Cook’s Corner

Readers come through with Payday and Lucky Stars recipes



Payday Bar Cookies

1 (18.5-ounce) box yellow cake mix

1 egg

2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 (10.5-ounce) bag miniature marshmallows


1 (10-ounce) bag peanut butter chips

1/4 cup butter or margarine

2/3 cup light corn syrup

2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup cocktail (salted) peanuts

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix dry cake mix with egg and melted butter. Press on bottom of a greased, 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake 10 to 15 minutes. Layer the marshmallows on the hot crust and return to oven for 5 to 8 minutes, until lightly browned. Push down on them a little while hot.

For topping, melt peanut butter chips with butter, corn syrup and vanilla. Drizzle over marshmallows, covering all. Sprinkle on peanuts while warm. Cool and cut into bars. Makes 36 bars.

Per bar: 217 calories (44 percent from fat), 10.6 g fat (5.2 g saturated, 3.2 g monounsaturated), 17.8 mg cholesterol, 3.2 g protein, 27.8 g carbohydrates, 0.8 g fiber, 183 mg sodium.


Belizean Seafood Soup

The seafood in this soup from coastal Belize can vary depending upon what is available in your market.

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup flour

1 cup onion, diced

4 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

3 cups fish stock

Pinch of thyme

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup cubed potato

1 cup cubed cassava

1 cup diced green bell pepper

1 cup diced carrots

1 large lobster tail, with shell

1 pound fish fillets

1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and butterflied

1 pound conch, tenderized and cubed

1 green plantain, peeled and grated

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 half-ripe plantain, peeled and cut in small chunks

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat vegetable oil in a heavy pot. Add flour and whisk constantly until flour is copper in color. Add onions and tomato paste and stir for two to three minutes until onions are a deep golden brown. Add coconut milk, fish stock, thyme and garlic. Mix well, bring to a gentle boil, lower heat and let sauce simmer for 10 minutes.

Add potato, cassava, bell pepper and carrots. Boil until vegetables are cooked. Add lobster, fish, shrimp and conch; simmer until cooked.

While soup is cooking, mix grated plantain with coconut oil and salt and pepper to taste. Form into little dumplings the size of a teaspoon. Add dumplings along with half-ripe plantain to the soup and bring to a rapid boil for 5 minutes or until plantains are cooked. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 636 calories (61 percent from fat), 44 g fat (26.8 g saturated, 5.7 g monounsaturated), 117 mg cholesterol, 35 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 3.7 g fiber, 596 mg sodium.


Lucky Stars Cookies

1 1/3 cups sifted flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 egg


1 1/4 cups ground walnuts or pecans

1/3 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon melted butter

1/16 teaspoon maple flavoring

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Sift flour with baking powder. In another bowl, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in vanilla, almond extract, salt and egg. Gradually add dry ingredients; mix well. Roll out on floured surface to 1/8-inch thick. Cut with star-shaped cutter.

For filling, thoroughly mix nuts with sugar, salt, butter, maple flavoring and 2 tablespoons water. Place a teaspoonful in center of each star. Bring 5 points upright: Start at base; pinch sides together so points stand up, allowing filling to show.

Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 7 to 10 minutes, until browned as desired. Makes 24.

Per cookie: 109 calories (53 percent from fat), 6.7 g fat (1.9 g saturated, 1.3 g monounsaturated), 14 mg cholesterol, 2 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 0.6 g fiber, 55 mg sodium.

Responding to a request from Lydia, “loyal reader” Jeanne Luster of Medina, Ohio, shares a recipe for a sweet and salty bar cookie for cookie swaps. It mimics the taste of Payday candy bars, and is quick and easy to make. Because I will inevitably be asked, you only use the dry cake mix, not the ingredients called for on the box to make a cake.

Katherine McNeill asked for help replicating a cookie her grandmother made called Lucky Stars. They were “shaped like a star that came up over a filling that tasted like pecan pie,” she wrote.

“I’ve been making these delicious and fun morsels since I was in high school in the 1950s,” Donna Craig of Miami responded. “These look pretty and are absolutely delicious,” wrote Linda Cowie. “Thank you for the good old memory of this cookie,” added Betty of Medina, Ohio.

Cowie traces the origin of the recipe: “This is exactly how it appeared in a Pillsbury Bake-Off cookbook from the late 1950s or early ’60s.”

Paprika primer

Barbara wrote to ask about a recipe that called for sweet Hungarian paprika. “Where would I be likely to find that spice? I haven’t found it at my local grocery.”

There are three basic types of paprika: sweet, hot and smoked. If a recipe doesn’t specify, use sweet paprika, often labeled simply “paprika.” The generic type you get in the grocery store is usually from Spain and isn’t as intense in flavor as the paprika from Hungary, but you can certainly substitute it.

Use smoked or hot paprika when you want to add those qualities to a dish. You can find Hungarian in large supermarkets and online at many sites including

Cookbook Corner

If you’re planning an “end of the world” party on Friday pegged to the supposed Maya calendar prediction, why not go with a Maya theme? Flavors of Belize (McNab, $39.95) explores the ancient history, culture and cuisine of the Central American nation, with emphasis on Maya influences. A team from Flavors of Belize magazine collected the recipes;

Tried and New

Beanitos is a flavorful take on chips with redeeming nutritional value. Made from beans and whole-grain rice, the chips ($3-$3.50 per 6-ounce package) have 6 grams each protein and fiber per serving. They are gluten-free and have a low glycemic index for diabetics and others who have to watch their blood sugar. The newest flavor, black bean chipotle barbecue, packs a punch and needs no dip, my tasters agreed.

Send questions and responses to or Food, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132. Personal replies are not possible.

Read more Cook's Corner stories from the Miami Herald

  • Cook’s Corner

    Cook’s Corner: Behold the new colors of Easter eggs

    Radiant Orchid, Pantone Color Institute’s color of the year, not only is the hot spring fashion color, but it has made its way into the Easter egg parade. Forget the pastels of yesteryear; what’s trending now are vivid colors. McCormick developed these formulas for making vibrant dyes.

Linda Cicero

    Cook’s Corner

    Cook’s Corner: New perspectives on the foods of Passover

    Some new perspectives on the foods of Passover:

  • Cook’s Corner

    Cook’s Corner: Chimichurri gives salmon a peppery bite

    You wouldn’t normally associate chimichurri with salmon, but the peppery bite of this arugula-kissed version pairs wonderfully with the fish and of course is a great accent to grilled flavors. The recipe is from Verlasso salmon, the only ocean farmed salmon to make the “eco-friendly” list of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch. The impact of fish farming on the world’s oceans is of concern to many; the list assigns seafoods a red, yellow or green rating, based on their sustainability and environmental impact. Red is “avoid,” yellow is “good alternative” and green is “best choice.”

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category