National Homemade Cookie Day: Favorite recipes from Iona staff

October 1, 2017

A little known fact about Iona is that we have many avid bakers on staff. In fact, it’s not uncommon for our kitchen to have delicious baked goods regularly, especially during the holiday season. From time to time, we also host fun baking competitions in our Wellness & Arts Center. Participants help with different recipes and a panel of judges (usually Iona staff and volunteers) gives out prizes. It’s always a lot of fun, and it makes our building smell extra sweet.

So, for National Homemade Cookie Day, we thought we’d share some of our favorite cookie recipes with you. Happy baking!

Serious Cookies: Chewy Gingersnaps Recipe

Iona Care Manager Carol Kaplun’s most-requested recipe (which comes from Gina DePalma on, this is a favorite holiday treat.


  • 4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 tsps baking soda
  • 4 tsps ground ginger
  • 2 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/3 cup vegetable, canola, or sunflower oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
  • Additional granulated sugar for rolling the cookies


  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F.
  2. Lightly grease two cookie sheets with non-stick cooking spray or butter and line them with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, and cinnamon and set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the oil, sugar, and eggs on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and light. Beat in the eggs, one at time, followed by the molasses, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients to make a firm dough.
  5. Place some granulated sugar in a medium bowl. Using lightly floured fingers, form the dough into 3/4-inch balls. Roll each ball in the granulated sugar to evenly coat them. Place the cookies on the baking sheets, evenly spaced apart, and lightly press them with your fingers to flatten them slightly.
  6. Bake the cookies until they are puffed, cracked, and lightly golden brown, about 16 to 18 minutes, rotating the pans 180° halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for two or three minutes, then use a spatula to gently transfer them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Store the cookies in an airtight container, kept in a cool, dry place, for up to a week.

Blackberry Oatmeal Bars

Iona’s dietitian nutritionist Rose Clifford shares her adapted recipe from’s Delicious Raspberry Oatmeal Bars.


  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup white flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill or Arrowhead Mills)
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup seedless blackberry (or raspberry jam)
  • Zest of ½ an orange (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray an 8 inch square pan with cooking spray and line with foil so it overhangs the edges. Spray the foil.
  2. Combine brown sugar, flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest (if using), and rolled oats. Rub in the butter using your fingers to form a crumbly mixture.
  3. Firmly press 2 cups of the crumbly oat mix into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  4. Using a spatula sprayed with cooking spray, gently spread the seedless jam over the oatmeal mixture to within ¼ inch of the edge of the pan.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the jam and lightly press it into the jam.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until medium golden brown and almost toasty smelling. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan and continue to cool before cutting into bars.
  7. This recipe can be doubled and baked in a 13×9 inch pan.


Rose adds, “I usually bake this in glass Pyrex baking dishes. To measure the flour, I shake my flour container several times to aerate the flour, then scoop it with a cup measure and level it off with a knife. If you are measuring the flour straight from a bag, stir it to aerate it a bit or you will end up with too much flour in your bars and they may be dry.”

Peanut Chocolate Chip Quinoa Blondies

Another favorite from Rose Clifford, which she adapted from Eating Well’s Almond Butter-Quinoa Blondies.


  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup crunchy or smooth peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Instant Espresso granules (such as Medaglia D’Oro)
  • ¾ cup quinoa flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill or other brands available at most grocery stores)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Beat butter and peanut butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy.
  3. Beat in eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and espresso powder.
  4. Add quinoa flour, baking powder, and salt to the mixture and mix gently just until combined. Mixture may look slippery.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Spread batter evenly in the greased pan.
  7. Bake until a toothpick or sharp knife inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it, 25-35 minutes. Don’t overbake!
  8. Cool in the pan for 45 minutes before cutting into squares.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wellness & Arts Center Sarah Grogan’s favorite fall cookie, she says, “They’re like little pumpkin pillows.”


  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • ¾ cup butter or margarine softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ bag mini chocolate chips
  • * To make spice cookies add 1/8 tsp each cloves and ginger


  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. In large bowl beat sugars, butter, and vanilla until well blended. Beat in pumpkin and eggs. Add dry ingredients, beat in low until mixed. Stir in mini chocolate chips.
  3. Drop heaping tablespoon of dough on ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 10-12 minutes. Transfer immediately to cooling rack.