Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Leprechaun Bark

Today we’re going to make another one of those recipes that can be tweaked for any holiday or anyone’s favorites. Leprechaun Bark is a fast and easy way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day or any other holiday. I’ve made Easter Bark and Halloween Bark, and I decided it’s time to celebrate spring with this green and very delightful treat. Why not celebrate absolutely EVERY holiday?!! There really isn’t too much of a recipe for this, you just melt chocolate or almond bark or candy melts and decorate like crazy. I think kids would really have fun with this, even though you may end up with sprinkles or candies all over your kitchen. Well, that can happen even when there aren’t any kids helping you make this.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Leprechaun Bark

Put a sheet of parchment paper onto the tray you want to use for making your bark.

Top the tray with pretzels, if desired.

Melt:

1 package dark chocolate chips

Pour over top of pretzels, or just onto the parchment paper.

Drizzle on:

1/2 package of white chocolate chips, melted

Sprinkle on:

Appropriate colored candies

Sprinkles

Chopped cookie bits (I used Oreo Mint Thins for this batch)

Nuts (I didn’t use any nuts on this batch)

Let cool (I put the pan into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes).

Break into pieces.

I like a bit of the sweet and salty thing, so I always add pretzels when I make bark. I’m not sure if you can tell what I did wrong here. I broke the number one rule of making bark. I forgot to put a sheet of parchment paper under the pretzels. In this case, I used a baking sheet that is almost non-stick, so it worked out all right, but please – DON’T FORGET TO USE PARCHMENT PAPER!! I had to put the baking sheet into the freezer so it got really hard and came off the sheet just fine. Whew.

I like a bit of mint, but not a lot, so I used thin mint cookies, green candies, green sugar, white jimmies, and crystal sugar (for some sparkle).

Before cooling the chocolate is glossy.  You can see a bit of a difference once it’s cooled.

So festive!

You can cut this into pieces if you want to, but when you use pretzels for the bottom, it breaks apart very easily.

Here it is – the perfect St. Patty’s snack.

Try making this very festive holiday treat! It’s so easy to do and fun to make. You’ll be hooked. I’m telling ya. You’ll want to make this for every holiday!

 

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

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Irish Soda Bread

I am not Irish, but my husband, my kids, and my in-laws are. Several years ago, we were at my sister-in-law’s house for dinner on St. Patrick’s Day and she served the most delicious corned beef and cabbage stew. This stew has become one of my family’s favorite traditions. A few years later, I found this wonderful recipe for Irish Soda Bread that goes great with the stew. I think it came from a local TV show, I’m not really sure. What I am sure about is that this bread has, also, become one of our favorite traditions. It’s so good warm from the oven with a bit of Irish butter melting over it and dribbling down your arm. I think it would also be delicious toasted with some homemade jam, but I’ll never know. The bread doesn’t last that long. We usually have 5 people (our family) here for dinner on or around St. Patrick’s Day, and I make 2 of these loaves of bread. There is NEVER any left. Ever. This bread is easy to make and is absolutely delicious.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Irish Soda Bread

Mix together:

4 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup sugar

Rub in:

2 Tablespoons butter, softened

Add:

1 cup raisins, washed and drained

Add:

2 cups buttermilk

Spoon sticky dough onto floured bread board.

Mold dough into a mound (I give it a couple – but only a couple – of “kneads” to make it more of a loaf) and slide onto a floured baking sheet – this is tricky as it’s still sticky.

Cut an “X” into the top of the loaf.

Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Bread will sound hollow on top when done.

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There really aren’t a lot of ingredients. That’s the beauty of it – a quick and easy recipe.

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The dough will definitely be sticky before turning it onto a floured surface.

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Once you have the loaf on the baking sheet, cut an X in the top of the loaf. This is apparently to let out the devil and protect the family (this according to many internet sites). I’m sure it also has something to do with making the loaf bake more evenly.

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Once it’s out of the oven, it’s golden brown and crusty.

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It’s absolutely imperative that you load up the warm bread with butter – Irish butter if possible.

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Don’t say I didn’t warn you about the butter dribbling down your arm. I know that this isn’t exactly the way they make soda bread in Ireland, but it’s the recipe that we love and make every year. It is delicious and you’ll love it, too. Bake up a wee bit o’ soda bread and enjoy St. Patty’s day!

 

 

 

 

 

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Easy Brownies

This recipe for Easy Brownies is from Grandma’s church cookbook, and was contributed by one of her good friends. I’m really not sure how or why I found it, but I’m glad I did! I made this recipe for brownies a lot during the last years that my kids were in school, just because they’re so easy and quick to make. I usually ended up making a last-minute batch to send off with the kids to college at the end of a weekend. You can see that I’ve written notes about the recipe in the book over the years.

Easy Brownies

 

This really is a great and very easy recipe!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Easy Brownies

1 1/2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

10 Tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup soft butter

4 eggs, unbeaten

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup nuts, chopped (optional)

Place all ingredients in a mixer bowl (it’s easier to mix all the ingredients if you cream the butter and sugar first).

Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.

Top with chocolate chips, if desired.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

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These brownies are so easy to make, I forgot to take photos until they were done!

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I topped this batch of brownies with mint chocolate chips, green sugar, and white pearls for St. Patrick’s Day, but you can customize these depending on your or your family’s likes and dislikes. I have topped them with all kinds of chips: mint, white chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter, milk chocolate, and combinations of all of the above. You can also put any kind of chopped nuts on top.

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These are so ridiculously easy to make (that’s why I like this recipe so much). Just put it all in the mixer bowl, mix up the ingredients, and that’s it. These also freeze very well.

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They’re delicious, dense, chewy, and chocolately – everything you want in a brownie. Oh yeah – and they’re VERY EASY!

 

 

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Mint Brownies

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

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We need a recipe for today that can signify that spring is here.

We need to think green.

The recipe for today comes from my aunt by way of Grandma’s recipe file and wow – are they good!

Mint Brownies

So good.

These are one of my favorites.

Here is the recipe as I made them:

Mint Brownies

Make brownies and let cool.

I made the Brownies recipe that I made for Plenty Sweet Life in November.

You can find the recipe here.

For the green layer:

3/4 cup butter (I don’t use margarine)

3 cups powdered sugar

1 Tablespoon milk

1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract

Green food coloring

Cream together and spread on top of the brownies.

Chill.

For the chocolate layer:

1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

1 cup butter

Melt together, blend, and spread on top of green layer.

Chill until firm.

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I love that the green layer is creamy and easy to spread.

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I love the glossy chocolate top layer.

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I just love these brownies!

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Thanks, Susan, for another easy, so good recipe!!

Think green, everyone!

Spring really is coming.

Really.

It is.

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Green Meringues

Today’s recipe comes from one of Grandma’s sisters.

Like most families who have a lot of children (they had 8), these 4 sisters were called by the collective name, the “Johnson Girls”.

I LOVE THIS PICTURE!!!!

They look like they’re having so much fun – even in the snowbank!

Gma Great, Laijla, Goldie (2)

They were lucky enough to live fairly close to each other while raising their families.

They shared recipes, swapped stories and were very close to each other and to their brothers (sisters-in-law included)!

They were true sisters, teasing, arguing and loving until the very end.

They were so dear to our family – we miss them all.

Green Meringues

Green Meringues 2

These cookies are so appropriate for springtime.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Green Meringues

2 egg whites

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cream of tartar

2/3 cup white sugar

Few drops of green food coloring

Bag of mint chocolate chips

Beat egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar until frothy.

Gradually add sugar, beating continuously.

Add food coloring.

Mix in chips.

Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Place in 350 degree oven.

Turn off oven and let cookies sit in oven for 6 to 8 hours.

Resist the temptation to peek or they wont dry correctly!

Remove from cookie sheet immediately.

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The egg whites deflate a bit when adding all of the sugar.

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My store didn’t have mint chocolate chips so I used Andes chopped mint bits.

I did use the whole bag but I think half of the bag would have been enough.

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Use a small spoon when making the cookies – they’ll dry better.

You also need to make sure all of your cookie sheets fit in the oven at the same time.

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Remove the cookies immediately as they do stick a bit.

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I made this pedestal plate in an earlier blog post.

You can find the instructions to make it here.

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Springtime green cookies.

So easy.

So minty.

So good.

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