Get Baked: Birthday Bake Sale Cookies and Brownies and Bars

Last week, in honor of my impending birthday situation, my Mom and I made a bunch of cookies for other people in exchange for their donations to Autostraddle. I was super-helpful throughout the process and not even remotely distracted by g-chatting with Cee about the impending launch of our redesign. After Mom and I finished our bake-a-thon, I packaged up all the baked goods with great care and put them in the mail, where they will journey across land and sea and then jump into your mouths like tiny birds!


Although we offered meringue cookies and sugar cookies as options, nobody picked those, so I’m just including here the recipes that we did actually make. ARE YOU READY?

Chocolate Mint Brownies


Source: my Aunt Connie

Level One:
4 eggs
1 cup melted butter
2 cups sugar
4 squares unsweetened chocolate (melted)
1 tsp peppermint extract
1 cup flour

1. Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees. This is really difficult so be sure to focus.

2. Mix all the ingredients on that list together in the order in which they are listed.

3. Bake those items for 20-25 minutes in a greased “jelly roll pan.” You know, that pan you keep around for jelly roll emergencies. Who doesn’t love a good jelly roll. My day hasn’t begun or ended until I’ve ingested a jelly roll. I’m sure lots of you can relate.

4. Let that cool for a bit while we move gallantly forward to the second level. “Next level,” if you will.

Level Two:
1/4 cup melted margarine
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 or 2 drops green food coloring

1. Mix all the things together!

2. When Level One is nice and cooled, smear Level Two all over it. Then it’s time to go to the next-next level.

Level Three:
1 tsp. peppermint extract
1 square melted unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Surprise! You’re gonna mix all that stuff together.

2. Spread the chocolatey mixture of goodness all over the green layer.

3. Refrigerate that pan until the brownies settle in to their best selves.

When it’s nice and cool, you should cut it in diamond shapes. I obviously didn’t do that, because who still has the index card around when the brownies have emerged from the oven? Not me obviously. Instead I cut them in a variety of haphazard shapes using a pizza cutter and ate all the crumbly bits.

Bake Sale

Criss-Cross Peanut Butter Oatmeal CookiesIMG_1845

Source: Appears to have been removed from The Ann Arbor News and pasted onto a printed-out recipe for “Girl Scout Mint Cookies.” According to the printer time-stamp, this occurred on April 3rd, 1998.

1.5 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup margarine or butter, softened
1/3 cup water
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups oats (quick or old-fashioned, uncooked)
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
granulated sugar

1. Beat sugar, peanut butter and margarine until it’s nice and creamy, much like what happens when you beat a vagina. Next, you’re gonna add the water, egg, and vanilla, and beat that real good too.

2. Combine oats, flour, and baking soda and mix well. I’d recommend not doing this in a tiny bowl like I did, because then it’s super hard to mix and everybody will want to talk about how you may be real good at writing words but you can’t change a tire or whatever.

3. Drop that oats/flour/soda sitch into the creamy bowl of stuff, and mix it all up.

4. Cover and chill for two whole hours! That’s enough time to re-watch two episodes of Orange is The New Black, or to paint your fingernails and toenails and let them dry.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

6. Shape dough into one-inch balls, placed two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

7. Dip a fork into a little bowl of granulated sugar, and gently flatten the one-inch balls with the fork tines to form a criss-cross pattern. Don’t press too hard or your Mom might yell at you.

8. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Cool two minutes on the sheet and then move it onto the wire rack.


Vegan Gluten-Free Applesauce Cookies

big day for those oats

big day for those oats

Source: Jane Brody’s “Good Food Gourmet”

3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup chopped pecans
4 cups quick oats
1/2 cups chopped dates

Funny story: so Geneva made a graphic for the Birthday Bake Sale post for which she pulled photos of the cookie options from various internet locales. Because my Mom had dug up the Vegan Gluten-Free Applesauce Cookies recipe herself, I didn’t have any idea what they were supposed to look like, and therefore did not question the gluteny appearance of the cookies Geneva used for the graphic:

i did not bake any cookies that look like this

i did not bake any cookies that look like this

Then, we were at Berkeley Bowl playing Shopping Cart Battleship with the entire population of Berkeley and Mom said we needed to get dates for the applesauce cookies, I was super confused because clearly this picture is not a picture of cookies with dates in them. So I e-mailed Geneva to see if maybe we could just make the recipe she pictured, but she regretfully informed me that there was no recipe and that it was from a Civil War history website. Because nobody got me a time machine for my birthday, we forged on just the same. Luckily, our supporter Leigh said she’d eat anything vegan, so I just sent her a box of tin foil. Just kidding tin foil isn’t vegan.

1. Stand really close to the oven, look it in the eyeballs, and tell it that you believe in it and that you believe it can warm itself to three hundred and seventy-five degrees of delight.

2. Beat together sugar, oil, vanilla and salt.

3. Stir in applesauce, pecans, oats and dates.

4. Spread evenly atop a jelly roll pan.

5. Bake in your confident 375-degree oven for 25 minutes or so.

It sort of turns out to be more like a granola bar type situation, like something you might wanna eat tiny pieces of all morning when you haven’t made breakfast yet but are ambiently hungry.

Bake Sale1

Magic Bars / 7-Layer Bars / Hello Dolly BarsIMG_1849

Source: I found this recipe on a can of sweetened condensed milk in the late ’80s

1/2 stick butter, cut into pieces
1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs
1.5 cups chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (just under half a small can)

1. Rub your body all over the oven until it becomes 350 degrees.

2. Cut the butter into pieces and melt it in the microwave until it’s “just melted when stirred.” I have no idea what that means honestly so I just kinda relied on my natural animal instincts to guide me home.

3. Mix up graham cracker crumbs up with the butter. This is gonna be your “crust.” You then spread this mixture all over the 8 x 8 inch pan until it’s nice and covered. Just really let your fingers do the talking.

4. Then you sort of hang out and toss things on top of the crust: chocolate chips, pecans, coconut flakes and peanut butter chips until it looks suitably delicious. The recipe actually calls for butterscotch chips, but when I was 8 and I first made these, I knew peanut butter chips would be even more delightful, so that’s how I made them ever since. Now that I think about it, butterscotch would’ve been good too, maybe I’ll try that next time. I hope everybody who orders them enjoys the peanut butter. Life is full of these kinds of conundrums, you know? Life is a bowl of cherries and a maze of butterscotch.

5. Then you pour the sweetened condensed milk over the whole mixture. I find it helps to approach it like a Toaster Strudel at first, and then go back filling in the gaps. That’s not what I did, but it’s what I wish I’d done.

6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.


Chocolate Chip CookiesIMG_1852


1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)

Technically this recipe also calls for chopped nuts but I’ve never understood why people wanna put nuts into their chocolate chip cookies.

1. Dance energetically around the oven until you’re confident it can handle heating itself to 375 degrees.

2. Mix sugars, butter, vanilla and egg in a large bowl. Then stir in the flour, baking soda and salt. The dough will be a little stiff, but you will be able to deal with this because you’re a grown-up. Then stir in the chocolate chips.

3. Put little rounded tablespoonfuls of cookie dough about two inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Golden brown is such a thing in the world of baking.

5. Cool, remove from sheet, and put them in a drying rack and/or in your mouthpiece.

my mom was not excited about me taking this picture

my mom was not excited about me taking this picture

There you have it! The best Get Baked ever of all time. Now that you’ve made all these cookies, you can basically just sit on your butt and eat for the rest of your life forever. That’s what I plan on doing for the rest of my life. And although it’s too late to get cookies, there’s still time to donate to the Autostraddle Writer’s Fund! We’ve already hit $5,000, which means another International Meet-Up Week is coming your way, and if we hit $10,000, we’ll be raffling off a 20% A-Camp Discount for life coupon and two $50 gift cards for the Autostraddle Store.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3200 articles for us.


  1. I guess nobody but me likes meringues… I would have ordered them if I wasn’t broke. (Going back to read the rest now)

  2. This is where my girlfriend is supposed to read this article and think to herself: “I should make that 7-Layer bar situation for my overworked, stressed out, cold and flu riddled girlfriend.” No pressure babe.

  3. “Beat sugar, peanut butter and margarine until it’s nice and creamy, much like what happens when you beat a vagina.”

  4. “1. Rub your body all over the oven until it becomes 350 degrees.”

    Well now I’m actually GLAD I have a tiny apartment-sized oven.

  5. Hi,
    Peanut Butter Criscrosses came from a Quaker Oats promotion cookbook.

    Hello Dolly bars- this recipe has been around 4-ever! Originated from Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk.

    Chocolate Chip Cookies – Toll House Chocolate Chip package.

    A-camp shirt – Figured if she took my picture than everyone would be distracted by the tee-shirt and not notice that my eyes are closed in every photo. Go ahead, ask Marie how many photos she had to take to get that one.



  6. True story about chocolate chip cookies: once i was in a anthropology class where this girl’s project was to learn how to make good chocolate chip cookies. So every Monday she would bring in cookies made from a different recipe for us all to taste and then we’d fill out a little survey about how good they were. That is how I learned that chopped nuts are actually delicious in chocolate chip cookies.

  7. “Stand really close to the oven, look it in the eyeballs, and tell it that you believe in it and that you believe it can warm itself to three hundred and seventy-five degrees of delight.”

    “You know, that pan you keep around for jelly roll emergencies. Who doesn’t love a good jelly roll. My day hasn’t begun or ended until I’ve ingested a jelly roll. I’m sure lots of you can relate.”

    “Beat sugar, peanut butter and margarine until it’s nice and creamy, much like what happens when you beat a vagina.”

    I just can’t. :D

  8. Now I’m going to have a real hard time cooking without thinking about Riese hitting on all of my kitchen appliances.

  9. Who knew there were so many ways of pre-heating an oven? And here I’ve just been turning the knob all these years like a person with no imagination.

  10. This is the most informational article I head ever read. Things I learned included:

    – that it is possible for cookies to look “gluteny” (maybe other people have visual gluten-dar, but this is remarkable to me)

    – what Riese’s mum looks like (answer: cute)

    – that I am not the only one stumped by the extreme voodoo it takes to get ovens to the right temperature

    Now I feel like I can spend my evening watching competitive baking TV shows with a new perspective on proceedings, if not life itself.

    Thank you Riese and (belated) happy birthday!

  11. Hi Riese’s mom! Happy Birthday Riese! I hope it’s wonderful! <3

    This was awesome and hilarious! Definitely saving these for my holiday baking.

  12. this post has everything i love: cookies, funny recipes, lesbian jokes, riese’s mom, and riese! in other words it is perfect.

Comments are closed.