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My Best Recipe

These Bar Cookies Are Just Too Good to Stick Around for Long

December 04, 1986

"On a visit to my folks in Kansas this summer, I noticed my mom hid the cookie jar in a new place each time she gave one of the grandchildren a cookie," Connie Hankins writes. "When I asked why, she told me she had found this new cookie recipe and it was so good, the kids ate them all at once unless she hid them.

"Naturally, I demanded the recipe and after my family tried the cookies at home they changed the name to Vacuum Cleaner Cookies, an appropriate name, I thought, considering the speed with which they disappear."

VACUUM CLEANER COOKIES

(Neiman-Marcus Squares)

1/2 cup margarine (not butter), melted

1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix

3 eggs

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 (1-pound) box powdered sugar

1/2 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Combine margarine, cake mix and 1 egg. Stir together until dry ingredients are moistened. Pat mixture into bottom of well-greased 15x10-inch jellyroll pan.

Beat remaining 2 eggs lightly, then beat in cream cheese and powdered sugar. Stir in coconut and nuts. Pour over mixture in jellyroll pan, spreading evenly. Bake at 325 degrees 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown. Cool pan on wire rack to room temperature. Makes 4 dozen bars.

Note: Use plain cake mix, not that with pudding added. Do not use whipped margarine.

--CONNIE HANKINS

Los Angeles

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