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Cookbook Review: The Flying Brownie by Shirley Fan

Every once in a while a cookbook comes along to fill a niche on your bookshelf and you think to yourself, “Well, it’s about time!” I mean, really. With all the care packages flying around in the sky, why did it take so long for someone to assemble a collection of recipes specifically for mailing and shipping? And so, with great enthusiasm, I added The Flying Brownie by Shirley Fan to my bookshelf.*


The Flying Brownie includes 100 recipes for sweet and savory treats that “pack easily, ship fresh, and taste great”. Shirley Fan is a long-time contributor to the Food Network, giving her recipes instant credibility. In addition to the recipes, she includes a 20 page introduction that is packed with helpful information, from the history of the CARE package (a post WWII humanitarian organization called the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe, hence the term “CARE” package), to tips on what to send and how to send it. She even includes information on various shipping vendors and instructions and addresses for shipping goodies to military service men and women.

The recipes are thoughtfully divided into seven chapters: brownies and bars, cookies, confections, loaves and breads, savories, lightweight goodies, and “some assembly required”. I hazard a guess that there is something in here to please just about anybody. There are the usual cookies and brownies, but also several nut mixes, crackers, trail mixes, and dried fruit chips. There are gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free recipes, though they aren’t identified as such. Most of the recipes include full color photos, and the spiral-binding is so handy for laying open on the counter while mixing.


In order to truly test the recipes, I enlisted the help of my brother who lives 1200 miles away. “Hey, I’ve got this new cookbook. If I send you some treats will you eat them?” It didn’t take too much convincing to get him to participate.  I sent him a package that included three of the recipes: Cherry Crumble Bars, Chocolate Chip and Coconut Banana Bread, and Golden Cheddar Coins. All of the recipes came out beautifully and all of them passed the taste test in our household with flying colors.




I packaged up a nice portion for my brother, following the suggested packing instructions that were included for each recipe, and headed to the post office. He wrote me two days later with his review: “yummy treats have arrived 🙂  intact i might add.  all seems to have gone well in transit… and they sure are good.” He even sent some photos to show what the goodies looked like out of the box. While the Cherry Crumble Bars appear to have acquired some condensation and suffered a small amount of “smooshing”, everything else looks exactly as it did when I shipped it.


I’m so excited to have this cookbook on my shelf. I have a couple of young friends leaving for college who I think will be happy to sample some recipes. And of course I expect to be sending out some recipes at Christmas-time. Wouldn’t you love to find this box of macarons, caramels, and Peppermint Fudge in your mailbox??


Review posts are my opinions on items that were sent to me free of charge. The items were given to me, but the thoughts and opinions are my own. I only provide reviews of items that I find to be truly worthy of recommendation.


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Cherry Crumble Bars

I made these with cane juice and rapadura instead of granulated sugar and brown sugar (respectively). I like St. Dalfour brand for preserves–they are fruit-juice sweetened and free from added sugar. Delicious!

Source: The Flying Brownie by Shirley Fan

Course: Treats (Bars, Balls, and Cookies)

Yield: 16 bars



  • 8 Tbs unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 12 cup granulated sugar
  • 12 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pure almond extract
  • 14 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 12 tsp salt
  • 12 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup good quality red cherry preserves such as Hero brand


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8″ square pan with parchment paper, leaving extra for overhang; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add both extracts and mix again until combined. Add the flour, oats, salt, and cinnamon; mix on low speed until combined. The mixture should be loose and somewhat crumbly.
  3. Press two-thirds of the mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the preserves on top. Scatter the remaining crumb mixture over the top. Bake until the preserves are bubbly and the crust is golden brown, 30-35 minutes.
  4. Let cool in the pan. Remove the bars from the pan by grasping the edges of the parchment paper, and cut into 16 squares. Wrap the bars individually with waxed or parchment paper or plastic wrap, seal with tape, and pack in a zipper-top plastic bag or other container. Alternatively layer unwrapped bars in an airtight container, separating the layers with waxed or parchment paper. These bars also do well stacked in cellophane bags tied closed with a ribbon.
  5. Recipe © 2013 by Shirley Fan and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press

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