 cups crisp rice cereal
6 Tbsp. seedless red raspberry jam

1. Preheat oven to 375°

2. Combine cake mix, oil, lemon zest*, lemon juice, and egg. Beat on low speed until well blended. Add cereal and mix until combined.

3. Drop by heaping teaspoons 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Using a round teaspoon, dip back of teaspoon in flour; press in middle of dropped cookies to make an indentation. Fill with approximately 1/2 teaspoon of jam in center of each cookie.

4. Bake 9-11 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool cookies 1 minute on baking sheet then remove to wire rack and cool completely.

Makes 3 dozen cookies

*Remember to zest the lemon before you squeeze it for its juice. This is an important step that really boosts the lemon flavor.


Best Chocolate Cake Ever? Could Be!


Of course this is personal preference, but this recipe is definitely at the top of my best-loved chocolate cakes.

I’ve made this several times and sent it home with guests who raved about it. They told me it was even better the second day, so I started making it a day ahead…which helps when planning a get-together.

I began with a recipe I found on the web then made my own adjustments. I added a fudge-like frosting and some chopped pecans. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. In large bowl, mix together cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in chocolate chips and pour batter into well greased 12-cup Bundt pan.

3. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake completely in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto plate.

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 T. butter
1 T. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
chopped pecans, optional

1. In a double boiler, over hot but not boiling water, combine chocolate chips, butter and corn syrup. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, then add vanilla.

2. Spread warm glaze over top of cake, letting it drizzle down the sides.

3. Garnish with chopped pecans, if desired.