Children are returning to school, and that calls for some lunch box surprises. Homemade cookies are always special. If not in the lunch box, then in the cookie jar for an after-school treat.
Christi’s Triple-Chip Cookies are sure to make a favorable impression on their palates. My 16-year-old granddaughter, Christi, is enrolled in a three-year culinary course while in high school with hopes of going into the food field when she graduates from college.
She used one of my favorite basic cookie recipes for her new version of chocolate chip cookies. Many years ago, I started making cookies using pie crust mix, and although Christi prefers a “from scratch” version of cookies, she decided to try my pie crust idea. These are so versatile because you can vary the chips according to personal taste favorites.
One of my favorites for “kids” of all ages is my Lemon Almond Snaps. These cookies have a tender-crisp texture, meaning they are crispy with a “melt-in-your-mouth” feature.
Thi also is a versatile recipe because you can omit the ground almonds and use only 4 cups of flour. By using vanilla extract instead of the pure lemon extract, you get a great sugar cookie. Adding a little cocoa to the flour mixture will give you a great-tasting chocolate snap.
Another great version of the “snaps” is my Key Lime Crispies. For this one, I use the 4 cups of flour and 1 1/2 tablespoons Key lime juice. After these come from the oven, I dust them generously with confectioners’ sugar.
Regardless of your choice, cookies are always a big hit.

Lemon Almond Snaps

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
2/3 cup oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 1/2 ounces almonds, finely ground
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure lemon extract

In large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Add the eggs and oil. Beat until well blended.
In medium bowl, combine flour, ground almonds, baking soda and salt. Stir to mix. Add flour/almond mixture and the lemon extract to the cream mixture. Beat well.
Drop dough from teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheet, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart.
Using the bottom of a glass that has been dipped into sugar, flatten the dough.
Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove from cookie sheet immediately. Cool on rack. Store in airtight container.
Christi’s Triple-Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
1 box pie crust mix
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper (or use a silicone baking sheet).
Combine pie crust mix, baking soda and sugars in mixing bowl. Stir to mix.
Add eggs and beat with electric mixer until dough forms. Stir in chips.
Drop by small scoops onto lined baking sheet, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 12 minutes or until cookies begin to brown slightly around edges.
Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for about a minute. Carefully remove to a rack to cool completely before storing in airtight containers. Makes about 30 cookies.

Prudence Hilburn of Piedmont, Alabama, has won more than 30 national cooking awards and written several cookbooks, including “Simply Southern and More.” Write her at prudencehilburn@aol.com or visit prudencehilburn.com.