Cookies, cookies everywhere – and my 1st Giveaway!

Photo courtesy of Erika at IvoryHut

You know what my favorite thing ever is? A really good cookie.

So when I set out to make something – anything – for the Big Summer Potluck, I wanted to do something unusual. And then Maggy sent out the call for tea time treats.

First, I thought I’d make a ‘safety’ cookie. Some kids apply to a safety school, I make a safety cookie. I made my famous shortbread. The recipe I have is the closest thing to Walker’s Shortbread I’ve ever made, and a certain cookbook author once praised it as some of the best she’s ever had. Shortbread that actually managed to be the worst cookie out of the bunch because my oven got too hot from baking all these in a row, and burned slightly. Oy vey.

Then, out came the two cookbooks I’ve had yet to bake something from: Martha Stewart’s Cookies, and the New Braunfels Smokehouse Cookbook.

The latter is a self published cookbook from one of the oldest and best restaurants in and around San Antonio. Their chicken and dumplings are legendary, and so is their beef jerky. Their general store and restaurant combo has been around a LOT longer than Cracker Barrel, and for me, a trip to Texas is not complete unless I’ve visited.

From this book I baked the Smokehouse Cowboy Cookies. They’re very similar to other ‘cowboy’ cookies I’ve made, but they were much much better.

Why? Well, for one they have pecans. Any Texan will tell you that pecans make anything better. Two, they have corn flakes. Yes, cornflakes! They added a crunch to the chewy cookie that I just loved.

From Martha’s book, I chose a cookie that I’ve never seen before, and proved to be a favorite in my house, and with Maggy’s husband, Andy. Earl Grey Tea Cookies are a little bit like a soft shortbread, with ground earl grey tea and orange zest mixed in. Most people initially thought they were poppy seed cookies due to their speckled appearance. The citrus-y flavor of these was a nice surprise, and they weren’t overly sweet. Perfect with a nice cuppa.

All this brings me to the give away. I make no secret of my love of cookbooks. In fact, my kitchen now has a dedicated glass door cupboard with them all on display. It makes me grin like a schoolgirl every time I look up above my sink and see them in all their mismatched-height-and-color glory. And one of my favorite cookbooks in the entire world is Pam Anderson’s How to Cook Without A Book.

When I’ve got Dinner-block, as I like to call it, I open this book, and within half an hour, I’ve got dinner on the table. It’s got the best, most realistic, and informative “Pantry List” I’ve ever seen in a cookbook. What’s a pantry list, you ask? It’s a list of all the things you should keep in-stock in your pantry, so you have what you need on hand, instead of running to the store – or worse, giving up and eating out.

A few months back, I decided that this book should be the first thing I ever gave away on my blog. Because it embodies everything I want people to get out of Bluebonnets & Brownies – how to cook unpretentiously, with basic knowledge that helps you put GOOD, wholesome food on the table. A good cookbook (or food blog!) can save you at the end of a hard day. I truly believe that. And this one is one of the best.

When I asked Pam if she’d be willing to sign copies for the winners, she readily agreed.

For the first ever Bluebonnets & Brownies giveaway, Three lucky winners will receive a copy of Pam Anderson’s How to Cook Without A Book.

The book will be signed with a personal message from Pam to each of the winners.

There are several ways to enter:

1) Leave a comment, telling me your favorite cookbook name and author (I’m always looking for new ones!)
2) Follow me on Twitter. Leave a second comment telling me you’ve done so.
3) Become a fan on Facebook. Leave a wall post there for an entry.

If you already do 2 or 3, just leave individual comments saying so, and they’ll count as entries.

Winners will be announced on Wednesday, August 25th. You have until midnight PST, Tuesday, August 24th to enter.

One winner will be chosen from facebook posts, 2 others from comment posts. Each will be selected using the random number generator from

I’m sorry, but contest only open to U.S. Residents.

In addition, if you’d like a chance at winning Pam Anderson’s newest book, Perfect One Dish Dinners, head on over to Alice’s blog, SavorySweetLife.
Good luck! I can’t wait to hear about your favorite cookbooks.

Oh, and if you’d like the recipe for all those cookies I trucked to the Big Summer Potluck? They’re over here.

Cookies, cookies everywhere - and my 1st Giveaway!
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Cookies, cookies everywhere - and my 1st Giveaway!
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  1. says

    Well my favorite cookbook is my Fix it and Forget it cookbook or my Paula Deen and Sons cookbook because it has the most delicious recipe for brown sugar cookies.

    I follow you all over the internetz. Twitter and facebook but I’ll post there and I’ll share the contest via twitter and facebook as well.

  2. says

    I am a cookbook-aholic. So, a favorite? Hard to pick one…but, here’s a keeper: The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten. And, like Wendi, loving Pam’s One Dish Dinners.

    Soon, I will come over and peruse those cookbooks of yours. Hopefully over a hot cuppa with a lovely cookie and a giant cat twitching his furry tail at me.

  3. says

    My current favorite is a dead-even tie… $7 Slow Cooker Meals (I think that’s the name) and the National Junior League Cookbook. Okay, fine… there’s one more… this binder of xeroxed, typed up recipes that a family friend makes for all of us when we get married – it’s her tried and true favorite recipes and they are some of the best.

  4. Sheila Korte says

    My favorite cookbook is STOLEN RECIPES purloined by Mary Sue Koontz Nelson (Recipes stolen from the finest Texas Cooks. I hate to Tweet or Twit, but I follow you on Facebook……….lv Sheila

  5. Jules L says

    My favorite cookbook is
    Linda Mccartney’s Home Cooking. I’m not vegetarian but this cookbook is still my favorite!

  6. says

    In all the times I’ve been to San Anton, I’ve never been to the Smokehouse. You’ve got me really intrigued! I can’t wait for my next trip! But the cookies you’re talking about sound more like Ranger cookies than Cowboy cookies. In my mind, Ranger cookies are Cowboy cookies with cereal stirred in. I could be totally wrong though; it’s just my impression.
    Thanks for the giveaway offer. My favorite cookbook of the moment is David Lebovitz’ ‘Scoop.’ But overall, the cookbook I reach most often for these days is Cheryl Jamisons’ Texas Home Cooking.

  7. Kellie H says

    Thanks for the scoop about New Braunfels Smokehouse; I’ll definitely have the check it out the next time I head down to San Antonio. Maybe it’s being from Texas and because it was my first cookbook, but my favorite cookbook is the Southern Living Cookbook by Susan Carlisle Payne. It has great recipes and general advice. I use it whenever I want to make an amazing peach cobbler or just cook green beans from the garden.

  8. says

    I don’t use a lot of cookbooks, but my favorite is a family Italian cookbook made up from a family in Omaha, Nebraska. Ferrara Family Favorites. It is one of those cookbooks that every page is splattered with butter and flour because I use it so much!

  9. says

    Here are a few of my favorites: Bread Baker’s Apprentice (duh!) by Peter Reinhart, Taming the Flame by Elizabeth Carmel, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.

  10. says

    I’m following you on twitter!!! AND I’m leaving a comment. Does that mean I get two entries? No? Ok fine then. :)

    My favorite cookbook is the one my mother gave me as a Christmas gift right before I got engaged. It has all our family recipes my mom used to make us as kids, plus a couple new ones (like my stepdad’s famous chocolate chip cookies!).

  11. says

    My favorite cookbook isn’t really a cookbook, I suppose. I love The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. It’s a great source of inspiration for creating your own recipes and coming up with different flavor combinations.

  12. says

    My favorite baking book is Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. I think my favorite cookbook is probably Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child!

  13. says

    I already follow you on Twitter! I don’t have a favorite cookbook – but I am always impressed by the books that Martha Stewart’s brand releases.

  14. says

    All time favorite cookbook:
    Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

    It is arranged by vegetable so you can cook what you have on hand!

  15. Nanci says

    My favorite cookbook is the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. It was my very first cookbook and I use the heck out of it. :)

    PS – I stalk you on FB too 😛

  16. says

    oh goodness – favorite cookbook is probably whatever is in my hand at the moment; i really do an a cookbook addiction! and i want this one to add to my ever-growing collection!

  17. Dana says

    My favorite cook “book” is a booklet of recipes that my aunt gathered from all the members of the family – actually just the ones that can cook. I live across the country and making them reminds me of home. I love it.

  18. Brandi says

    I am a cookbook addict so my most favorite cookbook is always my newest cookbook. That would be Ready for Dessert by David L. But my go to cookbook author is usually Ina Garten or Jamie Oliver.

  19. Tiara says

    Oh man!! I have been dying to get my hands on this book for over a year now!!

    My favorite “go-to” cookbook right now is by Ree Drummond the Pioneer Woman! I love her style, love her step by steps and the whole family loves her food!

  20. Jen says

    Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie at home” has such fresh, beautiful recipes and it also gives amazing tips on gardening your own veggies (if you’re into that like I am lol).

    I am also a fan on facebook :)

  21. Yvonne says

    I really like Pillsbury complete cookbook:) They have a fab carrot cake. yummy!
    Look forward to seeing yours now. thanks for the contest!

  22. says

    My current favorite cookbooks are Pam Anderson’s The Perfect Receip for Losing Weight and Eating Great, and Everyday Food’s Good Food Fast (Martha Stewart Living).


  23. Lynn S says

    My favorite cookbook is “The Pastry Queen” by Rebecca Rather. She has a bakery in the Hill Country and her books and recipes are wonderful.

  24. Cheri says

    My favorite cookbook is Internet, authored by Anonymous. I love to just type in ingredients and see what I get.

  25. says

    So hard to choose! I think I’ll go with I’m Just Here for the Food by Alton Brown – another one that isn’t just recipes. He teaches you how to cook.

  26. Theresa says

    My favorite cookbook is the Family Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen. Reliable recipes for everyday favorites and many recipes are simpler than those published in their other cookbooks.

  27. says

    Alton Brown’s “I’m Just Here For The Food” is my favorite cookbook/cooking bible ever! Great recipes and great explanations so you can explore experimenting on your own. It should be in every kitchen.

  28. says

    My favorite cookbook right now is Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters. I love the style and concept so, so much! I have their Heirloom Cooking, too, but haven’t made anything from it just yet!

  29. Jessica says

    My current favorite cookbook is Our Readers Top Rated Recipes by Southern Living. Everything I’ve made from it has turned out wonderfully! I would love to own a Pam Anderson cookbook though.

  30. Kathy Stephenson says

    My favorite cookbooks are church cookbooks. I like tried and true recipes that have been in families for years. Another favorite is Paula Deen’s first cookbook.

  31. Joanne C says

    Ok I have two books that I have used lately. The taste of home Best Church Supper Recipes and The Pioneer Woman Cooks. Those are my go to find something yummy cookbooks.

  32. Suburban Prep says

    I love the first cookbook I ever bought which is by Susan Branch the Heart of the Home series.
    But I also love the series by Ina Garten of the Barefoot Contessa and the ones from Ann Byrn regarding the cakemix Doctor.

  33. says

    I don’t have many cookbooks, but I LOVE Peter Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice! I’m slowly but surely learning how to bake bread. :)

  34. Kat says

    I love rereading and cooking from Robb Walsh’s “The Tex-Mex Cookbook” whenever I need a little love from my home state that I miss so much. One of these days we’ll get back and be able to enjoy the food in person all the time again, but for now his books and your blog sure do help out!

  35. says

    Isa Chandra Moskowitz has a great cookbook called “Vegan With A Vengeance”

    it is all vegan recipes but it’s great if you have vegan friends, it covers all the meals AND dessert! it’s great.

  36. Amy says

    My favorite cookbook is actually a binder of all my family’s favorite recipes I have compiled over the years. If I am stuck in a rut I just open it and I always find something!

  37. stephanie laubach says

    So many to choose from!!!! Love the King Arthur Baking book. However, my go to is always The Joy of COoking. It is falling apart after 20 years & so much useful info.

  38. Stephanie Gates says

    I love to collect cookbooks so it’s hard to chose one. I really like all of the Taste of Home cookbooks. Another good one is Martha Stewart’s Cookie cookbook, her recipe for Banana Nut chocolate chip cookies is the best!

  39. Cerys says

    Hmm this is a tough one.. I am going to say Weber’s Charcoal Grilling by Jamie Purviance.The pictures are awesome and so are the recipes!

  40. Cindy says

    I don’t know the exact name of the cookbook (im not at home right now) but it’s by Paula Deen’s sons. it might be called road trip cooking or something close to that. Awesome barbecue recipes and desserts.!!!!

  41. Melinda says

    I Love Cookbooks!!! They are Therapy to me. My new fav for now is Pioneer Woman Cooks. Love it!! She’s a one of a kind.

  42. Jamie says

    My favorite cookbook is the Campbells cookbook. I can’t twitter because my hubby won’t let me buy a phone that I can use the internet on. :

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