Sweet treats have been part of the Lion House since Brigham Young's family lived there.

Hooks were found on the walls for pulling taffy, said Brenda Hopkin, Lion House head baker. The Lion House guests still pull taffy at children's birthday parties there.

The recipe for Lion House Taffy is included in the recently released cookbook "Lion House Cookies and Sweets" (Deseret Book, $19.99), which Hopkin compiled.

The more than 100 recipes include taffy, fudge, popcorn, truffles and turtles, bars and brownies and several dozen types of cookies, including the varieties the Lion House bakers make for the Temple Square restaurants, Deseret Book stores, the bakery and special orders.

The bakers' repertoire includes their "Famous Cookies": the Ifs, Ands and Nuts; Hu La La Surprise Cookies; and Chocolate Pretzel Passion Cookies, which were originally developed for Mormon Handicraft about 15 years ago, Hopkin said. All three are in "Cookies and Sweets" and scaled down for the home baker.

The regular cookies include chocolate chip, peanut butter, snickerdoodles, oatmeal and white chocolate macadamia cookies, and those recipes are in the cookbook, too.

"Cookies and Sweets" is third in a series of Lion House cookbooks. "Pies" was released in 2010 and "Cakes and Cupcakes" was published last fall.

Many of the recipes are from out-of-print Lion House cookbooks, including the Christmas cookbook. Also, several are from a baking contest the Lion House Bakery put on to celebrate the building's anniversary. All have been updated and tested for home bakers, Hopkin said.

"These are fun things that aren't hard," Hopkin said of many of the treats, like Rocky Road Fudge, which has four ingredients. "There's no way to fail."

However, there are several things to keep in mind while baking.

• "Follow the recipe precisely," Hopkin said. "You have to think of baking as scientific formulas that have to be done exactly if you want your product to turn out."

• Know your oven. Some ovens are hotter or cooler, so adjust accordingly.

• "Always underbake your cookie," Hopkin said. They finish baking while cooling on the pan and will be softer. Unless, of course, you're aiming for a crispier cookie to dunk in milk.

• The weather will affect treats like divinity — if it's raining out, it's not a good day to make it. Taffy isn't affected as much.

"Humidity does affect a lot of things like that," Hopkin said, adding that humidity isn't always an issue in the dry Utah weather.

• Don't be afraid to use a little imagination when decorating cookies. "Lots of little decorations, like outlines and sprinkles, bring them to the next level."

"Cookies and Sweets" includes a DVD with Hopkin demonstrating some decorating ideas, along with tips such as how to measure ingredients (pack brown sugar but not flour) and cut out rolled cookies and recipe demonstrations.

"Any time you want to do something nice for someone …," Hopkin said, "cookies are a pretty easy thing to whip out."

LION HOUSE TAFFY

Makes: 30 bite-sized pieces

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups water

1 cup white corn syrup

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons glycerine (available at drugstores)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons vanilla

Butter a cookie sheet.

Mix sugar, water, corn syrup, salt and glycerine in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until temperature is 258 degrees F. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla, stirring until butter is melted. Pour candy onto buttered cookie sheet. Cool until lukewarm and taffy can be handled comfortably.

Wash and dry hands thoroughly. Take a small piece of taffy and stretch and fold repeatedly until the taffy turns white. Form taffy into desired shape. Place on a piece of waxed paper.

"Lion House Cookies and Sweets"

IFs, ANDs and NUTs COOKIES

Makes: 2 1/2 dozen cookies

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup butter

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/4 cups chunky peanut butter

2 eggs

1 cup chopped, unsalted, twice-roasted peanuts

2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Do not grease cookie sheet.

Sift together the flour and soda. Set aside.

Beat butter, sugars and peanut butter in a separate bowl until fluffy. Add eggs and dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in peanuts, chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.

Shape into small balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with a glass dipped in sugar or make a crisscross with a fork. Bake 8 to 10 minutes.

"Lion House Cookies and Sweets"

COOKIE BRITTLE

Makes: 20-24 pieces

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or butterscotch chips

1 cup chopped walnuts, divided

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Do not grease the 10-inch-by-15-inch jelly roll pan.

Cream butter, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. Gradually beat in sugar; add flour, chocolate chips and 3/4 cup of the walnuts. Mix well and press evenly into pan. Sprinkle remaining nuts over top and press lightly. Bake 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool and break into irregular pieces to serve.

"Lion House Cookies and Sweets"

TURTLE COOKIES

Makes: about 1 1/2 dozen

1/2 cup margarine, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

6 tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour

TURTLE ICING

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 tablespoon cocoa

2 1/2 tablespoons margarine

1/3 cup cold water

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar

Heat a standard waffle iron. Cream margarine and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, cocoa and vanilla. Add flour and beat until incorporated. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a hot waffle iron; cook 1 minute.

Cook four to six cookies at a time, depending on the size of the waffle iron.

Remove from iron and frost with Turtle Icing.

Comment on this story

For icing: Place all ingredients except vanilla and powdered sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand a few minutes to cool. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.

Variation: Turn these into a peanut butter treat by decreasing the amount of margarine to 1/4 cup and adding 1/2 cup peanut butter.

"Lion House Cookies and Sweets"

Email: rappleye@desnews.com