Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Scandinavian Almond Cake

We’re making a Scandinavian Almond Cake today! My mom gave me this cake pan last year for Christmas, and I didn’t know what to do with it. I had never seen this kind of pan before, so I had to do a bit of internet research to see what this cake was all about. I have to say – Grandma would have loved this cake. She loved all things almond – this is what most of her Swedish recipes seemed to be – and she would have loved the almond flavor of this cake. Since I mentioned the Swedish side of the family, I thought I’d share this photo from Grandma’s youngest aunt’s trip to Sweden in 1922 (she’s the one on the far left). I don’t know if you can see it, but there’s an “X” over the middle part of the building in this photo. This was what was left of where my great-great-grandmother was born in Sweden – just that tiny part there in the middle.

I’m sure glad they took pictures way back then! It’s so interesting! We do know the name of the town and area where this photo was taken. Love that family history!

Back to the cake! This is the recipe that was included with the pan, and I’m glad they included it. It’s so delicious and full of almond flavor – and we know how Grandma and all the Scandinavians we know LOVE almond.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Scandinavian Almond Cake

Beat well:

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2/3 cup milk


1 1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder


1 stick butter or margarine, melted (I used butter)

Spray pan generously with non-stick spray with flour or other spray immediately before pouring batter into pan (I didn’t see that it said to do it immediately before pouring batter into pan, so I did it before I started making the batter – it worked out ok. I also didn’t see that it said non-stick spray with flour – I used regular spray and then coated it with flour – that worked out ok, too.).

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until edges are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let it cool totally in the pan.

Turn cake out onto platter.

This is the weird-looking pan. I had never seen this kind of pan before.

I sprayed the pan with non-stick spray and then floured it – even though it says to use non-stick spray with flour in it.

There it is – all done and sitting to cool totally before turning it out.

I sprinkled powdered sugar over the top and then gilded the lily with a few toasted sliced almonds. It’s so pretty!

The cake was a lot easier to make than I thought it would be. Easy and delicious – check!

Oh boy – I think I have a new favorite cake. The almond flavor of this is just mouth-watering. It’s so good and so easy to do, especially at holiday time. Some lingonberries over the top of a slice of this cake might be nice, too. I think whether you are Scandinavian or not, you’re going to want to try this  amazingly delicious Scandinavian Almond Cake.



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Gingerbread #2 – a 160 Year Old Recipe

Today we’re trying Gingerbread #2 – a 160 Year Old Recipe. This recipe is in an old book of Grandma’s called Scandinavian Recipes. I can’t find a date on this little cookbook, but I’m sure she got it in the 1940’s.

Maybe it was the 1950’s, but even if it was in 1950, the recipe says it was 100 years old then and that would make it now 160 years old. At least! Let me just say that no matter how old this recipe is – it’s amazing! Not many gingerbread recipes call for 5 different spices – this is spicy and absolutely delicious. I had a tradition with my kids of making Gingerbread to celebrate the first measurable snowfall of the season (seriously, my son tried to talk me into making gingerbread when we only had a dusting a few weeks ago – that’s how much he waits for the first measurable snowfall so I’ll make gingerbread), and now this is another great recipe that will be part of our family traditions. There is nothing like the smell of gingerbread, with all the warm and cozy scents of spices and molasses, wafting throughout the whole house, bringing back memories of snow and tinsel and warm Christmas lights.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Gingerbread #2 – a 160 Year Old Recipe


1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)

1 cup sugar

Add sugar gradually and mix thoroughly.


1 cup molasses

2 eggs, well beaten

Sift together twice:

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoons allspice

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Add sifted dry ingredients to the fist mixture alternately with:

1 cup buttermilk

Beat hard so butter is thoroughly blended.

There is no pan size on this recipe so I used a 9″ x 9″ square pan.

It didn’t say to grease the pan, but I sprayed it lightly with non-stick spray.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes.

The batter really filled my square pan, but I decided to go with it anyway.

The cake definitely rose up above the pan, but it didn’t overflow. It just didn’t seem like enough batter for a 9″ x 13″ pan.

I wanted to go all “fancy pants” on the cake, so I used one of Grandma’s doilies like a stencil and made a pretty design by sprinkling powdered sugar over the top. Make sure your doily is clean – don’t use one that’s been sitting on your dresser for who knows how long! Doilies are flexible so even though there was a little cave-in in the middle of the cake, it still covered just fine. You could also use a store-bought paper doily for this.

I put the powdered sugar into a strainer and knocked on the side of it to make the powdered sugar sprinkle nice and even. You never know how this is going to turn out. It’s so exciting!

Lift it off carefully so you keep the design intact (make sure to wash the doily when you’re done so next time you want to use it you don’t get powdered sugar all over your nice clean dresser or table). This one turned out so pretty! You will SO impress your friends and family. Even though there was a crack around the side of the cake, once the design was on there, you could hardly see it.

The recipe says that it’s really good warm, and I have to agree. I mean, I’m sure it would be good warm, not that I know anything about that. Sort of.

This gingerbread is delicious. It. Is. So. Good. I’m not even kidding. It’s easy to make. It’s delicious. It’s pretty. It fits all of our criteria for a wonderful recipe. Make this Gingerbread #2 – a 160 Year Old Recipe at some point during the holiday season – or at some point this winter – and start your own family tradition!

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10 of My Family’s Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes!

I’m sharing 10 of My Family’s Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes! Today is Black Friday, and it’s “go time”! While I’m not a big one for Black Friday shopping, I AM one for getting onto the Christmas baking ASAP! There’s not a minute to waste, so I’m helping you out today with some great recipes that my family loves. This is not a complete list of what we make each year (not by any stretch of the imagination), but it is a partial list of our favorites. There’s a little something for everyone on the list! Enjoy!

Peanut Blossoms


Christmas Wreath Cookies


Mosaic Fruit Slices


Scalloped Cookies


Oatmeal Trilbys


Date Balls


Christmas Cookies


Peanut Butter Snowballs


Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies


Ritz Cracker Cookies


German Lebkuchen


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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I hope you get to enjoy and celebrate this day with your friends and family!

I have SO MUCH to be thankful this year, but I’m especially thankful for all of you dear readers out there!

Thank you so much for your support!



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Pumpkin Pecan Pie

I first made this Pumpkin Pecan Pie when I was in high school. I can NOT remember where this recipe came from. Even though I thought it came from a specific cookbook of mine, the recipe isn’t in there, and I can’t find it anywhere other than written out here. The recipe was lost for years, but somehow I found it! Yay! That’s why, even though I posted on Friday about My 7 Favorite Thanksgiving Pies, I’m posting the recipe for this pie today.

Because it’s thanksgiving on Thursday, and thanksgiving is all about family, I wanted to share a little bit of family history. On my dad’s side of the family, we can trace ancestors back to a small town in Massachusetts, coming here from England in 1638. That’s less than 20 years after the Pilgrims! I love this photo of my great, great grandparents on my dad’s side, who were alive and living in Wisconsin during the last half of the 1800’s, or about halfway back to those original ancestors. Great, great grandpa has a bit of a twinkle in his eye, but great, great grandma looks a no-nonsense kind of gal.

I’m so grateful to have this photo and all the photos of family members going back so far. I wonder what thanksgiving dinner would be like with these relatives? I would have a million questions!

So anyway, about this pie. It’s absolutely delicious, and it has always been one of my favorites. I highly recommend trying this ridiculously easy recipe. Before I start the recipe, I want to say in advance – don’t use the temperature written on the recipe. See below for new baking instructions.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Have a pie crust ready to go. You can find recipes for pie crust here on the blog by using the recipe menu.

Mix all together:

1 cup pumpkin (I used frozen pumpkin instead of pumpkin from a can)

3 eggs

1 cup sweetened condensed milk (1-14 ounce can)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Fill pie crust.

Sprinkle on top of filling:

1 cup chopped pecans (plus extra if you want to make a fancy design)

New baking instructions – Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.*

(*I had a problem with the temperature for baking. In the recipe I had written down 300 degrees for 45 minutes, but after 45 minutes, the pie was still totally liquid. I raised the temp to 400 degrees and gave it another 20 minutes. That seemed to do the trick – that was enough to solidify it. I’m wondering if I didn’t write it down wrong and it was supposed to be 400 degrees. Start there and maybe just watch it after 30 minutes or so.)

This is it – just mix it all up together in a bowl.

I had my pie crust and chopped pecans ready to go before starting the filling.

I decided to do a fancy pants line of whole pecans around the outside edge of the filling. So pretty.

The pecans got a bit dark because of the temperature issue, but I don’t know, I kinda like the pecans nice and toasted.

Add a dollop of whipped cream and you’re in heaven. This pie is so amazingly delicious for such a simple recipe. I just love it. It’s sweet and pumpkin-y with the amazing flavor of all those spices. This is my favorite pumpkin pie recipe. Ever. Period. It’s an easy one to do last-minute because it’s just so easy to make. I think you’re going to want to make this recipe for Pumpkin Pecan Pie for your family this thanksgiving.


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My 7 Favorite Thanksgiving Pie Recipes

Since we’re only days away from Thanksgiving, I’m sharing My 7 Favorite Thanksgiving Pie Recipes. Can we ever really have enough pies? I think not. Thanksgiving is about gratitude and abundance – so “make more pie”! That’s my motto! Enjoy these pie recipes – maybe you’ll pick a new one to make for your celebration!

No-Bake Pumpkin Cream Pie


Cranberry Pineapple Pie


Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie


Apple Pie with Crumb Topping


Pumpkin Pie – the Chiffon Kind


Apple Pie with Old-Fashioned Pie Crust


Butterscotch Pie




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It’s a Blog Party!

Let’s Party! Blog Party, that is!

Bernadine over at Bernadine’s Bakery is hosting a Blog Party and she invited me to join. I was able to share my posts for Harvest Loaf Cake, Caramel Candy, and Spice Cake. You might want to visit Bernadine’s Bakery – there are a lot of fun blogs, bloggers, and other fun things to explore at this Blog Party!

If you have a blog you want to promote, you might want to check out the rules and join!

It’s a lot of fun, so hop on over to Bernadine’s Bakery and check it out!



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Healthy Chocolate Hostess Gift Treats

Today I’m sharing a great idea for Healthy Chocolate Hostess Gift Treats. I’m always on the lookout for an easy, yet pretty hostess gift that I know the hostess will love to get. Sometimes it’s nice for the gift to be something fun or nice for the hostess to enjoy AFTER all of the company leaves. This one fits the bill. Perfectly. I wouldn’t mind getting a few of these myself.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Healthy Chocolate Hostess Gift Treats

Line a baking sheet with parchment.


1 bar of dark chocolate (or a package of chocolate chips)

Using a spoon, make puddles of chocolate on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Top with:

Anything you want – I used some healthy, seasonal goodies:

Dried apricots, chopped


Sprinkles in fall colors

You could use other dried fruits like:




You could use nuts like:




sunflower seeds

You could use candies like:

crushed peppermint

mini M &M’s

chopped candy bars

The sky’s the limit – get creative!

Sprinkle on the goodies and let the chocolate harden. I would store these in the refrigerator until you’re ready to give them as a gift.

I have the goodies ready to sprinkle onto the chocolate before melting the chocolate. Next I melted the chocolate in the microwave according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

I used a spoon to make the chocolate puddles on the parchment paper.

Then I sprinkled on the goodies: the fruit, nuts, and sprinkles. These are similar to the “barks” that I made recently – Minnesota Viking Bark and Autumn Bark.

Let them harden at room temperature, or do what I did and slide the parchment paper onto a baking sheet and put them into the refrigerator to firm up.

These are so pretty and so special and so perfect for a hard-working hostess – she’ll appreciate these tremendously, especially since they’re for her and her alone! You could put them on a piece of parchment paper on a paper plate (so they can go right into the hostess’s refrigerator) and either slip into a zip-top bag or cover with plastic wrap or cellophane, or do what I like to do – put some into a cellophane bag and tie with a pretty ribbon. Add a nice tag if you want, and you have a wonderful, delicious, chocolate treat for the hostess (or anyone special). Just remember to keep them in the refrigerator so they stay perfect for giving. Make up a few batches of these Healthy Chocolate Hostess Gift Treats and be good to all the hostesses coming up for you in the next few months!


Harvest Loaf Cake

Today’s recipe for Harvest Loaf Cake comes from my mom. I have no idea where she got it from, but I’m glad she got it! I’m putting it under the heading of both bread AND cake. It’s a bit of a show-stopper, and perfect for your thanksgiving dessert table.

Because we’re so close to thanksgiving, and thanksgiving is all about family, I had to share this photo of Grandma’s youngest brother from sometime around the late 1910’s or early 1920’s. He was the youngest in the family, and always had that smile on his face. I love this photo so much! He looks like he’s straight out of the musical “Newsies”! Look at that hat, and that little coat!

If you look close, you can even see the little vest he has on under the coat. Oh – and a tie! Love it! What a cutie! Grandma loved ALL of her family so much –  it was one of my favorite things about her. Absolutely everyone (sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren) was special, and loved, and just as important as everyone else. Ok – now that I’m remembering her and how special she was to me, I’m tearing up. Good memories can do that to me.

Ok, ok, on to the loaf/cake! There seems like a lot of steps, but most of it is all the spices in here. It’s a pretty easy recipe (Grandma would have loved it), so you can pull it together fairly quick. We like that, don’t we? Quick and easy recipes? You betcha!!

Cream wet ingredients together:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar


2 eggs

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

Sift dry ingredients together:

1 3/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Add to wet ingredients.

Fold in:

3/4 cup chocolate chips

3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

I sprayed my loaf pan with a bit of non-stick spray before putting the batter in.

Bake at 350 degrees for 65-75 minutes.


Drizzle with glaze.


1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1-2 Tablespoons cream (I used milk)

Sprinkle with:

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Let stand 6 hours before slicing.

It’s a pretty thick batter, but the loaf/cake comes out tender and delicious!

Oh how I love chocolate chips and walnuts in a quick bread!

After baking it comes out of the pan beautifully.

See how pretty it is after adding the glaze and walnuts?!! Since I’ve never made this before, I didn’t know how finely to chop the walnuts to sprinkle on top. While this looks pretty, I’d chop them a bit finer next time.

I think this is a show-stopper. It’s easy to do, it’s delicious, and it looks fabulous! I mean, absolutely fabulous! The recipe is similar to Moist Pumpkin Bread or Pumpkin Raisin Bread, only with chocolate chips. Then you add the tasty glaze and the chopped walnuts, and there you go – show-stopper! Try this Harvest Loaf Cake with your thanksgiving desserts.



Maple Pecan Scones

I’m sharing my recipe for Maple Pecan Scones today. It comes from the pages I ripped out of the magazine years ago. These magazine pages have several recipes on there, one being the ridiculously delicious Chocolate Chip Scones I made last summer. I hadn’t made this particular recipe before, but it sounded like a perfect recipe for fall. Well, this recipe didn’t disappoint. These scones are as ridiculously delicious as the Chocolate Chip Scones. Wow. Why haven’t I been making these all along? I’m glad I finally did.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Maple Pecan Scones

In a large bowl, combine:

3 1/2 cups flour

1 cup pecans, finely chopped

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in:

2/3 cup vegetable shortening (I used butter)

Add to dry ingredients:

1 cup milk

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring

Mix lightly with a fork until mixture clings together and forms a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead gently 5-6 times.

Divide dough in half.

With rolling-pin, roll first half into 7 inch circle.

Cut into 4 wedges.

Repeat with other half of dough.

Put scones 1 inch apart on greased baking sheet.

Pierce with tines of a fork and brush tops with another 1/4 cup of maple syrup.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm.

Mix up the wet and dry ingredients separately, then cut the butter into the dry ingredients.

Add the wet ingredients and mix together with a fork.

When you turn the dough out to knead, it will look like this and you’ll think, “no way will this work”. Knead a couple of times and it comes together nicely. Really, it will.

Divide the dough in two pieces and then roll them out into a 7″ circle. Cut the circle in 4 and put the pieces onto a baking sheet.

Prick with a fork and brush with the remaining 1/4 cup of maple syrup. Ready for the oven.

They come out of the oven full of sweet maple syrup and toasted pecans.

Oh my. I’m so glad I tried this one. These are perfect for breakfast or afternoon coffee or tea. Serve them warm from the oven with some softened butter – oh wow. So good! You might even want to think about serving these Maple Pecan Scones for that special breakfast on the third Thursday of  November.


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